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Pain Concern
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Herniated disc

I have degenerative disc disease I’ve had for five years approximately in my lower back as well as my neck and I then got a bulge in my lower disc, then my neck i’ve been on medication for that however the weekend after Thanksgiving I was sick for a month a little over a month actually and once I got to the doctor I was in such severe pain in my back and was told by my Dr that I blew my disc, shortly after that the same thing happened in my neck! I’ve got quite a few questions however the one I cannot understand is being told and reading that walking is supposed to help, therefore my main question is does anyone know why walking actually hurts more and puts me down? My name is Shannon and I came across this website, glad I did because it seems the people on here are helpful considerate and supportive which motivated me to install the app for answers, people to talk to and information. I would appreciate anyone who knows the answer as to why walking makes the pain worse. Thank you 😊

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Welcome om board.

When the soft part between the bones in the spine presses on the nerves around the backbone, it is called a herniated disc. The word “herniate” (say: her-nee-ate) means to bulge or to stick out. Sometimes this problem is called a ruptured disc.

The pain from a herniated disc usually is worse when you are active and gets better when you are resting. Coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving, and bending forward may make the pain worse. The pain gets worse when you make these movements because there is more pressure on the nerve.

People with painful herniated discs often try to change positions to reduce the pain. You may have found that holding yourself up with your hands while you are sitting helps the pain. Shifting your weight to one side also may help.

x

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Makes total sense! Thank you so much!! 😊

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I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer me, I wasn’t sure it would work. So again thank you!

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You ask a question and someone answers if they can!! Or you can have a rannt, or whatever you like.

Just keep within a few simple guidelines and there you are!!

x

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Thanks! I’ve never eve been on a blog or anything like this, though I think it’s really cool!!! 😊 Do you need help with anything?

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Hopefully you can gain some info when you need it even just listening to others posts.

Very kind offer but I am fine thank you. Have my own chronic pain and things but my time is really taken up being my husband's full time carer. He has more things wrong than he has body!!

x

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Wow that’s hard and I’m sorry to hear it. As strong as you seem I’m happy to be an ear for you if nothing else! Thoughts for you and your husband!

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Hi Sunshined,

I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I have a disc protrusion (one step before a disc herniation) in my lumbar spine which suddenly caused a lot of pain back in early 2016. I think the idea in terms of walking, is that though it’s important to rest, you also can’t be too idle with back pain either because otherwise the back can start to stiffen up which isn’t healthy either. Walking will hurt. I would advise you not to walk too much if it’s too painful as doing too much at once can make things worse. It’s a difficult balancing act and I would be careful with your activity and for lack of a better expression, take baby steps so you don’t jeopardise your recovery. Unfortunately, to a certain extent you have to be the judge as to what is and what is not too much for your body. I hope things get better for you.

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Thank you! Sorry to hear about your back as well! That’s how it got herniated is I had a bulge then was sick for about a month and all the coughing and throwing up blew my disc. I do walk through it’s very slow and careful and not very much at once, I appreciate your response very much and wish you well with your back 😊

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Hi

I have 6 prolapsed discs in my spine. All of my lumbar vertebrae discs plus T11-T12 and like you I have problems walking. Also I was a Consultant Practitioner Radiographer so I will try and help you as much as I can.

I have and probably like you nerve root abutment on both L5-S1 nerve roots. These are the main nerves that go down the legs, including the sciatic nerve.

You may need a micro discectomy to release the nerve, however the back pain will never go away.

I'm on buprenorphine patches 20mg. Codeine phosphate 60mg and tramadol 100mg. You may need stronger meds. It just depends on what route you want to go down. Hope this helps.

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Hi latchy

Sorry to hear about your back problems. I have a similarly dysfunctional spine with 8 herniated discs, stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and factet joint OA.

For this I had two lots of emergency surgery (a lumbar and a cervical laminectomy) and 6 nerve ganglion root block injections. I needed the surgery as a disc had prolapsed into my spinal cord and I couldn’t move.

Now, I defer to your superior knowledge of all things medical, but would just like to kindly say that it is possible, for some, to get over — most — of the pain.

After all of the above procedures had been carried out I was still in considerable pain in my back and with sciatic pain down both legs into my feet. I had that for about 2 years. Then I started doing physical therapy to do the usual core, mobility and strength training with a good PT.

After about 3 months of that my pain started to improve and now 3 years later I am free of sciatic pain completely. My back is permanently damaged and I have nerve damage affecting my legs, issues with mobility and gait, weakness in my legs (to some degree) but not pain. Unless I do something to aggravate it. And I can walk without sticks for 2 km whereas in 2015 I couldn’t stand up without crutches.

I’m not claiming this is the one answer, but for some it might be possible to get past the pain. Just don’t want people to totally give up trying...

All the best.

🙏🏻

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You’re amazing and good job scaring me into walking past the pain lol! Thank you and sounds like you’re in a good strong state of mind, I know there are hard days but makes me happy that you sound like you’re in a good place mentally...very inspiring! I’m not depressed and would love to sit here all day and do what I can for anyone who may need their spirits lifted! I thank you for your response and hope you have a great day 👍

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Hi Sunshined

Hmm, the state of mind has been somewhat difficult to maintain over the last few years, but I was literally faced with the choice of not walking unaided again or doing something about it. That is my motivation, I’d quite like to be able to keep up with my children!

Well, that and with hindsight, I wanted to make the most of the opportunity provided by the nerve block injections, and studies show that those that do PT alongside the injections tend to have better outcomes.

I’m convinced that if I hadn’t done the PT I’d still be on crutches. My surgeon said (12 months post surgery) that he thought I’d end up in a wheelchair, so in some ways it’s gone as well as I could have hoped. Not being in pain is the main thing though.

You have a great day too!

🙏🏻

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Hi😊 yeah I feel hindsight doesn’t have to be 20/20, and I don’t want it to get worse so I’ve already been walking, slowly lol, but a little at a time this am. I’m strong and feel if it’s best then there ya go! You and the others have helped me with the fear of being layed up in severe mode or causing more damage by walking so I thank you!!! I wish the best for all of us and my thoughts are truly with everyone! I’ll definitely have a good day, am having a good day thanks to all of you, and I hope you have a good day everyday as well!!! 👍😊

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Keeping moving is good, but better is strengthening core muscles and learning how to stretch out sore and tense muscles. I’m certain that is why I can walk and why I don’t have so much pain.

And as an RA’er of 20 years experience going to the gym is the best thing I have ever done for myself. It has even helped with the RA damaged joints that I’ve been allowing to slowly get weaker. Since strengthening my shoulders, for example, I can sleep on the right side again, which I couldn’t for 10 years before that because it hurt too much. I have a badly damaged shoulder that can not be operated on without a lot of risk, so for me that has been another massive gain.

🙏🏻

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Yeah I’m trying to find out how to stretch, lay and sit ,as it says, correctly haven’t found the answers but I’ll find out when I see my doc 👍 you’re very inspiring! 😊

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Ha ha. My wife doesn’t agree.

If you google ‘stretches for sciatica’ you’ll find plenty of YouTube vids and there’s a page on the NHS website also..

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Cool thanks!

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Hi, yes that helped because my foot and leg are numb more often than not so yes thank you! Wow I’m sorry to hear and can’t imag how you feel! I’m on Percocet and Valium for muscle spasms but the Valium isn’t much help , however I’m going to see my Dr on the 11th to see what we’re going to do per the results of my MRI. I truly wish you the best and thank you very much!! 😊

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Hi

Ouch. Sounds painful. I forgot to mention at the level of T11-T12 the disc is bulging out so much it is impacting upon the theca and has caused spinal stenosis. When it hurts, it puts me in bed for ages. I also take diazepam 5mg X 5 tablets daily and they do help me a little bit. I'm glad I'm on the buprenorphine patches though.

All the best with your appointment

Ade

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Hi lol. I take 10 mg Valium and yeah I’ve been walking a little at a time this am because like you I don’t want to be down, I just was so with all the help, support and advice I feel so much better mentally!!! Thank you and I do hope you have a good day!!!

Shannon 😊

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I was 21 when my first disc herniated/bulged and 36 when I had to have an emergency operation after the disc at L5/S1 ruptured causing me to go numb all below the waist. A disc doesn't "explode" but like @Bananas5 has explained so succinctly, they rupture…the little swines! Causing untold pain and suffering.

I am now 59 and like you, have discs herniated in my cervical and thoracic spine, all the way down. Some days the pain is horrific (like today) and others I can go for a whole day without so much as a twinge. Walking is painful, yes, but if you don't keep going, you seize up.

Try a heat pad or wheat bag on the painful areas when you're sitting, we all find our little ways of easing the pain, rubs help (don't know what you have in the USA I'm in the UK) I use a couple of different ones. There are belts with heat pads which warm up when pressed against the skin too, they really help me and patches for shoulder/neck pain. Sleeping, try a pillow between your knees or a rolled up blanket for lower back pain and for your neck, make sure you have the best one possible for support.

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Little swines lol, too funny. Thank you for responding and bringing up the neck it’s like my neck has been following suit with my neck!

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LOL It's my dry sense of humour that keeps me going, if I didn't have that I'd have broken down (mentally) 20 years ago. I don't know which is most annoying with its symptoms, my lumbar or cervical/thoracic areas, one affects my legs and the other my arms and head, they both have days where life is unbearable but these little ways of easing it help a lot.

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Understood! I think you’re great and wish you a good day!! 😉

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Hi there. I have much the same issues as yourself. I had one disc removed from my neck and degeneration top middle & bottom of my spine. I did this when I was 24 years old in the Royal Marines. I’m now 56 and over the years I have found that moving around & trying to keep busy does help. That said there are times when I just can’t move. My current drug regime is. 20mg OxyContin modified release and 10mg immediate release with Amitryptelene at night to help me sleep. I also use zaicin cream which is for my knees on my back. I also put on Lidocaine patches to help with pain. Hope this helps. And good luck. Try to keep mobile. It does hurt but trust me it does help.

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I will!!! Thank you and best wishes!!! You were helpful btw because you’re speaking from experience! I appreciate you and hope for a wonderful day for you, me and everyone!!!! 😊

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Glad to hear that this information helps in any way - I use zaicin cream a lot. It’s for arthritis which normally follows many injuries. It burns like hell but has no drugs within so I was reliably informed. If you use it use just a very small amount & build it up. I am still attending Hospital now but would be wary of having anymore discs removed as this actually puts more pressure on the surrounding discs. Again. Be safe & when your body says stop doing something - stop. Then try again later. Small steps.

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I will. Thank you, I take Percocet among other things of course however I’ve started taking Kratom, I’m sure you know what that is I just found out about it from my Sister because of her husband and it’s quite helpful! I’m hoping after surgery I won’t have to take meds anymore, do you know?

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I have 2 herniated disks in my lower back and have experienced this pain that you describe.

I recommend only walking on even ground and not very far. It’s wise to keep moving

but I find that too much exercise is not beneficial and that lying down to rest (in your best position) with a hot water bottle next to the painful area and some ibuprofen will help to settle the pain. Don’t overdo any kind of exercise as these disks need time to regenerate and heal. I’ve found turmeric with black pepper has helped with the inflammation and drinking lots of mineral water too. Hope this helps you😀

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Thank you, I’m sorry I just saw this! I’ll def try that vs ibuprofen for the inflammation 😊

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Hello i suffer from the same problem and i find when i walk the next day im in agony and it takes about 3 days before i feel ok now wether that is the discs ir the fybro i honestly dont know just that im in pain and have to rest i also cant sleep for this and when i wake up i have to get up to get moving so i feel for you and the only thing is keep going and good luck

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Same here with all you said except the fibromyalgia, so sorry! I do my best to keep going and you do the same...slowly and a little at a time! 👍😊 Thank You!

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You are looking for a quick and easy answer. There isn't one. We can all make an educated guess based on our own experiences. However, the educated guess may be right or it may be wrong. You need to do your own investigation to see if the guess is accurate for your case or not.

There is a saying from the New Testament which says: "It is easier to see the spec of dust in someone else's eye than the plank in your own." The truth is we cannot see our own bad ways of doing things. We rely on someone else to point out the problem.

There are hundreds of different ways of walking. Some good, some bad. So walking may be a constructive exercise or it may not. You are going to need to see someone who can look at the way you do things and reduce the muscle problems you have. It is worth finding a local Alexander Teacher to help you become aware of the way you use muscle and hold your posture. It is an unfortunate fact of life that medical doctors do not know very much if at all how muscles work and resort to pain killers as a solution for movement problems causing pain.

Muscles are strongest at their longest length. The more contracted a muscle is the weaker it becomes. The more contracted a muscle is the more compression there is on structures that prefer not to have compression. They reply to uncomfortable forces by saying ouch in one form or another. It is an easy option to use pain killers to mask the ouch. This has the problem that you can damage things without realising it because the pain killer has masked the pain.

A skilled massage therapist should be able to reduce tight muscles and lengthen out over contracted muscles. Pain killers cannot do this. Muscles have nerves which tell the muscle to contract. There are no nerves to tell a muscle to uncontract. You need another muscle to do the lengthening out of muscle. Or if the problem is bad another person to do the lengthening.

I wish I could say more. I cannot because I have no idea if the disc problem is caused by muscle spasm or something more sinister. You need examination by people who use their hands to determine muscle problems. They can give valuable second opinion to take back to the doctor.

Hope I have been helpful.

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Yes you have been helpful and I appreciate it and your thought process! 😊

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I don't know WHY pain is made worse by walking but I know it is. I have had spinal problems for a very long time and have had 2 surgeries. The first was over 20 years ago and I was advised then to do certain exercises including walking and all that happened was that my pain was seriously aggravated - and my condition worsened. As a result I had 2 severely damaged discs and needed surgery. I am unconvinced that you have received the correct advice and, if possible, I believe that you should get a second opinion. I am fortunate that I am British and therefore have excellent free (at point of need) medical care. Even so, if I was sufficiently dissatisfied, I would seek a second opinion - even if I had to pay for it myself. (And I don't have much disposable income).

It is true that the usual advice with back pain is no longer 'bed rest' -which used to be recommended a very long time ago - and some movement is good. However, if pain is worsened by walking it is clearly not helping (in my personal opinion) and I am surprised that swimming wasn't recommended, or even walking in waist-high water if you are a non-swimmer.

But at the time I received such bad advice from a medical practitioner (not a doctor) I, although a good, strong swimmer previously, thought I was going to drown in a pool because the pain was too severe for me to move my legs. However, water based exercise is generally better as it is non weight-bearing as the water supports the body. So I personally would only exercise if the pain is tolerable.

I hope that helps, even though I haven't actually answered your question.

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absolutely, Thank You and I completely agree with all you said and think swimming would be best!!!! Again thank you!!!! 😊 have a great day!!! 👍

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I hope it helps. I do suggest you stay in the shallow end until you’re sure you can swim without incapacitating pain. I wonder if there’s a good hydrotherapy pool near you? I find cold water makes the muscles tense which is not helpful. Keep as sunshiny as you can, Sunshined😏👙

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