I have bulging discs L 4&5 and pain down my right leg for 3 years now. When I first went to the emergency room they told me 99 percent of people this happens to it will go away after a few weeks rest. I have tried everything but it won't go away and my doc won't give me a straight answer. I get answers like " be patient with the sciatica" or 5 or 10 years the discs may become herniated and then we can do surgery" and " just continue with medication." I am frustrated. Should I assume I will be in pain for the rest of my life? I am 35
For some people, they get better and for some, it doesnt go away. I'm with you as one of the lucky ones who get to keep pain long term. I have bulges/herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1 (which is nearly bone on bone). In my experience, if you are not better after a year, it is likely not going to get better. Surgery for herniations isnt always the answer either. I have been offered fusion surgery by two different surgeons for which I declined. They told me I had a 70% chance of getting better and a 30% chance of staying the same or being worse. Well, I know how my luck tends to run so I am declining at this point. Maybe at some time I may decide differently. I have had epidural injections, nerve blocks, facet joint injections, radio frequency ablations etc with no appreciable relief.
I take medications, try to exercise when I can, I work (I cant lift at all anymore so I now have a desk job working from home which is a blessing) and I have come to grips with the fact that I will most likely have this pain the rest of my life. I am 47 now and I first hurt my back in 2004 so I was what? 38 when I hurt it? So not much older than you. My kids dont really remember when I didnt hurt which makes me sad. They dont remember the mom who loved to be outside and hiking and being active. They remember mom on the couch or bed saying "not right now honey, mommy's back hurts" They are 18 and 22 now. I went through anger and depression because I felt like I was too young to feel so old! I live near a retirement community and I see women twice my age who move better than I do but I have come to grips with it. I can only do what I can do. It is not an easy thing but you learn to live with it the best you can. You learn to not let it consume you. I take my medications, do what all I can on the good days and rest a little more on the bad ones. I dont have much family support so if I need a friend who understands I talk to someone in the pain group on here. I would be more than happy to talk to you whenever you need someone who understands and has been there as a mother and wife living with this crappy condition.
If your doctor stated this, I would seek a better specialist. L4-5 are common but usually underlying cause such as discs. There are proper exercises to ease the pain. It is a time issue on relief and flare ups will occur most likely. Do not accept this vague diagnosis. There as many non invasive procedures to try that can be effective. Also, if you need to.lose weight, it will help. Exercises, specifically for your condition are key. They will help. Continued pain can be treated with anti inflammatory meds if you can take them. Pain meds do not help this. Ice/heat and tailored exercises. Find a specialist who offers exercises and proper meds. If it continues, there are procedures such as medial branch blocks, epidurals etc. Good luck. Relief is just around the corner with the proper doctor.
I currently have L5 bulging disc issues and am working with physical therapists to help it. Apparently lumbar traction is one way to try to get it to go back into place on its own as well as other sustaining exercises. The process of stretching the area and taking the weight off of it to get it to slide into place. If there's inflammation, anti-inflammatory sometimes take the edge off. I also use an inversion table which helps with the pain immensely. My suggestion is to find a good physical therapist, have an mri done so they know which direction it is out of place, and follow their regimen precisely. Good luck to you. I wish you well.
Background, I am 44, pretty good shape in general, 12% fat, go to fitness and play squash, hiking, walking, riding the bike with the kid on it etc. So in the top 20% health/fit wise. But, I smoke, drink and honestly eat what I like, chocolates, lots of BBQ, McDonalds, 1 litre of ice cream, did I mention drinking, above European average, I like beer is what I am trying to say ;)
So while scrubbing the deck, very big wooden deck, bearing in mind I am quite extreme, I did some damage to my back, L5S1. Couldn't sit(I have a sitting job), couldn't put my socks on without quite a bit of pain, so pretty crappy. Went to physio for six months, and it was I guess 80% recovered, just from the 'little' exercises that he gave me to do.
Then, 6 months ago I must have done something to it again. However this time I am more prepared, and if someone says I can't do something then I will, just to spite them. Remember that I am a little extreme, so I:
* Quit smoking
* Quit drinking
* No red meat
* 80% raw food, mostly vegtable
* Don't sit, stand at work
* Kettlebell swings for the back muscles every day, and general fitness 4 times a week for 1.5 hours
* Floor exercises for pelvis movement
* Suppliments - C(1000), chondroitin, glucosamine, D, omega 3, zink, magnesium, bromelase
I felt a 5-10% improvement per week. I can move, no pain, stand, sit(not for long, we are not designed to sit for 8 hours a day)
So there you are, answered, disks do heal. My MRI shows almost no more bulging after 6 months. Job done.
I still eat the same, do the exercises, and take the suppliments and more now. So a complete life style change. Feel fantastic and loving life ;)
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