Mild posterior bulge of l4-l5 causing pain in lower back and left leg

by Suren
(New delhi, india)

I injured my back on a trip to goa on April 1st; at first I thought it was a regular nerve pull and I continued my weight lifting; a few days later it became severe and I had to visit a doctor.

In my MRI, it concluded that i have MILD DIFFUSE POSTERIOR DISC BULGe of l4-l5 disc with broad based posterocentral component, causing affacement of the anterior epidural fat , bilateral lateral recess narrowing and affacement of the traversing lefy L5 NERVE ROOT.

I have pain in my lower back if I sit for 10 mins or more. And pain in my left hip radiatig down in my thigh and then calf.

I visited a spine surgeon which recommended me anti-inflammatory drugs and nerve strenghening medication and few exercises for 3 weeks, but it helped as long as I took the anti inflammatory drug.
I ignored my problem and for a month, I literally exploited my condition by not avoiding all those things I should have avoided, and it became even more severe.

After that i went to a physiotherapist for at least 15 days, he treated my heat pads , ultrasonic therapy and IFT AND then exercises, which somewhat reduced my back pain as my back muscles were becoming strong but I was not satisfied with my leg pain, so I left.

After that I took the famous accupunture healing treatemt for 15 days, I was given I.F.T , accupunture and exercise sessions on daily basis, it helped me alot and I felt almost no pain in my left leg, but on the last day, I dont know what happened I felt pain in my left leg as bad as it was on day 1. So I left that treatment also.

Now at present, my condition is that i feel strength in my back due to continous exercising so i feel less or no pain while sitting, but pain in my left hip, thigh, calf while bending, sitting in a certain position and while changing position while i am leaning on a bed. It's been 5 months and i am depressed because i couldn't workout because of this i have gaining 8kg of fat during this injury. And i dont know what to do.

For heaven's sake please help me. I am just 24 years old and i am very depressed.

Hello Suren,
One of the golden rules of slipped discs is that the pain recedes much faster than healing occurs to the surrounding annulus fibrosis, as it's known.

The second and third are that you should sit much less, and not bend for six weeks.

What's happening is that you are continually reinjuring the disc and now, if you have no back pain, but a severe ache in the leg it's a real problem. If you don't start following the rules, you'll be under the knife shortly. And that will be the end of your weight lifting days; in fact it may already be.

At chiropractic help, using the search function, type in 'slipped disc rules'. Follow them to the letter for at least six weeks and you may be lucky and escape surgery.

Thereafter daily exercises for the rest of your life before getting out of bed every morning are vital.

It may be months before you can easily and comfortably sit again; perching on the edge of a desc or bench may help.

Look out for weakness developing in your foot. Can you raise your big toe?

Good luck, I hope this contributes.
Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

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