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mikeg1005

Herniated Disc/Pinched Sciatic Nerve

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I have had a lot of lower back problems ever since high school, 25 now, but this one is about the worse I ever had. About 4 weeks ago I was laying out a flagstone patio with my dad, lots of lift, twist, lift, twist motion... about a week later I can't walk, go to the doctor, he takes an MRI (finally), determines I have disc degeneration at L4 and L5, and a herniated disc at L5-S1.

Gives me a methylprednisolone pack, start therapy in a week... after I use that up (7 days) my back pain goes away but I get Horrible pains in my leg when I stand or walk, along with a numb left side of calf and big toe. This goes on up until about Friday (had to miss Area 5). Now I'm starting to feel better. No severe pain when standing or walking and only a slight tingling sensation when I lay at night. Still a little sore if I do a lot of movement.

... So for those of you who experienced this.. how long until I'm fully healed? My goal is to be able to shoot the IN sectional in a month without having to worry about not moving. I don't see that being a problem at the rate I am improving now, thoughts?

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My second surgery was last March. I'm about 80% now. In all seriousness I would put off surgery as long as humanly possible. If they send you to a pain control doc before they kill you with pills I would ask for a patch. Post surgery all of the radiating pain was gone but my lower back still hurts and my mobility has taken forever to recover. I am super protective of my back now. Shooting is really the only time I will risk it. I no longer have a problem saying I can;t lift that or waiting for help. Good luck.

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I have had 3 surgeries in the last 10 years on my lower back. Started with a herniated disc from a fall and they picked 25+ fragments of vertebrae I had crushed with the 1st. That was at 23. 2nd was at 26 and same thing. Finally had 11 hour lumbar fusion last year where they inserted 6 screws and two rods fusing L4, L5, and S1 together. I had tried every medication, therapy, and procedure known to man prior to fusion and neurosurgeon hated to do such a serious surgery on a 32 year old but being it was inevitable I went ahead and had it done.

When you have diagnosis that it's degenerating then it's just matter of time for most from what I know but I'm not a dr or expert by any means. Physical therapy did the best and strengthening the core muscles helped stabilize my back. I'm 11 months from my fusion and I'm better but will never be "normal" again. I lost my ability to play golf which I was about a 5 handicap but I now have found a home in USPSA Production shooting with no issues.

The heal time for everyone is different. Having the right dr. is "key" in my opinion, one who will listen and exhaust all alternatives and means to get you back to a somewhat normal daily life. Wish you the best of luck!!

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Do your exercises and do not rush your recovery. Remember to listen about ice and heat and anti-inflammatories. Should do you well. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.

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I had degenerative discs at L4-S1 and ruptured my L5-S1 last January. I had a microdiscectomy last July and that made my sciatic worse. Finally found a new surgeon this year and had an anterior discectomy at L4-L5 and L5-S1 (artificial discs implanted) and a posterior decompression and fusions at the same levels using LANX clamps. Couldn't get rid of a fever I was having after the surgery and ended up with responsive staph infection. Back in for a second surgery to clean out the infection, IV PICC line in my arm for 6 weeks of IV meds 3x a day. Ended up back in for a third back surgery for the same infection (3 back surgeries in less then a month, 20 days in the hospital). My last surgery was April 3rd of this year. Happy to report I have zero sciatic pain anymore but the back pain is still healing and I start PT this month hopefully.

I really can't say I recommend or don't recommend a major back surgery. I have an excellent surgeon with a very good reputation. For me, the sciatic pain was so bad I was in the ER at least once a month having these sciatic attacks that I thought were gonna kill me. So now that that pain is gone, I feel it's a success even though I am still healing and the staph about killed me.

I'm 37 with 5 kids and now I can't go play baseball or basketball with the kids. Shooting is the only hobby I am willing to risk doing for now.

Edited by BroKV

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If you want to shoot that match in a few weeks, get up and move. Unless the doc says otherwise, take the time to walk as much as possible. (And if you need to, get rid of that beer gut as soon as possible.)

Its been quite a few years (I was 33 at the time), but I herniated 3 disks in a racquetball tournament. I was flat on my back for several weeks. When I got back on my feet, it was with two crutches. A few weeks later I was able to get around but it was with two canes.

It took a while to heal up but I did not want to go the surgery route. Had to give up tennis, racquetball, snow skiing and golf.

At the time I did not have good medical insurance so physical therapy was out. The neurologist at Scott & White told me the best thing I could do was walk a mile every day, seven days a week for the rest of my life.

It will get better.

The pain in your leg sounds like the sciatic nerve is getting pinched in your back. I have the same thing occasionally. The pain feel like it goes from the base of your spine down the outside of your leg. It usually stops at the knee.

Good luck.

Bill

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As corny as it sounds, try Yoga. I had terrible problems with sciatic nerves (mostly from sitting all day and carrying an extra 20lbs) that would stop me cold. My doctor gave me a handful of exercises to strengthen my core and to stretch/loosen up my body. I started attending Yoga classes with my wife and a few weeks later my range of motion and problems with sciatic have diminished to practically nothing. I'm 48 and don't have the degeneration that I know of so not quite the same.

Ask your doctor about it. You don't need to get fancy and bend yourself into a pretzel, just the basics. Helped tremendously with me and anything you can do to put off surgery is a good thing.

Coach.

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I have had a lot of lower back problems ever since high school, 25 now, but this one is about the worse I ever had. About 4 weeks ago I was laying out a flagstone patio with my dad, lots of lift, twist, lift, twist motion.../////

... So for those of you who experienced this.. how long until I'm fully healed? My goal is to be able to shoot the IN sectional in a month without having to worry about not moving. I don't see that being a problem at the rate I am improving now, thoughts?

Depends. As one who has had back problems for 40 years (and just re inured it two hours ago by reaching down to pick up a piece of paper off the floor).....

It's hard for me to remember there are people who do heavy lifting with twisting.

The thing to remember is that if you have degenerated disks...... you lived the life doing things that degenerated them. You will need to adjust life style or you will be back in surgery again and again as the next disks give out.

One you are "healed".... ie, the pain is gone, is when you need to be careful.

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Had a microdiscectomy about a year ago for two ruptured disc due to an auto accident. Walked in looking like a 100 year old man with a cane, walked out 4 hours later about as close to pre injury as you could get.

Sent from my Incredible 2 using Tapatalk 2

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Three surgerys for herniated disc L-4, L-5, and L-4 again two at 28 and one at 47. Work with your Dr. and physcial therpist and stay mobil and in shape. Put off the surgery unless you have no option, for me I developed severe foot drop and had no choice as it was becoming hard to work without dragging foot and leg. You can recover from surgery but will not ever be 100% but with excercise and smart use or your back you can go on and enjoy life and shooting.

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I've had two back surgeries (L4-L5 and L5-S1), both had leg/nerve impacts. Took my right nerve about a year to get most of the feeling back. I still get the numbness and tingling from time to time. Work PT, do core muscles. I still use a TENS unit and get the occasional steroid shot in the disc/hip. I can echo the "you'll never be 100%, but you can still do stuff" thoughts. It just takes some work and maybe some time. How long, is up to your body and how much you work/do. It also depends on the injury and the doctor as well.

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dont have a herniated disc but have a bulging disc between L3/L4 vertebrae in the lower back. the bulge presses on nerves and inflames the whole lower back. sucks. Tried physical therapy which helped for a bit. Doing stretches, core work and even Pilates helps but it seems like even normal day to day activities aggravates my back. During this past Area 1 my back was fried; I could barely walk during a few stages, and I didnt do nothing other than sit in an airplane seat for 5 hours flying in to Vegas which probably did it. The pain seems to be occurring more frequently. Everytime I have had major pain and have had to see the physical therapist I'd be good for a few months, then it would start up again. Stay loose, stretch a lot and be careful with the back. Its when I felt that the pain was completely gone and was healed is when I would start doing stuff that would aggravate the back again. I'm 40 next month and can't stand being a couch potato not exercising. I've accepted the fact that this pain will be with me till I'm dead....

I would avoid surgery at all costs unless it is the absolute last resort. was taking pain pills for a little while and now I know how people get addicted to the shit. you build up a tolerance super quick and have to take more and more.

Edited by blaster113

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I can't walk, go to the doctor, he takes an MRI (finally), determines I have disc degeneration at L4 and L5, and a herniated disc at L5-S1.

You just described me 1.5 yars ago, excepit I was 39.

My advice:

1. Lifting and twisting should no longer be a part of your life. Period. Reasonable lifting with your legs is do-able, but twisting is done. PERIOD!

2. Exercise your core as much as reasonable.

3. If you need to lose weight, the more you can take off the better.

4. Not all MRI machines are created equal. Talk to your doctor and make sure that you got the best image available. If not, have it re-done. It won't change the diagnosis, but it will help your doctor decide on the best course of action. Some herniations can heal themselves, and others are lost causes. Get your doctor's honest opinion on which one you have.

5. Based on your doctor's answer to #4, if he says that you NEED a surgery, get it sooner rather than later. I also avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary, and I put this one off with epidural shots and PT despite my doctor's recommendations to the contrary. That went on for six months with the sciatic pain worsening until I was two weeks after my 3rd epidural and still taking 8 vicodin a day, and the pain was so bad I could neither walk nor think. My work's head of security literally carried me to my car and drove me home with my boss' order to not return to work until I was healed. That decided, I had the microdiscetomy... followed by some fluke complications I won't get into. A year and a half later I'm mostly pain free following what will hopefully be the last epidural I had 2 months ago. The reason I recommend having the surgery sooner rather than later is that the longer the affected nerve is impinged upon, it gets "bruised" (layman's explanation from my doctor) down the length of the nerve starting from the point of impingement. Once the surgery takes place, the healing of the "bruising" can begin... at the rate of one inch per month. I waited long enough that the nerve was affected all the way to my foot, which works out to an additional (greatly reduced!!!) pain for 2-3 years because it will take that long to return the wounded nerve to normal. If I'd had the surgery when my doctor told me to, maybe I could have saved myself a year or so additional pain.

No, you won't be able to do run and gun immediately after the surgery, but you can get back into something like Steel Challenge relatively quickly. I'm now back to run and gun, but I know my limits.

Just my $.02.

No matter what you decide, I pray it works out well!

J

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I had the same case, L5-S1, bulging discs. My MD described it as an 80yr old mans back. Degenerated, one is ruptured. Same symptom to what OP described.

I was an athlete, started taekwondo at 12yo. Did it for 8yrs. Hard core training. Every single day. At 25yo, my back was done. I had to go surgery, no amount of steroids can subside the inflammation.

Im 31 now. 6yrs ago i was told there is no artificial disc yet in the market. I was told im still young it will heal itself. Well, im doing fine. Only difference is the scar. I cant run hard, proper body mechanics in everything, and that is why i chose shooting. Short burst of adrenaline on a stage. Training wise, i stand most if the time. Less stress in the back.

I went back to work 2wks after the surgery. No more pain, but definitely no lifting or heavy activities for like 2 months until my stitches healed. This is what i like in shooting, there is always a next time.

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I have had a lot of lower back problems ever since high school, 25 now, but this one is about the worse I ever had. About 4 weeks ago I was laying out a flagstone patio with my dad, lots of lift, twist, lift, twist motion... about a week later I can't walk, go to the doctor, he takes an MRI (finally), determines I have disc degeneration at L4 and L5, and a herniated disc at L5-S1.

Gives me a methylprednisolone pack, start therapy in a week... after I use that up (7 days) my back pain goes away but I get Horrible pains in my leg when I stand or walk, along with a numb left side of calf and big toe. This goes on up until about Friday (had to miss Area 5). Now I'm starting to feel better. No severe pain when standing or walking and only a slight tingling sensation when I lay at night. Still a little sore if I do a lot of movement.

... So for those of you who experienced this.. how long until I'm fully healed? My goal is to be able to shoot the IN sectional in a month without having to worry about not moving. I don't see that being a problem at the rate I am improving now, thoughts?

I have the exact same herniated disc's as you have. There's no way in hell I'm ever going to have surgery. Exercise, exercise, exercise, and did I say exercise. That will relieve the pain and keep it away. Strengthen your back and core and you will see good results.

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I had degenerative discs at L4-S1 and ruptured my L5-S1 last January. I had a microdiscectomy last July and that made my sciatic worse. Finally found a new surgeon this year and had an anterior discectomy at L4-L5 and L5-S1 (artificial discs implanted) and a posterior decompression and fusions at the same levels using LANX clamps. Couldn't get rid of a fever I was having after the surgery and ended up with responsive staph infection. Back in for a second surgery to clean out the infection, IV PICC line in my arm for 6 weeks of IV meds 3x a day. Ended up back in for a third back surgery for the same infection (3 back surgeries in less then a month, 20 days in the hospital). My last surgery was April 3rd of this year. Happy to report I have zero sciatic pain anymore but the back pain is still healing and I start PT this month hopefully.

I really can't say I recommend or don't recommend a major back surgery. I have an excellent surgeon with a very good reputation. For me, the sciatic pain was so bad I was in the ER at least once a month having these sciatic attacks that I thought were gonna kill me. So now that that pain is gone, I feel it's a success even though I am still healing and the staph about killed me.

I'm 37 with 5 kids and now I can't go play baseball or basketball with the kids. Shooting is the only hobby I am willing to risk doing for now.

Update,

So it's been almost 2 months since my last post and I happy to report I've been off pain meds since my last post (only Tylenol). Limited range of motion which was expected. What pain I do have is minimal and still no sciatic issues.

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Great news! Important part is to keep strengthening your core muscles. Abs and lower back, with light work. Weight does play a factor. Every time I add a few pounds in the offseason, my back problems start to come back little by little.

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