Unable to stand upright

by Anna
(Notts, UK)

I am 29 y/o, have a 'very large' disk herniation L4/L5 with sciatica for at least a year and half, Was leaning to the opposite side like tower of Pisa for long time, have radiating sciatica from my back to my foot.

But the last 2 months I've been completely unable to stand upright no matter how many tablets I take or ice packs I use. It is usual to stoop forward with a disk herniation or could there be other possible causes, if so like what?

I am due a Microdiscectomy in a few months but that's mostly to alleviate leg pain and I'm worried I'm still gonna be stooped forward and struggling to walk even with a crutch. I was advised by a neurosurgeon to avoid chiro as my herniation is so large but I just want to be able to stand up again even if I am leaning to the side and doctors don't seem to give me any answers.

I haven't read anywhere about disk herniation causing people to stoop forward, only heard about it causing a lean to the side. Hence being worried there's something else going on, plus my back pain has got a lot worse recently.

Appreciate any advice.

Hello Anna,
A prolapsed disc can not affect your posture, make you lean towards or away from the pain, or be stooped straight forward.

I'm afraid your treatment has, in my opinion at least, been extremely neglectful. In fact negligent to allow a patient to be in an antalgic posture, as it is known, for so long.

It's all very well saying avoid chiropractic manipulation, but if medicine has nothing to offer in eighteen months, then I'm flabbergasted.

Antalgic patients walk into our offices on a daily basis; there's nothing unusual or unique about it. I had just such a case this morning. Usually such a patient would be upright within a few days, though now and again it might take a week or two.

Bed rest with exercises is an important part of the chiropractic treatment in my book as there is a large hole in the disc and sitting and standing are prohibited until you are upright.

Reducing the disc with manipulation is not usually difficult but stopping long enough for the annulus fibrosis to heal is frustrating, especially as the pain subsides once the inner part of the disc, the nucleus pulposis has been repositioned.

Having said all that, every case of an antalgia causing you to be unable to stand upright is a challenge. It's a serious sign and neglected just gets worse.

After such a long time I certainly can't promise you a happy outcome with chiropractic adjustments; it will take a very skilled DC, and a particularly compliant patient to win this one.

How strongly positive the Slump test for sciatica is gives one a good indication of the severity of your case.

Perhaps surgery is the best option after all this time, Anna. If you really want to avoid it, start our lumbar disc exercises, and follow our slipped disc rules to a T.

Good luck; let me know how you get on.

By the way tell your surgeon that I personally have had a sequestered disc, it doesn't get worse, that was successfully treated with chiropractic. Read about it at Femoral nerve damage, using that same search engine.

Dr B



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Mar 23, 2016
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Surgery worked for me
by: Anonymous

I'm 62 now I was 36 when the same thing happened to me; I could not stand upright; it was the most excruciating pain I've ever had.

The pain only lasted two weeks because I had surgery and it has never come back and I've never had another lower back problem. I had a laminectomy - a simple laminectomy, no fusion. They just cleaned out the disk and they said it was the largest herniation they ever seen bigger than a walnut.

Thank you for your contribution. You get good surgeons with above average results, just like chiropractors; it's a mixture of art and science.

And then you get "failed back surgery" and it's a total misery.

What's important in my book is that something be done; the lady in question is still suffering after eighteen months because nothing effective was done; unbelievable.

dr B

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