Slipped Disc - Pinched Nerve

Source

Slipped Disc

You have a "slipped disc and pinched nerve", five words that will ring in my brain for a long time! I'd never even had a back ache until that fateful day. I've been gardening as long as I can remember, but that day a sharp pain in my back when I pulled a few weeds changed everything.

I knew I'd done something to my back so, after my granddaughter helped me up off the ground, I sat in my recliner for two days doing nothing. Third day - fine. Fourth day I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with such pain in my left leg I could hardly bear it. My husband took me to a "Care One" facility where a foreign doctor gave me a narcotic to help the pain. I guess that was his idea of a cure.

I was up all night with the pain. At 6:00 a.m. the next morning my husband came downstairs all dressed and said we're going to the hospital. The ER staff were helpful but sent me home with more narcotics. The pain increased to the point where I couldn't walk and talk at the same time. My neighbor called an ambulance and back to the hospital I went. This time they kept me. They did a CAT Scan (because you can't do an MRI on a weekend) and hooked me up to some intravenous narcotics that at least stopped the pain.

On Monday morning I had that MRI which showed my slipped disc at L4 was causing a pinched nerve affecting my left leg, ergo the pain. I was in the hospital for three days but had to be sent home because MEDICARE would not cover a longer hospital stay. I was discharged with more narcotics and other medication to help with the swelling, and an appointment with a doctor whose specialty is pain management.

When I went to the doctor, using a walker to try to walk, he told me I needed an injection in my back, in my spine to be exact. Got the injection, no relief. A week later he gave me the second injection. I spent about six weeks in bed, in pain, but the second injection finally began to help (I guess the swelling went down too). Now I was able to walk with just a cane and the pain was bearable. Next, began physical therapy. As I write this I am still in physical therapy but can walk without a cane and the pain is minimal and occasional.

I had never had a back ache and here I was at the top of the pain ladder! A rude awakening to the world of back pain.

Source

Back Pain Statistics

  • OrthoInfo a website of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, explains that a slipped disc is sometimes called a ruptured disc or a herniated disc.
  • OrthoInfo also states between 60% and 80% of people will suffer from low back pain.
  • In an article by Move Forward, a Physical Therapy Guide to Herniated Disc, it states, as many as 75% of us will have some form of back or neck pain at some point in our lifetime.
  • That same article states, "If you have a herniated disk in the lumbar spine, you may have pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, or any combination of these symptoms in the back, buttocks, or legs; most likely, your symptoms will be on only one side of your body."
  • Discs are soft pads between the vertebrae (bones in the spine) that act as shock absorbers for the spine.
  • Discs don't really "slip" but can move, split or rupture.
  • Steroid injections to the spine are a common treatment for disc injury.
  • The National Spine & Pain Center website states that "Up to 90 percent of patients with herniated discs can be successfully treated without surgery."

How About You?

Have you ever suffered from severe back pain?

  • Mercy yes!
  • Thank goodness no.
  • Sometimes I get backaches and they seem severe to me.
See results without voting

Herniated Disc Surgeries

Back Pain, What Causes it and How to Treat It

Obviously you know a herniated/slipped disc causes back pain if you've read this far. What causes these problems with discs? I hate to blame everything on age, but age does play in here. As we age and things break down, discs are among those things. One name for this aging phenomenon is degenerative disc disease and it is one cause of herniated discs. Back injury can of course cause damage to the disc but sometimes something as simple as turning the wrong way can do it too.

Pain from the sciatic nerve is also a common back problem. This large nerve goes through the pelvis and into each buttocks. If there are no serious underlying issues it is said sciatic pain usually goes away within six weeks. As with other back pain, symptoms may come and go.

Muscular strain, curvature of the spine also known as scoliosis, arthritis, pregnancy, and kidney stones, are some of the causes of back pain. Oh, I shouldn't leave out genetics.

Did you know one of the worst things for your back is to sit! Yes, sitting. When you sit your spine compresses which affects your discs. If you must sit for long periods, take time to stand or walk around. On long car trips, stop. Get out and walk around. The best positions for your back are standing or lying down. Webmd tells us "The discs in your spine are nourished by motion". Be careful how you lift. You can lift heavy objects but lift them correctly, use your legs not your back.

Regular exercise is good for your back. Start gentle and gradual and as you build up your back will too. It must be regular exercise though, just weekends won't help build up your stamina and/or your back's. Did you know strong abs help your back too? Now's a good time to throw in weight. Being overweight can affect your back.

The question of mattresses is a complicated one. While some people benefit from a firm mattress, others do better with a medium mattress. You have to work it out for yourself depending on your sleep habits.

Ice is great for back pain because it reduces swelling. I know many people recommend heat but oh the relief from that ice is glorious!


Take care of your back!

  • Regular exercise
  • Strengthen your core
  • Lose weight - excess weight that is
  • Lift "with your legs" - bend your knees and hips, not your back
  • Wear supportive shoes
  • Sleep on your back
  • Rest when you have back pain
  • Don't sit for long periods of time
  • Stop smoking...I know it seems smoking is blamed for everything, but it is! Smoking can cause your back and spine to age faster than it normally would.
  • STAY ACTIVE

Does all of this mean you'll never have back pain? No, but it can alleviate it if it does appear. I can guarantee I will not pull weeds and twist my back in one motion!

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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50 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Wow tillsontitan, so sorry to hear that you have been suffering such pain. It sounds very debilitating. Glad it has improved somewhat. My wife has scoliosis and is on morphine patches for her pain. It helps control it but she can not do anything strenuous or walk far. Thanks for sharing.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I had mine operated on in 1989...I am happy to say no problems since. The pain is the worst I have ever experienced. I could not stand up...had to crawl places....I hope you are doing better my friend. I understand.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Jodah I am so very sorry to hear about your wife's scoliosis. I now know how excruciating back pain can be. I have a friend here who was operated on for scoliosis and the surgery was very successful. Either way, I wish you and your wife the best.

I keep hearing about surgery Bill but my doctor says we want to avoid surgery. On the other hand, like you, I have several friends who have had the surgery and done well. I'm just scared to death it will come back!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Oh Mary,

If "imitation is the best form of flattery", you should have a very swelled head...!! My first shot is scheduled for Friday afternoon and in the meanwhile, I am practicing my 'swagger', as I really can't walk upright.

I hope you continue to feel better with each day - wishing you patience, inner strength and sending you humor, hugs and love, Maria


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

wow Til, thank goodness I never suffered from a bad back pain, or anything close to it. The tips are helpful.. I hope everything gets better for you fast.. I don't wish a pinch nerve on anyone


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Many people I know calim acupuncture was the solution that worked. No more weeding for you.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Back pain does sound annoying and irritable as any other kind of pain can do. You certified this information correctly. I am sure many can relate to your story. I don't advise surgery it is a tough decision and does not come back the same a very delicate spot to interfere with. Take care.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a very useful hub. I'm so sorry that you had personal experience with the problem to share! It sounds like the condition is very painful. I'm glad that the cause of your pain was found, though. Best wishes for the future.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

These are some very interesting facts. I didn't know there were so many causes of back pain. I'm happy to hear your feeling better and hope you're pain free very soon.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Oh dear, Tillie! My poor, poor girlfriend. No wonder I haven't seen you around. After the last time you were MIA for a while, I vowed I wasn't going to worry about you again....and bug people about where you were and send snail mail to Tilson. I realized I was acting like a stalker....LOL

And then you go and do something that requires I WORRY. Well, I guess you're on the road to recovery now, but what a terrible ordeal.

Unlike you, I have had a back issue or 2 in my day, so I'm feelin the pain for you, Til and I know it's awful! I always healed after 6 or 7 chiropractic adjustments, but in the meantime, there was a whole lotta swearin goin on in my house.

Isn't it crazy how one simple false move in the wrong way or in the wrong position and CRACK....severe back damage from misalignment.? Believe me it has nothing to do with age (finally something we can't blame on age)....because I know several young adults who have had this happen to them as well.

Thank Heaven for grandchildren, husbands & neighbors! Just think, GF....you could be parked in the middle of your impatiens, daisies and petunias.....waiting for a local dog to come and lick your face to make you smile!......Oh wait a minute......I see you're smiling!

Glad you're better. Boomers are made out of tough stuff.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I just "threw my back out" this morning in the garden. I literally feel your pain. I hate it when that left leg does not work right due to the shooting pain. Oh well, great article on a painful subject.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Hi Dear Mary,

Oh, my, that sharp shooting back pain from a pinched nerve or worse a herniated disk ... is like no other pain! I am so sorry you are experiencing such. My husband had that happen long ago after we had taken our children when they were small to Six Flags and he had carried my son on his shoulders most of the day on his shoulders. When we arrived home, his back just went out and he was on the floor for a week and had to literally crawl. Thank goodness, he went to the chiropractor and started doing back exercises to strengthen the muscles right on that bad spot. Now, he is just fine without any narcotics or surgery. We both go to the chiropractor for regular maintenance. I never believed in them, but they saved me from being immobile without narcotics or surgery.

Thank you for sharing your insight here into terrible back pain.

Blessing always


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Maria, mea culpa...I just found out about your back. I am so sorry for you and so sorry I haven't been in touch. Self absorbed I guess. Sista this sharing thing has gone too far ;) Hope the first shot is the ticket for you!

Thanks Frank, I'm near the edge of the woods and headed out of them soon. Hope your back stays straight for you ;)

I'm sick about the weeding Mike, but I have a feeling there must be a way!

So true DD. We don't realize how important our backs are to us. I've been trying to avoid surgery and will continue to. I hope no one has to endure the kind of pain a pinched nerve can bring.

You make a good point Alicia. At first I didn't realize it was my back, after all it was my leg that hurt! Thanks for your wishes.

Thanks Sheila. I'm really on my way.

Effer you should know darn well you can't let me out of your sight, at least that's what my mother used to say ;) I did try chiropractic but she told me she thought it might be a disc and I should get an MRI. Tell me that didn't make me nervous when the chiropractor didn't want to treat me! Oh wait a minute, you always make me smile GF! Boomers rule.

Oh Eric, we definitely have something in common now, but not something either of us wants. Feel better my friend. Do whatever it takes.

Dear Faith I am so glad you and hubby can depend on your chiropractor. It was my first choice but unfortunately unsuccessful. I bet your "regular maintenance" is what keeps you back healthy! God bless you GF.


midget38 profile image

midget38 2 years ago from Singapore

Whoa! I do hope that you are feeling better! Take care of yourself now!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Michelle. I certainly appreciate your good thoughts.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 2 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Mary,

Oh how I sympathise with your back pain. My partner suffers hugely with this and also has been unable to move. he is in constant pain with darts of pain down his leg and in his knee. Recently I have been absent here having unexpectedly having to undergo an amputation on my right foot and still learning to walk again. I have wanted to get back to writing here for ages and reading this makes me inspired to write my story too. I know you will pull through Mary, you have the determination and strength to make the recovery however long it may seem. Each day do a little extra is what helps me.

Thanks so much for sharing your journey through what it is actually like to experience a slipped disc. Good luck and HP will be a richer place having you back! (excuse the pun, unintentional!)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Ah Suzie, I hope I can have your back ;) I know, its so weird to get that pain in your leg and knee! Hope your partner can find relief.

I'm glad to see you here as I know what a prolonged absence can be like. It is good to be back with friends, and I'm waiting to see your next hub. You've helped so many with all your wonderful ideas and 'recipes'. I hope we can help you! We're all here for you. God bless. So very glad you stopped by.


Susan Zutautas profile image

Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I know back pain all too well. I fractured the 4th and 5th lumbar when I was 13 and almost was paralyzed. After I fell off a ladder I got up in pain and walked. The docs said that if I hadn't of gotten up I most likely would have been paralyzed. About 10 years ago I was lifting some meat out of a freezer and herniated one of my discs.

Voted up +++ Great hub!


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

Great hub. My fiancé had herniated discs and was in a lot of pain even after shots, and finally Neurontin. They sent him home from ER with back pain as diagnosis. However, a few hours later he ended up in another ER paralyzed and then a few months later, not only paralyzed but on life support. Here is his story: http://back-pain-sciatica-discs.knoji.com/wrong-di...

I did not add this link for nothing. I added it because this man had back pain, herniated discs, got a wrong diagnosis and what happened to him.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

You've explained this well. So sorry you're going through this. Back pain affects everything you do from lifting a teaspoon to walking. Hope that you are doing better and that the pain goes away soon.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Oh Susan, what horrible experiences you have had. At one point I did tell the dr. I felt like a big sissy but it really hurt. He replied I was not a sissy at all and understood my pain, however, when I read about people like you I almost feel like a sissy again. Thanks for the votes and compliment, it means a lot.

Oh Linda, I don't even know what to say to you. Neurontin is only for disc swelling, I took it too. I can't imagine YOUR pain. I am so very sorry for what you've been through.

I know Peg, never having had back pain before I was amazed at the reaches of its mechanics. I am doing much, much better thank you.


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

tillsontitan; Neurontin is for nerve pain. It is given to people with herpes zoster. It is even used for those who have seizures.

They gave it to Micheal because of burning pain in his thigh. He said it felt like someone poured boiling water on his leg.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Sorry I was confusing my drugs. You are correct about Neurontin. I too suffered from burning in my leg. The symptoms I had were so similar to your boyfriends I can see how he was misdiagnosed but don't understand why! I too suffered from falls as both legs gave out. You would think in this day and age they would continue to look for a diagnosis until they are sure.

I had to make two trips to the ER before they took me seriously.


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

He started falling as well. Then he had hard time even going up one step. He could not lift leg. Then toes went numb. They did MRI and saw lesion on cervical spine and ignored it. Gave him wrong diagnosis til too late.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

I am appalled that they ignored anything with the back. It is a sad commentary on our medical system.


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 2 years ago from USA

Sure is and it was Hospital of University of Pennsylvania that did this to him.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi mary, oh I feel for you! my brother has exactly the same thing, and yes the pain killers, useless doctors etc. he has never even been offered the injections, but he does do the exercises that they gave him, and sometimes he is fine, other times it hits like hell! good luck with your therapy and I will show my brother this, nell


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 2 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

I recently started doing a lot more stretching, as found my back was getting really tense from working in computers. However, I remember my dad getting a trapped nerve ... the pain was really extreme. It is definitely worth taking really good care of your back!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Nell I hope your brother gets some relief. I can't imagine living like that all the time! Hope this helps him in some little way.

So right Brett. We forget that we do terrible things to our backs ;)


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary. So sorry to hear that you have been suffering such pain. I know you have the strength to get through this and I hope you know we are all thinking of you and wishing you well. Thanks for sharing your story. This is something that we should all be aware of, especially us in the over 50 gang :)


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

Excellent article! My husband unfortunately had his back, which already was not great, damaged by a massage therapist and wound up having a surgery as a result. The operation went well, but he never felt good until he realized that he needed to start doing core exercises. Today his back is terrific. A good lesson learned. Voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill. We have so many surprises awaiting us as we age ;) I appreciate the thoughts and wishes, I am well on my way and hoping it continues.

Oh TT, how horrible is that? I'm glad he discovered the core exercises and is doing well now. I'm hoping I can start exercising soon.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

tillsontitan: It definitely was not fun, but guess what? We both are still standing and so will you be given enough time and care. I wish you the best.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

That is more than encouraging! Thank you.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

You never want to hear those words... I better do some back stretches tonight


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Not only will those things affect your back, but foot problems can do the same thing, too. For that matter,anything out of sync in the body can cause problems elsewhere. Nice article!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

So true DealForALiving, make sure you're doing them correctly!

I know aviannovice, any nerve pain is close to unbearable.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Oh, Mary, I am so sorry you had to experience this. I have sciatica that kicks in at irregular intervals…I have no idea what I do that incites an attack. But when it hits, it is debilitating with pain that feels like someone is jabbing a hot poker into my lower back, into my thigh and leg. A slipped disc is horribly painful, dear Mary. You have presented us with excellent info on what triggers back pain, degeneration of the spine, and how to treat this incapacitating malady. By the way, I was shocked and annoyed to hear about how Medicare wouldn’t cover a more lengthy hospital stay. Sheesh!! I am pleased to know that you are feeling better, and that your back seems to be healing. Consider yourself hugged.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Genna that hug felt good ;) I'm so sorry to hear about your sciatica. I now know the pain you suffer. You just can't imagine it until you've experienced it. Our medical system is falling day by day. Have a great weekend dear one.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

Hi Mary,

I can definitely relate! I have had on-going back problems for almost 25 years now, starting in my early twenties. Just this week my back went out again, but luckily I work in a chiropractor's office and he went to work on my back right away. Felt much better the next day and today there is even more of an improvement. Back health is important. I hope you continue to feel better and I wish you well.

Kim


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Klidstone (Kim), it certainly was a rude awakening. I am still not pain free but oh so very much improved. With a bad back, working in a chiropractor's office is a good thing!


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

I have had four backaches in my life and that was when I was in labor. I'm sorry you are going through this. I know a lot of people who do have back problems.

Hope you will continue to feel better.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

So sorry you've had such a time with this. Experience taught me that the pain can indeed be debilitating. Chiropractic care made a huge difference, then I started using a balance ball chair at the computer and other times of sitting for long periods. If my back starts acting up a few stretching exercises on this chair make a huge difference by getting me to the place where I can do more aggressive exercises to strengthen the back muscles. One exercise that I find very helpful is "eye of the needle"

http://www.joythruyoga.com/supine-poses.html

(it's about halfway down the page).

I should do it every day along with a few other exercises designated for herniated disc issues but I get busy with other things and forget when I don't have the pain…

Anyway, I've done some research into decompression therapy because I know from others' experiences that my disc problem could change drastically and reports on the risks of invasive therapies give much pause for thought. Here are some links to check out if you are not familiar with decompression therapy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ2GQEhQv_Q

http://absolutechiro.com/spinal-decompression-ther...

http://ergonomics.about.com/od/treatmentprevention...

http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic...

http://www.simplebackpain.com/Do-it-yourself-spina...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Mary I never knew back pain and I'm sorry to say I can now. It gets better every day but it's been a long road.

RTalloni, thanks for the suggestions.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Ouch! My back "goes out" every once in a while, but nothing like this. Thanks for sharing. I will know what to expect if this ever happens to me.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Rebecca I hope it NEVER happens to you! Thanks for stopping by.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

tillsontitan, I'm so sorry to hear you've gone through such a bad time. As I read your hub, I kept hoping it would end with words to the effect that you have now recovered completely. I see that you have not, but that your comment two weeks ago says you are much improved. I'm glad for you and I hope you'll be back to normal soon.

For years and years, I investigated automobile accidents involving bodily injuries and then I negotiated settlements. A large percentage of the injuries involved cases where the persons had degenerative disc disease (as most of the aged population does) and then the settlement must take into account the exacerbation of the pre-existing condition. I have read a goodly number of statements by people who have experienced pain and had to take pain medication for it -- and how they lost days of activity and coherence due to the powerful drugs. It's something I hope never to do -- is have to take pain medication because some types of it can make a person so groggy and 'out of it'. But as you've spelled out clearly, you didn't feel you had any other recourse. What a terrible ordeal you've been through. I'm glad you are sounding like your usual upbeat self.

I have discovered I like the gentle, effective and healing manipulations of a classical osteopath to help me overcome pain when I have found myself in sudden back or hip pain. Osteopaths are MD's but with extra training and do not do the chiropractic 'popping' type of manipulations.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Pamela, thank you for the kind words and thoughts. I worked for a negligence attorney for ten years and also saw and heard about the back injuries but like many I pooh poohed the extent of the pain they suffered. Unfortunately now I know better. I do better each day but there are still things I cannot do for fear of starting all over. I did get to lift my baby granddaughter just last weekend so that was a good sign and I can sit in front of my computer for longer and longer periods of time. Thanks again, hope you have a great day.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 2 years ago from Ruskin Florida

tillsontitan- I really enjoyed reading this Hub. It was not a painful thing for me (sic) like my back happens to be.

You probably remember from my profile that I have been on Steroids for over 20-years, and these have played havoc with my skeletal structure.

I have had 3 "bulging" discs in my lower back for over ten of those years, but the surgeons refuse to operate because of their fear that I might be a"bleeder". And because of my suppressed immune system that I take for my transplant.

So, what do i do when it hurts?

Well, once you decide, like I did that you do not want to take narcotics or any kind of habit-forming drugs, your options are limited.

Myself? Well, I go into my own personal relief system which includes, walking more, readjusting my lifesaving Sleep-Number bed for best comfort and support, and more of certain foods.

Anyway, I liked your article and thanks for sharing with us.

DON


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

That's lousy Don. I know I'll always have some pain, but it's livable. Two of my kids have those tilt tables, my physical therapist said everyone should use one every day. Sitting compresses the spine and the table stretches it out. He told me to stay at a 45 degree angle. Glad your sleep number bed helps.

Yanks for stopping by.

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