• over 1 year ago

    Herniated L5 - S1

    I have a herniated L5 S1 disc in my back.

    I have been dealing with it since 2007. Originally I received three or four Cortizone shots to help me be able to move and walk.

    After that, I went to physical therapy and developed a regimen of stretching that has helped.

    On a daily basis I would say that on a scale of 1 to 10, my pain level and discomfort level is pretty manageable and is probably at worst a a dull discomfort at around a 4 or 5.

    I actually do not take anything for it and just "suck it up" and go about life.

    It's been harder for me to develop muscle in my core because it's hard for me to get to the gym and stretch and do everything these days with the family and work but I still more or less get to stretch and keep the pain manageable.

    I try to avoid taking NSAIDs or any other type of pain medication. i've decided to not get any more Cortizone shots because I don't think they were really helping much. And I decided not to get a discectomy because I know people that had that done later had issues again.

    I'm curious how others are managing their discomfort and am looking for best practices.

    For example if you do stretches or yoga, does it help? If so, how often do you do it? Do you get total pain relief? Perhaps I am not doing enough?

    Do you take supplements?

    Have you gotten surgery? If so has it helped? Did you get a discectomy? Or did you get spinal fusion? What is your lifestyle like? For example, I desire to be moderately active. I am relatively young at 40 years of age. And would like to do active things.

    Any input or advice is appreciated.



  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Herniated L5 - S1

    injections do not work my back issues are inoperable. The only thing that has worked for me are fentyal patches. below is the pain scale used by pain doctors

    0 No pain. Feeling perfectly normal.
    Does not
    interfere with
    most activities.
    Able to adapt to
    and with
    medication or
    devices such as

    Very Mild
    Very light barely noticeable pain, like a mosquito bite or a
    poison ivy itch. Most of the time you never think about the

    Minor pain, like lightly pinching the fold of skin between the
    thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the
    fingernails. Note that people react differently to this selftest.

    Very noticeable pain, like an accidental cut, a blow to the
    nose causing a bloody nose, or a doctor giving you an
    injection. The pain is not so strong that you cannot get used
    to it. Eventually, most of the time you don't notice the pain.
    You have adapted to it.
    Interferes with
    many activities.
    changes but
    patient remains
    Unable to adapt
    to pain.

    Strong, deep pain, like an average toothache, the initial pain
    from a bee sting, or minor trauma to part of the body, such
    as stubbing your toe real hard. So strong you notice the pain
    all the time and cannot completely adapt. This pain level can
    be simulated by pinching the fold of skin between the thumb
    and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails,
    and squeezing real hard. Note how the simulated pain is
    initially piercing but becomes dull after that.

    Strong, deep, piercing pain, such as a sprained ankle when
    you stand on it wrong or mild back pain. Not only do you
    notice the pain all the time, you are now so preoccupied with
    managing it that you normal lifestyle is curtailed. Temporary
    personality disorders are frequent.

    Strong, deep, piercing pain so strong it seems to partially
    dominate your senses, causing you to think somewhat
    unclearly. At this point you begin to have trouble holding a
    job or maintaining normal social relationships. Comparable
    to a bad non-migraine headache combined with several bee
    stings, or a bad back pain.
    Unable to
    engage in
    Patient is
    disabled and
    unable to

    Same as 6 except the pain completely dominates your
    senses, causing you to think unclearly about half the time.
    At this point you are effectively disabled and frequently
    cannot live alone. Comparable to an average migraine

    Pain so intense you can no longer think clearly at all, and
    have often undergone severe personality change if the pain
    has been present for a long time. Suicide is frequently
    contemplated and sometimes tried. Comparable to childbirth
    or a real bad migraine headache.

    Pain so intense you cannot tolerate it and demand pain
    killers or surgery, no matter what the side effects or risk. If
    this doesn't work, suicide is frequent since there is no more
    joy in life whatsoever. Comparable to throat cancer.

    Pain so intense you will go unconscious shortly. Most people
    have never experienced this level of pain. Those who have
    suffered a severe accident, such as a crushed hand, and lost
    consciousness as a result of the pain and not blood loss, have experienced level 10.
  • over 1 year ago

    RE: Herniated L5 - S1

    The problem is if you wait too long and cause permanent nerve damage. I ruptured my S1-L5 disc and herniated my L4-L5 disc. Shots never helped me either. When I finally agreed to surgery, they did fix my back structurally but numbness and nerve pain remained. I have finally gotten back to walking a lot, but without feeling in my right foot/leg I stumble fairly easily. I'm 41 and have always been active too. It is a personal decision, your body will tell you when you are ready for surgery... find a good doctor that doesn't just "sell surgeries." Not trying to scare you, just my personal experience...
  • RE: Herniated L5 - S1

    Movement is key for me. My back issues are also inoperable. For me movement is key. You do not need a gym to exercise, stretch. Myself I do a lot of isometric exercises that can be done sitting, standing doing whatever. A bit about me. I went from being disabled by pain, taking 300 mg of Oxycodone and wanting to kill myself on a daily basis. Since I started exercising, PT, CBT I have gone back to work (as a pastry chef), no longer take 300 mg of Oxycodone a day and am no longer suicidal (there is another health issue involved there). I am still in pain everyday, still require pain medication (fentanyl patch). I rarely require any for breakthrough pain, my pain level is generally runs a 3 to 5 according to the chart posted here. There is a book by one the doctors who used to be one of the medical experts for WebMD who wrote a book about his struggles with pain, he is a pain specialist. I found his book very help but the title and his name are eluding me at the moment. Maybe somebody can recall it and post it
  • 8 months ago

    RE: Herniated L5 - S1

    had fusion at l5-s1. took almost a year to stabalize. overall, i am better. less pain but more stiffness. stiffness worse in the a.m. daily stretches do help, but you have to do them every day. i used cold before the surgery. now, only heat packs and it helps.