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Herniated Disc and Back Spasms

Hi there,

I am a 25 year old male. A couple months back my doctor opted to get some MRI’s done since I was experiencing reoccurring back and leg pain for a couple years. The pin would always come and go, but it pretty much stayed since August 2018. The results showed that I have a herniated L5-S1 and a torn hip labrum on the left hand side. 

I’ve had 1 epidural and another is on the way and I’m doing PT. A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with a very sore, and stiff back. With every movement my back muscles tensed up. The weird thing is that it is even in my upper back and my neck. Throughout the day my back loosens up, but every time I go to bed I wake up in the middle of the night with a very sore and hard to move back. It hearts to even engage any muscle. 

I told my sports med doc about it and he told me it’s just a phase most people go through with disc herniatons. He suggested I start taking prednisone to help inflammation of the back and the flare up of my IBD Ulcerative Colitis. I’m currently taking diclofenac which helps once I take it in the morning.

I’m so tired of being tired and not being able to have good sleep. I’m thankful that I don’t have much shooting pain, but this pain is unbearable and prevents me from moving efficiently during the first half of the day. Has anyone with disc herniatons experiences this? I’ve changed my mattress, have been icing and applying heat, exercising, resting too, etc. 




  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,479

    hi wailuku43
    please click on the welcome links below for more information on the forum.
    welcome to spine health
    all new members should take the system tutorial

    i am sorry you are having to go through this, especially at your age. but have you thought about getting a second opinion from a spine specialist? i know you told your sports doctor but did he look at the mri?
    the predisone should help out and the epidurals. i hope they both give you relief. 
    take care and keep us posted.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,469
    edited 12/29/2018 - 3:29 PM

    Welcome to the forum.

    Do you know if your hip MRI was a regular MRI or something called an MR Arthrogram? 

    Usually a tear is hard to see on a regular MRI without contrast.

    I need to get a hip MRI so I’m curious.

    Oral steroids and shots in my back didn’t help with the pain.

    Does your doctor have an opinion as to if the pain is coming from your back, hip or both? 

    Is one of your legs shorter than the other?

    Just me but I’d be seeing an orthopedic surgeon if I was you.

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  • Thanks for posting guys/gals. Yes, my sports med doctor did look at the mri’s. He’s the doctor for the local university sports teams, but I also thought about getting a 2nd opinion!

    Regarding your question, l4_l5, I did have the Mr Arthrogram. Its been quite a journey, and there is no definitive answer, but the pain in my hip feels different and separate than that of the back. I have pain on the side of my hip that goes to the groin (and testicle), but it’s hard to tell which injury causes the testicle pain. But, my pain is primarily in my back and butt muscle - from the disc.

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,469
    edited 12/29/2018 - 4:25 PM

    Thanks for replying.

    I have pain in the groin, testicle and scrotum too. Just on one side.

    Also pain on the front of the thigh.

    Now I’m wondering why my doctor is doing an MRI of the hip without contrast and not the MRA.

    Thanks for the explanation. 

  • I have a herniated L5-S1 too. Advil helps the inflammation (the swollen feeling). Ive noticed if I wear shoes with extra lift it puts more pressure on my lower back and it travels to the mid and upper. Wear flats. Stay (mobile walking) use ice

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  • I forgot to mention that I take flexeril for muscle spasms. 

    If a doctor told me xxxxx is just a phase some people go through with disc herniations I would probably fly off the exam table. 

    This is because every doctor I’ve seen has said disc herniations cause chronic lifelong impairments and adjustments.

    Sometimes doctors brush off your pain because on imaging they don’t see anything serious enough to explain why you’d be in as much as you speak of.

    Or it could be that the problem is not where they think it is.

    For example if the world’s best pain management injection doctor gave you two injections in your back 2-3 weeks apart from one another and you received zero relief from either shot why would that be and what does it say?

    Most people I talk to will get anywhere from a few days relief to several months of relief from an ESI. 

    No relief makes me wonder if the problem is in a totally different spot of the body. And perhaps that’s why no relief was realized.

  • Thanks for the advice ryanneedshelp. I’ll test a change in shoes.

     l4_L5, when I was initially told that it’s something like a phase, I initially thought it was ridiculous too. Every time I hear that, I leave the office thinking there is hope to be pain free, almost like how headaches suddenly disappear. But as soon as I wake up in the morning I wish I could just have surgery to fix this problem. I’ve been pushing for other options, cause I’m so tired of feeling this way and not being able to work. Doc told me a microdiscectomy will not help with this pain I’m feeling (the severe spasms and stiffness), only the shooting pain down the leg. My pain stops at my butt muscles, despite the testicle and groin pain that could be caused by the labrum. My question is, if the disc herniaton is causing these spasms, how would cutting the herniated portions out not help me improve in the pain category of back spasms and stiffness? I know the disc will remain herniated despite the surgery, but I have a hard time comprehending how it would not potentially help me out.

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,469
    edited 12/30/2018 - 5:04 PM

    I’m going to be a lot more aggressive this year in pursuing treatment. The third year anniversary of my injury is just around the corner. The more time that goes by the more crazy I get.

    If you haven’t seen more than one neurosurgeon or more than one orthopedic spine surgeon I would be getting second, third, fourth opinions.

    You’re too young to keep suffering and not working and having a low quality of life.

    Heck I consider myself fairly young too, although I got you by about 20 years.

    I also need to get my pain generators properly identified. I need to know whether the pain is coming from the back, the hip or both.

    So far doctors are unsure.

    Sounds like we have fairly similar symptoms.

    I can definitely relate to the pain and where it’s located. It’s like torture, especially because the only time it’s not there (only time I’m not cognizant of it) is when I can sleep.

    My sleep is really choppy. How is your sleep?

    What is the quality of pain from the torn labrum? Like a burning ache?

    Do you have any pain slightly above your hip on your affected side or just the groin and testicle and hip?

    Thanks for opining. I think you’re helping me more than I’m helping you, unfortunately.

  • Hi wailuku43, I hurt my back several years ago and experienced muscle spasms and tension as you describe (The underlying cause was a L5-S1 herniated disc).

    I treated it with 8x Co-Codemol 30/500mg, 3x 50mg Diazepam and 2x 500mg Naproxen for 2-3 days and it really helped the spasms and tension. After a few days it subsided and I could get back to normal life. However, if there's something irritating a nerve it could return when you move again, but this could help relieve a flare up.

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