Herniated Disc Pain Relief

Dealing with the side effects

Painkillers do two things to do: dry you out (dehydrate) and constipate you. The first is relatively easy to deal with (drink more water); the latter is almost impossible to deal with.

Try stool softeners and laxatives, and maintain a very high fiber diet. Unfortunately, in my case, I did these things and still stayed "stopped up" most of the time. You can build up a dependency on stool softeners and laxatives, so don't use them for more than a week or so.

An enema might be necessary if you really need relief after a few days, but you can build up a dependency on them, too, so be careful.

A herniated disc is one of the most grueling pains to deal with, because it's truly unrelenting and sometimes insurmountable no matter what you do, even with the toughest painkillers available. I had an L5-S1 herniation a few years ago, and it took almost 5 months for me to get surgery (a discectomy) approved and scheduled; in the meantime I was up just about every night with pain, and daytime wasn't a whole lot better. This is my advice on how to deal with the pain, with respect to painkillers and other strategies.

Keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, and I'm simply relating my own experience. You should consult with your doctor about what sort of pain relief program to start.

During the course of my herniated disc experience, I tried just about every analgesic available. My general advice is:

  • take painkillers before you start to feel intense pain--most narcotics work better at preventing an onslaught of pain than diminishing it once it's on full-strength
  • never up your dose as a step - work up very, very gradually according to your needs. Keep in mind the painkillers do not completely eliminate the pain - they just bring it down to a manageable level.
  • if you wake up in the middle of the night in pain, try walking around before taking a painkiller. I would grab a book, magazine, iPod or my laptop computer (I'm not joking!) pace back and forth for about 30-45 minutes before taking a painkiller. Then, the pain will have subsided enough to allow the painkiller to work.
  • Distract, distract, distract. Try anything - everything - to get your mind off the pain. I guess this depends on your personal philosophy, but with a pain like sciatic pain from a herniated disc, I've found that concentrating on the pain does absolutely nothing except remind you you're feeling miserable! I became a big fan of comedies and engrossing scifi dramas.

Beyond painkillers

Here are a few tips that worked for me:

  • walk, walk, walk - even simple pacing usually helps reduce pain; try walking before taking painkillers if the pain is especially intense
  • lie on a couch with your legs lifted up onto the armrest. This tends to feel better than lying down completely flat.
  • avoid sitting on anything soft. Sit on completely rigid seats (like flat wood).
  • stand as much as possible, and gently rock if your legs start to get tired. (Just ignore those that think you look like a crackhead!)

1. OTC painkillers

Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen sodium) do well if the pain is very mild. Note, you can not take these if you're gearing up for a spinal injection or surgery. You can try Tylenol (acetominophen) but I found it not to work too well on its own.

2. Vicodin (hydrocodone + acetominophen)

Vicodin is the next step up from the OTC painkillers. It lasts about 4 hours, and hits its peak of pain relief at the 1.5-2 hour point.

Keep in mind that it is a narcotic, like all those below, so you shouldn't drive a vehicle or make any important decisions while under vicodin.

Vicodin is composed of hydrocodone and acetominophen, and states the proportion of both ("5/325" means 5mg hydrocodone and 325 mg acetominophen). Acetominophen is toxic to the liver, so you should never exceed 4000 mg of it per day (or approximately 12 pills containing 325 mg each), but I would suggest keeping it below that.

Keep close track of how many pills you are taking per day. When you start getting to the 10-pill-per-day point, ask your doctor for something stronger.

3. Norco

Norco is effectively the next level up from Vicodin, with a higher relative dosage of hydrocodone vs acetominophen than Vicodin. For example, while Vicodin might be 10/660 (meaning 10mg hydrocodone and 660mg acetominophen), a comparable Norco dosage might be 10/325, or 10mg hydrocodone and only 325mg acetominophen. The lower acetominophen allows you to take a higher painkilling dosage of hydrocodone.

In terms of the way it makes you feel, it just feels like a stronger version of Vicodin. If Vicodin was working for you, but you have to step up your analgesic level, then Norco is the next obvious step.

4. Percocet (oxycodone)

A similar opioid narcotic to hydrocodone, but considerably stronger, oxycodone is also mixed with acetominophen to make Percocet (OxyContin is the time-release version without the acetominophen; because it doesn't have the acetominophen to prevent overdosing of oxycodone, OxyContin is highly addictive and my doctor said he almost never prescribes it anymore).

The dosages I took of Percocet were 5/325 and 10/325 before surgery. I was taking more than 12 pills of the 10/325 dosage on the day before surgery, so I would say this is the medicine of last resort. There is one more option - morphine - but I personally found it to not work as well. (A morphine IV drip would, probably, but the time-release pill, Kadian, did not)

My treatment history

If you want to read what I went through with respect to treatment (including cortisone injections and a discectomy), please read my hub on herniated disc treatment options.

What didn't work as well for me

These painkillers didn't work too well for me, but YMMV so you might want to ask your doctor about them if you're in a lot of pain. Apparently some of these modalities work wonderfully for people with certain pain patterns.

5. Kadian (time-release morphine)

This did not work well for me - I felt high but in pain - but is a popular painkiller for a badly herniated disc so it's apparently often prescribed.

I personally don't like the feeling of being high at all - I guess I'm a control freak over my brain function! - but I will say the high is not a particularly pleasurable one. Please don't take that as a challenge!

But if it ends up working for you, ask your doctor for a coupon card for this - I didn't even have to pay a copay for it, since I had $50 per month covered by Kadian.

6. Dilaudid (hydromorphone)

This painkiller is supposed to last longer than the typical 4-hour window of vicodin/norco/percocet, but I found it to, like Kadian, not work all that well for the pain. It's supposed to be especially effective for nerve pain, and was supposed to allow me to sleep through the night without waking up. Didn't do that for me.

7. Ultram (tramadol)

Ultram didn't work as well at managing pain, either. Ironically, it's supposed to help with neuralgia (nerve pain). I was given free samples by my doctor.

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Comments 162 comments

Chicagoswburb 24 months ago

I have had sciatica off & on for years. I am a 35 year old female. For the past two months I have experienced extreme back pain on and off. The last two months the pain has extended to my right leg. The last month the pain is mostly in my right leg and is excruciating numbing to the point of not being able to walk at all. I used to be able to just walk around and at least that would bring some sort of relief. I got to the point where sitting down for just a couple seconds and trying to get up was impossible. I came back from a two hour flight about two weeks ago and I was not able to walk or get off the plane ; they had to get a wheelchair and it was excruciating to even sit in.

Since then I have been crying morning day and night because of the sheer pain in Nephi able to do anything for myself and not being able to find one single position that would give me relief for longer than 15 seconds. I'm a mother of two and for the first time ever I seriously considered not being able to live like this with the rest of my life

The pain was just that bad it's indescribable and debilitating. First doctor's visit he told me to take some Aleve and use an ice pack and just take it easy for a while and it should go away on its own

Obviously that didn't work and I felt discouraged and sad that no one could understand the pain I was in

Second doctors visit he gave me Norco and Flexeril and told me to try that out and to take it easy

Not only did that not work but it didn't even work a little bit it's like I had taken nothing

He told me to go see second and third opinions so I called chiropractors physical therapist Illinois back Institute and a couple neuro surgeons

At this point I was desperate and I was crying every day even in front of my kids

I was able to do nothing I was able to get not even a full hour of sleep at all purely 100% because of that excruciating pain.

I tried a chiropractor at first and started regularly seeing him daily

That did not work for me and so it made me feel worse

Sorry physical therapist and acupuncturist.... Still nothing no progress at all

I got an MRI and it showed that I have scoliosis, three bulging discs, and a herniated L5 disc that is pretty much cutting into my nerve. I had an intense fear that I would start to lose function of all my limbs because periodically my legs and arms would go completely numb my vision would go blurry and I get shocking painful waves from the entire right side of my body for no reason at all I was not able to drive or do anything whatsoever without excruciating pain and most the times I just was not able to do it because I was not able to move my body

I call to get an appointment with the neurosurgeon they told me I couldn't see one for at least three weeks no matter who I called it was at least three weeks to two months before I could see one

I called my general doctor in tears and told them I couldn't go on like this and i want to see a neurosurgeon immediately

His nurse took pity on me and called neurosurgeons for me I finally got an appointment for one the next day

He reviewed my mri and immediately saw how much pain I was in and for the first time ever I felt like I was understood before I even said a word

He said unfortunately you have to go in for microdiscectomy as soon as possible there is no other way this thing is a chance of disappearing for you

My surgery is in two days and it cannot come fast enough

The surgeon also gave me Percocet and Valium

While these two drugs are helping a little bit little bit meaning like 20% they really aren't helping much at all put 20% is 20% of my will take it for the time being

That is what so disheartening about this problem... no medication really works good, most people cannot understand , when the days go on the pain gets worse and your hope goes away

Hopefully in a couple days I will write back and update with my progress being amazing

I'll leave you with these words

I know u feel like no one understands the pain you're going through but I do ! and please do not lose hope ...try everything under the sun until something works for you because your life is precious and living at pain-free is your right...❤️

Abhishek Gupta 2 years ago

You people must give a try to amitryptiline 25mg nocte and gradually increasing/decreasing the dose on the basis of relief by this medication!


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Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney

I would say, don't ignore physiotherapy and massage. They can't help a herniated disc - but the body tries to cope with the pain by tensing all the muscles and fascia around it. Over time, that tension turns into spasm and can be excruciatingly painful all by itself! So if you can find a good massage therapist, they can really make a difference.

Some people find acupuncture or reflexology give a lot of relief. Acupuncture didn't work for me, but reflexology did. They don't fix anything, but they can block the pain very effectively if you're sensitive to them.

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tigerlovebug 4 years ago

my mri showed i have a bulging disk and a hurniated disk iam in so much pain have a hard time gettting out of bed or doing anything. i have bad ideas in my head to end my life my doctor wont help with pain pill she told me it is not good for me in the long run. i just dont really know what to do anymore.all i do is cry and it hurts my love so much to c me like this it is taking my life from me i have been to rehabilitation and to the pain clinic and now waiting on the neurosurgen.

natalie 4 years ago

I'm only 17 years old. Have had a herniated disc since age 15.I have no idea how I could have developed this at such a young age and the pain can be excruciating. It's fustrating. I guess it was all the rigorous training as an athlete but it really sucks. I try to move forward and just continue on with life without worrying about the pain but it's tough. I'm super active and I overdo it sometimes. A little advice on easing the pain at least a little with out so much intake of medication. I would greatly appreciate it.

Roxy 4 years ago

I have 3 herniated disc L4,L5,L6.. and its painful I tried the ESI shot and only lasted 1 month.. now I'm waiting to see if the surgeon can just do surgury.. I have tried different type of meds and none seem to work.. I feel like I'm in a dead zone

sushibar 5 years ago

I don't know exactly what triggered my first herniated disc, but I frankly don't care. I am so careful since that first time, and it's not been that bad since, which was about 6 years ago. The ER only gave me narcs, but didn't help the pain, and actually made things worse, bc the rest of my body was "floating" and my back was trying to anchor me...but I usually get this problem from sleeping too long on my stomach, or lifting stuff, and since I'm a home health aide, I lift quite a bit. I currently use chiropractic services and have motrin and flexeril, neither help very much, but at least I can sleep through the night. Mornings are very painful, as I am so stiff, but i have actually found that rubbing vaporub on my back with my knuckles, really hard, gives me the most relief. I'm just waiting on that sneeze or cough that jerks it all back in place...take care

Kateeo 5 years ago

I am just now experiencing this type of pain..dx with L4& L5 herniated and protruding. I feel like it is beginning to take over my life. Currently on vicodin, norflex and naproxen. Sometimes I think I must have a really low pain tolerance as the family doctor acts like this is no big deal and seems to be surprised at the pain I am having.....

ca 5 years ago

i have back pain with the last few years. i get attacks of pain in lower bk every few months. if i sit or stand for too long the pain comes bk. i cant do a lot of things in case my back comes at me. i get pain down my two legs and my toes are numb? i dont have this the whole time just attacks of it. i went to back care clinic and did excerise but did not find this any good. the pain is unreal when it happens and get injections and strong tablets to take but does anyone know what this is as i want to get mri done but dont want to spend money if nothing will show up. and im back to square one, can someone help me please. i need to be active for my two kids.

Robot 5 years ago

My back pain and knee all started in the late 70's on a bridge in a 70's frat back mustand this bridge was a toll bride with 4 cars sitting directly in front of us the person that hit us when our car was sitting waiting our turn was traveling at a rate of 50-55 miles an hour not paying any attention to her driving but trying to light her cigarette guess what she succeeded in doing lighting her cancer stick smashing into our car breaking both our highjack seats my back was hurting and my knees broke the dashboard my husband of 39 years now suffers from neck and shoulder pain since those years we have had a lot of wear and tear and pain on our limbs we are now in our 50's I have since had several surgeries including total knee replacement and others and several sessions to help my physical therapy which in essionce is just usually proloing your surfer we just this past month I had an Emgt 2 MRI w contrast the next week I got my results therapy was not an optionL2-3 laminectomy and diskectomy 3 hous and a half in surgery 2 in recovery room so ill be 2 wks post op this Sat and I'm very glad and blest it's over now just no lifting bending anything to do but watch tv and rest and take meds but so far it's been the best thing I could have done for myself I feel like six months den the road it will be better all the way around

Leia 5 years ago

I've had 3 herniated discs (L4 L5 S1) since I was 16! I've had 3 pain blocks, numerous physical therapies and too many pills to remember! Bc of my back I've had to have 2 c sections, due to the fact that drs were afraid if I pushed while in labor my discs would rupture and possibly paralyze me! My pain now comes and goes, but usually only flares up once a yr! When it acts up however, it's excruciating and nothing helps the pain except a week or two of dealing with it!

donovan 5 years ago

Hi. im Donovan from Singapore. Just discovered i had a disc buldge L5-S1..last year. Initially i tot it will be just a minor inconvenience to my life till i realised the problem is affecting my life drastically. Im a very action person,gym and fitness training was my life.In fact i needed to sweat it out in the gym so i can sleep better due to work stress. Im so so sad that none of my family or friends truly understand the pain that we are all going through..Once i sneeze and i also fainted from a sharp pain shooting down my entire right leg..Couldn't brush my teeth cos sink is low and cant tie shoe laces or drive...Now, doing physio, acupuncture, gravity boots and other supplements for in flammation. Its getting better, slowly but surely...We reali feel for all of you and i hope we will be able to get our life back! god bless.

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worlapain 5 years ago

Laney, there are plenty of videos and stuff on the internet.

I'm doing a bit better. I think the trust I have in my pain specialist is part of the cure. Aaaaaaah relief! Even if temporary is welcomed.

I'm looking into a visit with a kinesiologist who does acupuncture. should be interesting. Best of luck, posters.

laney 5 years ago

ive been in pain for over a year now, im having an injection on monday, and im so nervous, not knowing what there going to do..

nate 5 years ago

So I got my results back from my mri. 4 ruptured discs all in a row. L2-l5. So much worse than I thought. I cried when the nurse told me on the phone. They referred me to an orthopedic surgeon to see what he says but due to my hectic work schedule I have to reschedule for two to three weeks from now. What do you guys think will be my options for that many ruptured discs?

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worlapain 5 years ago

Had my last shot and it seemed to lessen the x10 pain I was having this morning. With that pain down to like a 5, it is such a relief to be able to sit and even use my laptop sitting down!!!!!

But I'm not done because when all the fuzzy meds wear off, where will I be! I'm on gabapantin (Neurontin) again, and hope it helps reconnect my toes which are numb. It's a bad sign, but if this helps, it will help healing.

I'm also booked for PT and for acupuncture. Hoping to get back to some semblance and avoid surgery, but have decided I will have it if this is all for nothing.

Hope this gives hope to some of you. It did for me.

Amy 5 years ago


It is crazy to think about how many people have been affected by disc pain and there is still no great treatment besides medication and dreaded surgery. I herniated my first disc when I was 12 years old, and now that I am 25 I have 3 herniated discs (L5,L4, and L3). Right now I am having another episode of pain from shoveling snow. I have been using ice regularly and T3's for pain management. I have been told that surgery is not an option. What are some suggestions for staying positive and getting through the bad times with your back? I feel like it is pointless to go to the doctor because they only prescribe me Percocet. When I am out of pain I live a very active lifestyle and having my life put on hold can be very frustrating,

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livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

johnsurf: Please, be my guest to share your story. I did have a discectomy in May 2008, and it was successful. Recovery was relatively quick, but I didn't start weight training again for several months (after about 6 weeks of physical therapy). I hope you find relief from the pain, whichever modality ends up working for you.

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johnfsurf 5 years ago

Hi all,

I was in hospital all over Christmas with this sciatica from a bulging disc problem. I got the injection only worked for a day. I recommend not getting this as it seems they dont know what they are at with it. It seems quite unsafe.

I have numb toes after it. This only came about after getting it done and that was on the 20th of dec still have the same problem.

I am going giving the inversion table a go for the next two weeks (i should get it delivered in two days). If this does not work then I have no choice but to get a Microdiscectomy. The disc cut back. I have seen the mri and my disc is sticking out and then down so its bad as it can be I think. I am worried about this operation as im afraid i could lose strength number 1 and two feeling in my leg. Has any one here had it done.

I am hoping to teach surfing but that plan is out the window if i loose strength in my leg.

I thank god im am not in the pain i was in over christmas and my heart goes out to anyone with that pain now.

If any one has had this op done can you let me know.

Hope your feeling better Live longer thanks for sharing this information and apologies for piggy backing on it.

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worlapain 5 years ago

This is a very useful and i can say encouraging page. The drug information is very useful, as I could gauge where I'm at in the problem. I'm in a lot of pain, worse in the morning, and in the evening I become too confused with the Percocet, which I try to limit to 3 or 4 a day. I feel that I am not getting any relief just not myself after more than those.

I'm awaiting pain shot #3 on Friday; meanwhile, had a really bad reaction to shot #2 on the 6th. It's way too long for side effects of the shot to last.

I can't walk, drive or sit like a normal person. I have all the symptoms described for a full-blown case of sciatica due to herniations, stenosis, so I can understand. But at least I have Friday to look forward to.

I'm in a horrible position (sic) of trying to figure out the best way to (literally) crawl back to my old active self.

Wish me luck, and I hope all of you find some comfort and relief from this terrible malady.

Laura green 5 years ago

I have been using s tense unit and have had great success I wear it all day at work and at home until I go to sleep. I have a broad bulging disc at L5 and S1. My rich leg gas. Been numb fir going on 2 years now, but after a fall the unbearable pain began. I am on Naproxen, Tramadol, Norco and 2 muscle relaxers. But for 3 days now have been pain pill free! I highly recommend a tense unit before resorting to surgery!

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ejurado08 5 years ago

Ok I had a herniated disc at 22. I work constructIon. In our industry this is the norm and a lot these posts are amazing to me. Im 31 now and have had 4 flare ups. Each one progressively less painful. I personally know over 15 people with these issues and after talking about this post they were also amazed. I guess it comes down to tolerance of pain. We have families and choosing to stay in bed is not an option. For example I just recently flew down to Charlotte for an interview and had injured my back before. Was told not to fly but went anyway. Yes pain was uncomfortable but do I just stay home and let the opportunity pass by? Of course not. I agree that the ice is best therapy. Ibuprofen, ice, laying on floor, and walking even in pain helps almost immediately. We don't last more than two days in pain and we are back at work taking it easy. We do stretches and lower back exercises when we have a hard day of work. All one has to do is look at the faces of your children or spouse and ask yourself if the pain is really worth not paying your bills or feeding your children. Once again we all agree that ice therapy is the best and I completely agree with earlier post that you can actually feel movement in your back. The key is to ice constantly for a day or two. CONSTANTLY! God bless everyone on here.

Dr. Stew Sherman 5 years ago

Herniated and ruptured discs are excrutiatingly painful but relatively simple to understand.

A large percentage of these cases have some pelvic misalignment which aggravates the lumbar spine through the ilio-lumbar ligaments.Compensatory curves develop in the spine which over time wear down the discs, which leads to a bulge, herniation or rupture.

Acute treatments need to involve Anti-inflammatory treatment (either shots, oral or both) with spinal manipulation of the Ilium(s), sacrum and the corresponding lumbar vertebrae. This can be done by a chiropractor or osteopath. I say those two b/c they have the most training and experience.

Core stabilization and ergonomic training is very helpful.

Decompression and Inversion reduce symptoms temporarily but don't actually correct anything. Kind of gimmicky.

Most chiropractors do very specific physical therapy on the spine and pelvis. This usually saves time and visits b/c of the D.C.'s experience in spinal issues.

It's been my experience that approximately 85% of the patients who present for "Sciatica" actually have an acute form of Sacroillitis. I actually get excited when I find a true Sciatica case involving nerves.

nate 5 years ago

So my mri is next week Wednesday. I am scared of the results because it might be worse than I originally thought. Whatever happens I hope to get some sort of resolution to the problem. I want to be off of painkillers so they stop ruining my life. Being addicted is one thing but being addicted because you NEED to be is another story.

Belkis 5 years ago

Hi , I'm glad to find this place to sheer our misery .

I had sciatica for more than a year , from herniated disk ( 2 ) from the lumbar area , I always suffer since teen time back pain , real bad , as older Im getting the pain increase terribly till one day I cough and my left leg was in such of PAIN :(((( I was for around 5 minutes till went away , I look in the PC I typed my simtoms and I know was sciatica , I just did not from herniated disk so when I knew what was happening with me I went to take a pee and I bend my leg when I stand up I will never forfget the imaginable pain , it felt like somebody was pulling my leg or curting it with the knife in cold blood ,so bad I scream and cried like I never did before ,I went to ER , they told I had sciatica so i made a MRI in my lumbar and I got to hernia , one was pinching the sciatica nerve so i went for a shot ,not relieve at all ,it was so big the hernia that I decide to go for surgery because I really thought it's the faster and the last thing we can do after so much pain , really come on , no even painkiller can give you 100% free pain , but I have to say I was limping , now I'm not , but the pain still the same , the PAIN is still inside killing me everyday , the surgery it's just about removing the hernia that is pinching the nerve , the nerve already is damage , so don't wait for a surgery to get free pain , cuz I still in PAIN , I tried everything for sciatica nothing help me to get rid of the pain , just want thing , when I do my sciatica exsersise and use my trampoline which is great for the back , when I dance , I walk , the pain is gone but when I stand for a while,seating for long time or sleeping then I have not more option the take percocet , the sad story is that I'm 35 years old and my surgeon does not want to give it to me cuz I'm to young , not kidding !!! I told her I'm to young to be in pain too , so I'm going to try for the second time a shot because she said the hernia is little so now will work , I pray for this shot to work , if not I will keep doing what I'm doing streching , dancing , walking , to keep moving and don't let the left leg to get wicker , I fight that everyday.

My doctor wants to put me new metals disk , not way , I will never let nobody touch my back , I really regret the surgery , it's sad to go and risk your life , suffer more pain and after a months , 3 months , 7 months a year the PAIN still there because the results of the surgery it's like I never had one and I will never have a new one , I really not see the point , I want to be cured and pain killer not only damage your liver you cant do to much when you take it , also it's danger cuz we need the pain to know to stop any move we do and if you excersise with a pain killer you may feel great but it's so danger you can damage more the area and your brain it's not telling you , so I suggest to do what I did , I google everything about it I learned a lot for a year , I do everyday stretching , dance , walk in this moments not pain at all , plus I keep in shape cuz people that suffer back pain should know being over weight makes the situation worse , so it's smart to exsersise ( specially for sciatica ) keep your mind out your mind , try to focus and something you enjoy it because I can tell you I'm losing my hope of my leg to be like before and if you tried surgery and did not help , painkillers it's an option no healthy but who wants to feel a terrible pain ??? I'm making a new proyect about this misery pain to help people like you to deal pain the best and healthy way without surgery , the spinal cord it's the most important part of our body , control the whole nerve and it's connected to the brain as well , it's something you don't want to play with it , we can be paralized , so take care of your problem before it's to late , good luck to me and all of you ;)

nate 5 years ago

Update: doctor called at 5:30pm telling me that they are ordering an mri for me by next week. They want to see the condition of my back. Until then they want me to take hydrocodone 7.5/500 and tramadol. I got them last night and took 3 right off the bat and got enough relief to at least sleep last night. Still in major raw pain but at least it muted the pain a little. My worry is they only gave me 60 of the hydrocodone and i don't get my refill until the 27th :/

Miking 5 years ago


I have ruptured three discs in my lower back L3,L4,L5 ( think ) I know it's three though. The dr has told me to take six weeks bed rest and take my neurontin,oxycodone 5mg, OxyContin 30, and flexeral. He didn't think I would need surgery but my aunt spoke with an RN and she said that if I'm dragging my feet its a bad sign and I can become paralyzed if I do not have surgery .. My mother is very concerned and insist that I have surgery.. Is this true? I am 26yrs and male with not any type of medical issue my whole life .. What would you suggest ? And can I just wake up paralyzed from bed rest all I do is get up to bathe and use the restroom

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Sometimes your body gets use to or "toxic" to a drug if you are on it for too long. Best to fix the actual problem rather than just drug the symptoms.

In my case, I am trying to put off a lumbar fusion because the outcome of that surgery is not so good and it leads to more down the road.

I ended up changing my meds (after researching forums) to avinza (the lowest does) which is morphine added to my oxycodone. NO SIDE effects for me, and it seems to work synergistically with the other meds. Still, my S-I joint has been killing me on the LEFT side. Both sides had facet blocks, the left one wore off quicker. The right is better, so now onto radio frequency in March.

They cannot get me in until MARCH! WOW, talk about NOCARE, and they call it HEALTHCARE...go figure. So for 3 months I am left to suffer and live off narcotics.

Good luck Nate.... waiting to hear back from you~

nate 5 years ago

The pain is more than I can bear. I called my doctor and came clean about my over medication. I hope they suggest another form of treatment. Doesn't help me right now at work. I'll update with results this afternoon and let you guys know what happened. Pray for me. It's so miserable today.

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Nate, you are NOT an addict if you have actual PAIN. Addicts are those whose pain is gone, but they still crave the drug. I do not get HIGH on my pan meds at all. I need them but I only take them when I am in pain. Some days are better than others, so I am never "out" of pain medication. I have a very understanding prescribing doctor, who has all my medical reports so he sees that what is wrong with me is REAL.

I have titanium in my neck from a drunk driver and a really trashed back from a work related injury in 1997, that is now getting worse as I age.

I still think that you need to consider another opinion and get the surgery. It must be quite a burden to be in pain and then feel guilty for having a much needed surgery. This is why we cannot let the HEALTHCARE that we do have be repealed. Pre existing conditions should not disqualify anyone from healthcare.

Call your doctor and tell him you are in excruciating pain and that dose you are on is no longer touching your pain. If need be, get another opinion.

I wish you all the best.

matt 5 years ago

excuse my spelling, im laying in bed in the dark,, something i hate getting use to

matt 5 years ago

hey guys, horrible to see how manny people are in this pain.

i herniated 2 discs on thanksgiving, yep 2 months ago, haven't been able to walk or stand since then. been in bed and haven't been to work in 7 weeks.

at first i couldn't do anything, hurt to lay stand sit sleep. now i am only in pain if i am sitting or standing for more then a few minutes. when i am laying down, i sometimes dont even feel the pain at all.

i have been on prescription anti inflammitory. i didn't like taking it at 1st cuz i thought the pain would go away. now i am at the point where if im not better in another week or so, i have no choice but to get an injection.

im only 28 and hate living like this, i spend all day in bed. i got an inversion table to strech out, seems to help, but the relief fades with in minutes of when i get off.

any suggestions? will the pain go away on its own to the point where i can stand or sit without needing to lay down?

very fustrated!! thanks

nate 5 years ago

I'm so afraid to call my doctor two weeks after refill because I don't want to lose these. They at least last two weeks which is better than nothing. If I say something I might get cut off. But now I'm staring down two weeks with nothing. I don't know what to do. I'm at work right now in absolute misery.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Nate: I feel for you. I will tell you that recovery from surgery to the point that I could work again (i.e. no heavy lifting, of course) was about one and a half weeks. I have had no pain since the surgery, and, in fact, was in less pain when I left the hospital, with fresh stitches and anesthesia worn off, then when I went in.

nate 5 years ago

Addiction has already set in. 120 percocet 10/325 a month is what I'm on. I go through them at the two week mark. Surgery isn't really an option because I work retail and am the sole provider for my house hold and can't take off of work for it.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Nate: Surgery is not an option? If you are running out of your percocet that early, I would definitely consult the pain clinic. BTW OxyContin is almost never prescribed these days due to its capacity to induce addiction.

nate 5 years ago

Hi guys. Been reading for a while but thought I would write and see what everyone thinks. I had a car accident 10 years ago and the mri and ct scan afterward showed rupture at L4-L5 the pain i have on a daily basis is severe. Doc has me on percocet 10/325 and I have been over taking them to have some sort of a normal life. I am out every few weeks and have to deal with the wretched raw pain afterward every other two weeks. Should I go to a pain clinic and have them monitor it? I don't want to get super strung out on something harder like oxycontin. Out today of my Percs and no refill until the 27th-30th of this month.

Rootsgal 5 years ago

I am allergic to ALL NSAIDS which would include ibuprofen.

Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 5 years ago from Idaho

Even after a c-section I wasn't very fond of narcotics. I forget what I was prescribed but it just made me feel high and want to sleep. For me, ibuprofen worked much better for pain relief. Here is a link to my latest hub for those interested in learning how the spine works and possible steps to prevent back pain.


Rootsgal 5 years ago

I went to a physiatrist (spelling off oh well) and basically they are a cross between a shrink and a very conservative pain clinic. They will just do injections that usually wear off quickly. I have had no luck with facet blocks and I have what you have. (DDD) plus I have 3 bulging discs and one with an annular tear (the fluid is leaking out of the disc)

Disc height loss means the fluid INSIDE your discs is gone thus them closer together and PAIN...I have 3 with NO FLUID at all.

If I were you I would go to a PAIN MANAGEMENT CLINIC, or get a second opinion from another neurosurgeon. Good luck finding one that is HUMAN though. They are rare and they make you wait for hours for a whole 2 minute appointment.

GOOD FOR YOU FOR NOT TAKING NO FROM THE ER. You could report them for their behavior towards you. (I know I would)

Go to your primary care doc and ask him for a referral to another neuro, he may know one that looks in your face and not the clip board. They have the God-syndrome you have noticed.

I am suffering now after surgery and a gazillion injections...I walk crooked, balance is off, PAIN is an 8 normally...so I know how you feel.

Keep us posted and wishing you all the best~

sky 5 years ago

Hi everyone,

It is such a relief to see there are actually people out there that feel pain. As you all know, it's so hard knowing that know one truly understands what you are going through. My back pain started in 2008 with a lot of lower back pain. I would have tons of swelling and knots, sometimes the size of baseballs on each side of my lower back. I visited two different chiropractors with honestly, not much luck. They did electrotherapy on me, various adjustments, etc. and I would visit as often as 4 times a week.

Then in June 2011, I woke up with a really weird feeling. I had a long day planned with two graduation parties. By the end of the day, I found myself laying on the floor in pain that was so bad I could barely walk. I got home and for the next two days my pain got worse. I could not walk, could not use the bathroom, could not do anything but lay in bed without literally screaming in pain. I went to the ER (my boyfriend loaded me up on a computer chair and pushed me to the car) and the ER send me home with Flexural and a mild pain reliever. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The next night I had the ambulance come and get me and take me to the hospital. They tried to send me home again saying that I had just strained my lower back and that I was fine. I had to literally BEG for the ER doctor to give me and MRI and he said "You don't need one, you will just be wasting your money". Finally he gave me one and came back with the results, "Wow, it looks like you have a herniated disk and you need to be admitted immediately! I will find you a neurosurgeon right away."

My first neurosurgeon decided that he wanted to give me a stem block and that I didn't need surgery. He gave me that and said that I need to leave the hospital. I told him I wasn't comfortable leaving so soon and I want to see if the stem block would work. He literally threw a trantrum in my room and threw his papers down and said "You are going to question ME?! I'm a neurosurgeon!" Not kidding. So a few minutes later he came back into my room and told me that I was right and that the nerve block didn't work and that his shift was over and he would be passing me along to a new doctor.

My new surgeon looked at my MRI images and said you need surgery immediately or you might be paralyzed. There is a piece broken off and it is pressing against your spinal cord. So I had a discectomy on my L4/L5 at the young, tender age of 20. I graduated from college this year and had to miss walking at my graduation. I was scheduled to move to Washington, DC at the beginning of July for work and told my surgeon this, he said no problem.

I had a post-op appointment at the end of June and he said I look great. He gave me a pamphlet of exercises/stretches to do twice daily for the rest of my life and advised me to walk and keep active. That's it.

Move to Washington, DC (from Oregon), Fast forward a few months (November), I started having some sciatica again and kind of brushed it off. Then progressively my pain has gotten worse. My hips are swollen, I have sciatica in both legs, burning sensations in the back of my left legs and horrible swelling/pain in my lower and mid back.

Two weeks ago, I go to the ER with horrible back pain similar to that very feeling when that day in June when I had those two graduation parties. They pump me up with drugs, refuse and mri, prescribe me 4 different medications and advise me to see a specialist. Luckily, I already had made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon a week prior so I had an appointment coming up.

At my appointment he ordered and MRI and told me without seeing a MRI there was little he could do or say. So get the MRI and come back.

Got my MRI and the results on Friday:


The lumbar vertebral body alingnment and vertebral body heights are normally preserved. The verterbral body marrow signal is unremarkable. The conus medullaris terminates at the T12 level. No intrinsic cauda equina lesions are seen.

The L3/L4 level there is disc degeneration and the disc height narrowing. There is a shallow posterior central disc protrusion, minimal spinal canal narrowing.

At the L4/L5 level there is disc degeneration, disc height narrowing. There is irregularity of the lamina on the right side likely due to a prior laminectomy. There is right posterior paracentral disc protrusion and small amount of granulation tissue adjacent to it and extending to the right. The descending right L5 nerve root is displaced posteriorly and is likely impinged upon between the disc in the right facet joint. There is minor disc enroachment of the nueral foramina resulting in very minimal narrowing.

At the L5/S1 level there is shallow posterior disc protrusion, no significant spinal canal or nueral forminal narrowing.


Post-Operative changes at the L4-L5 level. There is a right posterior paracentral disc herniation with impingment on the descending right. L5 nerve root

2. Small disc herniation at the L3/L4 level.

What a joy to have, seen as it was far worse than I imagined. I have an appointment with a physiatrist on the 6th and I look forward to hearing what he has to say. I will not be returning to the orthopedic surgeon after my ordeal with the MRI and his rude bedside manner. No need for details.

So I guess my question is, is a physiatrist a good option? Or should I stick to neurosurgeons? WTF happened? I haven't done anything that would make me get any herniations. Does my MRI sound serious? I understand a bit, but the medical jargon is a bit much. Should I be worried. This 7 days, that I have to wait to hear what's going is in eating me alive. Any insight would be helpful!

May 2012 be a pain-free year for all of you!

Ashley28 5 years ago

Thank you for your response Rootsgal. Yes, three are def herniated. when it was explained the three discs herniated are also showing disc degeneration and spinal stenosis. Even though L2-3 was not shown to be herniated it also shows degeneration. I hope to make an appt soon with the neurosurgeon and will get some relief. I'm going to talk to my doctor about the pain and lack of sleep and see what may work better.

Take care :)

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Ashley, if you have that many HERNIATED discs you truly need the surgery. Just pick a GREAT one not just any surgeon because this is your back.

I found a great one in Connecticut @ UCONN. I think you will not feel any better until this happens. The discs are pushing on nerve roots thus the agony and lack of sleep.

That is a small does of oxycodone so do not let anyone make you feel guilty for taking PRESCRIBED pain meds.

I had facet block in S-I and L-5 and they DID NOTHING except make the pain clinic money...they HURT terribly and I was bawling and shaking after them and to this very day. It has been over 20 days since I had them too.

Good luck, and please ask around before you go with any neurosurgeon.

Ashley28 5 years ago

Thank you for your response. I go to my orthopedic doctor & pain management doctor in the next two weeks. I have faith they will have a plan but sometimes just feels like been dealing with this pain for past months without much relief. Thank you for your Hub. Allowed me to see I'm not the only one going through this, especially at such a young age.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Ashley: I would talk to your doctor about your options. I had surgery at the age of 35, a bit older than you but not really middle-aged. I would check out my other Hub on treatment options, too; I share my experience with various treatment modalities when I herniated my L5-S1.

Ashley28 5 years ago

I'm too can relate to many that have posted on this site. I'm so sorry to hear that so many go through this pain. I woke up one morning back in September with the worst pain I've ever felt. Went to orthopedic doctor and had my MRI in October. I have three herniated discs: L3-L4 L-4-5 and L5-S1 in the lumbar spine. Also showed DDD and spinal stenosis. I'm only 27 and it can be very frustrating because one day I was "okay" and now I'm in pain pretty much consistently.

I have been in Physical therapy for 3 months completed 3 epidural block injections. These shots did not work for me :/ they are going to refer me to a neurosurgeon but not sure what their role is? I'm terrified of surgery being so young.

My doctor started me with Hydrocodone 5/500 then to 7.5/750. Don't really have much relief from it. I've missed 3 months of work and just want to be better! Has anyone else had surgery at a young age? Was it worth the risks? I know everyone responds differently but no one my age (my friends) can relate and don't seem to understand when I talk to them about it.

Also, having much trouble sleeping. About 3 hours at a time. Sometimes I'm up every 45mins to an hour. I've tried the pillow and absolutely can't sleep on my right side. It's unbearable since all my pain is on the right side (back, lower buttocks, outer calf, outer part of foot).

Any support or answers will help. Thank you!

livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Freddy: I don't think so. Where I do state facts, they are correct. The rest is my personal experience using all of those painkillers. Nowhere do I suggest taking any of these without a doctor's prescription.

freddy frog 5 years ago

The Live longer article is full of errors about the medicine. It is almost 100% wrong. I suggest reading an article that is written by a doctor or better yet going to a doctor and being evaluated and treated for your case.

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Tomorrow, 12/19/11, I am getting facet blocks in my L4-5 and S-I joints. I have been in agony and the timing of these "blocks" could not be worse with the holidays just a few days ahead.

Wish me luck and I certainly hope that these make a difference. I will post the outcome here after it has time to reduce the inflammation and pain. (if it does) Happy holidays~

Kristine 5 years ago

Change doctors Antonette.

antonette 5 years ago

I have had 2 surgerys on my neck. My meds help me so much VICODIN & muscle relaxer WHY does my doctor keep tring to cut my meds down they WORK or should I said HELP my pain. Some days I hurt so much I. Need a shot she will give me a shot that does NOTHING for my pain this is so upsetting. My doctor retired sent me to her & she keeps cutting my meds I don't understand, I need a good doctor that hears me & wants to help me PLEASE

Rootsgal profile image

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Hi Rachel,

I am so sorry you are in pain with kids. That makes it all the tougher because we do not want our kids to see us sad and in pain. They know more than you think.

I also have days better than others, and days when the minute I stand up, it feels like a knife or a jagged bone is sticking into a nerve. I have sciatica terribly and am getting a burser injection in my left hip tomorrow, 11/29, and on 11/30 radio frequency in 4 levels of my neck from A DRUNK DRIVER....you see that I "get" what you are going through.

I think you need to keep nagging your pain doctor. People have to really kick and scream to get good care these days. Please keep after him.

I hope you have some decent pain meds. I have that at least, but some days, even pain meds do little. I have DDD as well, and had L4-5 disectomy in 1998.

Keep us posted and I hope things get better. Your a great mom.

Rachel Leigh 5 years ago

Hello. I am only 26 and I have a slipped disc, bulging disc and pinched nerve. I have chronic pain. It starts from my lower back, all through my hips and shoots down to my feet. It is constant. I was in a terrible car accident. It is really hard because I am a mother of two and not being able to ever hold my children again just kills me. I have done all the spinal injections that can be offered, Ive gone through several months of physical therapy as well. Nothing seems to help. some days are worse than others. Those days I cant bare any wait and or stand, it makes it harder that I am an Orthodontist assistant and I stand all day long except my lunch hour. I cannot undergo surgery until I am older.

Rootsgal profile image

Rootsgal 5 years ago

I am unable to get an appointment for facet block in 5 levels of my lumbar spine until FEBRUARY 23, 2012!!! THEY HAVE NO OPENINGS, and I am just bawling from agony...no care instead of HEALTHCARE.

How can they make people wait so long? I think they hope we will kill ourselves, and then the insurance company saves some money...profits come before people.

Zaid 5 years ago

My heart pours out for all of you..I am 20yrs rite now I had L4-L5 & L5-S1 disc herniation sum 5yrs back. The pain was excruciating I was practically impaired couldn't lead a normal teenage life worst nobody around in d house understood what pain I was going through. I don't blame them though. I tried almost every possible treatment mentioned in d blog but it hardly made any difference. Now a week back I had ozone disectomy done. I could feel the sciatica pain gone instantly all that is left is some cramps in my pelvic and hip. I am still recovering and on anti inflammatory drugs so not sure. However I can say that I have had a good nite sleep for the first time in years. So people don't lose hope I know the situation is extremely discouraging and tends to push you to your limits. God bless us all.

Rootsgal profile image

Rootsgal 5 years ago

Hi Linda, You and I have the same issue(s). I also take tons of pain meds. Avinza (morphine) oxycodone, norflex, gabapentin, lyrica.

I had an L-4-5 disectomy in 1998. It made me better, but I also have DDD, and some "grey discs" which I was told meant they are dried out and disintegrating. (WONDERFUL)

A few days ago my back just went out. It felt like I injured my tailbone because it is so low. I have S-I joint issues as well, so I am sure that is part of it.

My husband used our massage wand for 20 minutes 2 times a day and then rubbed PENNSAID, took hot baths, and now I am sitting on the donut pillow. I CANNOT SIT AL ALL without it. I cannot walk except VERY short distances. I use my crutches if we leave the house. If I stand too long I have to lean on anything because my back will give out. The pain on a 1-10 scale, is 42! No lie...

I have an appointment with my pain mgmt doc 11/29, so I have 2 more weeks of this...not sure if I can get through Thanksgiving and all that cooking and a mom in a wheelchair wanting to come over from her resort, Assisted Living. She has ZERO empathy...whatever.

I think I need an MRI. I have not had one in about 4-5 years and I think something is very wrong because this pain is SHOOTING, like a contraction and then it subsides only to whack me again.

The COLD and damp weather is the pits and I am only 51, but I feel like 101. I am allergic to ALL NSAIDS. (anti-inflammatories) so basically I am screwed. On top of this I will need it all approved by workers comp, but they have backed off since they know I have a REAL injury. They will approve it as long as pain doc orders it.

I use to swim (like you said would help) but in 2006, a drunk-stinking-driver, ran me off the highway and I ended up with an anterior cervical 4 level fusion! So I cannot really swim laps, just floating. Does my life get any better than this?

I am being treated for that with facet blocks and on 11/30, radio frequency (they burn the nerves with a needle) I am wondering if that would work for my S-I joint issues?

What does anyone have to offer for advice on this mess?

I am still breathing...so keeping the sense of humor as best as I can. Your comment about "HOUSE" is funny, and I can so relate. Good luck to everyone here~

Linda 5 years ago

Sorry I would not wish this problem on my worse enemy but spinal degeneration problems are horrable to live with. I suffer w/spinal stenosis, DDD, multi level nerve damage & herniated bulging disc. Have retired earlier then liked to & my 83 year old mother does better then me. (I'm 53) This had me age before my time & must agree on the tv shows that gets your mind off of it. I pop hydrocodine like Dr. House on tv. Maybe take 3000 - 3500 mg a day. Water therapy would help if I was rich & could afford my own pool? Certain seasons my condition gets worse. Winter in the cold. My problem is fear of going to the hospital for morphine shots & muscle relaxers because they make me feel like a drug addict for a fix? When I have a legit issue! Hope for the best! ;) Linda

SaraG 5 years ago

Eric wondering did you also have sciatica or nerve pain with your herniation? I may try the ice pack again but with my herniation ( MRI shows large herniation at L5/S1 causing compression on two sets of nerves) the major problem I have is the sciatica/nerve pain in my leg/foot. My problem began four and a half months ago. I saw my GP six times, they sent me home with diclofenac and td me it would ' take time to go away' ! I had to pay for own MRI and only now have they given me gabepentin and referred me to an orthopaedic consultant.

I can't drive the car, can't sleep, struggle to sit for more than 15 nibs at a time. Have tried sports massage, chiropractor, physio and am currently trying acupuncture. I'm 42 and have two children and have never experienced such unrelenting, debilitating pain in my life before.

Eric 5 years ago

Non-stop ice therapy fixed my two herniated discs (L4/L5 and L5/S1). I was deperate. Incredible pain, couldn't move off the bed. I used ice packs (real ice no gel pack!) on my lower back non-stop for 5 days in a row. That's right 24/7. Used a stretch exercise belt to hold broken up ice in a rubber water bottle on my back without stopping except to replace the melted pack with a new one. Here's the day-by-day blow:

Oct 16 - strained my already injured back (had my first pain 1 year ago in November – much less severe – could always still walk) moving large potted plants inside for the winter

Oct 17 - could barely walk the 2 blocks from the metro station to the office

Oct 18 - couldn't get out of bed from the pain

Oct 20 - visit to a chiropractor/acupuncturist - slight, temporary pain relief

Oct 20-24 - in incredible pain anytime I'm not lying down or bent over (have to fake tying my shoes at BP while getting gas just to bend over for relief)

Oct 25 – Kasia (my wife) and children leave on their vacation to Egypt (planned many months ago)...now I'm on my own

Oct 26 - Had an MRI done - the herniation is huge...in fact there are 2. I start taking Ibuprofen for the pain/inflammation. Only taking this though the pain is extreme.

Oct 27 - consultation with a neurosurgeon, recommends surgery ASAP, discectomy at a minimum ideally vertebrae fusion, fast-track immunizations to get on the operating table ASAP. Tells me it will take 10 years for that size herniation to go away

Oct 28 - in desperation, search the internet for any ideas ... lying on my stomach over 3 pillows under my hips to relieve the pressure on the discs.

Oct 29 - first read about ice treatment...20 minutes on then 1-2 hours off then repeat...the only thing I can find to start this is a frozen chicken fillet in the freezer

Oct 30 - do the 20 minutes on 1-2 hours off all day but the chicken is thawing from frequent use...notice the water bottle sitting full of water from an earlier heat treatment (the only thing I had ever used it for)

Oct 31 - freeze the water bottle overnight and start my first multi-hour session with ice...starting to feel relief. I start the day by slamming the water bottle on the floor to break the ice chunk into small pieces. I find this very therapeutic to let out my frustrations with this injury.

Nov 1 - continue the treatment but breaks in between are long waiting for the water bottle to freeze again. Kasia returns from vacation!

Nov 2 - iced as best I could all day. Consultation with neurologist at 18:30. He's surprised that I'm not in more pain when he sees the MRI. Checks for neurological deficiencies and finds my left toe and left ankle are weak. Says "I qualify for surgery" but acquiesces to my declaration that "I don't want surgery". Prescribes rehabilitation as "patient does not want surgery at this time" clearly suggesting that I'll cave in sooner or later. He schedules a November 14th consultation with a Rehabilitation Doctor.

Nov 3 - Kasia buys me 2 more water bottles so I can keep a constant rotation. 24 hour ice application begins with first application over the entire night while sleeping. Stop taking Ibuprofen as the pain is virtually gone while lying down. Stills comes back very quickly when I stand up and walk.

Nov 4 - Wake up at 4AM to go to the bathroom (drinking a lot of water as recommended to fight with a disc). Get out of bed with no pain. Change to a fresh ice pack. Walked a little more around the house during the day but wasn’t able to keep consistent ice applications. Had some cramps on the left side of my groin and into left buttock. Subsided after 30 minutes of a fresh ice pack. Was supposed to meet with McKenzie trained therapist but postponed the meeting until a still-to-be-determined later date.

Nov 5 – Had a rest day. Didn’t try to get up too much. Downloaded McKenzie Method book and read that. Tested the prone position from the McKenzie Book (Exercise 1). Couldn’t hold it for 2 minutes even with the hips adjusted away from the painful side as suggested. Have virtually no pain when lying down with ice pack applied. Starting to feel some “movement” around the injured disc. Skin is now numb so I don’t feel the cold from the ice pack when I apply it. I can feel when the ice has fully melted and my skin starts to warm up again. I know then it’s time for a new pack from the freezer.

Nov 6 – Quite a bit more active today. Took a shower but still “sitting” on my right heel rather than standing up. Based on McKenzie book, trying to walk very upright every time I get up. Tried Exercise 1 again. Held it for 2 minutes but it wasn’t easy. Trying to get up more today with non-stop ice pack application. The ice continues to work wonders. I can tell right away when it’s melted or been off too long. Tingling comes back. I’M CURED – it happened this evening. I was standing in front of the refrigerator still in pain when I felt a final “movement” in my disc and suddenly the pain was gone. I could stand and walk upright without pain. I could feel the difference in the back. The disc had shifted. I want to see exactly what has happened through another MRI. I will try to schedule one in the next few days. In the meantime I plan to take it easy and continue still for a bit with the ice packs.

Nov 7 – Woke up this morning and all is still well with my back. The change has come thanks to the ice. By using broken up ice in rubber water bottles my skin never reached any dangerous temperature levels. Experienced no freezer burn. The ice slowly melts and the skin never comes close to frostbite territory. It worked! This is a miracle! Please let me know if you have questions.

TwoDimes profile image

TwoDimes 5 years ago from USA

So many of you are reporting almost exactly what has or is occurring for me. I developed severe pain in my lower back, right buttock, and right hip back in 2009 after having done EXTREME stretching and some Yoga. I have been to many specialists, had several MRI's and C-Scans. It was not until October 2011 that "they", (after another MRI and a C-Scan/Myelogram), determined that I have bulging discs in L-2, L-3, L-4, L-5, and S-1.

I have tried multiple types of pain medications with not one of them reducing the pain. I have tried massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractics, and acupuncture to no avail. All therapies made the pain worse.

I have had epidurals, Cortisone injections, and, (as of TODAY, Nov. 1, 2011), four nerve block injections. So far, I am in worse pain than yesterday.

I am sure that something was developing in my back prior to my over-exercising but it was very mild discomfort. I was over-exercising to try to regain sensation in my muscles. I had cold-turkeyed off of Klonopin and my body became completely rigid with my having absolutely no sensation in any muscle. I believe that my CNS was greatly affected.

I went back on Klonopin and have been working on tapering off of it since October 2009. I am only down to 1.5mgs of it, was at 4mgs at the start of my taper.

I am convinced that the cold-turkey and over-stretching severely damaged my back/spine, etc. I am convinced that the use of pain medications does not mix well with withdrawal and actually creates more tension and pain.

I wonder if anyone else has had a similar situation (i.e., going off of Klonopin, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

I, too, from reading here, am PLEASED to find that I am not the only one who is not finding relief.

I relate to each of you so very well. I am so very sorry that each of you are in such agony.

I hope to hear more from others and, particularly, from those who have found a solution and obtained relief from some type of "treatment". (Gee, aren't doctors maddening? They all have different opinions, different diagnoses, love to refer you to somebody else, like to try different meds. I am tired of the lot of them!)

Thanks for reading!

Charlotte, oh how I "feel" you! What you have/are experiencing is NOT in your head, for sure! I hope, so much, that your MRI gives you some answers and solutions. Let us know, please! Oh, how I know how painful walking can be, etc. I have been there.


Charlotte 5 years ago

For everyone suffering with this pain, I really do feel for you because I know how awful it is. I thought I was going insane/crazy but after reading these comments I realise I am not alone.

I am 19 years old. About 7 years ago I fell on my bottom pretty hard, whilst ice skating. I had chronic pain in the bottom of my spine, where the muscles were going into spasm and it was so agonising that any movement at all made me scream out. An ambulance came for me and they put me on gas and air until I got to the hospital where I waited in A&E for hours of agony only to be sent home with "take ibuprofen". After a couple of days I was fine, but ever since then I have been extremley unflexible.


For the past few months I've experienced discomfort in my lower back & buttocks assuming it was my coccyx from the ice skating injury.

For a few weeks it has been highly painful to sit. I couldn't sit without pain so tried to keep standing or lying down. The pain got worse, all in the tops of my legs and the pelvis and kept me awake all night. I had 3 physiotherapy sessions.

After the third session, I went to a lecture at Uni that was 2 hours long. During a 10 minute break I rushed outside to walk around as I was in severe discomfort and when I returned, the pain got worse and I seemed to seize up. I walked out at the end, and walking back down to my flat it became harder and harder to walk. I made it back, my parents were picking me up to return home for the weekend. I could hardly get into the car and when the car set off, the spasms at the bottom of my spine returned (the same as after the skating injury). I was literally screaming in agony.

Ever since, I've been bed-bound. Standing up or walking to the bathroom is absolutley agonising. I can get no releif from this severe pain. I am on Naproxen and Paracetamol, and yesturday I had to go down to the doctors (which was horrendously painful) and they prescribed me 14 tablets of Diazepam.

I am at wits end. I can't attend University, I am off sick from my part time job which provides my income and I am missing out on absolutley everything.

Currently just bed-bound

I'm hoping the Diazepam will help...although they're only a one-off and am dreading what will happen after.

I'm waiting for a letter to tell me when I can get an MRI scan.

Docs say I have a slipped disc. Physiotherapist says I might, but he also (having had the time to properly examine me unlike the doctors) thinks I have scar tissue on ligaments and extremley tight hamstrings and muscles all around the pelvis, due to the original injury. Also the disc is causing severe sciatic pain.

So, so frustrated. But I feel better knowing it's not all in my head!

To everyone suffering, I hope things improve!!

Lisa 5 years ago

For anyone who is having trouble with Percocet....I was trown on them 2yrs ago for my herniated discs and gradually built up to about 12 to 15 10/325s a day! I tried oxycontin and morphine embeda tabs in between but the power of munipulating doses proved much more effective. In addition to the Percocet were various strong muscle relaxers that knocked me on my ass (taking two Percocet 10s and one zanaflex puts you out!) I just went off of them....well...all day everyday (hurt my shoulder so I did have some pain killers) and had a pretty hard time. My doc gave me Clonidine a blood pressure pill to stop withdrawal after I did two weeks of weening. It helped a lot. Please don't let any pain management doc take over your life. Sometimes its better finding alternatives than masking a problem. I've now found my new career....and I'm going to do it without stringing people along, and pushing pills on people without recognizing warning signs......

David Houfe 5 years ago

I found this site to be helpful and informative. Have had severe lower back pain for 5 years. in 2008 i had a diskectomy on L4-L5 i overdid about one month after surgery and re injured the same disk. 2 weeks ago I had the same surgery and believe that i am getting better, still sore but getting better slowly. The longer you wait the worse it is, the nerve there can get permanent damage. The surgeryis not that bad but just remember take it easy and listen to what the doctor has to say. Also i think that a positive attitude can go along ways this type of pain can bring a person to an all time low. Thanks to everyone for commenting it's nice to hear everyone's story.

Julia Robinson 5 years ago


I have been living with terriable back pain for a little over a year now. I recently had an MRI they said it does not show a herniated disc but referred me to a Orthopedic doc. I know I am not crazy and I know I am in an unexplainable amount of pain. Most nights I just toss and turn. I have done physical therapy to no with no help I have tried all the suggestions sleep with a pillow under my legs try to walk it off when I can walk for prolonged periods of time you name I have tried it. And now my PCP is being very scetchy with my results but this still leaves me in pain and waiting for their referral. No medicine not even tramadol which imo is not as strong as Vicodin. I am beginning to feel like I am crazy or as if I should just give up. I has taken a year of this JUST TO GET A MRI I do not know what else to do. This is very depressing to say the least

carl 5 years ago

I hurt my back moving a bed about 10 weeks ago , went to docs who said muscle strain , I was in agony pain number 9/10 went to A&E gave me stronger painkillers and a leaflet , sent me home, went to Chiropractor who after assessment said it was one of the worst he had seen and I had DDD at L4/L5 and L5/S1 and a ruptured or bulging disc and sciatica in right leg and possibly pinched nerve recommended MRI scan, went to my GP with this info and he was not interested recommended me for NHS Physio , went to physio first time and was assessed and given some exercises to do went the following week still in agony and the physio said they cannot treat as there are more than just sprained or week muscles and now waiting for GP to refer me to an Orthopaedic triage.

In the meantime I have continued to see my Chiro and the pain has decreased immensely at its worst now about 6 when sitting no pain at all, gets very painful walking and towards the end of painkiller run.

Painkillers from the GP paracetomal 2 x 4 daily codeine 30mg x 4 daily (stopped these as they make me feel funny) 1 diazepam of an evening and 250mg naproxen twice daily.

Still struggle to sleep and save the naproxen for when I wake at 2 or 3 in the morning.

Paid for a private MRI scan last Friday and the scan shows DDD a 10-12mm herniated/bulging disk and some smaller bulging discs (I get the report this week). I have been off work since 28th August and don’t know if it is ok and safe to return and out up with the pain now that it is easier, but don’t want to end up crippled cannot get professional sensible advice anywhere.

Louis 5 years ago

Doctors cost money. Been out of work since 2000 because of pain. Not quite 35 yet, so no money, no insurance, no chance of a doctor. Don't get hurt on the job. Don't trust the government to help you.

therapist in pain 5 years ago

also, livelonger is completely correct. for those of you in severe pain, please see a doctor! while i completely agree that massage and a FEW other therapies are helpful to those with mild- med pain, therapists are NOT doctors but should be included in a treatment plan that has been approved by your doctor.

therapist in pain 5 years ago

hello, i am a massage therapists with several bulging discs. All of them were acquired while go cart racing several years ago (i am very short, so i had to contort to reach the pedals). I have never had a horrible amount of pain due to thes because i became a therapist before it happened. So I am going to give you guys some advice (for the ones in mild to medium pain)... what i do is stretch (before every massage i do, before i receive a massage, when i get up in the morning, before i got to bed at night.) i also try to get regular massages, but it usually only happens every 2-3 months. also, try to watch your posture as much as possible. this should NOT be done by pulling your shoulders back. both feet should be firmly on the ground and standing up straight should feel natural, your hips should not be pushing forward. These things really do help. I am weary of surgery (sometimes people never feel better), but i know that every time i go see a fellow knowledgeable LMT I am garanteed to feel better for at least a month.

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Need2surf 5 years ago


First off, thank you for providing this website. I have found it very informative. I am 40 years old and have been very active my entire life until the past few years. About 9 years ago I herniated 2 discs and had a discectomy on 1 of them. Fast forward 8 years, I have had a total of 5 micro discectomy's and find myself once again bedridden. I grew up on the beach surfing and live within walking distance but find myself in and out of the water (more out than in). I am debating whether to get a level 2 or possibly 3 fusion and have limited mobiity, but know my limitations rather than continue to repair the same bottom 3 discs and constantly fear "the big one" again.

When I was younger Doctors at my schools would always take a 2nd look at my spine for scoliosis but was never diagnosed, I have been told I have a somewhat abnormal curvature and my right leg is about 2/3 of an inch shorter than my left.

I grew up playing soccer but have accepted that running is out of the equation, but surfing is more of a passsion/lifestyle for me. Any suggestions and thank you so much for your time!

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livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

David: There are 2 things - the pain level, and the actual herniated discs. If the disc problem resolves itself, the pain should also lessen. If your pain is the same or increasing, it suggests that it might not. He should give you pain meds at a minimum, and a way of seeing if the disc problem is getting better on its own over time. If he can't do both, then I suggest getting a second opinion.

David barron 5 years ago

So im 26 years old and have been expierencing horrible back pain for two months now. I have had pain for about year but it has persisted to unbearable over the last three months. My job is very physically demanding and rest is not an option. I recently received my Mri results and i have two herniated discs. After explaining my time length of pain to my dr., his recommendation was "it might get better in time". He offered no recommendations for dealing with the pain....medications, therapy etc. Is he blowing me off? Or am i over reacting. I know the pain im in. Should i get a second opinion? Considering my age will it go away?

5 years ago

Before having surgery I was bed ridden and now I am playing football again with no pain at all. In my case the pain did not go away overtime, it only got worse. Surgery is much less painful than the actually shooting nerve pain itself. Thank God for modern surgery.

Rebecca 5 years ago

Hi--I had a complete blow out of my disc in L4-L5 in Nov 2007. Coughing from pneumonia blew out a bulging disc. I was hospitalized for 5 days(i ws on vacation in Naples FL)before I was able to finally fly home in a wheelchair. Worst pain i have ever been in, makes giving birth a walk in the park in comparison. Same pain as everyone here, shooting down my back, butt into my leg and yes, all the way to my foot. I almost had drop foot, my reflexes in my left leg were almost nil. I stayed in wheelchair thru late Jan 2008. My doctor recommended surgery I was terrified like most. I can say now I am so very glad I went thru with it! I had a microdiscectomy in March 2008. My recovery was about a week, but my pain was instantly gone the minute i awoke from surgery. The only pain I had was from the surgery itself, pain at the site but that was so much more bearable than nerve pain I had experienced for 4 months. It is Aug 31, 2011 and I am still doing wonderful. I walk alot, I originally had 20 post surgery rehab sessions (aqua therapy)and those did wonders. Back surgery is not what it used to be. Please don't be afraid of it. Get yourself a great surgeon like I had, you can check their history online. Dr. Scott Dull did my surgery. I also had 4 friends who have had this identical surgery, thru the same Neurosurgical Network as my doctor, and all have had success. None have had any post surgery complications, all of us are at least 3 years post surgery. Dr Dull moved to Oklahoma City, but my surgery was in Toledo at St. Annes. Dr Mccormick did the surgery for my 4 other friends, same network. Excellent surgeons. Please don't be frightened.

Robbia 5 years ago

I found this column very informative. Thank you so much!

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livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

To all the recent commenters who are suffering from herniated discs: please make every effort to find a decent spine specialist (I'm talking about an MD, not a chiropractor or other alternative medicine doctor). I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to finally get the surgery, although the painkillers I took definitely made those months before then bearable. There is no reason to spend the rest of your life in such horrible pain, and I'm afraid that alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbs, and back stretching, will not work in most cases. Please take care and good luck.

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livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

I've heard that's the case for some people, but I (honestly) don't know from personal experience.

LIban 5 years ago

some peeps say if you smoked weed the pain will go...is that true?

Zaid 5 years ago

I had been diagnosed for early spondylisis and a disc bulge in my L5/s1 L6/s1 region some four years back..d pain has been quiet variable in these past years now I'm 20yrs n still trying to keep up wid the pain n normal routine..can any one please explain how exactly is my condition different from others or is the same..also the pain level is not very high but it's irritating n annyoing..also wat medication would be ideally suitable along wid streching excersice..also any option I should explore..help is much appreciated..god bless us all?..

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layla77 5 years ago

I created an account just so i could comment on this page.

I am dying from herniated disk pain. I have a herniated disk in the neck between 3-4 and osteophyte overgrowth between 5-6...lovely. I'm 34 years old and this has made me really depressed. Not to mention that I am a recovering addict, so the whole pain medication topic is a touchy one for myself and my family. I am currently on Hydrocodone 7.5/500, flexeril, and neurtotin. none of this helps. my last visit, a referral from my MD to a spine clinic, they had me sign a pain medication contract. this states that if i do not take exactly as prescribed they can call my family!? Absurd. I hear when they do the drug tests, they test for levels along with other drugs.

I just can't seem to think straight. the only thing that makes me feel better is ice. I always tease my sister and tell her "I'm having a love affair with an ice pack." ...sad but true.

I start a new physical therapist tomorrow so we will see...in 6 weeks get the first steriod shot, if still no relief, then surgery.I play piano too:( and with numb arms and hands it is so scary and difficult. This is no way to live.:(((

Kellie 5 years ago

To luke, I know your post was two years ago. I have just been diagnosed with herniated L5/S1 disc posterily 5mm, they called it disc dessication. I am a 41 year old female farmer. Picture of health til now. Yes its after 3 in the morning, cant sleep, cant eat, husband is tired of me bitching and complaining. I am so confused, depressed and frustrated. We are orange growers in ca, 80 acres, we pack and sell the fruit ourselves. So needless to say, im very frustrated, so many things I was able to do in past, but cant now. I dont mean to ramble. How did your back turn out. Hope sf ully well. Acupuncture helps, but at $75 a visit, it adds up fast. Any helpful advice would be great. Thanks kellie

blackngold13 5 years ago

I am suffering from 6 herniated discs and 2 bone spurs. Ive gone through the steroid shots, enzyme glue injections, as well as vicodin prescriptions. None of these helped. I decided to try and fix it on my own via exercise. I workout 4 days a week and the pain is only getting worse, obviously due to agrivation. Any ideas? Oh and a good medicine if you are trying to get off of the narcotics is suboxine phosphate. Similar to methadone.

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firestarter26 5 years ago from greenwood, In

But I do appreciate your Hub btw. You are obviously a very knowledgeable person about these matters and I'm actually considering trying a few of the suggestions you've mentioned. Ever since my C-5, 6, and 7 disc injuries over eighteen years ago I've become very familiar with topics such as these. I can even rattle of my exact diagnosis now like it's nothing. Oh btw way I have disc desiccation at C5-C6, degenerative endplate marrow signal changes at C5-C6 , cervical lordosis, right paracentral disc osteophyte complex and stenosis. It is hell any and all of it, you're right about that. Thankyou for your Hub.

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firestarter26 5 years ago from greenwood, In

I don't mean to be rude but you are mistaken about the Norco's. The only difference between vicodin and norco is that norco has less tylenol not more hydrocodone. If it's 5/500 it's a vicodin If it's 5/325 it's norco. If it's 10/500 it's vicodin If it's 10/325 it's norco .

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alfonso33 5 years ago

I'm a physically active, flexible 70 year old

with episodes of lumbar herniation over the

last 20 years, usually lasting 3-5 days. I should consider myself lucky, except anyone

going through this excruciating pain knows I'm not. Waterboarding?--I'd give up the universe to get away from that pain. In bed,

rolling over triggers unbearable spasms & the whole body tightens up in a scream. And not knowing when the next one is coming adds

to the horror.

What amazes me is that once the disk gets back in place, the episode is over, and I continue my active, vigorous life. A lot of walking, some swimming. And my mind wonders: how could something so terrible go away--sometimes in a matter of hours. I'd like to know if others have had a similar history.

Stylish 5 years ago

Plz tell me is morning walk good for slip disc L4/L5 AND SCIATICA ??

Evolution is ever-growing! 5 years ago

I'm 12 and have 3 slipped discs in my lower back, and short hamstrings, I find it hard to walk and my mum is considering hiring a wheelchair for days i can't walk, it may come in handy, Is it a good idea?

sick of it all 5 years ago

Well here's my story

I'm a nurse Herniated disc L5-S-1 4 yrs ago working. Had physical therapy from day1 with NO help.After 5 months had partial discectomy and decompression of the S1 nerve root with no pain relief. Have spent the last 4 yrs walking like forrest gump just for diversion from the pain. Have not gone back to work. Sitting and standing for more than 5 min is not in my life style because of the extra pain it causes.

One week ago I rolled over in bed with extreme pain happening. Went to my doc and as I suspected herniated disc again. Left butt and down left leg to ankle. Involving knumbness to almost all of my foot. Repeat performance! I agree this is the most extreme pain that I have ever had. For me the worst is when I put my feet on the floor in the morning.It settles to a constant pain after about one hour. I have had it all the last time. 4 injections, physio, TENS, spinal stimulator implant(8 months ago) all the medications out there. Nothing touches the pain.My memory is shot! Can't imagine where this herniation is going to take me. WBC still trying to get me back to work with corrupt specialist and doctors. Had CAT scan on Thursday. Will find out results tomorrow. Crossing my fingers its the same disc.

This site helped me. I feel so alone in my pain and to listen to others it makes me not so lonely. tks

Kbolton30 6 years ago

I'am 30 years old and a mother of 2 beautiful girls aged 6 & 2.

I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in November 2010 as well arthritis in lower back and neck. When i was about 7 years old I was kicked in the lower back (tailbone) area with a dock martin boot. After that, if I sat for long periods of time I would feel intense pain in my lower back.

At 18 I had soft tissue damage to my lower back. When I had c-section with my 1st daughter the anesthesiologist tried 7 times to give an epidural but all I felt was an intense pain shoot down my back and scrapping against my spine.

Not too sure if any of these would have cause a herniated disc. There are times where my husband has to roll me out of bed and help me stand up & I can barely move for 2 weeks at a time cause the disc is pressing on my nerve which causes pain to my buttock, down back of leg, comes to front of leg, which causes pain in my knee, shin and foot. I'am on Tylenol 3 and Naproxen. I'am now in constant pain for over a week from just vacuuming and mopping my floors.

Are back problems hereditary? My mother is 59 and had decompression surgery which did not help and just recently had surgery for more decompression and 2 rods inserted. She has 8 herniated discs as well as stenosis of the spine.

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electricsky 6 years ago from North Georgia

Thanks for your hub. I will try some of the pain pills you suggest and hope they work.

lisa mcgovern 6 years ago

Hoorah for this forum, i am a 34 yr old fitness instructor who has had a slipped disc for 2 years, i have been so depressed throughout the 2 years and hardly see certain friends as i feel so down im not interested in anything they have to say......wrong i know, my hole life is on standby i have not worked for the 2 years and through pure frustration have gone back to a job that physically i shouldn't be doing.

i have had 3 epidurals and this lst one 2 months ago has made it 100 times worse i hardly sleep im moody, im not taking painkillers as i had tramadol once and had an allergic reaction to it so have just had heat packs on my back. i have said that i was a fitness instructor but cannot do this for a job now however i have continued training at the gym as i have had to do something for my mood and i have been going to gyms for 16 years i have only been doing the crosstrainer for 20mins and core exxcersies any advice on surgery would be grat i have a constant stabbing pain in my back and wake up with my spine feeling very twisted in the morning excrutiating pain.

Ana 6 years ago

I am now taking NUCYNTA for my lower back pain. I have complete relief for about 5 hrs. This medication does not make me sleepy or dizzy.

laura 6 years ago

well its a week now since my surgery, my neurosurgeon told me the bulge was a lot bigger than the scan showed so they took out most of the disk. i had a lot of pain from the wound first but thats normal they did just rip through muscles! from what i can tell it worked, my toes on my left foot are numb but i think the nerve is still regenerating so i'm not too worried, i do however have a bad goin/hip pain now, it kinda burns too so i think its nerve, it open happens when i lie on the same side for too long but it was worrying all the same. i'm stuck on 'bedrest' now for 2 more weeks and then i get back to college and then i'll know if the sciatia is gone. fingers crossed :)

Roy 6 years ago

Funny telling this story, i was having intercourse when my back started hurting( mine you only missiony)i went to doc and found out I have two herieted disks. The pain was so servere running down my leg. I would fall to the ground to relieve the pain. Anyway two shots later and pt. I'm getting better. Pt was the first sign of relief. Only lasted for ten min. The answer I found was. Stecthing in the morning and going past the pain. CAn walk for over six hours. No pain meds. Was taking Vic 5 500 andperocet. An

d what ever I can get my hands on.wish me luck.


sis 6 years ago

Found out I have 2 herniated disks, once disk with an annular tear, one disk perturding into a nerve sack. Also have a synovial cyst. From my L3 on down there are many abnormalities and bad osteoarthritis. I'm on loratab 7.5, which doesn't work that well. Also a muscle relaxer, and 600mg ibprouphen. Still in a good amount of pain in my back, and nerve pain in my legs. Woke up one time crying my eyes out from leg pain. I am only 25 years old, wondering if conservative treatment is going to be a waste of time, is surgery the only fix?

laura 6 years ago

hey fellow sufferers, finally got a date for my surgery, 1st of october! fingers crossed!

billy 6 years ago

hi im havin very bad pains in my back neck both arm and both legs ive had this for 10 years naw ive have 3 different problems with my spine ive a lumber spine slip a disk slip and spondylolis ive tryed some pain killers haw ever they dnt work the doctors have naw had me on dihydrocodine for 2years ive tryed askin the doctor to change it but he says no im waiting for an op but theres a long waiting list some one tell me haw to make the doctors understand what pain im in

donna 6 years ago

i was diagnosed severe prolapsed disc L5/S1 over 5 years ago now.since then have other L discs collapsed and cervical discs also. have widespread spinal stenosis and degenerative discs. i have had multiple mri/cat scans/xrays/bone scans etc.have tried physiotherapy,steroid injections,tens machines and many types of pain medication over the years. my story is complicated as i was misdiagnosed as having terminal bone cancer right at the beginning, so no one willing to operate on me. thankfully the dr who said i had cancer was proved wrong, but this took over a year due to many hospital miss haps, lost notes,drs not turning up at clinics, etc etc.when finally told no cancer in bones it was now too late to operate and pain management was the way forward. then i got early bowel cancer and had to have part of bowel removed. this also meant i could no longer have anti inflammitory meds. now 5 years on and pain is still off the scale every day!!!!! i can no longer work and totally depressed with it. i now say that if i was an animal in this level of pain i would be put to sleep!!!! why do drs feel that this level of pain is acceptable, some days cant walk at all and can only rest if i in a V position i.e semi recumbant with legs in the air.very attractive not.... is there any hope.....................

bob 6 years ago

I've done a lot of research on chronic pain (being a sufferer myself). Ultram is one of the worst pain meds there is. It causes a lot of nausea and one of the worst side effects is seizures. It is not very helpful in relieving chronic pain. Another good opioid pain med is the extended release form of dilaudid. Under clinical trials it has done very well. Another is Opana ER. An extended release form of the powerful opiate oxymorphone. Its marketed as a twice daily med. I found that it did not work well for me and did not last twelve hours. I am currently back on Kadian. Which is the extended release morphine. It works great for me. Some complain about itchiness from morphine. If this is bothersome you will do better on a synthetic opiate such as oxycontin. Demeral is another opiate to avoid. Although it works well. In chronic use it causes a toxin to build up that causes muscle tremors. If you have a history of opiate abuse or are worried about it and can tolerate morphine, there is a great new drug called "embeda". Like suboxone, it contains narloxone (spelling) so if its crushed it will stop the opiate from working. Pharmaceutical companys are looking into making other opiate pain meds less abusable as well. If you have any questions feel free to E mail me at davisgwar@msn.com.

laura 6 years ago

oh and the meptid and difene i'm taking have no effect but every time i go back to the doctor i feel like i sound like a drug addict asking for stronger ones so i just put up with it, fml!

laura 6 years ago

hey, interesting comments on this site! just shows everyone's different. i had a car crash nearly 2 years ago when i was 18, the car flipped a few times and i was thrown about, they though i had a spinal fracture but just bruised, (apparently) then 2 months later i started getting lower back pain radiating down my left leg, went to my gp and she said it was sciatia and sent me to a physiotherapist, she was reluctant to do anything with me due to the extent of the pain, kept getting worse, had to go back to the gp over and over she kept prescribing me tramadol in higher doses and finally she listened and gave me proper drugs, meptid and sent me to a neurosurgeon. this is getting long so i'll shorten it, basically i've had 2 mri scans which show L4 and L5/S1 herniation. my neurosurgeon sent me for a nerve-block, biggest mistake i ever made!! i was nearly dying with pain in both legs for 3 weeks afterwards and now i have severe right leg pain as well as left, they cannot explain the right leg pan though as the disk is herniating to the left. i am in constant severe pain every day, i was a waitress up until last month as i had to quit because my back would literally give way and my legs would go in the middle of work, i am also in college and have to sit down all day which is my biggest pain problem, i am finally being put down for surgery as osteopaths won't touch me either, i know people suggest excerise but i personally cannot, io walk with a limp now and when i walk i feel like my back is grinding, lying down with my legs up at an angle is my only relief, its over a year and a half now and most nights i cannot even get to my bed because the pain is so bad and i get so "paralysed" to be honest i wish i was fully paralysed -at least then it would be over, i am hoping this surgery helps but i doubt it as nothing else has helped. :(

John Baillie 6 years ago

I have DISH disease in my lower back. I am only 49 years old and this disease has been classified as Advanced in my case which is very uncommon. I have several herniated discs and 3 areas of spinal stenosis with nerve compression and compression of the spinal cord itself. I also have DDD very bad from my cervical to lumbar spine---Ostearthritis with broad based ostephyte formation. I am also having Siezures that are unexplained at this time, and my condition is getting a little scary to say the least. I was taking Morphine SR 12 hour tabs 10 times a day with Cymbalta for pain but this only makes the pain bearable. Have a requisition into the pain clinic as I cannot bear this much longer. Hope ODSP approves me for help -----I sure need it ---DONT know how I could possibly work with this kind of pain to deal with. Yours Truly John

linda 6 years ago

linda 32 for the past 18 months i have been in so mch pain i got up one morning and my bk was sore but it faded afer a cople months after xmas this yr the pain im going true is out this world im waiting a mri .at times im not able to walk the pain is unreal has any one out there got the name of pain killers that wks im a single mother of twins age six i need to keep the pain at bay please help

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Pure Chiropractic 6 years ago from Nanaimo

Thanks for the hub. I've linked to it on one of mine!

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electricsky 6 years ago from North Georgia

Those drugs sound powerful. Don't forget to apply heat to the area as this works for me when I need it.

Sometimes a pillow under the back of the knee relieves my back pain?

I hope yours feels better.

Pam 6 years ago

I am glad to read that some people have had a good experience with surgery, I have herniation in L5/ S1 & buldging in 3&4, Have a great neurosurgeon & pain management clinic where I have had 3 injections , they have been extremely helpful, am now considering surgery due to the limited number of injections one can have. Even though the injections have helped the pain doesn't completely go away & sometimes becomes severe still, physical therapy has also been helpful. thanks to everyone for the comments, it is good to know that there are others with this problem, & I wish all of you the best.

piyush 6 years ago


my spinal cord L5 and s1 dise is reduse gap,ihave create backbone pain,and after some time i have create the constipation problem,and all time create the pain in my back bone..so sir pls sujest me.............

Maria 6 years ago

Does Physical Therapy help with an S5/L1? After my 1st session, my pain is worse. Is this normal?

To Unicorn,

I go to Scripps also. Can you recommend me of a good doctor who does back surgery? I was also told to see a neurosurgeon vs. an orthopedic surgeon for a ruptured disc? Which one should I go to?

Mark 6 years ago

Ive had herniated discs for twenty years. I get pain maybe twice a year for a bout a week. My lower back will go into spasms to try and protect itself so that my torso becomes twisted. When it happens I take voltarin rapid which seems to help and I put ice packs as instructed by my chiro. Ive been doing stretching and pilates at home for two years and have seen an improvement. MY bouts of pain arent as severe and dont last as long anymore. I dont really understand why I only have the pain sometimes though. I swim lots for exercise. I cant run anymore as it seems to compact the spine too much.

Jodi 6 years ago

Finally, after complaining of back pain for 3 years an MRI was ordered. I have a herniated disc at the L5/S1. I am a recovering addict and finally in the last month, the pain has gotten so severe that motrin is no longer working and I have had to resort to narcotics...they tried vicodin first (this did nothing) so I am now on percocet 50/325. Doesn't work as well as the morphine shot when I am in unbearable pain, but better than motrine. I have now been referred to a physiatrist. Does anyone have any experience with this type of doctor? I had never even heard of one until this week. I did some research and all it seems is that this doctor will help to facilitate a treatment plan utilizing different specialists etc. I just know that my pain is to the point that all I want to do at times is scream at the top of my lungs, punch things and do whatever it takes! Walking has become difficult for me as my pain radiates down the right leg into my feet. I am only 46 yet walk like I'm in my 80's.

Johanna 6 years ago


I have two herniated disks and herniated disk and one of them is degenertive (car accident and felt from my stairs twice!). I am in pain must of the time so I have become use to it, but what hurt the most is my calf!. I use Darvocet, Skelaxin, Motrin 800 and a bunch of other piils, also I've had three epidural injections and all of these have just aliviate the pain.

I am 38 and feel I cannot live my life to the fullest because any abrupt movement can trigger my pain :)

At least I don't feel alone after reading so many comments in this website! At times it becomes extremelly frustrated.

JTrempe profile image

JTrempe 6 years ago from CA, USA


OK..I am a pysical therpist and hate to see the huge emphasis on pain medication! If you are experiencing significant (especially acute) disc pain, you need to be on an anti-inflammatory! Talk to your doctor but a Medrol dose pak is a great place to start. Use ice! Ice your low back for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. Watch your posture as sitting will aggravate your pain, and definitely when you sit with poor posture.

For specific information on treatment for disc bulges from a physical therapist that treats people every day with this condition, visit:


Help this helps!

Anna M 7 years ago

I am 22 years old, slightly overweight. I work with children in a day care, waitress on the weekends, and attend school full time. I have spent most of my life playing sports yearly (basketball, tennis and throwing for the school's track and weight team). About two months ago, my car broke down while I was pulling out of a parking spot and later that day my back began to hurt. I thought nothing of it because I would commonly get these weird episodes where my hip would look tilted and I'd walk a little funny for three days after waitressing on the weekends. It would always subside, so I thought the back pain would.

Anyway, it's now almost February and I've been in an insurmountable amount of pain. I don't have insurance, so I haven't had a chance to get an MRI, but I was able to save up enough money to go to the doctor. She told me that I get muscle spasms that actually lock my spine into a weird position which is why I appear crooked. And she told me the pain that I feel is sciatica. I feel like my entire right leg is in a vice and it feels like someone is trying to twist my ankle and knee as hard as they can. My buttocks also hurts from time to time. The back pain is gone, although sometimes it feels sore and tired when I drive... but it's the leg pain that is killing me. I'm on Naproxen, Flexerel, and Tramadol. I should be getting an MRI soon... but is what I am going through a herniated disc? If so, is there hope for me? :(

I'm sorry for all of the information, but I figured some background would be helpful.

I feel for every single one of you that are suffering from any type of pain. I wish everyone a quick recovery and a happy and pain-free life!

King 7 years ago

Hello guys,

urm i just wanted to share my experience with you guys, i dont know maybe to give some information which could help some of you.

About 7months ago, i was in the best shape of my life until unfortunately one night at a family wedding i bent down to pick up a very heavy object which required two people to lift. i lifted it by myself and immediately felt the pain down my lower back to my left leg, right down to my toes.

I was diagnosed with a Slipped disc on my lower back. I have tried everything, from pain killers, to therapy to massage, even one steriod injection. To be honest all these things helped a little bit. from personal experience i think the best way to ease off this horrible pain, is to go to the gym and ride the bicycle there for about 15mins, and then sit on those big balls which are bouncy, keep your back straight and firmly just keep the flow going bouncing very lightly on the ball. Do this for about 5mins, and then afterwards when you have done this, sit on the mat and do the Mckenzie's back stretch. (you lay flat on your belly, and then you push your upper body up using your hands, its like doing press ups but with your lower body on the ground.) do this 15 times and each time hold the position for about 10seconds. I think this is the best and most natural way to ease off your back pain! there really is no need for any surgery guys! and oh one more thing! eat healthy and lose your belly if you have one! the smaller your belly the less pressure on your back and thus less pain!

Points to remember:

1. keep active!

2. concentrate somewhere other than your pain

3. sleep in any type of position you feel like sleeping even if it looks weird or silly but as long as it reduces the pain then it should be fine!

4. avoid sitting for a long period of time!

I really hope this helps for some of you out there although i do understand that some of you may have no choice but to have an operation. There is no harm in trying the natural way to reduce pain!

bonnie rembert 7 years ago

I am wondering also about the 2nd epidural shot working if the first one did not. It helped a bit for one day, but then the pain (from bulging disc between 4th & 5th)was right back. Am scheduled for 2nd one this week - but then what? At the end of my rope with being in excruiating pain all the time.....

Simply me 7 years ago

My Fiancé had herniated disc (L5-S1)... and did a Surgery (discectomy)about 3 years back. He didn't complain much about any pain,there was pain but usual back pain and leg numbness but for the past few weeks it became worst, he can't walk properly and can't sit too long. He's under some medication (pain killer).. the questions are... do massage therapy will help him out? and what type of exercise he can try other than walking? he used to play golf but i guess golf made his condition worse.. thanks.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco Author

Joanne: Unfortunately I know absolutely nothing about discograms. I tried the epidural shots 3 times and unfortunately they didn't work out for me, although they did for others. I can only advise, since I am not a medical professional at all, that if you are not satisfied with what your doctor is telling/prescribing you, that you get a second opinion from another spine specialist. Good luck!!

Joanne 7 years ago

Yes, I had an MRI done on 11/4 and it shows a herniated disc at L5-S1 and nerve compression. I did not get the full report yet. My MRI from 6/20/09 says the following:

T10-T11: Mild right lateral disc bulging is present.

T11-T12, T12-L1: These levels appear normal

L1-L2: Minor disc bulding is present. No associated stenosis is noted.

L2-L3, L3-L4: These levels appear normal

L4-L5: Mild disc bulging is present. No associated stenosis or nerve root impingement is noted.

L5-S1: The disc height is diminished. Anterior osteophyte formation is present. A diffuse disc ridge complex is present. There is a superimposed right paracentral disc herniation present fairly close to the proximal right neural formania. There is associated right lateral recess and proximal foraminal stenosis. The disc height is diminished compred to the prior study and the reactive osseous signal changes are new. The right-sided disc herniation/protrusion is also somewhat more prominent.

Again, this was the report from 4 months ago. My neurosergeon had me go for another MRI to see if the herniated disc was bigger now compared to what it was 4 months ago. He said that it was not any larger so I should continue to see the Pain Management Dr. I went for the Epidoral on 11/11 and as of today 11/17, I still have no relief and cannot sit in a chair without getting up in excruciating pain and not being able to put one foot in front of the other still. Can you tell me if you have heard of anyone getting the Epidoral and it having no help whatsoever and then have a 2nd one and it helped? I know that my PM Dr. is going to have me go for another Epidoral. He told me that he would only do 2 because if I have no relief with the 2nd one, the 3rd one will not do anything for me. If that doesn't help, then I am back at square one with the neurosurgeon again and he told me that I would have to have a discography (discogram) test so see exactly which disc is causing the pain because he said that just because I have a herniated disc, does not mean that the pain is coming from that. I am scared stiff to have that discogram done if I have to. Do you know if it is worth having this test done or is is truly the herniated disc that is giving me the pain when I get up off a chair and cannot walk. I have been laying around for 29 days now and am going stir crazy. Please if you have any info for me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much!

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco Author

Joanne: Have you had an MRI done to see exactly what the nature of your herniation is? Maybe it's pinching a different nerve than your sciatic one.

Joanne 7 years ago

I too am in tremendous pain. I have been out of work 28 days now and still ca't move. I do have a herniated disc at L5-S1 and I just had an epidoral shot 5 days ago and still cannot sit what-so-ever. The pain is so sharp it feels like I am being stabbed in the back over and over again. Once I sit ang get up I can't even put one foot in front of the other without screaming in pain and not being able to walk. The only relief I get is laying down. I do not have any leg pain at all. I used to, but it is gone with the help of a chiropractor and his decompression machine. The leg pain diminished but the spine pain still bad. After my last visit with the chiropractor 2 days later I was walking just a few feet when I almost dropped to the floor in pain and it has been like that ever since. I went to a neurosurgeon and he suggested that I have the epidoral shot to see if that would help me. Like I said, it has only been 5 days and I still can't function. I need to get my life back and get back to work, but I can only lay down without hurting. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I have to see the Pain Management Dr. in two weeks and if I have no relief they want to do another epidoral injection which means waiting another two weeks to see if that works and if not, then back to the surgeon. The surgeon told me that just because I have a herniated disc, does not mean that the pain is coming from the disc, and that is the $64,000 question. He mentioned about a discograpy test. Has anyone ever had that? I am scared stiff. All the doctors are so concerned about leg pain and I keep telling them, the leg pain is bearable and really not even there. It is the pain in the spine that I can't live with. I feel like they just aren't getting the magnitued of this. My pain management doctor said that he has only had to send 5-10% of his patients on to surgery and I feel like I am going to be in that category because I am getting absolutely no relief. Again, it's only been 5 days, but has anyone gone through this and it took a full two weeks to get relief. If anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate as I am at wits end and literally have no life right now. Thanks for hearing me out. Sorry this is so long, but if anyone could help me I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 7 years ago from Henderson, NV

It's too bad that drugs don't actually fix anything. In order to relieve pain you have to get to the source and remove the inflammation from the nerves. The problem with disc pain is Doctors have a lot of difficulty diagnosing the root cause. And imagine studies don't always help. Some people with amazingly scary imaging studies can be pain free while other with relatively benign studies can have excruciating pain. There is so little emphasis on spinal education in schools yet 80% of people will experience spinal pain during their lives. There just doesn't seem to be any escape for some people. I wish there was a real solution. Back Pain Relief seems worthy of research dollars but you seldom here about it.

Inversion Tables can be a great help in decompressing the spine.

RMC 7 years ago

Have a low lateral lumbar herniated disc at L2-L3. Odd location I am told. No narcotic relieved the pain, nor did a epidural injection with a steroid. Lyrica failed even at high doses. Pain was in the right flank and the front of the right thigh. Outside and bottom of right thigh totally numb and foot was catching up with numbness.

Found the cure. Though lyrica and gabapentin are similar drugs, gabapentin worked for me, while lyrica was a sugar pill. I quit lyrica at 400 mg /day and used gabapentin 300 mg first day, 600 2nd day and 1800 third day. Spread out of course. Well tolerated for me, just a little sleepy so left my heavy duty tools alone. Ask your doctor if gabapentin is OK to try and unless he forbids it for contra-indications, what do you have to lose?

Dr. Rob Simmons 7 years ago

Try chiropractic before surgery. Be careful about the drugs. The do help reduce the pain, but allow you to do activities that you wouldn't normally do. This can sometimes cause additional damage to the disc and spine. Once you have surgery it accnot be undone. It is necessary in some cases though. Try to find a chiropractor using a distraction technique. It may be applicable in your case.

Seemoi 7 years ago

For almost three years I was in excruciating pain but ignored it, Finally when I could'nt move from my bed, my husband took me to the doctor and was told that I have osteoporasis arthritis, dorsol spondolysis and herniated disk. Wow! I was in shocked. At this present time I am in so much pain I walk like an old grandma. I am only forty eight years old but my body feels like an old woman. I took tremendous pain killer and cortisone injection, but for me too much of these medication is not good for your body because they all have side effect. I walk everyday and when I sit and get back up more pain. My doctor recommend surgery because if I don't do the surgery he said it will crippled me and I will have to walk with a walking stick. He also said the disk are in it's worst situation. I have no choice but to go for the surgery. My sister told me I should try DMX 4000 I believe is something like that but it cost. It is non surgical and she said it works. Maybe I would try it.

russell 7 years ago

I have suffered on and off for many years with this painful condition. I have an L6 herniated disc. Through looking for different methods of dealing with this I have found MY ANSWER to this extruciating problem. i have in the pas brought in massage therapist's taken different muscle relaxers, and all at minimal releif. With the onset of one of my L6 herniations I was talking to a co-worker who told me about this little old chinese lady who has this kin of thing treatable and also very fast. With hesiation I made an apponiment and she started her MAJIC. I will be very honest with you it was one of the most painful things i have ever had but i was walking and standing within two days with little evidence of the previous conditions. and after a week I was completely free of pain.

if you would like more info on this treatment you can call me at 905-457-0600 I live in Brampton, Ontario,Canada and we are on Eastern standard time. I dont blog much so i wont be seeing these resposes to this post just thought some other people would like to know about this treatment method. trust me it works

Mary 7 years ago

Wow, never expected to see all this. About 7 months ago my neck felt stiff and I couldn't turn my head at all to the left. It took me 4 months to finally see a doctor. I had an MRI done on the neck and my lower back. They found a herniated disc and degenerative disc disease in my lower back with some arthritis. I am now seeing a neurosurgeon who set me up with physical therapy and I take Hydrocodone (75's 3 times a day) and Lyrica, which barely touch the pain. My disc is pinching a nerve causing my left shoulder unbearable pain. I also lost alot of strength in the arm and my hand is almost completely numb. My neurosurgeon has already told me that I need surgery , but my insurance company is making me try everything else first. I wear a neck brace at night so I don't do any further damage. I also have lost 40 pounds to see if that would help. I eat healthy , am at a good weight and nothing is helping so far. I'm scared to death to have neck surgery, but from what I've read and the people I personally know who've had neck or back surgery are doing great. I also have lupus, fibromyalgia, and Grave's disease on top off all this. Talk about pain! I feel for everyone dealing with any kind of back pain. I can't enjoy my kids, who are 14 and 8 and it hurts more than the back pain itself. I feel like a hermit because of everything that is going on, but I'm strong and am going to fight it all tooth and nail. God Bless! Mary

amber 7 years ago

just a small idea...i am not very good with pc...but perhaps somebody can set up a facebook specialy for backpain ,,bulge,, ,,friends,,so we can al log on and see how we do everyday....keep each other company and chat a bit see how we progress or not ,and what everybody is doing everyday to feel better...and it is not bad to have friends whit the same trouble,and who knows 100 brains think better then 1 so who knows we come up with some nice idea,s for each other...like healthy food exersice,good dokters pfffff ( i could do with that lol) so anybody??

amber 7 years ago

Hi,i have a bulge on L4 AND L 5...i am a proffesional dancer,so i need my back...unfortunitly i hade to stop to get some relief from the pain...5 years ago i hade the same that is when i all started...so this time is a relapse ...5 years ago i was taking ,,neurontine 400 2 times a day....for the siatic pain..and i took ,,triptezol,, for the neuralgia,what is a very good painkiller...i took that when the pain would be severe....i was mis diagnosed because i never hade backpain,that seem the be common whit people that do lots of sports...so i just got this terrible leg pain out of the bleu,i went to 7 dokters mostly to be told that i was imagioning i hade pain...because nothing seem to be wrong with me they said...by luck i found a dokter in an emergency clinic that said ,o dear if your calf hurt on that side you have a slipped disk...and it was neglected for a long time and became neuralgia...i took rest for 3 weeks and went back to work slowly the pain went...after 1 year....i was pain free medicine free for 4 years only now it came back...so i a hope again it will be gone after 1 year from startpoint...but for anyone ,really try triptozol,it is a muscle relaxer ,but a very very good painkiller i know it is not a fix, but it was and still is my best friend...i am not lucky i live in dubai and triptozol is now band for a reason? but for you out there try it ,it will make your life better when you have lots of pain...for me i keep on streching,swimming and just start walking again and can walk more now than 45 minutes...sitting is bad...dont sit longer then 10 minutes get up every time so the disk can not swell...then still a small help dont eat tomato and or eggplant it cause anflamation in the body,stuff yourself with,,turmaric,,it is a natural antiinflametry...and try to be positive...negativ thinking make you have more pain...good luck everybody....

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco Author

My heart goes out to you. If you have health insurance, I strongly suggest seeing a back specialist, since, in my experience at least, a discectomy completely fixed the problem and ended the pain that had crippled me for months.

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mila vrab 7 years ago

Yah I have that... it hurts, it takes all dignity away from my life, it changed my life. As limited I got , I was losing contacts, friends even family. Not able to travel (only laying on the back seat of the car) for last 5+ years, I can't breached the ocean where my aging parents live. I lost my job, I lost all fun and enjoyment in biking, hiking, swimming, dancing and the big one - traveling. I was holding hope for being able to enjoy my Tai-chi, joga, walks. But even in those I am limited to the point of abandoning those last of my possible contacts with the normal world. By WSIB's decision that I was on compensation long enough, I ended in pain, withou income. I would like to know, how those who can make such a decision will like to have it ... pain, no money, nowhere to turn to... The most vulnarable we become when we sick and in pain. When we are not able to defend ourselves because either no money or much needed strengh to fight. And They = WSIB know it. I used to be young and in very good athletic shape not such a long time ego. Same as those who dismissed me as unconvenient number in their agenda. But I am not a number !! I am living human been, with all the hopes, desire for happines and chance to maintaine my pain to berable stage so I can at least live with basic human dignity.

Sorry for my comment being so long and so personal, but it might feel a little better if only for a while.

Good luck with to all of you who are suffering Mila Vrab

JACQUELINE 7 years ago


Elegantwork23 profile image

Elegantwork23 8 years ago

wow my friend and i have these problems. me, i would first take any opiate they gave me and keep taking it heheh  Dilaudid YAH!  well it doesnt work for my friend.  We had a home device for real traction that worked perfectly.  I know you can never predict your condition but this could help ease some pain without medications -- for awhile anyway.   No way would my friend or i have surgery.  I have heard too many horror stories.

unicorn 8 years ago


First time being on one of these and ready the article you wrote was really interesting.. a lot of it made sense. I have DDD and other health issues.. I have had 4 back and 4 cervical surgeries and have awesome movement after the last surgries. I was diagnoised about 2 weeks ago with another herniated disk and spinal stenosis....sick o fall this.. I had been on Oxycontin for about 4 months and that really helped me get through it and i was able to function because the pain was bad enough it helped with out sending me into lala land.. after trying an epidual i had gone hyper sensitive and then the oxycontim sent me flying... it was a reaction between the two .. so in 4 days i tapered off of the oxycontin which was up to 40 mg 2x a day...I am now on percocet 10/325 4-6 timrs a day. i can eat them like candy if i wanted to but i don't we will do surgery in July as personnal things have me waiting.. i think th ebest anyone can do is look inside themselves and find the strength and if they believe in God seek his help. it has been 2 years of this and I knew God wanted me to call the Neurosurgeon after the failed epidural . he found the problem adn we will deal with it. I am Blessed with a Top Notch surgeon I have full turn radius with m neck and back. so I have been a luclky one..no one would have guessed I had surgery before.. Dr. Uchiyama from Scripps did my last neck surgery in 2006 then in Feb. 2007 i had rotator cuff done by Dr. Keefe at Scripps and have full use of my arm.. and then last back surgery was 2002 so i feel i have done great with Scripps so a plug for them... but find a competent Dr, Neurosurgeons I prefer.. I am a wife and mother.. I taught my children to have patience and caring cause you never know what a person is going through. a wonderful husband of almost 30 years who has stuck by my side... we can all tell and elplain what we have gone through in hopes of helping someone else get through it...i am living proof you can.. i pray after this surgery in July that I still have full range of the back.. I am 47 yrs old and this will be surgery #14 in total in the 29 yrs we have been married.. so if any of you have a spous ewho is not the one oin pain and reading this.. just remember compassion goes a long way..DDD is not something we asked for..

God Bless youa ll and I pray your pain ends soon..

ps. I had taken ex-vicodin for over 8 years and heavily but as soon as I know longer needed it I had no problems gettingoff it even other pain meds because I used only when I needed them.. sometimes your body reacts because you were having to much pain meds in you ...whenyou really only needed a smaller amount..

ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Thanks for this hub livelonger - I had a workplace accident about 8 years ago when a bookcase full of heavy accountancy folders fell off a wall onto me...i now have 3 herniated discs and have tried all sorts of things to help me from facet joint injections which cost so much money (each injection costs in the hundreds) and don't last longer than a couple of weeks, to years of physio to taking the painkillers and nothing works - I am now taking up swimming and going to try chiropractic - too long in pain from sciatica down both legs  etc - I wonder if it is now too entrenched!!! not much fun...

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

I hope so too! Good luck!

Luke 8 years ago

Thank you. There are only 2 doctors where I live that deal with this surgery. One has several malpractice lawsuits against him and has cause several paralysis. Then there is the one I went to which has a good reputation. I just hope he can fix me.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Luke: I feel for you. Really, I do. My memory is fading fast on that 6 month ordeal mostly because I think it was so painful. I can't imagine that sort of pain for years, either.

I think your doctor owes you an explanation for why he didn't do your L5/6 too. At the very least, you're looking at jumping through insurance hoops and disrupting your life for a few days for the 2nd surgery, not to mention dealing with the pain for longer until that surgery takes place.

If you're not satisfied with your doctor's answer, I'd consider getting another doctor. I was very happy with my doctors - I think I just lucked out.

Luke 8 years ago

It is the same pain just less. But what has me so frustrated is that he was Supposed to do the L4/5 at the same time as he did the L5/S1 so I wouldn't have to do surgery again. I asked during pre-op and even the day I went in for surgery I checked again to make sure he was going to do both of them. It wasn't until I was out of surgey and still in pain when I asked him if he did both and he told me no he only did one.

I have never like doctors. In my experience they only ever care about how much money they can squeeze from you. They don't seem to care about how much pain you are in or how if they don't do the surgery corectly the first time you will be fired from your job because now you have to wait and rescedual another surgery to take care of the problem that should have been taken care of the first time.

Sorry for the venting. Just don't know what to do. I havnt been able to play with my son, eat at the table, sleep enough, or work for 2 months already. I have no idea how anyone can put up with this level of pain for years.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Luke: It might sound like a copout, but you should do what your doctor recommends. I'm guessing he will suggest doing the L4/5 too. My suspicion is that the reason you had pain after surgery (if it is indeed the same kind of pain, and not a deep soreness, which is due to the surgery and recovering nerve) is that your L4/5 is still pinching your sciatic nerve.

I completely understand the 4-hrs at a time sleep schedule. That was my life for months. I would wake up at around 3am and have to pace around for an hour while waiting for the painkillers to kick in. It was hell.

I would wait a week and then, if you're still in pain, talk to your doctor about the nature of your pain (is it the same kind as before, but less?) about other treatment options or going back in for a discectomy for L4/5. I will say this - after my discectomy, I never woke up in the middle of the night again.

Luke 8 years ago

Hello all. I have 2 herniated disks at L4/5 and L5/S1. The pain was so severe I couldn't move fore almost 2 months. I ended up on the living room floor and pretty much stayed there. I was given hydrocodone, tramadol, ibuprofen, gabapentin, and I had the epidural injection. Nothing helped the pain. So I went in for a microdiscectomy last Friday. Both disks are bulging to the right and pinching my nerve and during pre-op I was told they where going to do both discs. Anyway surgery is over. Doctor said it went off without a hitch, but he only did the disc at L5/S1 and so I still have pain. He told me that the nerve was probably just bruised from the L5/S1 disc and will need a couple days to feel better. Has anyone ever heard of this? From everything I have read you either wake up with no pain after the surgery or you do and it stays.

Some of the pain and numbness is gone and it does make it more tolerable during the day. My main problem now is I cant sleep for more then 4 hours. I was able to sleep in my own bed last night instead of the floor for the first time in 2 months but my leg starts hurting intensely about 3 hours after I fall asleep. If I take painkillers right before I go to sleep I can push it out to 4 hours. Has anyone experienced this? I can be somewhat fine during the day but when I sleep I always hurt. Always.

Should I go back in and have them remove the other bulging disk he was suppose to take out the first time? Or should I just wait and see if it will actually go away on its own.

I apologize for the rambling nature. its 2 in the morning and I was just forced out of sleep and am still extremely tired.

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Lynne and Chad 8 years ago

First of all, back pain can be some of the worst kind of pain so we feel for anyone who is suffering with it. My dad had serious upper back/neck pain about a year ago triggered from a fall from a seizure. Anyway, his doctors (neurologists, primary, orthopedics) were all basically telling him surgery was a possibility, but very risky in the area of the problem or possibly some cortisone shots I believe was another option. Other than that, they provided him no relief or answers!

My husband and I always look to a naturopathic or holistic approach to our health, but convincing my dad can sometimes be a challenge. However, he was in such excruciating pain, he agreed to meet with our chiropractor. He had the spinal decompression therapy which was referenced above and improved tremendously over a few weeks time. I'm not sure what would have been the outcome had he not pursued that route, so I am very grateful that he was willing to be open to something new to him like chiropractic care.

Ironically, about a week ago my mom woke up with severe lower back pain and he called me to see if I thought going to the chiropractor would help her to which I said yes and I'll be right over. It was a project just to help her even get up out of bed, but she went to the chiropractor that day and the next and also made tremendous improvements in just a couple of days getting to the problem before it got worse. Talk about a change of heart with my dad...

We hope that everyone finds the answers right for their situation, but encourage you to visit a good chiropractor as there is a possibility they may be able to help you avoid potentially unnecessary and risky surgery. We definitely think it's worth the visit to at least find out your options, don't you?!

Good luck to everyone and we hope that those of you suffering are feeling much better soon!

Lynne and Chad :)

livelonger profile image

livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

john k.: I would check out my treatment history in this Hub:


I really have no idea if there is any general difference between L3/4 and L5/S1 with respect to pain - I vaguely remember my doctor saying one would produce pain in a certain part of your lower body, and the other in a different place, but you'd have to ask your doctor. I had an L5/S1 herniation/bulge/rupture (I think they all mean the same thing), and my pain was down the back of my leg, from my glute all the way down to my calf.

john k. 8 years ago

It's been awhile since my last entry and have been feeling a bit better. Thanks for the info "livelonger". Just one other question I cannot seem to find the answer to anywhere. What treatment do they do for ruptured discs? What do you think is giving me most of my pain and numbness my L3/4 ruptured disc or my L5/6 herniated disc? If anyone can give me any answers or point me in the right direction I'd be greatly appeciative. The problem I am finding with getting any info on ruptured discs is that they refer to it as "herniated or sometimes called ruptured". So I can never tell which one they are talking about.

Maggs 8 years ago

I am 40 and female, overweight and out of shape. Six months ago I blew out all my discs from L-1 to S-1 one night laying in bed when I sneezed! Obviously it had been a long time coming, but the sneeze was the straw that broke MY back. I was misdiagnosed and prescribed 1600 mg. of Ibuprophen twice a day, as well as 10mg. of cyclobenzadrine (Flexerall). The pain would abate for 4 or so hours, and then return as soon as the meds wore down, I hated taking these meds! I took no narcotics even though they gave me sixty pills, because I did'nt want to become a junkie. Finally I had a CAT scan showing all of the ruptured dics, was given a Medrol dose pack of steroids to take, and VIOLA 80% reduction in pain. I've gone from laying in bed in agony to walking one and a quarter mile every day now. My sympathy to all who have experienced this hell.

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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

John K: First, take a look at my hub on treatment options:https://healdove.com/disease-illness/herniated-dis

The injections hurt for literally a split second (and they're more like a static electricity shock, in my experience, than actual pain), and they only happen a maximum of 3 times (if they don't work by then, they won't be continued). 

Yes, sometimes a herniated disc can go back to normal, but typically that happens within a month of the onset of pain, and if the pain is not severe. I would trust your doctor's advice.

As for the pain of the epidural injection, I suggest taking a look at Nashville G-man's hub exactly about this:


John K. 8 years ago

One more thing, will a herniated disc ever recess back to normal? I've read on the internet that yes and no. Thanks.

john k. 8 years ago

Just diagnosed with ruptured disc at L3/L4,and herniated disc at L5/L6. Will my pain ever go away? I have sciatica, numbness in legs, and lower back pain. Somedays are better than others and sometimes all symptoms are itermittent. What are some exercises I can do? My doc recommende epidural injection and physical therapy for starters and see how it goes. I am affraid to have a needle in my back and just want pain relief that will last. I'd rather do exercises everyday for the rest of my life than get frequent shots and prescriptions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

judy 8 years ago

I have fibromyalgia plus two herniated discs in low back and bulging disc in neck. I take ultam, and soma for years pain. I take harmonal therapy for the fibro that seems to work good. However, I still end up tolerating flare ups. I'm not sure sometimes if it's the fibro or the herniations. It's been 10 years since car accident. That's what actually pushed me out of fibromyalgia remission. I'm wondering if ther is anyone out there possibly in my same predicament that can relate and encourage me with some tips, experiences etc.

thank you, godbless you all,


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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

stylegirl: I did not have any luck with decompression treatments, and my back doctor said it was worthless. It might feel good because it stretches muscles that might have shortened, but it won't correct a herniated disc (unless it would have done so on its own - and many do).

Dragon: I think that's something different. A herniated disc causes sciatica, which creates pain down the back of your leg. But I have read that it can extend down to your feet, so I'd check with your doctor, if I were you.

Dragon 8 years ago

Hi Livelonger, When your feet hurt as people mention, could that feeling be like (tingling numb stinging) feeling (it feels like my feet have nerve damage), to where its hard to wear shoes cause your because your shoes feel like they are contricting your feet? Or is the pain in your feet from a herniated disk feel different?

stylegirl2 8 years ago

Thanks, mulder. I understand now why my kids and I have been noticing that my hearing is in the tank. I've been on Vicodin and Kadian. Hopefully, if I stop the Vicodin right away, this hearing loss won't be permanent.

Lisa, I have 2 or 3 blown discs. When they first got really bad, the pain started in my low back, down both buttocks, wrapped around to the fronts of my thighs and continued down into the arches of both feet. At its worst, I literally had to just scream for a while sometimes. My doctor explained that the disc bulges were so bad that they had gone through the sheath into my spinal cord - so it was not just pressure from the bulge but an infiltration into the spinal cord.

Narcotics helped some, but thankfully a friend told me about a natural health food product that apparently healed the nerve sheath within about a week. If anyone wants info on this product, you can call me at (916) 236-5784 pacific time. So I still had the referred nerve pain (which continued to get better) but that screaming nerve pain was completely gone. Within a few months I went from bent over and unable to walk to physical therapy and upright with little use of my cane. Unfortunately, my physical therapist gave me a stretch to do which was either not good for my condition or done wrong by me and I believe it caused me to blow out another disc. So, I am back to square one almost, but trying to stay focused on getting back to that upright position again. Right now the thing I am struggling with is trying to get any sleep. The narc meds seem to agitate me or kind of wire me, rather than making me drowsy. My doctor says 10% of people resond that way to them.

My doctors want me to have a discectomy, where they trim the bulging/herniated discs. But I know more and more people who have had success with this fairly new, non-invasive procedure called 'spinal disc decompression' which is done by some chiropractors. Naturally insurance doesn't cover it, but I have met SO many people who have had one-multiple back surgeries with little to no improvement. I am glad the folks here have had good results. But I've heard that as high as 70% of people do not have an improvement after back surgery. I'm sure people would disagree with that statistic, but back surgery is still kind of scary and can't be undone.

Are there people on this site who have had experience with the decompression treatments? I have one friend who had it done 2 years ago and says she has a completely healthy back - heavy gardening and all.

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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Glad to hear you had a very successful recovery, busbees! It's been about 10 weeks for me, and so far, so good!

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busbees 8 years ago

I had a herniated disk 10 years ago. Tried all conservative treatments and finally had surgery. Ten years later I am doing well. I worry about a recurrence, but from the research I've done, it looks like 85-90% of people do not have further problems. I do 100 situps a day and other stretching exercises. If anyone has any really good exercise regimens, I would love to hear about them. Of about 8 people I know who had surgery, 1 needed a fusion last year. He plays golf, and still does- not too smart in my opinion.

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mulder 8 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

I have a disc problem I had back surgery   never again   I have just finshed a hub 

http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Chiropactor-saved-my-lif... A chiropactor has been  back savouir  also fish oil capsules  are  good for joint  pain  especcially  now that new reasearch  shows  codine pain killers can cause deafness in some people  .

Lisa 8 years ago

livelonger-Thank-you for the information, it seems to be more positive than the other information I've been reading on the internet!!!I may have more questions after meeting with neurosurgeon on wednesday. Thanks for your time!!

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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Lisa - sometimes it goes away on its own, sometimes it does not. You should not be doing any exercise except simple walking and stretching until you and your doctor figure out more. Please take a look at my other Hub on treatment options. You should *not* just have to put up with the pain, though.


Lisa 8 years ago

After having an MRI I just found out I have a herniated disk in the L5 S1 area. I have pain pretty much all the time from the right side of my butt down my leg. The doctor has recommended epidural injections and possibly surgery. I will see a neurosurgeon this week to find out what my options are. I don't really know anyone who has a slipped disk. I'm just wondering does the pain go away on its own in time? Does exercise help to make it go away. If anyone knows what my options are for relieving pain besides surgery it would be greatly appreciated. Or is this just something I will have to live with forever? Thanks for your time!!!

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deebelle 8 years ago

I am a physical mess as well and swimming helps me so much. Forget any surgery!

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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

Mike - I was on Percocet for about 3 months, at a pretty high dosage at the end (about 12 pills per day, 10/325). I've always heard tapering down very slowly helps. I came off Percocet pretty abruptly, rapidly tapering over the course of a week, and I had really bad headaches, anxiety, etc. But what pulled me through was seeing (imagining, really) the light at the end of the tunnel.But longer-term usage might be harder to kick. I think there are other milder painkillers (think methadone) that help you get off stronger narcotics like Percocet. Good luck.

Mike A. 8 years ago

I have had surgery twice with some relief. Over the weekend I was helpind move a friend and think I have done it again. I am in a lot of pain but am very afraid that like in the past the only thing that will help the pain will be Percocet. I had a very hard time getting off of them the last time. Has anyone had to get off them after 2 years of use? What helped?

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C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

I too believe that the walking helps. Another thing that sometimes helps me is a dip in very cool water say about65 degrees until my body chills down some. Works for me for most bodily pains. May be something to do with the inflammation. C.S.

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livelonger 8 years ago from San Francisco Author

oberbreckling: Based on my experience, you should consider surgery. Take a look at my other Hub and definitely talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a neurosurgeon:


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oberbreckling 8 years ago

Hi livelonger Ive had a history of herniated disk along degenertive disk diesease and had surgery each time this last time was the siatic nerve being pinched Im still on darvcet with a narcotic 1 every 4 hours the pain to the foot is gone but I still have alot of pain in my lower back the doctor sent me to pain management clinic and said there was nothing more he could do at the pain management clinic they gave me 4 steroid shots and it hasnt helped Ive had a total of 3 ruptured disk and still have great pain hard to walk or stand or sit they want to give me pysical theraphy but I cant do any lifting or bending do you think I should see a different doctor and restart all this ~cool~ cya

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