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Bulging Disc L5 / S1 - referred Leg Pain. Sciatic nerve pressure.

I have extreme referred leg Pain - caused by assumed sciatic nerve pressure from bulge from diagnosed minor Bulging L5 / S1 disc. Signs of canal stynosis - as I have pins and needles in my left foot and calf muscle consistantly. I get severe Glutenal cramping from walking so awkwardly to lessen the impact as sitting and walking seems to aggravate sciatic nerve due to added pressure on the disc. Lying down relieves leg pain. Acupuncture and physio can not relieve my pain more than temporaraly. Physio has given me exercises and also tape strapping to keep me standing straight, not crouching. I have had a few spine stretching treatments with a machine - pulling lower back down whilst strapped to a table. Dry needling, Hydro therapy, Massage and looking at remedial massage currently. You name it - I feel like I've done it. I've got no known allergies to any other medications or supplements ever prescribed or suggested.
I took magnesium yesterday as suggested for muscle cramping. This only caused me a massive headache, dizzyness, extreme stomach cramps that then turned to nausea and vomiting. I guess magnesium just didn't agree with me.
Due to having a bulging disc, all the doctors I go to seem to laugh when I say i'll do anything to take the pain away. They tell me to learn to live with it and write me another script for one of many pain killers Endep 25, Indocid 100mg, Tramadol 100mg, valpam 5mg... nothing is effective any more and I can't help but feel so depressed that after 4 months of dealing with this excrusiating pain at 20 years old - the rest of my life is going to be unbearable.
I keep getting told by practically everybody that surgery is not the answer. The hospital has put me on a waiting list for a consultation with an orthapedic surgeon and after all the attempts in the worlds to get an earlier appointment I've only got to wait another month - but after that there will be many more waiting lists to look forward to, who knows... what surgery is considered in these cases.
Can you suggest anything that will take my pain away? I don't want to be addicted to pain killers and I'm scared it's getting worse not better, or even bearable.
192 Responses
Avatar universal
Sorry you are in pain. I hope it gets better.
          I have several bulging discs and DDD, mine has been going on for about 3 yrs. It may get better. I had one pain in my leg it went away after 6mos.  I sleep with 2 pillows between my legs at nite on my left side, the only comfort position. Its possible you are irriating it sleeping at nite.  

I went to a Ortho Dr. he said I dont need surgery, just shots in spine.
and I have several things wrong. So I would be surprised is surgery is your answer.  

Ask you doctor for some vicodin 750.  I will pray you get better with time,
I have been told bulging disc resolve after awhile.
Avatar universal
www.messageboard.spine-health.com  This site is very helpful in answering questions & support. www.spine-Health.com (Messageboards)
Avatar universal
I too have the bulging disc in the L5/S1 region. My bulging disc is 4mm. Been dealing with this since July07.  I have had epidural shots (which did not work). Been on Vicodin 750mg 2x day or Norco 1000mg. Plus, in order to sleep I take Neurotin (not sure mg).  

I can walk/sit or stand in one place for too long. I even have trouble shopping for more than 15 minutes. My pain specialist has given me a handicap placard to help me so i dont have to walk far when leaving the store.  

Currently awaiting referrals from the insurance company for physical therapy and nerve testing.

Hope you get better.  I know how much this pain bites.
Avatar universal
i have been diagnosed w a bulging disc at L5 s1on the right side. my right leg was hurting sooo bad i thought i would pass out on several occasions after being on "bed rest" for 2 weeks..going on 3 the pain in my right leg is almost gone but now im feeling the pain to start in my left leg also when im driving the pain flares up in right leg or when i bend over the pain in my back is bad and feels like all my leg muscles are being pulled i guess i just want to know if this is normal with a bulging disc
Avatar universal
hi.  i feel for you.  i found that pain medication alone did not help me.  i had to take high dose NSAID.  I found relief from Torodol (have them mix it with lydicane) shots, but they only last about 72 hours.  if addiction isn't a personality trait of yours than why worry about the meds.  i had a friend who was my reality check.  i asked him to tell me if i was circling the drain.  i just figured what's the worst thing that could happen, i taper off and move on or go to rehab.  it's hard to get on the books with some docs.  i would order a current MRI from my gp & go prepared with new film & records.  is the bulging disc from an accident or overuse?  like you i went to everyone.  i didn't get relief until i addressed biomechanics (pilates is similar) and did myofascial release.  bad posture puts a lot of pressure on your discs. i've talked about it in other posts.  i came back from being paralyzed & in pain, so there's hope for you.  with rehab i looked at the days that i had relief as a victory, and i slowly crawled out of the hole.  hang in there.  kimpton
Avatar universal
Benny, I know how you are feeling. I hurt my back in 09/07 cutting a tree. The MRI showed nothing conclusive. I have been on pain meds since then and do not like taking them I stopped for about 3 weeks but couldn't bare the pain anymore and had to go back on them. Physical therapy actually caused me more pain and the epidural shot didn't help. I really respect my pain doctor especially since he said there isn't anything more he can do for me then prescribe pain medication. A few months ago he sent me to a chiropractor which has helped some. I use to have constant pains in my butt and calves until I went to the chiropractor. My irregular symptoms of pain baffles my chiropractor, he thinks I should be feeling better than what I am. I am just glad to not have constant cramping in my legs.

My pain doctor suggested I look outside of Western Med. My chiropractor suggested seeing someone about Chinese herbs or acupuncture. I am starting to look into that.

Have you gone to a chiropractor? I had gone to one 10 years ago and didn't have a good experience and thought I would never go again. The one I currently go to has helped me even though he thinks I should be doing better.
Avatar universal
I had a auto accident in March 08.  I had whip lash in my neck and back. Now the PT says I have a bulging disk.  I started seeing a chiropractor and three weeks later my leg started to bother me.   Mostly in my calf.  Now it is all over my leg.  My lower back and leg are always uncomfortable.  I'm not in a lot of pain, just very uncomfortable.  Can't sit or stand very long. Driving, or riding in a car is very unconformable.  I was check for a blood clot and circulation problems.  No problems there.  I have been seeing a PT for a month and it is not doing much good.  He said he has done all he could do.  I am so sick of this.  What do you think will be the next step?  I am 27 years old
Avatar universal
I have ended up in the ER a few times because of the severe pain. They also have given me a shot of Torodol that worked great. I went in barely able to walk on my own and left without pain. I had these shots a few times. They really can help. I was told to never take the oral medication of this though because it will tear up your stomach really bad. It is a good medication in shot form only. It is worth a try. I have gotten alot of relief from this. hope it helps.
Avatar universal
I know what u mean by the leg pain and knowone wants to know. I have mod - severe degenerative L4/5 resulting 3mm L4/5 spondylolisthsis. posterior disc bulge of T12/L1, L1/2, L2/3,L3/4 and L5/S1. Grade 1 L4/5 spondylolisthesis L4/5 central canal stenosis. HELP I cannot move around with out winging and crying HEAPS... I have the leg thing constantly now for 18 months in both legs down the back from lower back to the ankle, and cannot do very much at all to look after my family and the home, I feel helpless.
Avatar universal
I have had the same problem for 6 or 7 years and tried everything including surgery.  Nothing worked until I found out about prolotherapy and have started it.  I am now off my oxycontin pain medication and doing much better.  Go to the Internet and search for prolotherapy.org and Google prolotherapy and research it.  They have an list of doctors  by state that practice it. I am sold on it!

551683 tn?1220659708
I have battled back and leg pain for way too many years now. When it first started, it was buldging discs L4 and L5. I took relefan for years. Eventually, it would flare up now and then (never pain free) to where it was unbearable and I could not walk or anything. That's when I had a lumbar epidural. It worked for a long time. I was lucky. I have been on rounds of steroids off and on also. This last time, the MRI showed a ruptured disc w/bone fragment pressing on the nerve that runs down my right leg. I was in so much pain I just literally wanted to die. The surgeon thought I was a wimp. He apologized after surgery though b/c he found fragments that didn't show on the MRI. I had several and one was lodged in the spot where the nerve splits and goes down each leg. He said he didn't know how I lived w/ the pain that must have caused. Tests don't show everything. I have degenerative disc disease. This will not be the end of this i am sure. My mother-in-law had surgery which included a fusion. She is able to live w/the pain now unlike before, but it is not cured and never will be.
Avatar universal
I was in a car accident when I was 14 weeks pregnant and could not take x-rays until after I had my liitle one. I was so looking forward to this so I could Finally fix what was going on. Not sure of all technical terms but L5 bulging disc. I have been through PT since I was 5months pregnant. I have shots many times and I am so tired of taking pain meds. I can not play with my children the way I should. I can not do normal activities that a normal active 30 year old can do!!  So frusrating!!!  Between my pain doctor and regular family doctor talked me in to seeing a surgeon. I was so excited to see this man. I did some research and found out he was excellent and highly recommended. Very disappointed to have him basically laugh at me and make me feel like a wimpy house wife and mother!!  And he wants to send me back to pain doctor and do more tests and shots!  I am so frustrated with all of this! But in trying to do a little research here I am finding out that I am not crazy and not a wimp! I would never wish this on anyone but nice to know that I'm not the only going through this!! I just want to be able to enjoy my life. I can handle some of this but most of the time it is just so much!!! I cried when I saw that I wasn't crazy!!!
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