L4 and L5 bulge Is this a slipped disc?

Hi Back pain for 10 years and had a major flare up after a fall on a wet floor back in May. GP etc not taking pain seriously as I have been through it before and it will just take time! Long story-short after long waiting list physio took one look at me and sent me to A & E with hope of MRI. Another waiting list MRI early Sept. Now just got result (with apology for delay). Bulge between L4 and L5 but no significant compromise of nerves?? Does this mean a slipped disc? Will physio (start next week) do the job? Increasing pregab from 100mg to 150 as I can't do Tramadol due to headaches and codine upset my stomach. I use tens and hot water bottle. Sleep poor and feeling really down. Had to go part time at work (which I love but too physical) Also on Robaxin and paracetamol. Can't cope as any exercise means major pain.

23 Replies

  • Spine specialists don't like talk of "slipped disc" as that term would mean a disc has moved completely out of place- =paralysis etc. However , to you and me , yes you have what we commoners generally call a slipped disc- in that some of the cushioning between the discs has been dislocated and is pinching a nerve-( not badly in your case , so they say) but can lead to a lot of pain in the legs and buttocks- sciatica , meralgia etc.

    Acupuncture can be very successful as can choropractic , tai chi and some gentle forms of yoga- but make sure the practitioner has had medical training.

    Any strengthening of the core muscles will help prevent further damage. Easier said than done!😢

    Good luck.

  • Strengthening the core muscles doesn't have to mean vigorous exercise. It's possible to work that core and few would notice you doing it. A good Pilates teacher or physio will teach you.

    I can't describe what to do here but I am sitting engaging my core muscles at the front , back and sde to side as I read my messages. It's helped my back problems a lot as I am not very mobile.

    Do try to find out. There is maybe even a YouTube video that explains. It takes time to get the idea but worth it.


  • Thank you so much.

  • I an effort to lose weight and reduce belly size I started exercising on the sofa whilst watching TV - sitting forward then back and repeating. I'm sure this is the reason why, when I gotvout of bed one morning I could hardly walk. As the day wore on the pain in my back became unbearable. Even thinking of moving caused excrutiating pain.

    I concluded that the problem must be a slipped disc.

    Going to bed that night I tied one of my leather belts around me covering the area the pain was coming from. I tied it so tight that it hurt, but it relieved the pain I was otherwise feeling immediately.

    I didn't sleep terribly well as I was aware that movement would not be good for me.

    The next day I got up for a short spell and took more pain killers, adjusted the belt, keeping it as tight as possible, and went back to bed.

    I remained in bed all day with minimal movement.

    When I got up again at 8pm the pain had gone. The only legacy was a sore patch on the flesh where the pressure was applied.

    Was I just lucky?

  • I feel your pain, fellow poster, since I am in similar situation. Disc may only be "pinched," but pain and disability can be significant. I can't take anti-inflammatories, such as NSAIDS, so my provider did a minor steroid spinal injection, gave me muscle relaxant, and 4 days of oral steroid. Ice is my best friend. Be cautious with exercise and physical therapy, yes, you do need to eventually strengthen your core. But as a PT veteran, I have been hurt much more often than helped. And I wonder if I misused my TENS unit which triggered current miserable episode?

    Yes, the right acupuncturist and body massage worker can make a real difference. Mine have medical backgrounds and coordinate with rehab doctor and PT.

  • I too was told I had a slipped disc at L4/5. I had an Epidural last August which helped. This June i suffered Sciatica so badly I was housebound and could not walk. I went to see a private Consultant then I had a private MRI Scan and he finally did two nerve root blocks which I am pleased worked.

    I also had another Epidural but this had no effect this time.

    I also had acupuncture to help the Sciatica but this did not help at all. Tens did not help either.

    Good Luck as we are all different. We have to do what our bodies need.

  • Thank you. I have tried acupuncture too in the past so might try it again.

  • Thank you. How did you find a specialist with medical background? I live in Scotland and am worried someone may do more harm than good as I tried a cirropractor in past - very rough. I did try a osteopath who helped with leg numbness but she moved down south.

  • Personal recommendation - or through local nurse etc??

  • i dont think nurses specialise in the alexander technique. this is a personal recommendation. no harm can come to you lying on the ground in semi supine using your mind. you could probably find something simialar on utube. even sit on your chair and imagine smiling with your lower back. you might get a surprise. i like what dee james is doing sitting engaging his core muslces. thats the way to do it especially if like me, youv had a major operation and cant do anything to strenuous.

  • You're missing the point of my answer to frame1 s question. It was not a comment on your own excellent comment.😊 a local nurse would probably have good knowledge of local practitioners.

  • i have not seen your answer to frame 1's question. its hard to tell who is replying to who unless i get an email saying its for me.

  • i see what your saying. sorry i thought that reply was asking me about a recommendation. 😂 or a personal preferance.

  • thanks for saying my comment was excellent. that was nice of you. much appreciated. grace xoxo

  • 😊it took me a long long time to get the difference between comments and replies on HU!!

    It leads to a lot of very confused conversations.!😆

  • In US there are all sorts of online reviews and ratings for practitioners. My rehab MD keeps a list of alternative providers, such as acupuncture. Also, alternative providers often have names of colleagues. But this still might be difficult financially or in a rural or small area.

  • Disc ruptures, herniations, slipped, are all closely related. At least you know how you did yours. When you start feeling sciatic nerve impingement issues there becomes a time when all the si.please solutions go out the window due to ineffectiveness of pain and duscomfort. I hope they can figure out a simple solution so that you aren't like me. Has to have my 4th laminectomy & discectomy in 2014 and then a month or two later need a spinal cord stimulator due to failed back surgery syndrome. My lumbar region kind of followed a domino effect. Once you are in so much pain and numbness in your lower back, leg, and worst case your foot for over a year then you have to make a decision or possibly face permanent numbness due to the nerve being permanently damaged. Epidurals weren't effect after the 7th or 8th injection - I told the doctor's I wouldn't pay $3000 out of pocket for 1 week of relief max.

  • Thank you for replying. I do have strange feeling in my foot, hot burning, pins and needles and just "not right" feeling which is a new symptom since fall.

  • You have been around the block! Thanks for sharing your informative history, even though you are in pain.

  • I have a similar problem and was on high dosis of pregabalin, codo-par plus Fentanyl patchaes. I felt so wrottin with pregabalin that I weaned myself off. I also suffer from stomac problems so I try to avoid codipar as well. My GP told me bluntly that there is nothing more to be done and I now consider Acupuncture, or Alexander Technique. But I have started regular very gentle exercise and it helps although only a little. But at least I can move easier. Wish you luck. Don't despair. There are so many back pain sufferers which I found out when joining this forum.

  • Thank you. I am trying to do a little exercise (from physio years ago) but feel in too much pain at moment. I feel like a wimp and I know I am avoiding things as my work is demanding and I have reached my threashold by the time I get home. I tried gentle swimming and exercises in the pool on days off but overdid it and caused further flare-up. Hope physio next week will advise me on gentle exercise to at least get me started again.

  • try lying in semi supine.and put your hands on your hips and laying on the floor, and a book or two to below your head to,make sure that your head is not to far back and not to far forward. you can use your mind to do the work for you. just imagine that your spine is very very long from your tail bone to your head. and also imagine that your collar bones are speading out and away from each other. this is part of an alexander technique lesson i had from a teacher when i used to go. its amazing. when you can do it with in your brain. you can do it more easily with the body.imagine smiling with your lower back. it works. all the very best to you. i hope you get some relief from your pain. love grace xoxo

  • MILD movement in pool really helps me, so I took the drastic step of moving to apt. with indoor pool next door to my work. Besides making it convenient to swim, I no longer have long commute, just one block walk. Good luck with your efforts.

You may also like...