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Avatar universal

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?1220656108
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!!!
Avatar universal
I totally understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with bulging and herniated disc both cervical and lumbar. So far I have tried medication and PT. None on them have worked.

I do have better days than others. I stopped telling how I feel to my friends because they think am going crazy.

Some days I have neck pain, some days is just loower back and some others the pain will include my left ankle and hips. From numbness to tingling to feeling that I have a cell phone vibrating on my tights.

It depresses me as this pain have change my whole life style. Am trying to get use to the pain, but thats almost imposible. I only get better when I lay down, but I cant be lay down all day, I have to work.

Am almost 43 and some days I feel like am in my 60's. But am not giving up, am going to keep looking for alternatives. Hope you can cope with your pain too. If I can only be pain free for a few weeks on a row I would be happy.
Avatar universal
i  too have suffered these woes bulge at L-1 L-4 L-5 and S-1 along w/ degernerative which my L-1 is almost gone stenosis and several bone spurs. I went through therapy took Vicodin for months had epiderals and nothing has helped the pain. Some days I can't even stand up straight. Last week my Dr. put me on MS-Cotin. My joint pain os still bad but probably 20% better but the awful nerve pain is practically gone. About 90% better . There are some serious side effects and dependency problems from what I understand but I can finally function.
Avatar universal

I just had surgery Thursday for my L1 S5  degenerative herniated disc sitting right on my nerve on the right side.  It had been going on for about 2 1/2 months.  I met with an orthopedic surgeon and he suggested surgery, of course that is scary, but nothing else was working.  Pain meds, physical therapy 3X a week.  i had a procedure called a Lumbar Microdiscectomy.  They went in and took out the damaged part of the disc and the nerve fell back into place.  I have absolutely no pain in my butt or leg.  Just a little sore from the surgery.  i am going through WD from the pain meds.  I was taking about 8 percocets a day for 2 months.  I'm not saying surgery is the best thing for everyone, but it definitly worked for me!   Good Luck
761595 tn?1251821263
I am amazed at everyone who is on here saying they have the same pains I have.  I was diagnosed with sacroilitis a year or so ago, after years (10 or more) of back pain.  when the pain got progressively worse in a short period of time (approx. 2 years ago) my regular doc sent me to a specialist.  Got the tests - the MRI's etc., said I had sacroilitis.  The SI Joint injections didn't work, the ESI injection didn't work, the physical therapy didn't work.  While we spoke the many times we did, I for some reason told him of my carpal tunnel in both wrists.  He wanted to check my cervical spine to make sure nothing was going on there.  And wouldn't you know it - I have carpal tunnel - but they found a tumor on T3.  Fortunately it was benign, so after it was removed, my lower back pain lessened, not disappeared, just lessened.  The tumor was really pressing on my spinal column.  Now, six months later, in more pain than before, I asked for another MRI.  Now they found a bulging disc at L5-S1.  And the pain is absolutely debilitating at times.  I also can not walk in the store for more than 15 minutes, can not do household chores, can not do much of anything.  Can't walk or exercise to lose weight, because it hurts too much, but the weight is not helping my back - it's a catch 22.  What is a person to do?
Avatar universal
i am sorry about your pain, however your doctors are right.
i am 13 and i have a bulged disc, nerve damage, bone damage, overgrown bone, and all my ligaments are torn. i'm a competitive gymanst
and nothing helps all you do is deal with it the best you can. good luck.

but i guess you could try....
wearing a full time back brace ( i did that for a while and it helped for a few months)
and get pain releiveing shots i haven't got one but many people on my team have.
and try a weekly masachge theripy for muscle relaxing.
good luck.
Avatar universal
I also was in and accident ,i was being treated for bulging disc about two years ago , my doc treated it and i was back at work until this accident people think that i,am faking pain,but until they have this they will never no,i,am depressed i can,t provide for my family i have two little girls and a loving wife that i have to provide for , i,am taking therapy right now but its not working , i had the shots they work for about 3days, i have this burning in my back , legs in pain and pain at the lower part of my back while i,am sitting in this chair right now i,am in pain ,i walk with a cane to try to relieve some of the pressure off my back but its not working i even have pain shut up my spine into my head causing sever head aches my spine feels like its coming thru my chest, my arms and shoulders aches, only relief  i get when ever i go to sleep from the pain is when i wake up in the morning off my fee, and once i get up and start my day it starts all over again.
867491 tn?1242745749
hi all, it surprised me that i am not alone in this back problem.5 yrs ago i was diagnosed with l4,l5 bulging disc and mild spinal stenosis same level and nerve impingement with facet hypertrophy. i tried medication for several months, physical therapy,muscle relaxants,pain killers but my pain didnt go away.it came to a point that i cant walk long distance and ended up lying in bed for several months.. but i never gave up, i tried to engaged in a back strenthening and stretching exrecise daily and it helped me a lot, i was back then to my normal activities but was never pain free. many years i tolerated the pain without taking any pain medication but during the flare ups, thats the time i take my mdecines. my backpain was already more than 5 yrs now and its still goes on and off,i ahve also upper back issues, i have multi level disc degeneration on my cervical spine and my thoracic ddd with osteophyte and bone spurrs.. so i have pain all over lower and upper.. i have tolerated  the pain in good spirits but my back always hurts..sometimes i have balance problem due to muscle weakness and i also gets dizzy sometimes...i dont know whats happening to my back now since my mri results was 5 years back but i am still hoping that some disc will be healed in time..i think pain is something we have to learn to live for the rest of our lives.. i know how hard and difficult we are going through but i want to let you all know that you are not alone in this battle. we all have our levels of pain tolerance.. pain is not easy to feel.. but we should learn how to manage the pain, know what activities makes our back better and what make it worse.. above all lets have faith in our creator , he is the best physician in the whole world.. i wish us all a back pain free very soon...
214248 tn?1295903731
Has anybody tried Norflex, it is avalible otc or as an injection with a rx.
I have not had any luck with the pills but the injection works for me giving me about 7-10 days of relief. I am also using Hydromorph Contin for pain
Avatar universal
I am new to this lower back and sciatic pain of about 3 months. I thought my pain was just a pinched nerve caused by tight muscles. I tried to stretch and loosen and "pop" my back, which turned out to be a bad thing to do. Finally I asked a chiropractor and he said if I had addressed it earlier correctly it might have gone away. But he suggested simply arching my back in over-exagerated posture and taking some ibuprofen. This has worked wonders for me when I am driving and when not being active but when I try to bend over I get that incredible pain we all know. I am lucky I think to have found a way to create a virtual painfree inactive life. I would however like to do something active since I am a super athlete and will be interested in seeing if this will ever heal completely. I am so sorry for those who can not find any relief.
Avatar universal
Im Really Glad 2 read up and have some information about bulging disc's,Ive been diagnosed with a bulging disc thats Coursing me pain in my lower Back and down my right leg it even courses pain 2 my thighs and my buttocks,Its been goin on since i had my Beautifull Boy 6 months ago..allthough the leg pain was there while i was pregnant.Im 22 years Old with 3 children and Im at the point of depression,My kids need me and I cant do nothing to help them as The pain In my leg is so Painfull at times,I feel like my legs are gonna collapse,Theres even Been Times where Ive had 2 crawl 2 the toilet,Cause the leg Pains been so Painfull.I cant stand up straight as my back just wont go straight,it aches like mad when i start 2 do to much walking,A trip 2 the supermarket and I feel in agony,Ive been 2 the doctors and they keep palming me off with,Diclofenic,Co-dydramol,Nd diazepan,all off which do not help atal. My Partners had 2 quit his job just to look after kids as my lifes such a struggle 2 get outta bed,I just cry everyday hoping 1 day il get better.,Ive been to physio-therapy and wat a load of **** that is,I also went 2 the doctors and asked 4 a referal to an osteopath he insisted that there was No osteopaths on the nhs,Then i did a bit of research and found He could,But he seemed to think physio was the best Thing 4 me,In the end i just decided to Pay 4 osteopath Treatments Myself,as couldnt deal with the pain No longer,The osteopaths are very Good and Defintly Have eased the pain in my leg,The pains still there but feels so much More relieved and Bearable. Im still waiting 4 More treatment,I just think some of ur storys Make me cry cause i no excally what Your going Through and People Really do not Understand the Tremendos Pain it courses. .I just hope 1 Day I can get better and be a proper Mummy To my 3 Boys Cause i feel useless Right now :(
Avatar universal
It has been 4 months now since my injury and I am very close to being able to say I am completely better. I say this to give hope to those who are just starting out on this journey. At one point my pain was so bad that I thought I would pass out everytime I stood up from the table or out of a car. And there was a point at 3 months where I thought I would probably have this problem the rest of my life. But my injury must not have been too severe as it seems to be nearly gone now. Surprisingly I have found that running and great posture was the best way for me to feel better. I only took ibuprofen for about 2 weeks then stopped  since it didn't help anymore. And then it started feeling better on its own. But running and lifting weights seems to have helped me significantly, which must have something to do with blood flow to the injury. Good luck to everyone and if you are new to this, there is definitely hope. I say stay away from the drugs and believe your body can heal itself. Then give it 4-6 months!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for sharing this. I am 29 years old, was active and have had disc and sciatic pain for about a month and a half now. I thought it was gettign better, but teh past week I feel like I have gone back to day one again. I am extremely discouraged and feel like it will never go away! I am very much against any painkillers or anti-inflammatories, but I started taking Advil 4 days ago because the pain was so bad. It did help, but I feel terrible when I take it. The owrst part about this is I can't run, so you telling me that running helped you actually gives me hope. I have gone to the gym like once a week but changed my routine to do stairs and walking uphill, but nothing has the same positive effect on me than running does. When did you start running? Thanks again..you gave me hope. This is misery,
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