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Toe and foot numbness from L5/S1 herniated disk
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Toe and foot numbness from L5/S1 herniated disk

Is there anything I can do to manage the numbness in my feet? Or for that matter managing the numbness anywhere?  I am assuming not.  

Recently I found out I have a herniated disk in the L5/S1.  I bent down to pick something up the other day, and after two months of feeling better my waste felt like it was jelly and I just about fell over from the pain. That part has pretty much subsided now, more quickly then it had before, which is odd. But I started having big toe numbness about 2 days prior to this, and I still have it now, it has been about 6 days. I had an acupuncture treatment today which helped for about 4-5 hours.  

My numbness is slowly spreading throughout my foot and it is especially noticeable when I lie down. Walking and standing are better then sitting or lying.

I take Solaxin 200mg and Naposin 250mg, once a day, they want me to take it three, but I do not think I need so much, I take it during my busy times of the day only.  I dont have much pain my back, it is tolerable, but the numbness really worries me as I do not want to have surgery.  The strength in my toes are fine so far. Both are equal.

Any suggestions?
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193953_tn?1272078626
I take Lyrica. However my nerve issues sound a bit different. The Lyrica helped change the burning, electricy-like, bugs crawling feeling to numby. I will take numb over pain any day. I would love to feel my middle 3 toes again without that going to sleep feeling, but it is better than me wanting to whack them off! But you may want to try Lyrica. It really helps and to me, has NO side effects.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Angel, I will look into that drug.  Though typically as I know there is no medication for numbness.  My numbness is tingly and throbbing sensations, and if I run my toe across a floor or something it is a really different feeling than the other side.

What I have been told is that numbness is worse than pain because continued numbness will cause a complete lack of feeling and sensation permanently if it is continuous. This is what worries me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a herniated disc L5-SI - it is protruding on the left side and i have nerve damage in my left leg mostly in the sciatia nerve.  I also have numbness of the right leg, not the nerve numbness but the entire leg goes numb like it is falling asleep. also my herniated disc has calcium deposits around the disc and there may also be scarring there -  i am in extreme pain constantly and take lortab for the pain.  i have had shots in my back and physical therapy - all of which did no good.  i am waiting to see a specialist and have been told by my primary care doctor that i may have to have surgery.  i am hoping i am not too late for this.

do check with your doctor to see what meds you can take and what treatments will help.  mine has been going on since june of last year.  once i see the specialist i am hoping they will revisit lyrica with my insurance as they originally declined it as it is experimental to be given to people with back pain - it's normally given to people that have diabeties and have leg pain - good luck and keep talking to your doctor or others in similar situations.  i went too long before i started seeking treatments.  the numbness i can deal with - the pain i cannot - take care
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193953_tn?1272078626
Oh yeah, I am sure. It can only stay that way for so long before your whole perception of feeling is different. Numbness does suck, I know. For me, I am not as much numb as on the edge of falling asleep. That is what the feeling is like for me. Past the prickles and close to numb but not quite there yet. Paresthesias is how my doc describes it.
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Avatar_f_tn
I tried Lyrica a couple of days. right knee down is numb, my feet burn and look totally sunburned after standing.  The instructions state not to take with muscle relaxants or anxiety meds.  It also stated it could cause weight gain.  It could have helped, however, you have to weigh which hurts worse, the back or the feet?  It also made me more lupey, my dr says anything for nervepain will effect the big nerve in the brain.  I couldn't stop taking soma and the anxiety med I have to take because the vicodin makes me stressed.  So all that thought out, I stopped,  there was a vanity issue regarding possible weight gain
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Avatar_f_tn
Try laser surgery...contact Dayton Laser Spine Institute in Dayton OH.  My husband recently had this procedure, he was in a car accident.  He seems to be on the mend and feeling pretty good.  He had numbness in his leg also.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a mild stroke in 1998.  I got to the hospital in time and Ionly suffered mild dammage to the left leg and foot.  I had this, just hit my funny bone feeling , in the left leg and foot.  Doctors said there was nothing to treat this.  Now 10 years later the feeling is geting intolerable.  Can anyone suggest any meds or procedure .  I have taken Vicodin, tramadol, and a variety of seisure medications which did absolutely nothing.  HELP.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have shooting pain down my right leg. It lasted about 3 days or so of really bad pain. I started to take some Ibuprofren to help. So for the past week the backside of my leg, from my buttocks down to the backside of my knee, and calf has been numb.

I'm currently walking with a little bit of a limp, nothing too bad. I realized I couldn't flex my calf muscle in my right leg. Upon further investigation on this I realized I was unable to stand tip toes on my right leg. Left leg is fine and doesnt seem to have any problems, but my right leg is still numb and I cant stand on my tip toes (which explains my limp). PLEASE HELP!!!


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Avatar_n_tn
I have been taking a herb call Valerian Root which will calm the nerves in the legs and feet. hope this will help.
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460045_tn?1206554193
I also suggest Lyrica. I take it as well for my neuropathy from diabetes and it helps alot!
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Avatar_n_tn
from time to time my big toe on the left foot tends to get a little numb, I've noticed here lately my foot will swell, but I have been traveling quite a bit, therefore I've just associated the swelling with the traveling.  Like right now out of nowhere my big toe is numb somehwat.  Are you saying that this is associated with maybe a herniated disk?
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Avatar_f_tn
Iwas told they could not give y anything for numbness Iwill try that herb. It doesnot afect meds does it thanks from dorothy.
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Avatar_m_tn
If you want to save $ try Neurontin first, gabopentin. Lyrica is very new/$$ but same class of drug. Epileptics use it and I think it mainly slows down nerve transmission. More for sciatica than numbness, restless leg, etc. I do think though you have to give it several weeks to work and for side effects, for eg. sleepiness, to go away. I cant get thru a 5 minute shower or making toast on my feet with out my toes and leg going numb. As long as I keep moving I am manageable. Valerian root is for anxiety but may work, it never did a thing for me but we are all different. Good luck.
DH
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Avatar_n_tn
looked into gravity tables?

I have moderate degeneration of L5/S1 vertebral disc. I bought a cheap alternative called gravity boots and have a frame I can use my arms to pull myself onto to hang upside down thus saving the extra pressure of doing an upside down sit-up. This may however in your case do as much harm as good.

However a gravity table is a better alternative. You lie on this table and raise your arms and it tilts you upside down, this places you in a cheap alternative form of traction and although my pain is possibly not as bad as yours (though it did herniate causing me to collapse once) it is excrutiating sometimes. Sometimes I find my gravity boots helps release the pressure on the trapped sciatic nerve that is associated with all the other symptoms.

I'm poor so I had to improvise but if you have a hundred notes or so to spare you may be able to get a table, this is a very easy and far more pleasant alternative and I'd reckon as little as 10 or 15 mins a day may help a lot. You may only need it when it's really bad!

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Avatar_n_tn
Forgot to mention, actually may take as little as a few mins on the table before relieve of sciatic symptoms reside. Simply lift arms, swing upside down stay for a few minutes you may even feel physical movement of the spine, sometimes it feels great. Then lay flat on floor for 15 mins or so and I find all the weird niggles disappear.

I too suffer nowadays from a range of complaints. Pins and needles in feet (like prickly heat), hip and pelvis pain, numbness like loss of feeling in thighs, occasional aches and pains in ankles and knees. I found these boots helped slightly, however due to the stress of
simply using them on a bar I had to find some sort of frame to bring myself up without popping my back further and undoing the beneficial effects. The more expensive table sounds like a vast improvement I am even considering saving what little cash I can get and buying one for myself.

Even it hardly is ever used and for only a few minutes just when it's really bad my back gets to the stage if I don't do these srt of things its worse definitely. Also if you are at that stage where you are considering surgery ask about IDET. Sounds promising in some cases.

Good luck n all, I know it can be hell on earth.
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Avatar_m_tn
What happens in the long term? I'll explain some details. About two years ago I feel of the roof. I ended up with a disc rupture in the l5/s1. All the standard stuff. Pain so you almost cannot breath. My surgeon removed 5cm of material from the rupture and that helped stops some of the pains. Its been going on two years and still the pain in crazy. I could draw a line down my back to my toes in amazing detail following the nerve path. I have been through all the standard treatments. injections, acupuncture, pt, meds.

So my question. How do you live with this? Is taking hard core meds my only option to get through the day? I'm 37 with two children, and wonderful wife and great career. What do others do?
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Avatar_n_tn
I suffer from a herniated disk L1 S5. I was doing physical therapy which seemed to be working, but after several weeks my pain in the back of my thigh kept coming back.  My orthopedic DR. suggested cortisone injections to be relived of the pain for good. I decided to have the injections which he described as routine procedure, at the beginning of the procedure the Dr, inserted the needle and hit a nerve causing a sharp pain down my leg. Two days later I developed numbness in my foot and can not walk normal. I called my Dr. and they told me it was normal should go away in a couple of weeks,  I called after the two weeks were up still having the same symptoms. Now he suggested surgery as the only way to fix my back.  
I do not want surgery and was wondering if anyone has any other option that worked?

Also, I was wondering if the Dr. who hit the nerve could have caused pernamate damage?  

Thanks
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874521_tn?1375890587
I'm so sorry for all your pain problems...I too have nerve pain that runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down the legs, it can be excruciating at times I agree....I'm on a medication called gabapentin(neurontin) its an anti seizure medication, it doesn't stop the total pain but it does do wonders, have you tried any of these such medications?
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Avatar_n_tn

Thanks for responding. I taken mussel relaxers and anti inflammatory meds, they didn't seem to work. Now I'm taking Lyrica (for nerve damage) for two days now, but no relief. I don’t think any drug will help at this point.
Dan  
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874521_tn?1375890587
Lryica is in the same category of medications as gabapentin, some get relief and some don't but its sure worth a try for you!!
2 days isn't long enough to evaluate this med usually takes 3 weeks to feel the full effect, so don't give up hope..wishing you success!
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Avatar_m_tn
I had the same occurence; herniated L5 and during the first of two epidurals, the Dr. hit something and I felt sparks shoot down my leg to my big toe.  That was about 3 weeks ago.  Had the 2nd epi one week later and have been doing PT.  Back and sciatic pain is 90% gone and the only remaining significant issue is numbness, tingling, and pain in my right big toe and along the top of my foot.  It is affecting my ability to walk and hurts the most when lying down, haven't had a full night sleep in 6 weeks.  The Dr. said it would go away but the sensation has not changed since the epi.  I am taking Lyrica, Flexiril, and Percocet, with no noticeable relief.  I have a high tolerance to both pain and medication and have considered upping the dosage, but I'm more concerned that the Dr. did the damage and from what I am reading it could be a long time before the pain and numbness sibsides.  Anyone else have any suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
Same old stuff had pain so bad couldnt stand and after a week or so I was left with a numb right leg and a right calf muscle that is pretty weak.  Stuck with a limp.  Just waiting for the pain to say my turn again.  I havent read or met anyone not one person who has pulled out of this crap 100%.   Anyone who has please tell.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't have any suggestions, but it sounds like were go threw the same crap.  I got another MRI last week which showed the herniation is worse than before, I talked to a PT and he suggested surgery as the only fix for me at this point. I saw a surgeon today who also pointed me in that direction.  They say its an easy surgery but, no  guarantees. Any success stories out there?  
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Avatar_m_tn
I've had problems with L5S1 since Oct '08,have tried various pain killers and anti-inflammtory drugs with nothing really relieving the pain/discomfort. The pain started just above bottom of spine causing numbness to left leg travelling down to left foot, 2 outer toes and line back from them to heel has been permanently numb since then. Although the limp i had did subside the numbness/prickly heat/burning sensation i have has never left me, at times i cant bear for my foot to be touched and cannot walk on cold floors without the burning sensation returning. I did for a while lose sensation around my left buttock and felt like i had been kicked in the privates. After a course of pilates classes last year i did find some relief but this was short lived and had  Epi last year that caused more pain to area,i am now waiting for my 2nd Mri as back has 'given out' again and now looking towards surgery.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had left back and leg pain since Oct. 08-had PT, anti-inflammatories, 3 ESI's over the course of a year.  Started having right back and leg pain a week before surgery.  Had left L5-S1 microendoscopic disctectomy Jan 2010 and surgeon said my disc was in shreds.  Pain got somewhat better but continued to alternate right and left back and legs. Did repeat MRI and showed mild perineural scarring.  Went to chiropracter recently who did accupunture, stretching, and manipulation.  Had another ESI on right side.  My right side is bothering me worse than left with numbness and tingling down to toes.  I am currently taking Neurontin, Aleve, flexaril, and sometime hydrocodone.  This pain and numbness is driving me crazy and is chronic.  I am only 29 years old and ready to have children.  I'm concerned the chiropractor aggravated something worse.  I hope tere is no reherniation.  Any advice??
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Avatar_n_tn
I have disc degeneration of the L5S1 with symptoms starting as a burning sensation in my left toe (would wake me up every night) but now has turned into a  very sore left leg and hip for months now.  Suddenly now the tingling and numbness is in my right toe.  I tried an epi and PT, chiropractor and acupuncture,  but the one thing that has actually helped me manage the pain is swimming.  Really.  I swim for half an hour every other day and that way I can keep the pain somewhat under control.  The PT said that the buoyancy of the water is like traction.
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Avatar_m_tn
i have developed numbness in my 3 outer toes on both feet. I have been given serveral diagnosis, one of which could be a herniated disc, i have no abnormal back pain but my left calf muscle is weak. My right toes occasionally come back to life and then are gone again. My left toes went numb 3 days ago and i have not felt them since. I am also unable to move the toes. Any ideas?

possible diagnosis 1. herniated disc 2. Guilliane-Barre syndrome 3. possible neurological damage
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 25 years old and am pretty active. During a baseball game a couple weeks ago my back started tightening up. There was no specific incident(collision or slide) that triggered it.  The days following the game my back started loosening up but the nerve going to my left leg started to bother me. 8 years ago, a piece of my vertebrae broke off and was resting on the nerve to my leg, i had the piece surgically removed, but nonetheless I recognized the recent pain in the nerve and knew it was a similar issue. As the week progress my leg pain worsened to the extent where I could not even sit, lie down, sleep, or even go to the bathroom. I went to the ER in such severe pain the following week that I nearly past out in the ER and literally wanted my leg amputated. I was rushed in for an MRI where they discovered a severely ruptured disc and it was almost completely constricting the nerve to my leg. The next day they gave me an epidural injection of steroids to try to help with the inflammation. I had absolutely no hopes for this after seeing just how bad the disc was ruptured and how much was extending into the nerve sack. I remained in the hospital for 2 days following the injection. It is now 10 days since I entered the ER, 9 days post injection, and the nerve pain is almost completely gone. However my toes are still numb and I am unable to lift my toes up. I can curl them down but not bend up.

I have yet to have my followup MRI to determine if the disc has being receding, and do not know if this injection is only a temporary solution. As of right now I would recommend this for anyone who this seems possible for. My concern is just getting the mobility in my toes/foot back since I am young and active, I dont want to live with a "dead foot".

I will update in the future with any information I get from the doctors since most people on this forum are asking questions and not posting answers. I am located in Boston so I am fortunate enough to have a lot of the best orthopedic surgeons in my area. If anyone has had something similar and knows if the mobility and numbness of my foot/toes will return, please reply, as not knowing is the worst part.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Mike

My experience is similar to yours.

I went to a Doctor about a week ago with extreme back and leg pain... had already diagnosed myself with herniated/ruptured disc causing sciactic pain in leg and feet. Doctor referred me to hospital where I requested an MRI which confirmed my diagnosis.

Pain was so strong I stayed in the hospital and 4 days ago they gave me a epidural steroid injection. So far have noticed relief of pain in my lower back  (which may be just due to rest and not the injection) but the nerve pain and numbness has not changed, and it is not only in my left foot and toes but all the way up the side of my left leg.

You say at day 9 after the injection the nerve pain is almost gone and only some numbness in toes remains.

I'm interested to know how long was it after the injection when you started to notice an improvement?

I'm hoping that its normal that it takes up to 4,5 or 6 days before improvement really starts to kick in.

I also note it has been a couple of weeks since your post, so I'm interested to hear how you are doing now? Also what kind of meds are you on?

Thanks,

Willis
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey everyone,

I have had sciatic nerve pain in my lefty leg like 8 years ago, I didn't try many medicines or treatment in the start but when the pain worsened I tried some muscle relaxants.

I was cured after like 2 years of continuous pain, numbness etc. A year ago, I started to get it all back but in the right leg. I have my thumb/fingers totally numb almost all the times, no pain in the leg though. Right hip joint has severe pain but only at times, I am married and am 34. Dr once suggested diazepam which made me feel sleepy and stuff.

I might have thought of Acupuncture but there is a solution to BACK PAIN / NECK PAIN.... Its called cupping, just youtube it and you will see many videos. Get that done by an expert and it gives good results.

Ruptures, disc problems, pain... relief in a few months, if cupping is done at least once a month. I don't believe in medicines much and I guess sex makes the situation worse.

Anyone has a permanent solution, please share !!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Don't do it unless your legs cannot support you anymore.  I have bulged disc in 3 places and has had problems with numbness/tingling in my legs and feet for 21 years.  I have tens unit and inversion chair that I use to control my back problems.  I have to go back to the dr. as my numbness is getting worse but I was able to live with it this long without taking any pain pills regularly.  I do take Vicodin when the pain gets really bad but I didn't want to take it regularly.  I was afraid I would get hooked.  When I got hurt I went and saw a very well known back surgeon and he told me not to get the surgery done until my legs cannot support me anymore.  Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Been almost 3 years one day had excruciating pain shoot down right leg lower back.. Can no longer feel fully right buttocks, back of the right leg and almost all of the foot, ankle is totally frozen is my expression.. I was barely in my 30s when this happened.  It is my disc L5 and the 1 .  My leg was like jelly could not walk was given nothing by any doctor at hospital or two since family doctors or the neurologist at St. Mikes I have seen twice.  I just live with it day in.  I hate the feeling it has.  How much it has restricted me. When this happened my daughter was only 2 and son 8, it was very hard alone. Hope for the best for all  Bonnie
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone, I was a gymnast throughout my childhood and I noticed a sever sharp shooting pain down my right leg would catch me as I walked sometimes to the point where I'd fall down with the intensity. However I went through long stages in between where there were no symptoms. When I started to really bother me again was early 20's (am 24 now) being so young I panicked when the right leg pain effected my walking, and soon in progressed to both legs. I remember one night in particular when the pain and burning in both my legs in every part of the legs  and feet was so excruciating I panicked that I would become paralysed. I saw physios and was getting desperate as for a long while noone could really explain what was happening and I think a lot of it was dismissed cos I was so young. Additionally to this I was experiencing the same symptoms down my arms and across my ribs.

Eventually my gp finally booked me for a ct scan and it was shown I had an unusually wide disc protrusion in the L5S1 and some mild other bulges in the upper L areas, as well as some ligament misalignments  in my neck and upper back. Let me tell you what turned everything around.

In my desperate search for a treatment that could relieve the pain, I came across a physio who specialised in the Mackenzie spinal method. This doctor was a miracle. I now cannot express the importance of muscle support and posture. The most minor adjustment to my upper back posture stance which developed strength in the right muscles for that area completely relieved the pain in my upper back and arms, and I know how to fix it when it returns through adjusting my posture and strengthening the muscles,

As for my main lower back problem, this was on the mend too and soon my symptoms passed again. It firstly involving developing core support muscles, by simply activating them which gradually strengthens them, and it relieved the pressure that was on the L5 S1 disc, and he also gave me afew gentle exercises which restored movement. His aim was to get me to a point where I didn't require physio and dependency on seeing him, that I could learn to manage the problem with the right techniques. For example, losing the natural slight curve that exists adds more pressure. One of the exercises I was given simply involved lying on your stomach for afew minutes, then very restoring natural movement by pushing up firstly afew cm with your arms. Please though do not over do this, or don't try this it has been recommended. Perhaps though you can lying on the stomach and relaxing the muscles around the area, if you feel any worsening stop immediately.

So first, I recommend doing a check on your posture, to make sure you are alleviating as much pressure off the disc as possible. Secondly, gentle exercise (particular low impact like swimming) keeps blood flow going to the area which facilitates healing. Now the next thing, I've noticed that no one here has tried any vitamin supplements. Particular vitamins actually facilitate repair of broken tissues and other damage surrounding the ligament. I take fish oil, zinc and extra vitamin c, and the way this began to lessen the pains intensity was a godsend. Another thing you can use is a lumbar support cushion when you are sitting or driving, helping to relieve pressure by helping the natural curve to occur comfortably. Avoid, in fact never lie on your back while sleeping. Sleep on your side with knees bent up in line with your hips and keeping the upper spine as straight as possible. Putting a cushion between your knees can also help relieve pressure, but this tends to aggravate mine a little so it depends on what you feel is best for yours by examining what produces the most comfort.

When I experience a returning of symptoms, they are more dulled and a more directed towards burning and tingling sensations, and sometimes isolated pain sometimes everywhere in my legs and feet. The first thing I do is check posture which has often slackened and core muscle strength has weakened. Avoid anything to strenuous exercise wise. Of the pain is bad lie on your side in bed or on your stomach on a soft ground. Gently try to ease yourself into some low impact movement, but always try to be aware of muscle tightening particular in the lower back as often we tend to do it subconsciously as a protective measure, but this tends to make things worse.

The general rule also, is heat packs help relax the muscles, why cold packs reduces welling when the pain is acute. Using a heat back when going to sleep can help relax the muscles. A combination of heat and cold you can use when the particular needs occur.

I hope these suggestion might be helpful. I do know how severe the pain can be and I do know how debilitating the pain can be. But please, particular in terms of any physical related activities, do not continue if you are experiencing pain and try them in the most gentle way possible. You want to try and restore some movement to encourage blood for which sends nutrients for healing, and to improve core muscle strength which relieves pressure. If you want to try Pilates, make sure it's clinical Pilates to begin with. I haven't tried this personally but I'm looking into it to develop more muscle strength, and normal Pilates (particularly avoid and bending forward exercises) aggravating things, when you're not ready for it. Clinical Pilates tailors to your particular problem.

Look for a Mackenzie spinal method practitioner, if you are looking for something physio wise to work. Normal physios are not suitable for spinal problems, and also avoid the chiropractor. Loosening of the ligaments is good as it relieves pressure, but it will happen naturally with relaxation and shouldn't be forced. I truly hope that some of this will be helpful for you. Please keep me updated :)
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