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A year of misery

Hi there,

In March 2018 I picked a heavy friend up when skiing to help him up. I knew instantly that I had caused some damage as my back hurt like I had never experienced before. I had to then ski down the whole mountain with what I later found out to be 2 slipped discs.

During the following months, the back pain improved slightly, however it has left me with sciatica (mainly in the left leg), being unable to sit down without my back aching or stand still for any period of time, and has made me stop going to the gym and socialising - it really has changed my life for the worse.

My doctor basically kept telling me to just stretch, wait, take painkillers etc so I got fed up and paid for a private MRI which shows 2 slipped discs at the bottom of my spine. I did try physio, and stretching and strengthening exercises but so far to no benefit.

Last week I reached to the sink, and my whole lower back and legs spasmed with pain that I cannot begin to describe to the point where I was stuck laying flat with my legs up for 3 days. I physically couldn’t bare the weight of my own body going down my spine when attempting sitting or standing - the first time I have cried in well over 10 years. After cocodomol and diazepam didn’t make a difference and a few days passed without being able to get up, I called 111 as I was concerned. The ambulance guys were worried it was something rare and severe and took me to hospital. 

At hospital, the nurse raised my leg and as she lowered it I got terrible sciatic pain down the back. She said that because it didn’t hurt on the way up that it is likely to be a muscular issue. After some morphine I was able to sit up and hobble slightly and went home, and each day I have improved to the point where I am similar to before - a weak back that doesn’t allow me to sit comfortablely for any period and feels very vulnerable to going into spasm again. I get Sciatica in my bum and mainly down my left leg (but sometimes both) mainly in the morning.

If anyone has made it this far, my questions are: 

When my back went into spasm from leaning forward to the sink, is this liquid coming out of my disc and therefore less to worry about for the future, or is that my made up theory?

Do my symptoms sound like something that could be corrected with surgery?

Are there cases where people genuinely make a full recovery and get back to what they love - skiing, gym, socialising etc?

Most advise online says that slipped disc symptoms resolve usually after 6 weeks. Because almost a year has passed, am I hopeless?

Genuinely - thank you so much if you have read this and respond to me.

Kind regards, Thomas.



  • Hi Thomas, 

    Have you taken your Lumbar MRI to a specialist such as a neurosurgeon for review? That’s where I would start. 

    Please hang in there and please keep us posted. I’ve been dealing with bad chronic pain for three years and no doctor can help me.

    However, I will keep pushing forward and seeing additional specialists in hopes someone can help.

  • Thomas-You need to be seeing a orthopedic spine specialist or neurosurgeon, there are many conservative treatments that can be tried before surgery. After 1 year it is time to be seen by a specialist to see what your options are. 

    Spine-Health Moderator

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  • You dialled 111. I assume you are in the UK then? The NHS is useless when it comes to this kind of thing so I concur with the other posters, it’s time to get yourself checked out. Do you have private medical insurance? If not the cost of a private consultation is £200-300. A friend of mine had an artificial disk implanted and he is back to full activity.

    February 2015 : T12 burst fracture undiagnosed for 12 weeks
    June 2015: kyphoplasty
    December: T12-L3 facet injections
    Currently contemplating reconstruction
  • Really appreciate you guys taking the time to respond, truly humbled that random people will take the time to help.

    Yep the NHS has got me nowhere so far so I’ll book myself in for a private appointment with a spine specialist. I’m at the point where I will pay whatever I need to if it means getting myself fixed.

    Thanks again and all the best.

  • Hi Thomas,

    I can so relate to you, my L5/S1 is herniated, resulting in Sciatica, I have held off on surgery as I seem to go through flares, where sometimes I am in terrible pain but other times it seems to be less aggravated and calms down.

    I agree with other posters, you need to have your MRI reviewed by a neurosurgeon.

    I am also due to have my MRI redone and re reviewed by my neurosurgeon, so hopefully I am not in need of additional fusions if it can be helped.

    Please let me know how you get on, just know you're not alone and if you ever want to chat or just vent, I'm here.



    Missy, 1 level ACDF 
    Degenerative Disc Disease.
    Chronic Pain.
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  • Hey Missy, thanks a lot for your lovely reply, it makes me feel a foot taller (which is dangerous when 6”6) knowing that there are people who understand.

    I’m definitely going to do that and would also like to know how you and the other guys get on, too. 

    Can I ask what the main reason of holding off your surgery? Maybe my view of surgery is that it is a magic pill that doesn’t exist. I would be interested to know why you wouldn’t want it, is it the risks involved, cost, effectiveness etc?

    Thanks so much again, Thomas

  • Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the lovely reply. It is so nice to have others who get it. 

    My Sciatica waxes and wanes, and can be controlled with medication and a heating pad right now. I've already been through 1 fusion so I just want to avoid another unless absolutely necessary.

    Please keep in touch and I will do the same. I wish you nothing but the best,

    your friend,


    Missy, 1 level ACDF 
    Degenerative Disc Disease.
    Chronic Pain.
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