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25 Year old with Herniated Disc L5 S1

Discussion in 'Injury Recovery Rehabilitation Massage' started by Sorce Dee, Feb 27, 2012.

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  1. Sorce Dee

    Sorce Dee New Member

    Nov 20, 2010
    Hi guys,

    So pleased I found this forum, been looking to speak to people with the same condition as me.

    In November 2006 after too much driving I developed severe back pain and sciatica down my left leg. For about 3 weeks I couldnt walk, sleep or sit at work without terrible shooting pains and muscle spasms. I went to the doctor who told me the pain should get better in 3-4 weeks, he prescribed me pain killers and referred me to a physio.

    3 months later, 6 physio sessions later and a load of pills and the pain was just as bad. To cut a long story short, I spent 2 months persuading my GP to send me for an MRI scan as the pain was constant and FINALLY in june 2007 I got an MRI scan.

    The scan showed a herniated disc in L5 S1 impinging on my nerve. (this is what I suspected given the amount of research I have done into my problem).

    Anyway, after the scan results came back, I was referred to a consultant on the NHS. Went to see him, guess what he wasnt there! Saw his 'assistant' instead, who didnt know how to use his computer - however we could clearly see on the scans the herniation. He gave me 2 options:

    1. Physio
    2. Injections

    He reconked that given my situation he didnt recommend surgery, especially at my age (25 years old).

    I waited 10 weeks to see an NHS physio who was a waste of time. So about 2 months ago a got in contact with a recommended physio near where I live and have been seeing her. To be honest, shes great, given me some stretches that seem to help.

    However, what I want to know if do people get better after this length of time of having this problem. I am feeling so demoralized as its over a year now and there has been very little, if no improvement (however it hasnt got any worse which i suppose is a good sign).

    Can anyone recommend what I should be doing? Surgery is out of the question!
  2. essassin

    essassin Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Hi Benny,

    I'm really sorry to hear you have had to endure so much pain and discomfort for so long.

    I'd recommend looking at this website and even contacting the UK founder of this therapy. She may be able to offer you some more advise on this matter as I know that she has dealt with problems such as yours in the past.



  3. Ritsu

    Ritsu New Member

    Oct 19, 2010
    As per my replies on other threads involving disc injuries; My therapies of choice would be
    1. Chiropractic - especially if they can do "flexion-distraction", "SOT" would be 2nd choice.
    2. Osteopathy - equal with a chiropractor who can't do F-D / SOT.
    3. Physio would be 3rd choice of therapist
    4. Acupuncture can helkp with symptom relief
    5. Injections - almost the last resort
    6. Surgery - the only option that rules out the others (depending on surgical specifics).

    Bearing in mind that chiropractic, Osteopathy and acupuncture are generally unavailable on the NHS, you'd be surprised to hear a Dr talk about them as options
  4. vdydoszn

    vdydoszn New Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    hi Benny,

    I am sorry to hear about your herniated disc. You are still young and the problem often when you are young is that you don't get taken seriously by GP's and consultants alike. I am 30 years old and about 3 years ago and really hurt my back doing a body pump class (I just did a few triathlons and thought i'd do bodypump for a laugh). My GP did not want to refer me to a specialist. Instead, I had osteopathy treatments which I have to say relieved the pain and after a while I even started running races again. Then two Octobers ago during a practise run my L5/S1 and L4/L5 popped and as you know, i was left with again exrutiating pain. My GP still thought I was just another sufferer from lower back ache and sent me home with paracetamol. A few days later i started to feel saddle numbness, went on google and rushed to hospital - just to rule out Cauda Equina Syndrome. Instead of ruling it out, i was on the operation table a few hours later. a year and a few months on, i am left with numbness in my genital area and right foot and of course backache.

    what i want to say is, get yourself an excellent consultant who follows up regularly. An osteaopath/chiropracter will help to relieve the pain but please please please keep an eye on any numbness that might appear and if it does, skip the GP, go straight to A&E and don't leave until you get a scan. You are young and in this case, it will work against you because no one will ever think this can happen to someone your age.

    Good luck,
  5. Ammollosse

    Ammollosse New Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    any chiro/osteo/physio/GP should refer immediately for investigation if there's a hint of saddle anaesthesia; but they won't know unless told. If you are seeing a chiro/osteo and they know of any numbess (saddle or otherwise) they really should keep on top of it - it's how you know wha's happening.
  6. asd40751

    asd40751 Banned

    Sep 17, 2009
    Hi Benny,

    As you have had conventional diagnosis and the usual chiro/ osteo/ physio treatments and are still needing more I'd offer a suggestion to try something very different. I suffered badly with my back after 'putting it out' 8 years ago. At one point I could hardly walk, couldn't lift anything and had extreme pain down my right leg. I had the usual chiro and osteo which improved it somewhat but I was still very limited in what i could do and never pain free. However after two months of crystal therapy I gave up the osteopath and had steady improvment. Nowadays the only problem is I can trace my sciatic nerve down my leg because it is numb. The only backache I get is when I'm gardening all day. I have since qualified as a crystal therapist and have a couple of clients who have also received immense relief from severe backpain with this treatment and had no need to see their osteopath after a couple of months of treatment. You may wonder how crystal healing helps the back - a comment by a client 'I haven't relaxed that much in 20 years' may offer some explanation. It certainly isn't a treatment that could do any harm and as it's holistic you may also notice other benefits.

    I am based in Norfolk but would be happy to point you in the direction of someone close to you if you'd like to give this a try. To find out more or to contact me please visit my website on www.alternativeapproach.co.uk.

    Best wishes,
    Linda McCroft
  7. RSJ

    RSJ New Member

    Dec 13, 2010
    Hi Guys

    thanks for the feedback.

    Its a tough one - the trouble is that given the nature of my job I do a lot of sitting, so I havent really had a long period of time to recover at all.

    With regards to 'saddle weakness' I have experienced some kind of cold sensation in my left buttock in the last few weeks, I wouldt call it numbness though. How do I know if this is the sort of dangerious weakness like you guys are saying?
  8. HillaryCavicchia

    HillaryCavicchia New Member

    Jan 19, 2011
    OK well been doing physio/pilates and had a tiny improvement but last week or so it has deteriorated. Went to see consultant again last thurs and he has recommended surgery to remove the herniation.

    To sum up, I'm 25 and this has been going on for 18 months, pretty much ruined many aspects of my life and makes my job harder. Had several opinions and the consensus is take the surgery (i've been told 90% success rate, 3 weeks off work).

    In the mean time, I'm still worried that I have permanent nerve damage, is there any way of me telling if I do? Its been 18 months pushing on my nerve, thats gotta have an effect?

    Advice appreciated.

  9. Well

    Well Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Hi, i was 27 when i had a herniated disk and had the exact same symtoms as you... 6 physio sessions does not seem a lot... i was made to go up to three times a week for over 4 weeks then it was reduced to twice and once a week for two weeks... I know how down you feel, i was in pain for months with it, but the physio recommended i stick with it and i did see a gradual improvement. I also had Bowen therapy... very gentle but very effective....i know in Ireland you can claim tax back on it (not sure about UK)
    My leg is still numb and the sciatica does stike from time to time but i find a few back stretches work also I use a hot water bottle every single night under my back or leg (which ever is sorer) and i feel OK in the morning...

    just on the side...i spend a good deal of time sitting down at my job but have been supplied with a brilliant chair... please make sure you have everything you need to make your posture ok in work...don't be afraid to ask! Also I was recently told that here (ireland) you can take 5 minutes away from your desk every hour to walk around and stretch.... best of luck with the decision you do choose
  10. David Mitchell

    David Mitchell New Member

    Aug 7, 2010
    hi beutystudent

    Interesting to hear urs improved - thats half the problem I've never followed a really strict regime of physio/stretching. Was urs L5 S1? Anything else you can recommend?
  11. Mrs. Monday

    Mrs. Monday New Member

    Dec 6, 2010
    yeah i think it was l5 s1... I honestly didn't think i would improve...the first time i went for physio the therapist turned me away and said it was a nerve problem and there was nothing she could do - so after another consultation with the doc I was sent to an angel of a physiotherapist... she wouldn't let me give up on it and kept the regular appointments (didn't go to a private therapist so it wasn't a case of her getting more money out of me or anything like that)....
    i did loads and laods of things to be honest so don't know if it was just the one thing or a mixture -
    1. first of all I got a new mattress (well my mum ordered it as a surprise and I had to pay 700 euro for it!!) It's a mattress with no springs and all this fancy stuff... made for a bad back.
    2. got this clicky pen thing that when you clicked it it gave you a little shock - had to click it in several areas around the body - sounds crazy but i was in so much pain i tried everything!
    3. plenty and plenty and plenty of heat - used to take hot baths - even at 4am in the morning when the pain got too much (easy to hide the tears in the bath too!)
    4. The physio and bowen which i mentioned already.
    5. a magnetic bracelet thing... I actually stopped needing pain killers every day after wearing it for 2 weeks (call it a placebo affect or whatever you will - i just know it worked for me)
    6. stretching before sleeping or when the pain killers kicked in... i was told the worst thing to do was be inactive for long peroids of time.
    7. I still sleep with my legs slightly elevated (pillow under the knees)- this takes the pressure off the spine.
    8. Hot water bottle which i mentioned already
    9. NO HOOVERING - very important ;-)
    10. Look after yourself - no bending wrongly, carrying heavy things, bags on one side of the shoulder...

    I really hope you feel better soon... and keep positive - watch loads of your favourite movies, meet friends, - what ever keeps you sane and keeps you going.
    Best of luck,
  12. Agalloch

    Agalloch Member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Dear Benny, I am a pilates instructor and have a few clients with your problem come through it, but with an awful lot of work. A bit of stretching is just not enough. These clients exercise 4 times a day - specific stretches, not just any old stretches. I've heard 50% success rate with surgery - last resort. I know it's hard to find 15 minutes a day, 4 times a day, but the alternative is just not worth it. And when you do recover - and you will: the human body is remarkable - you should continue to exercise. The body is made to move. Take a look at www.vitalflow.com for information on the back and how to take care of it. Believe me, surgery is not the option at this stage. I hope things improve soon, but it will be hard work. Don't give up
  13. 2cold scorpio

    2cold scorpio Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Thanks so much for the advice guys.

    To be honest, what sparky is saying is right - my biggest problem is I haven't gone through a long period of following exercises/rehab properly. I generally pick myself up and start stretching, then gradually slack until I don't do any more - and thats when it gets really bad.

    I am doing pilates twice a week at the moment, its not making it worse and when I've completed a class I feel almost normal. Its the stiffness thats the killer with me - anything that stiffens my muscles like sitting, standing. Funny, when I'm walking along theres not pain. Worst time is at work when I sit at desk.

    I'm very confused as to the best way to sit - I just bought this book y McKenzie, shows how to sit/stand correctly, some of it seems to follow what I do in pilates.

    Dont get me wrong, I've had better spells. I guess I just need encouragement to try and deal with it. Surgery feels like I'm giving in and I'm so scared about things going wrong further down the line - you hear nightmare stories. Its tough though, because I've heard so many different opinions - 'just have the surgery you're too young to deal with this' or 'don't have it' or 'it will improve/it wont improve' etc etc.

    I went to Thailand for two weeks few months back. and low and behold it improved considerably as I wasnt sitting at a desk!

    Anyway, taken what you're saying and gonna think about it this weekend. Thanks again for the info.

  14. ding

    ding Member

    Oct 30, 2009
    Hi Benny,

    I had acute sciatica for about a year and it went from manageable to crippling. It would always be there but some days I was completely floored by it. I have a 20 month old little boy and I was scared that I would never be able to lift him up or play with him again.

    An NHS osteopath told me that the only way to cure this was to have the herniated disc removed.

    I had the operation (full discectomy) at the end of March. Now 2 months afterwards I can swim, run, do press-ups (50-100 every day), some weight-training - just about everthing I did before I hurt my back.

    First 2 weeks is hell, next 4 weeks hurts when you sit down for too long but certainly not hell. Now after 8 weeks I hardly get any back pain at all so I know that this is nearly healed completely. There is a small amount of sensation in my left leg when I do certain exercises but this cannot be called painful.

    I can certainly testify that the surgery worked for me - 2/3 months of recovery but I now have my whole life to look forward to.

    Best of luck.
  15. shrn_pickering

    shrn_pickering New Member

    Jul 31, 2010
    I herniated my L5/S1 (left side) in 2004 at the age of 33. I'd had back issues for years, but then one morning I woke up with pain all down my left leg and nothing I could identify that I'd done to to specifically cause it.

    My GP prescribed muscle relaxants and naproxin, but the pain kept getting worse. Next she gave me a steroid pack and added vicodin to the naproxin and I took a few weeks off work, but it didn't get better.

    After a few months I could barely walk, I'd lost feeling in the little toes on my left foot, then one day I lost feeling in the big toes of both feet (an L4/L5 problem.) My doctor sent me for an MRI, which showed a huge herniation at L5/S1. Within a month I'd had three injections of cortison into my spine, which not only didn't help, but seemed to make things worse. I had a consultation with a surgeon, who said he'd schedule surgery. Given that everyone I'd spoken to had told me not to have surgery, I told him I really didn't want to, but he said he'd give schedule me a couple of months out and I could just not turn up, he wouldn't be offended!

    So, I tried a chriopractor for a month or so, which seemed to make things hurt more. I had a half dozen sessions of physical therapy, which, given I could hardly move, meant electrical stimulation with either heat or cold applied, but any advantage gained was very temporary.

    In the end I turned up for the surgery (a "laminoforamenotomy and partial discectomy") which from my perspective took no time at all, though in reality was more than 5 hours in duration. I woke up not only with no pain in my leg, but I could feel all toes except the big one on my left foot. To me that was very successful. I barely noticed that my back hurt from the surgery, indeed I didn't take any pain medication after leaving the hospital the next day! As for the left big toe, that still has some numbness four years on, but then, that's an L4/L5 problem.

    Unfortunately, I now have pain down my right leg, numbness in my right buttock, digging sensations in the right side of my spine and my right foot feels constantly painful/cold/numb/pins and needles, etc. The MRI I had recently shows a right side herniation at L5/S1, what a surprise! Given my experience last time, I'm going as quickly as possible (and as quickly as I can convince the surgeon to go) to surgery. I've had two cortisone injections that improved things slightly, but really, I just want to get under the knife and get out of pain so I can get on with my life.

    I wish you the very best of luck with whatever treatments you have, but my opinion is that the more pain you're in, the more likely surgery is to be necessary and to work!
  16. arielbackpain

    arielbackpain Newbie

    Nov 24, 2012
    Herniated Disc Pain Relief and Treatments Guide.

    Herniated discs are a major cause of disability in people under 45.
    I am one of those people.
    For the past 3 years I suffer L5S1 disc hernia, the most common type of hernia.
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    In my case I also have hyperlordosis, scoliosis and spina bifida.
    I have been trying countless treatments and supposed cures. I was often left in disappointment but fortunately found some sources of relief.
    I'm not a doctor, just a student with lots of experience with a mother which is a doctor.
    At this time, despite my efforts, I have reached a point where I need surgery.
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    w w w (dot)indiegogo(dot)com/herniatesdiscrelief

    There I explain who I am and where I come from, watch it if you can and share it if you like it.

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