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Help with pain

jean27jjean27 Posts: 11
Hi, newbie here. I'm a 50 yr. old female & have been diagnosed with L5 herniated disc from MRI. I have lower back pain, annoying, but not debilitating. The horrible pain is in my right hip, leg, & sometimes foot-assume it's sciatica. I have an EMG scheduled & then going for pain management. In the meantime, I need some adivice to lessen the pain. I have trouble standing & walking- shooting pains & throbbing- have to sit down after about 10 minutes. I have been stretching, icing, using tens unit, & taking Lorcet. The Lorcet stops the pain for about 3 hrs, but I'm so sleepy & can't get much done. About how many times a day & for how long should I- stretch, ice, & use tens unit? Any other suggestions? Thanks so much.
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1

Comments

  • Hi Jean,
    The farther the pain away from the back, it indicates that the nerve is that much more pinched. How long ago did the pain start? Are you taking any anti-inflammatories? From your explanation it seems like sitting is not painful for you which is odd but good nonetheless. I have L5 herniation for about 3.5 months now and am getting better, heres my advice

    1. Anti inflammatories.
    2. Check with your doctor if you can either take the medrol dose pack or an epidural steroid injection to lessen the inflammation.
    3. Completely avoid any activity that triggers pain for a few days. Give the body a chance to start to heal. Sitting was excrutiatingly painful for me and I avoided sitting for 10 days straight which helped I cannot tell you how much.
    4. Try and rigorously stick to McKenzie excercises. Try to do as many as you can throughtout the day. Your goal should be to take the pain away from the legs and thighs into your back. The closer the pain is from the source, the faster it will heal. I know some great excercises so if you want to learn let me know.
    5. Accupuncture, Massage, etc
    6. Swim. Please start tomorrow and If you dont see a difference in a week ignore all my advice.

    Ice is great, however if you have had pain for a few days already, I would suggest heat. Use a hot water bag wrapped around a moist towel and put it on your back as many times in a day as you can. I researched the hell out of this and concluded that ICE is the best and ICE'ed myself for a long time. It did help but a therapist who taught me the excercises promised me that heat will help more than ICE and to try it. I did and I am quite pleased with the results.
    Let me know if this helps!

    Good luck and god bless you!
  • Thanks raj. My pain started about 6 yrs ago- fell off kitchen counter & landed on my lower back/hip. Had MRI done then & repeated a few days ago-same diagnosis. I did take 1 epidural steroid injection back in 93 & didn't go back because it didn't really help- I didn't have the leg pain then.
    Have had trouble off & on throughout the yrs, but just recently became worse with leg/hip. I suppose pain management will suggest the injections -will try them again-if I ever get an appointment.
    I have been on Mobic since 93.
    Yes, I would like to learn more about the McKensie exercises.
    I have used a heating pad, but not sure if it helps- the ice actually seemed to work for awhile.
    Believe it or not- I can't swim! I do workout several times a week -treadmill, stationary bike, weight mechines. Not sure which of these exercise is helping or hurting. Could not stand when I got home after leaving gym a couple of days ago.
    Thanks for your help.
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  • No disrespect intended, but I'd be most concerned about a couple of things Raj has said.

    His statement that,
    The farther the pain away from the back, it indicates that the nerve is that much more pinched
    is one which I've never heard before. I'm also concerned that he's suggested you swim, so maybe it's just as well you can't!

    In your position, I'd take my advice from someone who's properly qualified and I'm not sure either Raj or I are that person!

    Raj also states that,
    The closer the pain is from the source, the faster it will heal
    ! I have never heard that one before either and would love to know from where Raj is getting all his information?

    I do agree with taking anti-inflammatories unless you have a history of ulcers, but as for the rest, be careful you don't exacerbate your pain. Excercising may not be the best way forward!

    Bye, Val

  • hi and welcome to the forum. :H we have to be careful dispensing advice to fellow spineys. we are not doctor's and speak only from our experience. remember that Raj is speaking from his experience and that may not work for you.. please be careful when you try any new workout.. all the best! Jenny
  • you can read about the mckenzie method right here on sh:

    https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/what-mckenzie-method-back-pain-and-neck-pain

    there are two cautions with this. if you have spondylolisthesis or conditions like stenosis, you will not want to use this method or the exercises because it will make your symptoms worse.

    since you have pain after walking for about ten minutes, it sounds like a spinal lumbar nerve is being compressed. once cause of this can be from the herniated disc pressing into the spinal canal, and pressing on the nerve or you may have some stenosis.

    be sure to read articles on this site that will give you a lot of good, factual information pertaining to your issues. here's one on "sciatic" to get you started:

    https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/overview-sciatica-exercises
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  • Hi Val, thanks for your reply. No disrespect intended on my part but I am sharing what worked for me and I had a bad bad herniation that i could not even find any position without pain.
    I have never heard someone NOT recommend swimming for herniated disks in the back. Yes, if you have a cervical issue, by all means dont swim but for the lumbar area, it is the best thing you can do. I also advised to first stop all activities that provoke any pain and then to start a conditioning program. WE pay hundreds of dollars for traction. WEll swimming is a natural form of traction. All other excercises put the gravitational pressure on the discs other then swimming. I was at the verge of surgery when I decided to start swimming and that is one thing that I remain completely in favor of. Also for the other comment, it is true that the farther your pain is away from the back the longer it takes to heal and McKenzie's work to centralize and bring the pain back. This is my 2nd herniation and it worked for me both times. My comments again are based on what worked for me. It is upto the individual to read and make informed decisions before implementing anything. Best again is to follow the doctor's advice but I am sorry to say many times their advice jumps straight to surgery when other things can help you. I met several other folks in the pool who can relate to my experience as they went thru the same.
    SOrry if my comments sound concerning but it is upto each patient to pick and choose what's best for them.
  • I think the preference on this site is that you tell others what has worked for you, then they can ask a medical professional which recommendation might be helpful or harmful to them, given their particular medical history eg anyone with a history of ulcers should not be advised to take anti-inflammatories.

    With regard to exercise, if some things (like swimming) work for you, that's fine, but they don't work for everyone and the inference from your numbered list was that she herself should go ahead with these.

    As for the McKenzie method, I have no experience of it which was why I didn't mention it!

    In point of fact, I was actually more concerned about your two 'statements of fact', rather than your suggestions regarding exercise.









  • I have been suffering from a herniation from a fall for about 8 mos now and I can tell you that the combination of several different cortizone/steroid shots combined with 2 epidurals did not seem to make as much a difference as The McKenzie technique.

    While any prone position will make a difference, starting with the mini-cobra is easy and will give you a sign if it is working. I believe like the starter of this thread said she had this happen a while ago and only when it started to affect her walking did it become a big issue. From personal experience I have found The McKenzie technique could give you relief and get that pain up for you can walk.
    One night I was able to get in a good enough prone position in bed that I literally felt the muscle spasms slow down and stop and the pain in my left leg was gone for several days. If you can move the disease(lack of a better term) just enough off that nerve it can do wonders for you.

    Actually my biggest mistake was to stop all forms of exercise when I just could not seem to be the sciatica. I thought that may be the answer...I believe that made me go downhill faster. I only do now the exercises on these pages with some others my doctor recommended and I have seen the difference.

    While I have not tried it I have heard how doing some kind of exercise in water is best as it is a natural traction. I am looking to try this out in the next few weeks as my mobility has begun to improve.

    I wonder if anyone here has tried the spinal decompression systems and have had any success. Giving it some thought as my try with a chiro did not workout at all.

    In anycase you really need to do your own research and try slowly to build a program that works. An eample that does not for me is the exercise where you move your leg up into chest and twist over to one side. Yes I hear the cracks but pain seems to increase sometimes.

    While sometimes can produce discomfort you need to try and build the program and adjust cause as many can tell you the program a PT person builds is not always the best and they are taught in it.

    As far as drugs there are so many and most will make you sleepy it seems. I try to not use and and stick with herbs and supplements but when it is too much I will use aleeve and have had success with soma.

    I wish you luck in your quest for no pain...

    -js
  • I have been suffering from a herniation from a fall for about 8 mos now and I can tell you that the combination of several different cortizone/steroid shots combined with 2 epidurals did not seem to make as much a difference as The McKenzie technique.

    While any prone position will make a difference, starting with the mini-cobra is easy and will give you a sign if it is working. I believe like the starter of this thread said she had this happen a while ago and only when it started to affect her walking did it become a big issue. From personal experience I have found The McKenzie technique could give you relief and get that pain up your leg so you can walk.
    One night I was able to get in a good enough prone position in bed that I literally felt the muscle spasms slow down and stop and the pain in my left leg was gone for several days. If you can move the disease(lack of a better term) just enough off that nerve it can do wonders for you.

    Actually my biggest mistake was to stop all forms of exercise when I just could not seem to beat the sciatica. I thought that may be the answer...I believe that made me go downhill faster. I only do now the exercises on these pages with some others my doctor recommended and I have seen the difference.

    While I have not tried it I have heard how doing some kind of exercise in water is best as it is a natural traction. I am looking to try this out in the next few weeks as my mobility has begun to improve.

    I wonder if anyone here has tried the spinal decompression systems and have had any success. Giving it some thought as my try with a chiro did not workout at all.

    In anycase you really need to do your own research and try slowly to build a program that works. An example that did not work for me is the exercise where you move your leg up into chest and twist over to one side. Yes I hear the cracks but pain seems to increase sometimes.

    While sometimes can produce discomfort you need to try and build the program and adjust cause as many can tell you the program a PT person builds is not always the best and they are taught in it.

    As far as drugs there are so many and most will make you sleepy it seems. I try to not use and and stick with herbs and supplements but when it is too much I will use aleeve and have had success with soma.

    I wish you luck in your quest for no pain...

    -js
  • Val, you are picking on my numbering system. There is nothing wrong with that on how I list it. It's my personal choice! Since you have not tried the McKenzie's I wonder why you would criticize my methods. Nevermind..I wish you the best and hope your pain goes away real fast!!!!
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