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L5-s1 Problems, Degenerative Disck

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I have lower back pain stemming from a few sports and weightlifting injuries. An mri revealed l5-s1 herniation and degeneration.

The pain is in the low back, and never really in the legs unless it flares up really badly. When the pain gets at its worst, I can't stand up straight past about 90 degrees. It only gets that bad roughly once every several months or so.

Sitting for long periods makes it get worse, walking does seem to help.

Therapy, yoga, walking, new bed, chiropractor adjustments; these have helped only a little.

The doctor said the herniation could be removed by surgery, but he didn't recommend it, mainly because he didn't think my back was bad enough. I never really understood if the pain I have is due to the herniation or the degeneration (or both). I am wondering if the surgery would eliminate the pain, or could I end up worse?

I've had this pain now for a couple of years, and i'm only about 30 yrs old. I was hoping it would eventually go away, but it hasn't. I'm just wondering what else I can do, and if I should consider surgery.

Any comments appreciated.
Thanks
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First Helper mld1218
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replied December 17th, 2003
Experienced User
I have the same problems, im staying away from the surgery, having friends that have had surgery, they dont feel any better, some feel worse, as far as your pain I dont think it will ever go away, its a matter of living with it, so im told. It sucks big time, I use a home tens unit, which seems to offer me more relief than any chiro- therapy has, right now im into taking, herbal supp, devils claw, st johns wart, , there suppose to promote healthy bones, ease pain, relieve inflamed nerves. As for surgery as you know everyone responds differently. You might have a great comeback, its a very hard decission to make good luck.
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replied January 5th, 2012
As someone who has suffered from 30 years of chronic non-specific low back pain / Diagnosed with DDD. I can say the only thing that works for me is to stay in shape, stretch, meditate, and most of all keep a very strong core.

I developed a deep tissue massage tool that works magic for me and many others (forces the muscle spasm to end). We are new to the market - I can say with near 100% certainty, you have not yet seen this product.

If you have pain that radiates below the knee, you may be too far gone for this product to help much. Also know deep tissue therapy is very intence, and is not for everyone.


Not recommended for those who have had back surgery - be sure to check with your DR if you have recurring pain of any kind.

Best of luck all!
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replied December 27th, 2003
Back Pain
I understand what you are going through. I am 28 years old and I have had 4 back surgerys the first was when I was 16. At that time I didn't have a choice I had to have the surgery because we had already put it off for 2 years. The first surgery was just a fusion in the same location that your having trouble in. The doctor just fused the bone and that was it. Well the fusion broke and I had to have another surgery when I was 20. This time the doctor put rods and screws in my back and the pain was still there well it turns out that the next level above my fusion the ligamite in the disk had broke so we had to do it again and then last year on dec 9 I had another one because my whole fusion had broke and nothing in my back was stable. I was very lucky that something worse didn't happen it seems I could have very easyly had ended up in a wheel chair by just the smallest accident. My last surgery was 7 hours and my doctor fused my back again and now I have rods and screws in the front and back of my spine and the doctor says there is no way I should break this time. But I had seen him in dec for my one year appointment and he told me that he doesn't think I can work again. The pain has never gone away. Now that I have had all these surgerys I will never be without pain. I will tell you if I had to do it all again I wouldn't have had the first surgery. I never thought that by the time I was 28 I would have had 4 already. It's not a fun experience it's very painful and a long time recovering. I had met another patient of my doctors the last time I was there and he had had his first surgery the same one I had the first time and he feel great so you just never know. My advise for you is don't do it unless you have no choice at all. It should be the last resort because once you do it once the chances of having to do it again are good. If you do have to do it make sure you have a very good doctor. My first doctor was not very good at all and i'm the one paying for it still 12 years later and for the rest of my life. I wish you all the luck in the world and know there are people out there that do know what your going through. We just have to accept that this is it and deal with it. I always think of people that are worse off who can't walk and at least I can do that. I might be in pain every day but at least I can still walk and do things for myself. I hope this helps a little the main thing to remember is your not alone.
Good luck michelle
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replied July 11th, 2012
Sorry for your unrecoverable loss brother. It is really shocking that your doctor did a surgery at an age of mere 16. Wish you good luck for the rest of your life.
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replied December 28th, 2003
I had a laminectomy in november and pain free knock on wood.My l-5 was severely ruptured.I did not have fusion done.My neurosurgeon did a myleogram and catscan to identify the problem. I assume he removed the fragments that were pinching the nerves.
Luckily,i had taken prednisone to take away the inflammation before the myleogram.The myleogram is no cakewalk,if you are lucky,you wont have intense headaches.It made me feel like I had pneumonia,it hurt my lungs to breathe afterwards.
Two weeks after surgery,i was back to work not lifting anything over 20 pounds.I am now very cautious of what I pick up and not to make any sudden movements.I would suggest seeing a neurosurgeon,rather than an orthopedic,think they rather do fusions for some reason.Everyone i've heard that had fusions had problems of some sort.
I was seeing a chiropractor when my back first went out.He seemed to help me until I ran out of money.I had no insurance,no workmans comp and a young family to feed.Luckily,with the help of the state,i was able to get some help.Without friends and family,i would have been homeless.
The surgery really amazed me.Soon as I woke up,i noticed I had the strength back in my leg.Before,i couldnt lift it laying down.The first place I went to just wanted to do nerve blocks,a tire patch moreless.I didnt have the money for it anyway,2000 bucks for mri and they didnt even give me a price for the nerve blocks.
If you or anyone are like me without insurance,ask your family doctor what options your state has for you.Luckily my doctor is my first cousin and none of this would have been possible without her.

Good luck
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replied December 30th, 2003
Surgery L5-s1, Options.
Make sure to exhaust all your options before surgery. Epidural block shots, traction, tens unit are all things that may provide you with enough relief to avoid surgery.
I just had surgery on 12/06/03, and 3 weeks later I feel better, though a long road of recovery is still in front of me before I know exactly how well it all will be. My surgery was a discetomy with fusion at the l5-s1. Be mentally prepared for surgery if this becomes the only option. The pain for the first couple of days after it is quite incredible. I will keep this post short, which is not normal for me, but if you would like more information on what to expect after surgery,I would be more then happy to tell you more.

I wish you the best and hope that you find something that provides you with comfort. Trust us you are not alone with the pain you are experiencing. Also, if you are not satisfied with what this doctor is telling you, make sure to get another opinion.
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replied January 4th, 2012
Syrinx
Hi i just read your story. I have 9 years old girl. The doctor find spinal cord syrinx between T10 and T12. Also, L5-S1 disc degeneration and lumbar acoliosis.
The doctor said, she must oparation. But we are scare. Can you give me more information before and after oparation how was you? Thanks for reply..
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replied January 3rd, 2004
Back Pain
Everybody has good advice as I did have surgery also. I have ddd and had a pinched nerve in my lower back with siatic nerve pain down my right leg. My dr told me I would have a oral roberts experience or what everybody else has and that was pain every so often. That was 4-1/2 years ago. I continued to have back nerve pain until march of 2002 when someone introduced me to a product called reliv. After taking this supplement I noticed that my back pain was less and less frequent. Now the past yr I have had no back pain. The products are patented and work as I can attest to it. I also have a friend with a bad back who also played lots of sports with even better results. If anybody is interested in trying them let me know. Gamurphy64@yahoo.Com

greg
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replied January 9th, 2004
I appreciate all the responses. I know a few people who have had surgeries to remove herniations, I don't know the medical terminology. It seems like most of them ended up better off than I am now.

I do know one person who had a fusion that involved pins, and it didn't work. He ended up on disability and pain pills. He claims acupuncture has got him off the pain pills, but a lot of frequent visits covered by workman's comp. My insurance won't cover acupunture.

Has anyone tried acupunture? I haven't looked into the tens units either yet; they sound interesting.

Indeed, i'll heed the general advice here to go to surgery as a last resort. I actually have to have an acl repair done on my knee first, and that will take priority over my back for awhile.
Chet
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replied January 9th, 2004
Pack Pain
I posted the other day about the products I have been taking. I can't belive that not more of you are interested in trying these products! They have changed my life, some of my friends and thousands of others. I'm telling you that if you don't at least check them out for yourself than you will never know how good they are. I have never seen anybody take these products correctly that didn't get results. They are that good. They are made by reliv and guaranteed with clinical trials to prove it. Please email me so we schedule a time for me to tell you how and why these products work. Trust me if your still in pain then your missing out!!!!!


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replied July 15th, 2010
I know where you are coming from and what you are dealing with. I'm 38 yrs old with two teenage kids. I have already had 3 back surgeries, the first one I was able to go 9 yrs without any pain, it started in my lower back L1,L2,L3 also degenerative disc disease. It took me four doctors to get to the surgeon that did my surgery the first time. It actually threw me in to having seizures and my husband could not stand to see me in so much pain. My second surgery was the removal of my rods. Right after they removed my rods I was back in surgery within the year with L4,L5 fusion and I'm still living with the pain. I now have pain in my S1 lower because my back can't do anything. I can't ride in a car for long distances, can't sit long without adjusting all the time, use to ride 4-wheelers with my family, can't do that anymore. I have lived off pain meds for the last 10 yrs of my life and it's not fun. I have constant pain going down my leg, can't sleep good at night, use a heating pad and ice pack alot.

good luck, Bonnie
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replied September 11th, 2010
L5-S1 pain
For a number of years I have had recurring L5-S1 pains. It usually starts when I'm not tensing my inner core muscles as I lift something or bend over for something. I've tried many things: chiropractor, physio, tablets, painkillers, hanging, etc but nothing else has worked apart from acupuncture. My physio and me went through almost a year of experimentation before finding acupuncture using needles and voltage did the [temporary] trick. Perhaps it can work for someone else. Nowadays its a case of... Physio: What have you done now? Me: Usual scenario re L5-S1. Physio: let me check.. yep its your old friend, so get on the couch. Half hour later and I am still feeling the pain but sure enough after 3 days it clears up. I would love to find a method of rectifying this without needing treatment. Here are some things I've found that help: Get an inversion table and when you feel it coming on, take an inversion on it. Also, exercise your inner core muscles e.g. situps, side and back extensions. When attempting to lift anything, always start to lift it as if you have a bad back. I think you can condition your mind to behave this way over a period of time e.g. you automatically crouch when trying to lift anything and try to keep a straight back. I know all this won't help severe cases but you can delay the onset of a lot of pain by taking those measures above. Smile
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replied October 22nd, 2011
Severe pain
I came across this interesting article, the doctor recommends putting ice(not frozen veggies) for 15min every hour for three consecutive hours on bare skin. I have been trying this for the past week and it seems to be working. I do it before bed, eliminates the pain, otherwise I couldn't sleep.
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replied January 12th, 2012
L5-S1
Look up S.I Dysfunction and iliolumbar ligament damage. Trust me, most people have l5-s1 bulges and never feel a thing. It has to do with your pelvis ligaments and how they support your back.
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replied January 15th, 2012
Ls S1
Many of you have gone threw years of pain as I have. I found a spinal institute in Hudson Florida. They provide out patient surgery. It was like flipping a switch where I could hardly walk in to walking out as though I never had a problem. There are no rods or fusons. You are not put under all the way and in fact I watched the surgery on their monitor. I was only out of work for four days and that was not because of the surgery, it was the travel time to and from. I consider myself one lucky man.
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replied July 11th, 2012
I have the same problem but also have some complications. I am a helicopter pilot. After discovering that I have disc bulging and degeneration in L5-S1, I stopped flying immediately. Now I don't know actually whether flying helicopter will be good or bad for a long run. I think as the helicopter has some vibration, and piloting is a business of sitting in cockpit for couple hours straight; it would be difficult. But I couldn't judge my idea. Someone please share your experience, if not exactly piloting at least bike riding with L5-S1. I am just 25 and don't want to take any risk. I am ready to leave the job of flying (may be its fantastic though), but I need some authentic experienced suggestions. Thanks everybody.
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replied November 2nd, 2012
Thanks for all of the thoughts in the terrible pain. I am a 57 year old male who have been active all my life. I have played sports as a youth, ran at least 30 miles per week for the past 30+ years and then two months ago woke up on a Sunday morning and could not walk or get out of bed. I had a 10 level pain running down my left leg. Two months and four doctors later, I was told I had DDD and a bulge at L/5 L/5 and at S/1 L/5.

Treated with high levels of prednisone for four weeks and the pain finally went away. Then, it came back in a week worse than before. Another round of prednisone did nothing. I have had a MRI and have been told that I need Spinal Fusion. I am now going through spinal shots, the first of which had no effect. PT did not work at all.

You are right on target. No one, including my family, understands this pain. In eight weeks I have gone from a tremendously active lifestyle to barely making it through work and then coming home to bed. There is no real position I can find to take away the pain, only lessen it so I can sleep. I feel bad for the 15 year old son who resents that I am not spending time with him. But, it is all I can do to get through the day.

Life just can't go on like this... All I can do is hope the the next two round of injections will work.

I am seeing a neurosurgeon next week. Hopefully she will have some answers.
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replied November 2nd, 2012
Thanks for all of the thoughts in the terrible pain. I am a 57 year old male who have been active all my life. I have played sports as a youth, ran at least 30 miles per week for the past 30+ years and then two months ago woke up on a Sunday morning and could not walk or get out of bed. I had a 10 level pain running down my left leg. Two months and four doctors later, I was told I had DDD and a bulge at L/5 L/5 and at S/1 L/5.

Treated with high levels of prednisone for four weeks and the pain finally went away. Then, it came back in a week worse than before. Another round of prednisone did nothing. I have had a MRI and have been told that I need Spinal Fusion. I am now going through spinal shots, the first of which had no effect. PT did not work at all.

You are right on target. No one, including my family, understands this pain. In eight weeks I have gone from a tremendously active lifestyle to barely making it through work and then coming home to bed. There is no real position I can find to take away the pain, only lessen it so I can sleep. I feel bad for the 15 year old son who resents that I am not spending time with him. But, it is all I can do to get through the day.

Life just can't go on like this... All I can do is hope the the next two round of injections will work.

I am seeing a neurosurgeon next week. Hopefully she will have some answers.
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replied March 4th, 2013
Ive had lower back problems for 20 plus years, ive had two operations, seen numerious specialists, the last time i saw the specialist, whom i respect, he saw me for less than 3 minutes, dident examine me, asked me if i was in pain, i wasent at the time of asking , so was honest, his next statement, was you need to get back to work, his attitude stank,theres no point in complaining as hes the top of his game, in the uk on the national health you are treated as
A second class citizen, i paid to go private, and saw the same guy id seen on the national health, only difference a big bill, ive run out of options i guess, any thoughts appreciated.
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replied March 5th, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
ive run out of options i guess, any thoughts appreciated.

albi63, I would give posture-based P/T a try.
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