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Non surgery stories



  • Yesterday morning I woke up with no pain. Actually scared me. You get used to pain. I moved around in my bed to get the pain back but it was gone. Had a little hip pain this morning, but it went away quickly when I walked my dog.

    I still don't have full mobility yet. Can feel pain in upper left butt and upper left calf if I bend too far over. I still have to take 1 200mg ibu about every 3-4 hours because my sciatic nerve will start to ache. I don't want to lose any progress I'm making.

    I'm 2 months into this and I expect my recovery to take a full 6 months. Then I'll be on parole for at least another 6 months. Never want to go back.
  • Still improving but continue to deal with pain. What's interesting is how the pain has changed. Originally it was explosive, throbbing, consistent pain down the left thigh and calf. Two weeks ago it isolated itself to the outside edge of my thigh and calf. Today the pain is mostly the bottom of my calf and my ankle. It almost feels like the aftermath of a very badly sprained ankle. With the pain moving around it makes me wonder if my extrusion has broken free and has moved. Very weird to follow.

    I still take regular ibuprophen to take the edge off. I hope someday soon I wont need it.
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  • I am at my 6 month. Feeling better, my main problem is tighness in the back. Especially when I try to do pelvic tilt. Leg pain is indeed feel like sprained ankle. Sometimes it is just a skin-level pain - hard to explain. I did not had any meds over the last week but I do lay down every 2-3 hours for 5-30 min on my tummy. I am going to spain in 2 weeks and fricking out - how I am going to survive it? I want to enjoy it!
  • Is yours a disk problem at L5-S1? Are there other issues?

    I wondered if you had looked into the McKenzie method of physical therapy? He has a number of books out that are on the order of "self-help" books. He does a lot of exercises with the back in extension. One of his premises is to get the pain to move up from sciatic pain into the back, and he claims that by doing all his extension exercises several (many?) times per day, this will be the result. You can find a web page about Robin McKenzie and his theories if you are interested.

    It is probable that there are changes in your herniation. There would be chemical changes that might effect the pain, as well as changes when the material dries up or otherwise moves off the nerve. Inflammation can increase or decrease changing the pain....The idea is that one day it will completely move off the nerve and you will feel good again.
  • L4/L5. No other issues (thank god!),

    Weird how we measure progress. Ever lose weight and not notice it but one day you look into a mirror you haven't looked into for over a year and realize, wow!

    About 5 weeks ago my girlfriend spent the night. I was in pain but determined. haha. I took 2 hydrocodones and lots of ibu's, but when we tried the spoon position, OMG, the pain shot through my back and down my leg. I had to lay flat on my back for 15 minutes for the throbbing to stop. Last night, same senario, but no hydrocodones, only a couple ibu's. Spooning for the first 10 minutes or so, a little pain. After 10 mins it started to hurt, but not too bad. Just changed position and the pain subsided.

    One thing I've learned is to keep the sciatic swelling down. If it doesn't hurt, I don't take ibu's. But if it hurts, I take as many ibu's as necessary. I don't want to develop sciatica apart from my back injury. Ibu's are my friend!
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  • I haven't had surgery and I've been off work for 15 months. I've had 5 Epidurals 3 sets of facet joint injections and 64 trigger point injections. I've tried accupuncture traction and lots of meds. I just started Cymbalta 2 days ago. It makes me really tired but I feel less pain with it. I'm still awaiting a Neurosurgeon appt. If offered I would have surgery 25 months of pain hasn't been great. I'm supposed to go to my cousin's wedding in Sept. I would love to sit through that. I hope your herniated disc heals on it's own. I thought I was getting better also but the pain just keeps coming. Good luck. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • From what I've read online, little is known about the back. Some people have the smallest buldges and are in terrible pain, while others with full herniations have minor discomfort. Some with major extrusions get an MRI in 6 months and it's completely gone. I'm guessing the majority of us fall somewhere in between.

    My NS told me it came down to 2 things. Are you getting better and can you tolerate the pain. Pretty unscientific, but it's the best they've got.

    I'm so glad I got an MRI. It gave me something to focus on. I knew exactly what the problem was. For 10.00 I got the full MRI and software to view it. It's not just a snapshot like an xray. You can travel through your body in 2D slices and see every part of the injury. Let's you see the enemy.
  • Great topic, it's good to see that there are people out there that don't opt for surgery. Seems like most message boards focus on surgery or post-surgery. Well here's my story

    I am trying the non-surgery route. The past few years I have been having bouts of lower back pain, I never had an MRI done during these episodes but usually some rest, muscle relaxers and pain medication would clear up the problem.

    Two months ago I was feeling pretty good, no back pain and then one morning I woke up with a pain behind my left knee. After about a week it was hurting all the time with such intensity that I couldn't sit, walk, stand or lay down. I went to the doctor and he said I had sciatica, gave me some pain medication and sent me to Physical Therapy. I didn't understand at the time that sciatica was a symptom not a cause. After another week the pain got worse and spread into my left calf, ankle and foot. I could walk only a few steps and had to go down to the floor and lay there for a few minutes, I was miserable.

    I went back to the doctor and he ordered an MRI which showed a herniated L4/L5 disc that was pressing mainly on my left sciatic nerve (a little on the right too but I had no symptoms at that time on the right side). The doctor also had me setup an appointment with the surgeon (4 weeks away).

    During the 4 weeks waiting for the appointment with the surgeon I started researching herniated discs. I continued my physical therapy and 800MG of Motrin during this time. I also discovered the McKenzie Method and checked out some books on it from the library. I slowly incorporated the back extension exercises into my daily routine along with addressing my posture problems. About three weeks of the exercises and I started to notice a real difference. I was able stop the medication, I could walk, stand and sit for longer periods, in general I was starting to feel better. I still had pain in my left leg/foot but it was not as intense, there were even periods of being pain free.

    I finally saw the surgeon but when I went in I already had by mind set against it surgery but what the hell I waited 4 weeks to see him so I went expecting him to say I need surgery but to my surprise the surgeon did not push surgery, he thinks I will continue to improve and said to come see him in 3 months if I still having pain that effect my "quality of life".

    It's been a total of two months since the pain first started. There are days where I have almost no pain. I still occasionally take Motrin, I am still in Physical Therapy and I am continuing the McKenzie exercises along with lots walking.

    However yesterday I had my first setback and the radiating pain has returned in my left leg/ankle and now even some in the right leg/ankle. Needless to say I am pretty depressed and feel like I am starting over but I try to focus on the fact that I was progressively getting better and I am still better today than 5-6 weeks ago.

    I also keep reminding myself that it took many years to ruin my back and it will be a long process to heal it.

    Anyways I have never posted to a message board before but I found your topic while surfing the web and it brought me some hope.
  • Hi and welcome. I just want to say that even 6 months after the scary episode I have set backs every week or two. Good news that I takes 24 hours of rest to clear them up. 4 month ago after set back I t took a week or two. So do not be alarmed too much!
  • I haven't posted in a month. Guess that's what happens when you get better! About 5 days ago noticed a profound difference. Sleeping wasn't a rollercoaster. I guess it's the difference between not being sure if you're going to hurt in the morning and knowing you wont. For the last 5 days I haven't dreaded sleep.

    And today, for the first time in 3 months, I've taken only one 200mg ibuprofen (around noon). I'm not in general pain. It only hurts if I bend over and only in the back (putting on socks, etc). To give it a number, I'd say I'm 65% better. No more explosive pain. No more numbness. Just little isolated pings in the calf and top of foot.

    What's weird is my sciatic nerve feels warm. A good warm. And my left leg feels good when I rotate my foot. That feeling you get in the morning when you first stretch.
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