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L4/L5- S1

Hi My Name is Jamie and I am new to the forum. I have several questions and issues. I will fill you in and please give me any info and advice. I am 36 and have a lumbar injury from work. After 3 weeks of PT, which made the pain worse, My Ortho dr decided to do an MRI. Results, L4-L5 L5-S1 Herniated Disc and 2 bulging. One of the worse he has seen in a long time. I injured this by being thrown backwards while my legs were pinned from my knees down ( kind of like the punching bag we had as kids you punch it and it goes backwards and come back up).
I have already had one epidural last Thrusday and it helped with some pain when standing for about 10 hours and then it has gone back tot he same thing. I will be going for a second epidural Wed. and my Dr appt is on Thursday. As time has gone by I have gotten worse. It went from back pain and some issues moving around to leg pain (sciatica) and numbness and now I am falling. If I stand up both of my feet go to sleep. My right leg and foot are completely numb. I find myself walking on the side of my foot instead of normal ( which can cause probs in the future if it continues) My right hip feels like someone ripped it out of its socket and put in back in backwards. This is awful!. When I stand I find my self hunched over and having to stand still for a few before staning straight up and walking or I may fall. I have to get out of the vehicle with 2 feet as my right leg has given on me and I found myself on the ground. I will say that since the first epidural the vibration I was getting up and down my leg isn't as bad as it was. My Dr offered the Epidurals and if they didn't help he then said I would have to have a discectomy. He didn't want me to do but one epi and if there wasn't a significant amount of difference then he was going to send me to the the nuero but I can get one more in before the appt so I thought I would see if it would help. I know a epi is just a temporary fix for the most part but the pain has become awful and the meds are not helping. Also, I can not take NSAIDS (anti infalmmatory) due to the Ortho Dr put me on them and a few days later I found myself in the hosp vomiting blood - the NSAIDs caused very bad ulcers. I work as a Rural Mail Carrier and have been on workmans comp since Oct. 26.... I am limited on doing anything and life has gotten hard because of this.... I assume when I go Thurs. he is going to send me to a Nuero for surgery... Any help or advice is appreicated.


  • Hi Jamie, welcome to Spine Health. Sorry you're in so much pain with it getting worse. A few years back, I didn't get much help from the epidurals, but they were better than nothing. With that much pain and disability, would be a good idea to see a neurosurgeon. If you see one, then take your time in deciding what you want to do. Apart from the injection, are you on any other painkillers?


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Trish,
    I am on Robaxin, Flexeril and Lortab. None of which helps. I can not function during the day with Flexeril and Lortab. Robaxin doesn't do anything. My back pain has gotten worse as well. I have tried to do some of the stretches that did help some but they seem to be more bothersome now.
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  • hi jamie, i have the same as you, almost i have bulging l4,l5 and hernitaed l5,s1. i take gabapentin, 300mg 3 to 4 times a day, i also take one celebrex, and most recently nucynta er 100mg twice a day. i started the nucyta about 3 months ago, and it has helped quite a bit. they also recommended microdiscetomy for me, but i have a physical job where i have to lift up to 75lbs, so i have put it off, especially after reading all of the people that reherniate. so i stretch every morning, and some times get on the inversion table for 5 or 10 minutes. at this point i dont know when or if i will get the surgery, i spend about $80 a month on prescriptions, and they help.
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 12/24/2012 - 2:45 AM
    Jamie, sorry your suffering.

    Your numbness and weakness in your leg is concerning, as your nerve is being damaged.

    In the FAQ, (at top of page in the Medical section), there are 3 links about preparing for and questions to ask your surgeon. I highly recommend you read them and prepare for the consultation.

    Making sure you have the right surgeon is extremely important and can't be over emphasised.

    There is other great information there that I encourage you to read. The more you learn, the better your likely outcome will be.

    Good luck and hope you fare better than others here and myself.

    Let us know what happens on Thursday.
  • Thank You All. I will read upon the info and I will post and let you know what the Dr says. I am concerned about nerve damage as well. I have had nerve/ muscle / tissue damage in my left arm from being placed wrong on the operating table during a hysterectomy in 2007 so I know all about the nerve damage and it has me highly concerned, two years of pt on the arm and still only 50-60% usage....
    As far as lifting, my job requires me to be able to lift up to 70 lbs... this is also a factor.
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  • KeeweeKKeewee Posts: 91
    edited 12/25/2012 - 9:03 PM
    Sorry you are in so much discomfort.
    Catfishman mentions Gebapentin - this medication is very affective for nerve pain only on some patients.
    I would be concerned about the numbness. Unfortunately I ignored mine and woke up one morning with complete numbness in both legs. After rushing to hospital and having an urgent MRI (and loss of bladder which was pretty embarrassing) I was diagnosed with Cauda Equina and had a discectomy and laminectomy on the same day.

    Thankfully my recover was not too bad, back at work within 4 weeks.
    However, I was left with permanent nerve damage in my right leg being numbness of the 4 smaller toes and random patches on my right leg.
    The only time this has been problems is when I have been in the gym doing lunges (my foot wobbles) and when I have broken the toes and not realised.

    I was VERY lucky!

    Moral of the story never let numbness remain unchecked.

    P.s - post surgery steroid injections worked for me to a point, and then were no longer affective.
    The usual core strength stuff of course should always be attempted and physio before considering surgery.

    Take care and good luck!!

    2 level Discectomy 2000 open surgery
    L4/5 Discectomy & L5/S1 Laminectomy 2005- (Cauda equina) open surgery
    5 x joint injections 2012
    Discogram Dec 2012
    Dec 2012 - 360 Lumbar Fusion L4 -S1(BMP), Disc replaced L3/4, Bilat trocanter injects
  • Welcome to the boards. I agree with Dave (Hi Dave, haha) in that your symptoms seem to be suggesting some serious nerve function issues. I would definitely prepare a list of questions and do some research on nerve problems. I too have herniation at L4/5 & L5-S1. I went through many ESIs, rounds of PT, a failed discectomy, a discogram, and I am now scheduled for an ALIF in 8 days. The injections always aggravated my back as well, so I definitely understand the frustration there. Doing some light stretching and exercises may help, but if there is nerve damage it won't be an end-all to the pain. Right now I'm on Neurontin 300mg x 3 a day, 7.5 Norco x5 a day, and using Ambien to get some kind of sleep. I really hope your ortho or a neuro can figure out what is really wrong and get it fixed ASAP. It sounds like you are in so much pain, and that is no bueno.
    DDD L4-5 & L5-S1 w/ herniation
    Failed discectomy, 8-15-11
    Discogram, 11-14-12
    L4-S1 ALIF (2 plastic cages, 2 plates and 8 screws), 1-4-13
    FBSS & SI joint dysfunction, 12-30-13
    1 year post-op CT hardware scan & left SI joint injection, 1-17-14
  • Thank You for the welcome. Thanks for the info KeeWee and DLTS.. I had a second epi done this morning and OMG! He put an extra round of 'numbing" medicine in there because when he started he hit something and I yelled... I can handle pain to an extent ( meaning I wouldnt take pain meds after a c-section) but as soon as the numbing medicine wore off ... the pain is much much worse. My right leg and "cheek" is alseep within 45 seconds of standing up which it wasn't this bad before the epi...nothing changed so far otherwise and the meds are not touching any of this. I will see the doc tomorrow and will let you know. This is awful!
  • Dr today... He is sending me to a neurosurgeon.... He said surgery was the only thing left... It was expected... He did say they would probably do a myelogram first.
  • Once you see the neurosurgeon, then you'll know what's ahead of you and can research what he recommends. We're here to support you too.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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