Pain Concern
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Herniated disc pain preventing me from walking

I have been diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5. I have such bad pain when i stand up and try and walk that i am now on day 14 in bed. I would love to hear from others as to how long it took for their herniated disc to become manageable.

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Did your doctor suggest bedrest because as far as I thought, that length of time in bed isn't considered particularly helpful any more. I know its what used to be recommended though, so I could be wrong. I would have thought that somehow you need to get your spine in a better position so the nerves aren't being pinched. I use an alexander technique stretching exercise, but I was taught that by a proper alexander technique teacher. I also use heat on the area before I tried to move, and I do have a few muscle relaxants that I can take if my back goes into spasm. Has your GP given you any advice?

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Bed rest is NOT recommended. I have a herniated disc too, and moving, although painful, actually brings relief. You need to see a physio to learn how to sleep, sit, walk and improve your posture and core strength, and you need to be on appropriate pain relief medication. Staying in bed will only make your symptoms worse. I have been in chronic pain since last November with my herniated disc, BUT, with help from analgesia, acupuncture, exercises and correct positioning i am improving.

i have adapted my life, using every piece of equipment i can to help ( ring your local OT for this, no need for a referral), and although i still have pain, i can cope with it. There have been times when i was ripping my hair out, or crawling on the floor in agony ( read my posts about getting stuck on the floor), but if you look for answers you will find something to get you up and out of that bed.

If you stay in bed for just a couple of days, your joints can get stiff. That can make it harder and more painful for you to bend and stretch.

If you stay in bed for longer than a few days, your muscles may get weaker and you will become less physically fit.

If you stay in bed for a long time, your bones can get thinner and weaker, and it can even cause pressure sores and blood clots.

Things that helped me when in that level of pain were: ice and heat packs (alternating them ), stretching exercises ( look on youtube- physiotherapy exercises for herniated disc), NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen with paracetamol (ask your GP first), correct sleeping position (ask a physio to show you the correct way to align your body), walking around/not sitting still for longer than 15 minutes and sitting in the correct posture for your spine.

It is very important to get your pain medication right, and you may also need a muscle relaxant for a short while too. Rest is recommended for up to three days, and it feels less painful i agree, but in the long run, you need to get your body moving again. Hope this helps, and that you find some relief quickly. x

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Hi ZedT. You see, that's the thing, walking for me doesn't actually bring relief. it only brings severe pain and then the next day, I am even worse because of the walking that i did the day before. I have seen both a normal doctor and on Monday I had a consultation with a neurosurgeon. The injury that I have now actually happened in the doctor's office, believe it or not. I had gone to see her because I was having some slight back pain and some pain in my calf. It was totally manageable though and I was getting on with my normal life just fine. I only went to see her because I'm going on an overseas trip in 4 weeks time and I wanted to try and be perfect for the trip. The doctor then told me that she needed to do a physical exam even though I gave her a full run down of my symptoms. Anyway, within 5 mins of leaving the doctors office, I was in excruciating pain, I couldn't walk, I couldnt sit. As it turns out, I must have had a slight bulge in the disc when I went to see her and the disc then herniated badly during the physical exam! It might have been when she asked me to lie down flat and then lift each leg up keeping it straight. How I lament the fact that I ever went there in the first place! Now I am in severe pain all the time and am house bound. When I saw the neurosurgeon, he told me that i must go home and rest. He said nothing about trying to walk as much as possible. He also specifically said that many people go to PT, physio, chiropractors etc but that his opinion is that there is nothing you can do to get the disc to heal. It will do that in its own good time. All you can do is try and control the pain and discomfort. He booked me off work for 3 weeks with an instruction to rest. He then told me that if the pain is still bad and I cant manage, then we must consider doing a spinal nerve block, which I am absolutely terrified for! Anyway, I am supposed to be going on an overseas holiday in just under 4 weeks. It was booked 6 months ago and I have been so excited about it. I just cant believe that this has happened now! In the last few days I think I have literally gone into a depression in that I can't stop crying, I cant stop thinking about the fact that if I just hadn't have gone to the doctor then none of this would have happened, I cant leave the house, I have had to cancel numerous social engagements that I was really looking forward to and I'm stressed out of my mind about the overseas trip! If I was just seeing some improvement from day to day, but there just isn't any. Every day is the same! Oh I am being a poor me but unfortunately its how i feel. I suppose I must try and stay positive. The only thing that relieves my pain in lying down in bed, on my side, in the fetal position or sitting in bed. My mattress is rather soft and so sitting on it doesnt give me pain.

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I am the same I have been to the emergency twice after being discharged and told I have a herniated disc i am in oxys lyrics naproxen and I'm still in agony I just tried to shower and it was that bad I couldn't breath I was crying swearing the lot until I made it back to my bed

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How are you now? Any better did you have a MRI or anything?

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Hi naproxen isn't strong enough for pain ask for solpadol 30/500 it will make a huge difference to u. I take naproxen with solpadol so to have it on its own is not effective xx hope u feel better soon feel ur pain xx

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This is exactly what I'm going through, like you sitting in bed and lying in bed is the only relief I get, the first day was the so painful I has to slide somehow getting to the toilet, I was in such agony I cried get there , I'm house bound and I'm taking so many pain killers I'm just monged out

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How are you now? I'm going on 6 weeks like this very upsetting.

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I was in that kind of pain. Got so sick and no appetite couldn't shit. No the pains managable with advil and weed with ice pack.

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An old post but - The doc did not herniate the disc, just pinched the nerve into the already herniated disc. I now have had it twice. This time I knew exactly how I did it - On a Sunday, midday, lifting a portable wood planer 75 Lbs. in the shop, then the pain started Monday late afternoon. Because of such a delay in injury to pain - I have been told that most people don't know the exact thing they were doing when the injury occurred.

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I know what you are going through. My disc ruptured I I m positive after my chiropractor gave me a treatment.

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I know what you're going through. I just started this important job and my disc became inflamed when I did a certain exercise. A chiropractor is the best thing. I had the same thing before where walking made it worst. I went to a chiropractor for three months and I didn't need a cane anymore. I still worked but cried every night for a long time. If you start going to a chiropractor and rest, your trip won't be so bad. Just find a place to get adjustments weekly.

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Im the same. Been out for 3 weeks going on 4 tomorrow. I get around for a bit. Hit the bed and ice. Im going crazy staring at the walls. Im hoarding massive amounts of books and videogames and books.

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Please don't worry about having a spinal nerve block. I managed to get a lumbar disc hernia while on holiday in Turkey and ended up spending nine days in hospital there. I was given a spinal nerve block, I was absolutely petrified beforehand, there is really absolutely no reason to worry about it. I can assure you that I didn't even feel the needle going in, I felt absolutely nothing and then it was over .

Sadly it didn't have much success for me, but I know for some people it has killed them completely, so please don't worry about it as I'm sure you will be absolutely fine. Xx

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So sorry, that should have read cured them completely, not killed them completely!!! Xx

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How right you are you just have to try,I know its hard at moment I could scream as pain is really getting to me big time but must move even if it's slow and short. Rest and your even worse, I also find if you sit the pain to try to get up so bad I know not to stay or do anything for too long I know its hard believe me,but you are so right about bed and resting!

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I do understand all that you're feeling completely. Firstly, for me, its the combination of ALL those listed things that has brought some relief, and you have to get them all done at once. So, for example, in the morning I took my pain killers, then did my stretches, then rested with the ice and heat packs, then had a little potter about, then rested with the packs, a little potter, more pain relief etc. Sleeping was comfortable at first, then sciatic pain (which incidentally, like yours, started as a painful calf months before my back pain and diagnosis), would wake me. I STILL don't walk very far, and never without pain I'm afraid. They key is not in walking far, its in moving around. It hurts. But if you don't do it it gets worse and worse. If you do do it, over weeks, even months, it improves. Its incredibly depressing, and I would cry all the time. I was so dependent on my partner for evrything, I had to reduce my hours at work to virtually nothing, and I stopped going outside (well, I couldn't go out at all). Its absolutely vital to have drugs that help you manage the immediate pain, and drugs that help long term (such as Gabapentin, Amitryptiline, or Pregabalin), and its also vital that you adapt to cope over the coming months. Sadly, this might mean your holiday plans have to change :( I too had a holiday looming, just as my pain was at its worse, and I had to book a wheelchair, sort out my sleeping arrangements and prepare myself for the fact that I was probably not going to enjoy myaelf as I usually would. Its like you're in a battle, and you have to gather up your army, your armour, and your tactics. I'm so sorry you're facing this, but everyone is different and you might be lucky and recover quickly. You won't heal a ruptured disc in a couple of weeks, you must gather your resources and make a plan of action. Ring the OT, start the stretches, get your meds started, buy some heat and ice packs, ask GP for an urgent physio appt and try very hard just to have a little potter round the house to keep moving. I suspect you are at where I was a couple of months ago, and I have every sympathy for you. Its really hard, but stay positive, and focus on coping. For me its a long journey, and I'm not pain free or back to how I was, but I am improving, and I can cope, I no longer feel desperate. That pain drags you down and steals your life. Take control of it, and make your mind up to find help and support. I truly hope you are able to have your holiday. Don't give up :) x PS put a flat pillow between your knees and calves when you sleep, and get the OT to give you a rail to pull yourself up. Good luck

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Hi again. Well thanks for the understanding. Yes, you are right when you say that everyone is different. I have a friend who was diagnosed with a lumbar slipped disc. She spent 1 week in bed resting and was back at work the next week, even though on serious painkillers but at least she could manage. I cant even walk a few steps without a serious problem. Anyway, I am trying to stay positive and if I need to have the nerve block injection then I will have to summon up the strength and do it, just so that I can make my overseas holiday. Did you ever have one of those injections? Do you know of any specific exercises or stretches that I should be doing? The thing is that my herniated disc is slightly strange. Most people with a herniated disc in the lumbar region complain that they cannot bend forward. Now I have no problem with that. I can bend forward rather easily. Its bending backwards that hurts. Perhaps its because my herniation is so low down that bending forward doesn't really effect that part of the spine. My herniation is at L5 S1. Thus I feel most of the pain in what I would call my bum and the top of my thigh, into the bum. That is the part that makes walking so difficult.

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Everyone responds differently to injuries but it is real to you. You can try steroid injections or a nerve block and try and get it done before your hols. What meds are you on? A TENS machine can be very helpful and you can get some that don't stick to you but are in a stretchy belt with velcro. There are many things that can be tried, research as much as you can about your condition as it is important to arm yourself with information that you can take with you to ask for certain treatments, discuss recommended meds, etc. I would also recommend trying anti depressants, especially if this is going to be painful for a while. It has been shown that certain anti depressants can help with pain. It is easy to blame the doctor but it probably would've happened anyway at some point as there is obviously a weakness and it's not going to help you mentally by blaming someone, although you could make a doll and stick pins in it! Pain is horrible as it affects everything mentally and physically and I hope you find some relief soon. Ask to be referred to a spinal surgeon/specialist as soon as poss and if you can afford to go private, you may get something sorted before your hols. Have you had an MRI scan? That would be very helpful too. Good luck

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The jury really is out on the to bed or not to bed, my Neuro surgeon said go to bed and stay there for 6 weeks ! I can't stay still for 6 minutes normally, my G.P said get up, and the Physio said do both, so on a cocktail of drugs, Valium for spasm, Dosolupine to alleviate the pain, co-codamol and oxycontin, that is what I did, when I could I would walk out to the toilet,carefully stand and make myself very tall, if anything hurts don't do it, there is no gain in pushing yourself,a little bit at a time, every hour I got up from my bed and stretched as best i could and shifted my weight to one foot to the other,and in time, 3 months I was up more than I was in bed,as for the holiday, we had one booked as well, I went to my Dr who said" don't fly" sitting for a long period is bad for your back even when you are well, and your holiday insurance WILL NOT COVER YOU, this has very serious consequences, we were going to the USA and so insurance was important, we rang our insurance provider, who said, "no cover for you lady" we did get a substantial refund as we had booked the insurance when we booked the holiday so we were covered,it was a terrible shame to miss it, but I told myself if this happens when I am away how am I going to get help? How am I going to get home,as the airline would not have let me fly.We did eventually get our holiday 12 months later, but I went in a wheelchair and I needed it.

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THIS is REALLY valuable information. Please take note Kimebs

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I totally agree, the jury is definitely out. On all these types of sites, people seem to say you must walk around and get back to normal activity levels ASAP. However, some types of pain just really don't allow for this. If I cant walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without being in tears then I'm not sure it's possible to get back to my normal activity levels any time soon. Also, many people (including myself) who have seen neurosurgeons say that they were told that rest is the best thing for recovery. And what else could be meant by rest than lying down, sitting, chilling i.e. definitely not walking around and pushing oneself through the pain. For a herniated disc, I must be honest, rest sounds like the most practical advice to me. Every day walking, bending, etc all cause the spine to bend which in turn puts pressure on the discs. A disc that is already herniated, definitely doesn't need extra pressure. But yes, each to their own I guess!

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PS - that is such upsetting news to hear about your holiday and that you had to cancel it! I can't even think about cancelling our holiday. We have been so excited for over 6 months now and the other 2 people travelling with me will be devastated. I am sort of the common denominator between the three of us and so the other two wont want to go without me. That would mean that all 3 people will be let down and so upset. I have told my neurosurgeon about the trip and he didn't seem overly concerned. He just said that it might be necessary for me to get the spinal nerve block to help regulate the pain. I will chat to him about it again depending on where my pain levels are come Monday.

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No.thiskittybites.. Look at my back props..I've been private and NHS over years..none have said stay in bed.....

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But your back problem was neurosurgery. Not just normal disk bulge.

Maybe you were supposed to rest in your case. Well, a doctor did say so.

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I agree with Sharelle, your disc rupture was just waiting to happen due to a weakness, wear and tear or a previous injury or strain, and the Dr has aggravated the pain, but it was inevitable I'm afraid. Also, you definitely need an MRI to see how badly it is herniated. I have the same L5 S1 herniation, and mine is also reversed like yours! My pain is also mostly in my bum and thigh too.

If you put in "physio exercises for herniated disc/disc rupture/sciatica" into a Youtube search there are various videos showing you specific stretches which are recommended for disc rupture. They are easy and really do help, and more importantly, don't do any further damage.

Do lots of research into the injections; i haven't had them, I haven't been offered them, but someone on here may have had them if you perhaps make a new post asking for experience. in fact, do lots of research into disc rupture, pain killers for this complaint, exercises, and sources of support etc. The more knowledge you have the better informed your decisions will be, and the wider your choices.

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I'm concerned about you going on holiday when you are like this too. This is a very dramatic change in your health since your trip was booked and your insurance bought, so you really do need to inform your insurance company of the change, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they said you were no longer covered, though I am sure they would allow refunds for cancellation. If that back pain gets to the point where you can't actually sit in the plane to come back, then you will be in for absolutely major expense in getting repatriated (not to mention hospital bills until it happens), and if you haven't told the insurance company before you go, then the likelihood is that they just will not pay up. Don't do that to your friends. At the very least, phone your insurance company now and tell them what has happened and what treatment you will be having.

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This happened to me while I was on holiday in the U.S. It's a nightmare being in this state abroad! If the disc was going to go perhaps better at home than abroad. Fortunately for me Americans prescribe painkillers unlike us paracetamol only Brits so I endured the rest of the holiday drugged off my face and on major muscle relaxants but it got me through! I'm always nervous about holiday medical disasters now!! You could get Valium for the trip and try and get some OxyContin plus supplement with wine and beer but are you really going to enjoy this holiday?? You may have to pull the plug. Fix your back. Get better. Take the pressure off yourself and rebook when you are better.

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I have herniated disks and it helps with physical therapy. Then you know how to help yourself when it starts rearing it's nays head. Hope this helps sweetheart. xxx Mitzi

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An easy way to help with this sort of problem to an extent is something called the McKenzie technique. Lie on your front and place your hands, palms down, in line with your head, a bit wider than shoulder width apart and, while keeping your hips and lower body to the floor, push your chest up. It will probably be a bit stiff and painful the first few times but keep with it. Do it a few times and hold it for a few seconds in place. The technique is used to help coax the disc back in line. It also reduces the pain and stiffness as you are using and strengthening the muscles around the disc to keep it in place

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My first treatment for disc problems was by a chiro. To get my body working properly again, I had a to do a 20 min rotation of sitting, standing, walking and lying down. This lasted 3 months. But it kept all my muscle groups active in short bursts, so nothing got overly tired. I also had weekly manipulations, which went to fortnightly, monthly, etc down to annually.

It was tedious and extremely painful in the short term, but long term the benefits are good.

A good sports physio or chiro can manipulate the discs back into place. These treatments cause more pain in the short term, but one day you'll be able to touch your toes again - a bonus for me as I couldn't touch my toes before the injury!

If you are prepared to work hard physically and mentally, create more pain before you get better, have a positive outlook and can see passed the extra pain to the bigger picture of getting better, then give it a go.

All the things suggested hot/cold packs, pain killers, stretching will all help.

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I suggest you get up and out of bed. Do a little walking each day. Make sure

you have meds for pain caused by walking. It's not wise to just stay still.

I also suggest you stretch your back and legs as often as you can without

discomfort. You can google youtube for some of these stretches. I dislike

having to do them, but they actually reduce my pain when I bother to

do them.

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This is what I am dealing with now too. I acruelly have surgery scheduled in 2 days. And I also have a vacation scheduled. It's 8 weeks from now and it's a cruise. Luckily, my doctor said recovery is 4 weeks and that I should be good to go. I am at the point that my husband bought me a cane yesterday. I'm only 30 years old and I'm using a cane to stop myself from the constant falling that has been happening lately. My herniated disc is at L4-L5, but there is stenosis at that disc and L5-S1 causing some extreme sciatic pain. I've been having issues for just and out 3 months now, and have spent and out good bit of that time in bed. although I make sure to get up every hour to walk around. Hopefully this surgery works, and that there aren't any complications or set backs so that I can go on my vacation!

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I have a similar situation as yours my Dr has told me I need a fussion on my L4 L5 . How did your surgery go? Were you able to go on your vacation? And how are you doing now? I am afraid of this surgery but I am also miserable with the pain that I am having.

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Hi kimebs I am not being rotten saying this I have many of my discs basically worn now and effects every day life and I am in agony but please try get some strong pain killers and I wouldn't stay in bed I'm afraid u can make it worse I know u are in major pain I feel u sometimes I just sit and cry with it but u can't lie down to it I have to keep going. I do go to gym spin bike does me wonders as I can do it easy and enjoy it. And no not in any pain afterward but u said went walking then in pain I think it may be because I have been resting in bed and basically over down it cause ur muscles are stiff trust me if I was u get a second opinion and this is 1950 diagnoses he's given u. I swear not being mean I promise u it will get better but you have to move about. I get u are scared too cause of the severe pain but u will loosen up bit more and u will find it eases off. No wonder u are feeling low I get that it's a horrible situation and u are having to much time to think about things I swear to u if u do some light yoga (with trained instructor) that knows about u back u will feel a major difference and be able to enjoy ur holiday please think about this. I have been like this for 3 years but I can't get surgery to far gone so please try help yourself get better I honestly feel bad for u as it's so horrible to feel like this and be kinda of powerless to stop pain but it will get better I actually think u should get a second opinion xx hopefully I've helped and don't sound harsh this isn't my intention 😊 xx hope u get on okay much luck to you xxxx

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Bed rest with periods of ice and physio. Im 3 weeks in still mostly in bed going crazy. Got my pain managed with weed and advil. When is the average recovery time? How to heal?

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