Back, buttock, and leg pain since 16 yo

by Ryan
(Alberta, Canada)

I've had an L5-S1 disc extrusion since the age of 16. Pain always in the left lower back/top of the buttocks (one spot). Also, pain and chronic muscle tightness in the buttocks every day. Left leg is weaker than right with dull pain that radiates down to ankle.

Most recent MRI shows:

L1-L2: small right foramina disc extrusion w/ annular tear, resulting in mild right neural foramina narrowing
L4-L5: broad based disc bulge
L5-S1 subligamentous disc extrusion

I'm really at a loss here; I've been dealing with this every day since I was 16, I'm now 31. It's rare to happen so young and every young person I've come across has acute back injuries and they either recover within a short time or get back surgery and they're done with it. Their pain is excrutiating, but it's short lived.

I was an athlete when the injury happened. It's been 15 years since I have jogged or played any kind of sport. I've seen numerous specialists. They keep saying the same thing, "you're too young to get surgery". Well, I'm not young anymore!

I can't tell how much I would appreciate your advice.

Thanks very much

X-Rays normal.

Hello Ryan,
There's no magic wand, so I'm not going to tell that chiropractic can fix this problem without a lot of blood sweat and tears. Nevertheless, you make no mention of having consulted a chiropractor.

There's oodles of research now concluding that a combination of manipulation and exercise is the best way forward.

Both have their problems; chiropractic is an art, and some of us have better hands than others. Start talking to friends, family and your family doctor and seek out a chiropractor who is experienced, thorough and conscientious; he's there, you just have to find him.

And secondly, the research points to exercises for the abdominal muscles, the deep pelvic muscles and the small back muscles called the multifidi. Finding the right combination of exercises for your back may take hard work on your part. You'll find plenty of exercises in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help.

For me, what's important, is that you do them every single morning before getting out of bed. Without fail.

Then, choose your chairs carefully and in general sit less. Instead of bending over, go down on ONE knee.

Surgery isn't a simple solution, nor is chiropractic; if you can avoid an operation, you'll be better off in the long run.

One last thought; have your spouse stand behind you, and place both hands on your iliac crests. Are they level? Sometimes a simple inexpensive insert in your shoe can make a huge difference. To be certain, you need an xray of your pelvis taken standing.

Good luck, I hope this contributes; let us know how you get on.

Dr B

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