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disc bulge L4/5 leading to right thigh spasms

GhughesGGhughes Posts: 3
edited 10/30/2014 - 4:38 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello all, I am going insane with this and i see no ending in sight. Just over a year ago i suffered from a disc herniation/bulge. Initially, i couldn't move or stand up for any longer than 2-3 mins as my sciatica was reaching down both legs and causing horrendous pain.

Anyway i had an MRI scan and it shows i have the common l4/5 herniation. I was told that i needed to centralise the pain and through the exercises and guidance from private treatments and NHS i managed to achieve this mostly.

Although there is obviously still issues with my lower back the main problem is now my right thigh at the front. At first it starts with a nagging pain which can quickly build into muscle spasm's, losing balance and eventually falling over as i cant weight bear correctly. I see an Osteopath regularly. Exercise daily. I am using ice to slow down inflammation. (this certainly helps) Have had an Epidural( did nothing) sadly)

If i manage to make it out (rarely) i use Biofreeze which also help's but sometimes the pain or wobbliness is to much. I take Naproxen (anti-inflammatory). I have bought a standing desk, which has helped and i try to use daily.

Everyone i speak to tells me it will get better, and i think that's what i am finding most difficult to cope with.

If i knew i was doomed forever more then i would adjust and move on because i have little choice. However all this up and down pain, not sure how i will be from one day to the next is wrecking me i feel so low, i am only 37. Thankfully i have some fantastic mates and girlfriend but this is testing me to the upper limits. I feel like i am rotting away this is truly horrendous. Thanks for any responses!



  • GhughesGGhughes Posts: 3
    edited 10/30/2014 - 5:43 AM
    I have been to my doctor for a follow up. I I feel like they just flog me off. They have told me i am doing everything i can and it just takes time. My Osteopath thinks its deferred pain from the original disc bulge. If anyone can shed some light on this i would be extremely grateful.
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  • I come from a family of back pain & arthritis sufferers. In her 30's my Mum had the dreaded l5 S1 herniation. She used an arthritis diet (swears by it) & exercise. The NHS also used traction a lot back them it's no longer advised. She was crippled for years. Eventually the pain completely went away & she's since discovered that part of her spine naturally fused. She's now in her 70's & jokes that her lumbar spine is the only part of her that never hurts.
    My Dad also started with the same herniation. His whole spine now looks like a scenic railway from neck to bum! There were times when he was bedridden, times we had a nurse stay over night injecting him with morphine the pain was so bad. He now plays seniors competitive golf most days carrying his golf clubs!
    I thought I took after my Mum when my back first went. I then thought I inherited my Dads back. I now realize I have the 'perfect storm' of inherited (??) spine degeneration. I honestly believe that no one can tell you what the future holds. The best you can do is do all of your exercises & stretches. Try to build a strong core to protect your spine & try to avoid anything that hurts your spine (running, jumping, lifting wrong etc). Have you had a surgical consult?

    When your pain flares do steroids help? They do me. There are nerve meds like Gabapentin that the NHS prescribes. Narcotic meds etc. they can help but mostly 'take the edge off' for me. I dont know if you want to get into that. I had Diclofenac patches (anti-inflamatory) but I don't know if they still prescribe them. Some of the airomatherapy blends help when massaged on. Have you tried a really hot Epsom salt (magnesium) bath? I also take magnesium suppliments (liquid tabs). Magnesium helps with nerve pain.

    After generations of dealing with spine pain I know there's no quick fix. I'm sorry. Just because injections didn't help in the past doesn't mean they won't in the future. I just do my best to chip away at the pain & protect against further damage.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Hi thanks for replying. I really appreciate your advice and time. I was originally given Diclofenac after the hospital discharge but i am now on Naproxen as Diclofenac is frowned upon these days. I have also been given co codamol and the usual stomach settling drugs as my constipation can get pretty bad. Incidentally this was pretty bad before the bulge happened. In all honesty i try to avoid the drugs apart from Naproxen and the stomach settlers because that's my main anti-inflammatory. I am not using steroids at this time. The magnesium sounds very interesting and worth investigating. Maybe i should start having baths more but my experience has been it hurts more and feels substantially weaker than with the standard ice treatments. My surgeon who was incredibly arrogant said i don't need surgery and to just carry on doing what i have been. The reality is as you say you just have to keep plugging away. Doesn't come any easier though!
  • Have you tried a TENs machine? It really helps some people. It did me for a while but now I feel like I'm using it out of desperation & it's not doing much. Don't get one out of the newspapers! My Dad did & it wasn't a proper TENs...you should 'feel' it, I mean REALLY feel it if you turn it up high. It zaps you...no zap & it's not going to work!

    If the Diclofenac really helped... Mine were patches (expensive) with none of the frowned upon side effects. I used them when I went out.

    Specialist massage really helped me when I was pregnant with my disc sat on my S1 nerve root. I've tried to replace my therapist but felt like I was wasting my money with other therapists.
    There's also a kind of Indian yoga that you do in a REALLY hot room (only known it in the UK) I lived in London & they did a really gentle form for OAPs & pregnant women (don't laugh!) it really helped (I wasn't pregnant when I did that one & there were a couple of guys in the group) lots of breathing & stretching. She rubbed on my spine...fantastic! (cheaper than massage)
    My local sports center did water exercises. Not the same as aqua therapy in the USA. Again for old people but they had a few spineys in the group. I was younger than you when I did that.
    It's worth looking into therapy that's set-up for old or pregnant people...both have back problems! It's far more gentle than regular yoga, Pilates etc. I couldn't do that! There were a few very cheap classes at council adult education & sports places. Ask your GP he might know what's in your area.

    When surgery isn't an option you really need to develop your own blend of different activities, therapies, meds/suppliments etc. Try hard not to get shut in at home to much. Often chronic pain & depression go hand in hand & that makes everything much worse. Isolation sucks! Keep getting out there or inviting mates round as much as possible.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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  • Oh...& if constipation is still an issue drink & eat lots of fruit & greens. Magnesium taken at night helps me go. Epsom salts were an old 'cure' for that as well! I sound like I think magnesium is a cure all. Ha ha ha. It helps a bit...

    I used to have prescription Algesal cream. Helps a bit! (it's taken me this long to remember its name!)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I have been coping with much pain since April 2014. I thought after surgery in August, my pain would be gone. Wrong! I'm working hard at stretching exercises and building strength in trunk stability. Exercising in warm water helps me a lot. Dr. has put me on a nerve blocking medicine similar to Lyrica 300 mg. What I like to take for pain is hydrocodone. I use a tens unit if hurting real bad. Helps ... .From what I've heard it will probably take one year before the pain will subside.
    Janet hetzler
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