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Back and Leg pain - recovery time

rapid_refillrrapid_refill Posts: 8
Hello everyone.

I'm new here and have few questions for you guys. Questions that I can't get from my doctors.

I injured my 2 discs while practicing golf. Here are my MRI results:
1. L4-L5 bulging annulus, small central herniated disc, indentation of thecal sac, facet joint hypertrophy, and bilateral foraminal narrowing.
2. L5-S1 bulging annulus, small central and left paracentral herniated disc, indentation of thecal sac and the left sacral nerve root, facet joint hypertrophy, and bilateral foraminal narrowing.

It happened to me on July 17th 2008 so it's over 2 month now. About 2 weeks after my injury I felt "pain" (it felt more like a discomfort feeling but I already know where it was coming from) in my left leg for the first time. I have the pain ever since. After the leg pain I did 6 days pack of oral-steroids medication and I followed it with Naproxen 500mg for about a week. I didn't feel any relief while or after taking the medication. Recently (since last week) something has changed and I started feeling numbness in my butt (left side). I've been doing physical therapy for the past month and a half.

I'm getting very nervous and I'm afraid that this pain/discomfort feeling may become permanent. Should it get already better already after 2 months? My doctors are telling me that there's nothing for them to do anymore and I just have to wait for the pain to go away. They also mentioned Epidural steroid injections as the next step. I'm back with Naproxen again as they said I should take it for longer than a week as I did the last time.
How about disk decompression therapy? Any thoughts on that?



  • Hey Jack~My sciatica issues started in July also. On the 10th to be exact, after a weekend of camping. I started PT right away. I think on the 14th. I gave PT a good effert for three weeks before the therapist told me to get with my doctor again.I wasn't seeing enough progression with just therapy. My primary set me up with a pain management doctor. The PM doc gave me a set of three ESI all two weeks apart. I did see some improvement in some respect but actually became worse with some symptoms.I've come to find out nerves are very crafty that way. And to tell you the trueth, I found the PM to be abrasive in personality and bedside manor. From some of the posts I've read here,I think its hard to find a good PM doctor. Anyway its been 9 weeks of therapy ,three ESIs and a load of anti-inflamitory,muscle relaxing and pain killing drugs. I still am in a load of pain and off work. Last week my PT gave up on me. They really encouraged me to see a NS because they have no where else to take my treatment- they're stumped! And actually surprised I haven't seen more positive progression because my pathology is very limted. My MRI results aren't that terrible compared to others they have successfully treated.

    So there is no clear answer. Everyone has different issues. Even if two people had the exact same MRI results they each would respond to specific treatments differently. From everything I've been told....a person should exhaust all conservative treatment before considering a surgical fix. For me it's only been 9 weeks and I'm ready for surgery. But if someone else was in PT and seeing more promising progression I'm sure a PT and primary doc would encourage that person to stick with the current treatment plan of PT and Maybe ESIs to help with inflamation.

    Some people have great success with ESI. Some have little or short lived relief. Some like me get little or no relief.
    If you're not progressing forward with the PT I'm pretty sure ESIs are generally the next step in conservative treatment.

    Since I had little luck with PT and ESIs, my next step was to see a NS. I think I skipped a few steps.

    I know it sucks having pain hold you back. This is the first thing in my life I felt like I had no control over but that indeed had me under control! I'm a mom of four young children and I have aggressivley taken control of my treatment for thier sake. I maybe taking a risk with surgery but I feel like I'm taking a risk by not having surgery. It's all going to work out for me, I can feel it! Educate yourself and don't let any doctor intimidate you. At this stage there should always be choices offered to you and you should always be comfortable with your physicians.

    Good luck to you. Hope you recover soon.
  • Hey Jack...I can sympathize with you. I ruptured my L5-S1 disc on July 26, 2008 and went through all of the conservative treatments, PT and 3 ESI. My doc and I decided to go ahead with the microdisc on 10/9 and now 6 days out I am very glad that I made that decision. About 85% of my leg and glute pain is gone with still some lingering sciatica pain in my calf and foot. I am very optimistic that most of this pain will go away eventually and I can get back to my normal activities. I would recommend going through the ESI's only if you get some relief after the second one. The surgery is simple and mentally relieving as I know this can mess with your mind in a big way. Just remember it WILL get better. I know I would get depressed thinking I would have this the rest of my life. Dr. selection is important and I am lucky that I know the best spine surgeons in town so be careful and check around. Good Luck!!
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