Small right paramedian L4-5 disc protrusion encroaching on right L5 nerve root

(Baltimore, MD)

Hello Dr. Lewis,

Your site is a life saver. I recently had an MRI confirming the above slipped disc and I have severe pain in my left upper leg (burning, needles, stabbing, itching etc). I have an appointment to see a specialist (in a month!!) who I just found out will probably only give me drugs. I need to find a good chiro in my area ( I have commenced with your 3 exercises gently at home).

I have purchased a ab/arm "tower" that has padded arms that I can "hang" my arms over and take the weight off my body as I can barely sit or stand or lay down, so it's a 4th position. My question is, is it safe to "hang" my arms over this to relieve my back i.e getting the weight off my spine -- I suppose it may stretch out or decompress my spine a bit -- is this Ok with my condition? The piece of equipment has not arrived yet.

Heretofore, I have been an active karate student/instructor for 17 years, gardener, do too much lifting at work person. I am 55 years old/female and very active, but now I can barely walk since last week.

My back was originally diagnosed as SI joint issue 4 years ago, but with no MRI, I think it's been the slipped disc all along with possible SI here and there. Bones are good and no stenosis noted on MRI. Mild arthritis of lumbar spine at L1-2, 4-5 and L5-S1.

I do not wish to take drugs, and I need to be active again for work and karate. I very much appreciate if you can answer the above question re the tower/hanging idea.

Also, assuming the disc can go back in it's place, is it possible to go back to all my activities like kicking/running/bending etc if I am well warmed up and careful? I know this is going to take several months to get better....Also, I have no intention of ever have back surgery due to the risks and side effects.

I look forward to your reply to my two questions. Thank you SO much!!!!


Hello Lili,
There is unfortunately not too much stretch as your legs just aren't heavy enough. But try it, I can't see it doing any harm

Better, is an inversion traction device, but they have to be used under supervision, and I'm very careful using it with the acute back. But many people have found great relief from inversion traction.

The sacroiliac joint often is blamed for problems of a more serious nature. The reasons are many: many of the lumbar joints actually refer down to the buttock and SI area (sup cluneal nerves for example). The SI often locks up with L5 conditions particularly, but is not the primary, and unless the lumbar joint is treated, the SI pain and fixation just returns.

You have a long history of being very active. Now slow down and be careful, sit much less, don't bend, do the exercises faithfully, go for short walks, for at least six weeks.

Small bulges oddly often cause more pain and trouble than a great big bulge which is more easily reabsorbed.

Good luck, thanks for the compliments.

Dr B

Comments for Small right paramedian L4-5 disc protrusion encroaching on right L5 nerve root

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Sep 24, 2014
Severe lower leg pain
by: Anonymous

I am a 65 year old in very severe pain in my right leg below the knee. According the report I have
multilevel disc degenerative changes with type 2 endplate changes at L3/L4. and adequate CSF seen around the cord; suggested to do an operation.

You'll need to give me a lot more information. From your computer, not the phone please.

1. Where on the lower leg does it hurt?

2. Do you have back pain?

3. If you bend forwards, backwards, to the side, does it provoke the pain in the leg?

4. When did it start?

5. What other treatment have you had?

6. What provoked the pain.

Let me know.

Dr B

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