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L5-S1 disc protrusion

Paul9619PPaul9619 Posts: 1
hello all. i am new to all of this but i thought i would post my story and ask for some advice. my mri results show a protrusion at l5-s1 pressing on the root nerve on my right hand side.

so, for my history, i am a very active 35 year old who on march of this year started to experience what i now know was sciatica. if started off very mild and it did not stop me doing any physical activity or sports and was niggly/annoying, with the pain only coming in certain positions and only lasting a few seconds.

things then started to deteriorate pretty quickly and between april and aug this year i went from mild pain but fully active, to medium pain present all the time and effecting my fitness routine, to high pain only being able to walk 30m, to last week ending up at a&e with excruciating pain and not being unable to walk at all (or sleep). i was sent away with some tramadol and given 7 days off work.

for the first 4 of those days i stayed pretty much bed ridden with zero activity (the 1st time since it all started) and now to my amazement i am petty much pain free. i have gone from excruciating pain to nearly nothing. i do however still have numbness in my hamstring, ankle, heel and right side of my foot and i am still walking with a limp due to what seems like a very weak calf. i am now at the very apprehensive stage and unsure what to do next. so i have a few questions:

1. should i now start to do some strengthning exercises while my pain is minimal? if so, what do you recommend?
2. is there anyway to improve the calf weakness that stops me walking correctly?
3. i have noticed my hamstring flexibility is much worse now. is it a good idea to bend over and hamstring stretch, i have read conflicting info?

i am due back to work tomorrow so it might be that things get worse again as i cannot lay down for any length of time at work and am stuck sat at a desk compressing my nerve. i also have a consultant appointment on monday which i am a apprehensive about as my symptoms have improved so i don't want to seem like i am wasting their time.

any advice appreciated. many thanks paul

welcome to spine-health

one of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. it is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. this is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

so many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. the more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, the fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

here are some questions that you should answer:
  • - when did this first start? . year, your age, etc
- was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- what doctors have you seen? (orthopedic, neurosurgeon, spine specialist, etc)
  • . which doctor did you start with? ie primary care physician . who are you currently seeing?
- what conservative treatments have you had? which ones?
  • . physical therapy . ultrasound / tens unit . spinal injections . acupuncture . massage therapy
- what diagnostic tests have you had? and their results (mri, ctscan, xray, emg, etc)
  • . summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them . how many different tests have you had over the years? similar results?
- what medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
  • . name of medication . how long have you been using this? . results
- has surgery been discussed as an option? (if so, what kind)
- is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- what is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

please take a look at our forum rules: forum rules

i also strongly suggest that you take a look at our faq (frequently asked questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to faq there you will find much information that will
  • - help you better utilize the spine-health system- provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts- tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc- general pieces of valuable information

please remember that no one at spine-health is a formally trained medical professional.
everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
as such, no member is permitted to provide
  • - analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie mri, ctscan, xray, etc)- medical advice of any kind- recommendations in terms of medications, treatments, exercises, etc

what could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
you should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

it is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). it is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

i’ve had this for years, it hurts, i cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should i get?

diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. in many ways it’s like a game of clue. especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. the doctor is like a detective. they need clues to help them move along. so, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. that is like it is here. without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

specific comments :

personal opinion, not medical advice :

--- ron dilauro, spine-health system moderator : 09/29/15 20:38 est



  • Hi Paul,

    I would wait until you see your consultant and then ask to see a PT who will be much better at advising you. Everone is different, I too had an L5/S1 disc problem but mine was a severe herniation which ended up being operated on. The numbness you are experiencing is exactly the same as mine and typical of the s1 nerve. My numbness stayed with me after my decompressions and I believe it can take years for this to come back.

    I now do intensive physio to try to strengthen my right calf, foot and ankle but it's done under strict PT supervision.

    I wish you all the best, don't feel you are wasting time, we have to get to the bottom of our pain and you clearly had physiology that warranted investigation. Take care and let us know how you go on.
  • Hi Paul,
    I've had similar situation. I would recommend a good physio. I saw about 5 different physios until I found one I trusted andunderstood pain. They will help with stretching. Be very careful how long you sit for as this can cause more compression on disc. If you can work from home and move positions frequently, this might be advised or get a standing desk to alternate. Definitely go for the appointment as Drs used to seeing people with pain which comes and goes and you can always see Dr if gets worse again.
    Hope the appointment goes well.
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