Starting a year ago I injured my back by lifting a shelf; since then I have repeatedly been told that I have a herniated disc.

by Jenelle



I am a healthy 18 year old with a so called herniated disc. To start from the beginning I injured my back by lifting a shelf by myself resulting in lower right back pain. This original pain was only taken away by laying flat on my back on a level surface. I had avoided going to physio or a chiropractor because the pain slowly got to the point where it was bearable.

Fast forwarding about six months, with my back switching from bearable to not-so bearable, I did something while cross country skiing. During this I didn't fall, didn't do anything out of the ordinary just a normal outing.

Initially, after that ski I could feel my back feeling terrible leading me to not being able to move about the next morning. I went from being able to move just fine to not being able to bend over in just one night; it felt as tho I was 90 years old, unable to even stand up straight.

At this point I knew something was seriously wrong and went for treatment at physio. At the same time I was unable to stand up straight; terrible pain was radiating down the back of my right leg ending in the outside of my calf.

The calf pain feels as though someone is repeatedly stabbing me and never stops. Walking, moving or lifting my leg in the air like I'm stretching my hamstring increase the pain.

Hip, knee and lower right back pain is also felt but nothing compared to the calf; during physio I was treated for eight weeks, three of those weeks I receive acupuncture releasing the pain in my hip and back, but never reducing the calf and pain behind the knee.

Once being release from physio (a month ago) I still had pain in my calf but my back mobility was perfect with little pain.

After being released from physio I felt some-what back till normal, until one morning about three week ago where the stiffness and unbearable pain in my back started again. I phoned a chiropractor and have been receiving treatment since. All tests preformed with results being positive and negative. The slump test was able to easily recreate the leg pain I feel. My reflexes are fine, except for behind the right knee, being non existent whereas the left side it was perfectly responsive. A reflex test pushing up on my feet also presented itself weird because my foot stayed in the upwards position for a few seconds afterwards instead of relaxing like the other side. My mobility side to side is okay as well as front to back.

I have now received three treatments and little positive change in my back has been made where as none as been made in my calf and leg pain. I was prescribed an SI belt which has been able to reduced my back pain to essential nothing and leg pain down to about a 5 (normally being around an 8); I am looking for any insight on how I can reduce my leg pain without having to wear a belt all the time and am able to walk without being in pain.

Hello Jenelle,
The most disturbing part of your narrative is that there is no mention of any lower back exercises; that is absolutely vital to help prevent future episodes.

The loss of what I presume is the medial hamstring reflex is an ominous sign; note well whether you can lift the big toe. You almost certainly have a large herniation of the disc, probably at the L4/L5 level, though not necessarily.

Did you go into what's known as the antalgic posture?

For the next two months you must not bend and lift; go down on one knee if you need to pick up your toothbrush. Try not to cough or sneeze, and generally sit much less.

It seems that the chiropractic treatment is helping, but you have a long way to go. In particularly watch out for the fifty percent less pain stage; that's when relapses frequently occur.

You've had a serious injury, Jenelle. Patience and a real commitment to being careful and the exercises is vital for that disc to heal. Your chiropractor will advise you.

I don't believe in rushing off to the chiropractor, doctor and physio for every little pain, but clearly right in the beginning you needed professional advice and help.

Good luck, I hope it works out well for you.

Dr B

50 percent less pain » Starting a year ago I injured my back by lifting a shelf; since then I have repeatedly been told that I have a herniated disc.

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