L4 & 5 Disc protrusion and sciatic nerve pain - Pain Concern

Pain Concern

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L4 & 5 Disc protrusion and sciatic nerve pain

JustBreathe profile image

Hey guys, I'm new to this site. After being in pain for the better part of 12 yrs with the last 4 getting worse, I finally got a referal to a Neuro surgeon. I was given an MRI and was told that's what it showed.. My right leg constantly falls asleep and it's actually painful when the feeling comes back. I was told that surgery isn't an option for me and I opted for epidural steroid injections.. what pain meds would help? I dont wish to take anything with APAP as I have been on Norco for the last 4 yrs and am worried about liver damage. What has helped the best?

18 Replies

I have been on a huge cocktail of drugs for 8 years as I have a number of different unrelated conditions. My liver function is monitored and I have had no problems. If the drug works then you should try it with the promise that you will have regular blood tests. I take slow release morphine tablets, Oramorph, Gabapentin, naproxen, thyroid, steroids, Clinamycin, ridaficin, venaflaxine, mirtazapine, omeprazole, domperidone and I could go on. So don't stress too much, just make sure the appropriate checks are in place. I have hope to have a lidocaine infusion soon, I'm very hopeful that will work

Thx Janepepper.. hope your surgery helps. I go in tomorrow morning for the injections, really nervous..

Forget the pain meds and get yourself down to a sports physio. They are very good at manipulating discs, the spine and releasing pressure off nerves. They will also give you exercises to do to strengthen your core muscles (3 layers over your tummy) which takes the strain off the spine.

Pain killers don't work. They are designed for short term pain. You eventually get stronger and stronger ones as the pain increases and they get less and less effective. Before you know it you are a junky, your quality of life reduces and its a downward spiral.

It took 3 sessions for the sports physio to manipulate my disc back into place. It may seem expensive at the time, but compared to prescriptions for medication that doesn't work for the rest of my life, it's cheap.

But this treatment involves doing something and I'm finding out everyday on here that people are unwilling to help themselves. Not saying that's you, but everyone expects a magic pill - there are none.

You'll find one at your local football/rugby club.

superannie profile image
superannie in reply to zanna

Hi Zanna, it seems to me that some people are taking an enormous amount of tablets and a wide variety and strengths and yet are still searching for something that suits. I am struggling with low meds but am very wary of getting onto that train that takes you nowhere.

As you say there is no magic pill, I reckon whichever way you find that helps, then go for it, If you happy and it works you cant go wrong. Have a good day. Ann

Brett85 profile image
Brett85 in reply to zanna

I'm not a junky. I've had to use pills though at some points during

my ride. Using the drugs to be able to get through some kind of

a workout is pretty acceptable in my book but if you are going

to just wait for the pills to do all of the work, you probably won't

get much better.

zanna profile image
zanna in reply to Brett85

That's exactly what the meds are for, to be used when needed, not to be lived off.

Zanna, I've been meaning to ask where you found your sports Physio. My various Physios over the years seem to work with sport injuries and I wondered what was the difference?

JustBreathe, it can be scary to realise that there is no real pharmaceutical help for chronic pain and you are on a long journey of discovery and self awareness to find your answers to how you manage it. Its tough but its worth making that journey. Best wishes.

zanna profile image
zanna in reply to Calceolaria

Contact your local football or rugby club. Their sports physios usually work for the public as well. They sometimes call themselves remedial physios to. Or advertise as injury physios.

They are quite brutal and it will hurt, they will tell you so, they manipulate to relax the muscles and realign your body. But it's all worth it a couple of day later when your pain fails to kick in.

They work differently to nhs physios, I guess because they want the footballers back on the pitch, not sitting around waiting to heal. They do a lot of deep muscle massage, accupressure and stretching your limbs in all directions.

He worked on my ankles and lower calves to release pain in my buttocks. The nhs physio worked on my buttocks and just made it worse.

He worked on my spine between the shoulder blades to release pain in my neck. The nhs physio worked on my neck and shoulders with minimal benefit.

He found the trigger point in my waist under my rib cage towards the back (difficult spot to find) and applied accupressure. NEVER felt any pain that bad - not even childbirth!!!! This was causing my nausea which the nhs physio suggested was because was feeling pain. I do the accupressure myself now, when I'm feeling off colour.

Works for me, keeps me away from the meds for one more day. They just understand pain, it's roots and treatment better, and they are not following an nhs protocol for treatment, they do whst your body needs at the time.

Calceolaria profile image
Calceolaria in reply to zanna

Gentle treatment has been stressed in my therapies. I fear anything other now as I have adhesive capsulitis and icing on the cake, sacroiliac dysfunction. Original problems all spine from unstable vertebra in neck to degenerated discs, stenosis, facet joint problems, and a cauda equina that might become impinged. However, despite the fact that my knees, hips, wrists are all sore and getting worse, I can still do things. I would love to find healing hands that I could trust!

zanna profile image
zanna in reply to Calceolaria

I have sacroiliac joint hyper mobility, non union fracture sacrum, sacral torsion, disc issues.

I've been told by various therapists that I am fragile. I just took my scans and xrays with me, explained in detail what pain I felt. The first appt was an hour and a half, part questions, part therapy and part massage. I had 6 sessions the first time. This was only treating all the compensation pain that had built up over the years. He was gentle to begin with because he wanted to measure the reaction against the therapy. It released 30% of my pain.

Now though, I just need one appt at a time, for things like falling over, over doing it etc and I do a lot myself with exercises and accupressure.

Maybe aromatherapy would suit you better, that's very gentle and relaxing. Sometimes changing the treatment to an enjoyment can give you a couple of hours freedom from the pain.

I am wanting the same answers and have the same condition as you Justbreathe. At the moment I take a MAXIMUM of 6 paracetamol and three Ibubrofen in the day. moving, stretching and distraction/positive thinking/breathing exercises are getting me through. At night I sometimes, although not every night take Solpadeine Max. but that is all they do- get me through. there are good days and bad, and certain times of the day when i know for sure i am going to be in severe debilitating pain. i really don't want anything stronger.

i am at the Drs tomorrow (yet again) in the hope the can suggest some sort of slow release patch/tablet that i can have OCCASIONALLY to help get me more than 3 or 4 hours sleep and allow me to get out of bed without screaming everybody else into consciousness!

I keep telling myself i CAN do this. And so far i have. i don't want to be addicted, i don't want to have to take more and more, i don't want to cause damage to my liver. but i have to function. This is the lowest level of meds i can survive on consistently. everyone has been really helpful here, suggesting pillows at night, TENS, pain Clinic, and i am going to try all of it :) truly, the only thing that REALLY helps is stretching. the pain is awful during, but after seems to get alot better, for a while. If i sit it creeps back. i don't know whats going to happen when i am an old lady and cant keep blummin moving all the time! But for now that's working. Lets hope someone comes up with something before then! All the best, Zoe

Calceolaria profile image
Calceolaria in reply to ZedT

Zoe, try to live in the moment, don't imagine how you might be in future ( just writing this has reminded me to do just that! ) It doesnt have to be a poor outlook anyway. Who knows what discoveries are on the way!

ZedT profile image
ZedT in reply to Calceolaria

I totally agree Calceolaria....hard though sometimes isn't it? I have every faith that some clever boffin somewhere will find a solution.. I am hoping they get a move on as I have plans for my old age which include mischief and mayhem! XD

I have Fibro and ruptured disks and have the same trouble. I went to a pain clinic and it may take a few try's but it makes a huge difference. Plus the steroid injections are only damaging your bone mass. Best of luck sweetheart. xxxx Mitzi

Thanks everyone for your replies. I

appreciate all of them. I haven't felt like coming on to reply. It's been a very rough past few days. I went in this morning to have the injections. I've taken them very hard. I'm in a lot more pain. I know

that that's only temporary.. I know the pain meds can be a vicious cycle.. and I hate taking them honestly. And like you Zoe, I don't want anything stronger and I don't want to depend on them. I have a lot more wrong than the back and take them for other chronic pain issues which I don't really wanna tick off all of them, too much typing! But I was actually started on Opana, which here in the States is an Oxycodone/Morphine combo, pretty heavy mix.. I was a walking zombie basically, so I asked the Dr to put me on something milder, that's when he gave me the Norco. I have a 9 and 10 yr old and a household to run so I need to function, yet need something more effective. I'm on government Medicaid, so I don't get the best Dr.'s I'm hoping that this new Dr can work with me on some good pain management options, that can work to lessen the amount of pills I've had to take and Zanna, if Physio/Sport medicine is helping you, that's wonderful! Not all folks can do that option unfortunately! Lack of sleep and depression I think have been taking there toll as well... Aaarr! I could write a book, as we all could I'm sure :D So I'm going to stop rambling now! I'm a 43 yr female from America btw :) Thanks again and God bless u guys!

Best wishes to you. Nothing stays the same and there's every chance that any changes will be for the better. Hoping so!

Hidden profile image

Valarian plant extract can be found as a tea and in nytol /sleep aid which wilkos sell sleep aid has Valarian in it it relaxes your nerves and muscles it helps pain in my leg hope this has helped you.

Protrusion can have a few meanings such as bulging or herniated. With bulging, surgery is not normally recommended, but with herniation surgery would be warranted. With the leg falling asleep, this is an indication of disc herniation. Due to herniated disc at L3, the nerves running down my right leg affected movement. Basically could not walk on it since the loss of motor function. In the end muscle atrophy became the norm with limited motor function. Because of having an operation some of the movement came back.

Because of a herniated disc my nerves from l3 down became damaged, which kept me from being able to walk. Emergency surgery took place, days later other problems amassed internally because of not having the operation done sooner. I went over 13 years with constant problems...end result nerve damage to bladder, bowels, muscle atrophy both legs, paralyzed toes, and ended up with blood clots in left leg. Taking medications are not the answer, however, the long term effect in my case has that medications have contributed to liver and kidney damage. End thoughts, find resolution to your problem, the long term of not having anything accomplished can ruin you physically and emotionally. Best of luck to you, because I live in a world of frustration and depression!

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