My background.
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I am 31 year old male. I have had low back pain (very much on and off) for 2 years, generally getting worse, sometimes (but not often) some sciatica on the left side. The pain in my back has often been on the lower left side. I can remember two lifting injuries where I lifted boxes much heavier then my arm or back muscles could take but each time I seemed to recover over a matter of weeks.

Last week I started to run fast and I felt the back lock up and what felt like a huge twisting/locking sensation. I was in acute pain for the rest of the day and could barely walk, heading to bed. After a nights sleep I could walk again but have discomfort either standing or sitting. I can only walk in small steps, although they are bigger then a few days ago. I can't lift either leg high, but especially the left leg.

I went to an osteopath on Tuesday and didn't notice a big change in the walking afterwards, only that I slept very well that night. She did say I could have a slipped disc but wasn't sure. I happened to have an MRI the week before but the result was not back yet (had been OK for 5 months, but I can't carry any backpack so the GP ordered MRI for me).

My MRI
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There is a mild multilevel degenerative spondylitic change

There is a moderate sized broad-based central L4/5 disc herniation which causes bilateral lateral recess narrowing more pronounced on the left where there is compression of the traversing left L5 nerve root.

There are shallow broad based central L3-4 and L5/S1 disc herniations, neither of which cause significant nerve root compression

The central cancal, lateral recess and exit foraminal dimensions are preserved all other levels.

Normal apperance of the distal thoracic cord, conus and cauda equina.

Normal vertebral alignment, marrow signal and vertebral body heights and no significant focal or diffuse marrow pathology heights and no significant focal or diffuse marrow pathology

Normal retroperitoneal structures

Intact pars intra-articulares.

END


What do do now?
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So, the question is what to do now? Both Doctor and Osteopath say I should take anti inflammatory pills (ibuprofen), but I have found these tend to make my hair fall out, and i see male balding as worse then ongoing back pain.

Osteopath has said to do hot and cold on the area switching every 2 minutes to increase blood flow to the area and clear out inflammation.

My thinking is to do the hot and cold the Osteopath prescribed, some swimming, and physio doctor has prescribed in a few weeks (that is free on government health). I would like to continue osteopath but it is expensive at $67 USD a shot and there is no insurance for it in UK. Osteopath wanted a second session so I was thinking of doing that then wait for the physio and swim in between.

If someone could tell me how bad my spine is from that MRI, it would be appreciated.
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First Helper levian
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replied June 1st, 2013
Can anyone help on this?

Current symptoms

- low back pain that gets worse with sitting
- some infrequent low level right leg sciatia.
- some muscle spasms in left leg.
- tight feeling around throat.
- inability to lift either left or right leg high when walking
- some random nerve pains in right arm
- tension headache starts between 12PM and 3PM
- some loss of appetite and weight loss (probably stress)

Only thing that relaxes is swimming followed by steam room or sauna.
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replied June 1st, 2013
Sorry to hear about your problem.

I have had similar problem. Had op on back in 1994 and now have relapse at same site.
Have recently been to pain clinic:
they suggested going to the pool but just walking in the water a sort of hydra therapy.. swimming is not natural and may only agitate your back problem, also physio may help to strengthen your core and possibly acupuncture would be worth trying and also make sure you are on the right medication? something for neuropathic pain relief.

oh and keep mobile.

good luck
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replied June 1st, 2013
having a read online, swimming is OK but ONLY back stroke, (NOT front crawl, NOT butterfly stroke) twisting and pushing off with legs has to be avoided.

I didn't realise it was only back stroke, when I first looked I read not butterfly, so will need to change..

I am not on any drugs at the moment, this illness only got severe a week ago so I need to observe the symptoms and pain for the time being.

(sources http://www.quora.com/Is-swimming-recommend ed-for-recovering-from-slipped-disc-in-low er-back and http://www.spine-health.com/forum/mind-bod y-and-spirit/exercise-and-rehab/picking-sw imming-after-a-herniated-disc)
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