Pain from a Herniated Disc

I'm 29 years old and I am suffering from a herniated disc between my L5 and S1. I have pain in my lower left back and down the back of my left leg to the calf with some tingling in the foot. The only time my pain is relieved at all is when I'm lying down on my back or stomach. I am in severe pain when sitting and it diminishes somewhat when I stand or walk. I can't sit, so I can't work, and I've alienated many of my friends. I've been told by doctors that this condition is not a big deal, but it is hard to hear something like that when your pain is crippling.

I was 28 years old in March 2009 when I started having pain in my lower back. My physician diagnosed me with piriformis muscle spasms and sent me to physical therapy for treatment. The physical therapists decided to treat me for a slipped disc instead.

Before and during most of my physical therapy treatments I was in pain, but it wasn't crippling and never prevented me from being able to sit, walk or otherwise live normally. After one of my physical therapy sessions my back was more sore than usual and i knew something was wrong, but I figured after some ice and rest things would be ok.

I was very wrong.

I awoke the next morning in more pain than I had ever been in in my entire life. My doctor sent me in for an MRI and found a disc "protrusion" and "extrusion" between my L5 and S1 on the left side, pressing against my S1 nerve. He prescribed for me naproxen, which didn't work, and sent me to a neurosurgeon who told me I didn't need surgery. They told me I was young and things would get better with time.

I didn't go back to physical therapy, but I sought out a chiropractor, who did help me some, and an acupuncturist, which also helped a little. I had to give up, however, on acupuncture because I simply cannot afford to keep going.

After seeing my chiropractor for a few months I felt as if I plateaued so I went to see a pain management doctor. Currently I've been getting cortisone injections into my back, which so far haven't really been working. He prescribed to me vicodin, which helps dull the pain slightly when I take two at a time, however I still can't sit.

The idea of back surgery terrifies me so I am currently considering another procedure that burns the nerves.

All in all I'm trying to remain optimistic, but some days it's just so hard. - Mar



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