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Disc prolapse & pregnant

(11 Posts)
applecrumple Tue 01-May-12 20:46:45

Im pretty sure I cant be the only woman in this situation so I'm hoping for some words of wisdom here!

I've had severe back pain for 14 years (I'm now 29) & last year I was finally diagnosed with a prolapsed disc - was very severe & I was in absolute agony. I had a disc operation in June last year to remove the offending bit of disc & (once I had recovered), I had 2 months of being pain free. I then started getting back pain/sciatica/tingling late last year. I went to the gp who wasn't particularly helpful & said he wasn't sure if it was another slipped disc, but not to worry.

I then became pregnant in Jan & then happened to have a post-op follow up with my surgeon in feb. my surgeon said it looked like the disc below the one. Had operated on was out, but couldn't do an X-ray or MRI to find out so he suggested I had physio. I had physio for a couple of months, but have just discharged myself as I wasn't getting any relief at all & there didn't seem to be an awful lot they could do for me being pregnant.

So , now I have a disc prolapse, am 17 weeks pregnant, can't take medication and seem to be at a dead end. I'm rather scared at how much worse the pain could get as the pregancy goes on. I'm always not straight (when I stand I'm "wonky" - leaning to one side) because of the pain. I've been offered an epidural for labour, but that's about it. I'm waiting for another appt with my surgeon, but that won't be for a while yet.

Anyone else in/been in this situation? I'm scared of how I'm going to be after the birth, caring for a new baby etc. As the disc prolapse is not pregnancy related, it's likely to not improve after I've given birth.

Help please!

woopsidaisy Tue 01-May-12 21:02:02

You need to get a really good physio. I have a bulging disc, had it for years, put it down to sciatica etc.
It became really painful last year. I went to a physio, slight improvement. Then was in agony!
Went to different physio, actually a mum from school.
OMG, the difference! It had changed my life! No more back pain, taking an hour to stand up straight in the morning, no more "leaning over" as you describe.
I had to learn to sleep on my side-not easy for a confirmed stomach sleeper, give up running, only power walk on flat roads, kneel down not bend down-even for the dishwasher etc. 20 mins of her doing what they do on your back, then 10 mins in the traction. Took a couple of months, but felt better within days!
Not one of the previous physios had even asked about how I slept or exercise etc. I am 6 months pregnant with DC3 and my back is still great!
You could try reviews or word of mouth for good physio?

SweetPea3 Tue 01-May-12 21:10:50

OP, that sounds hideous! Where abouts do you live? I think I know someone good in London

applecrumple Wed 02-May-12 18:43:55

Thanks ladies, I live in south Wales so London would be a little far! Hmm interesting about the physio, I have had so much physio over the years & its all been useless - not even going private helped! I shall have to do a little research. Pleased to hear everything is going well with you woopsi x

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 02-May-12 18:46:41

Have you tried an osteopath? I've got a bad back at the moment (not opregnant though) and friends tell me that physios were useless but osteopaths did the trick.

Naisy Thu 03-May-12 09:59:48

Hi, I have an annular tear and dehydrated disc and am 18+2 - last 8 weeks have been hideous!

My spinal consultant wrote a letter for me to take to my hospital appointment (as did my Osteo) that said I needed to be governed by my own pain levels if pain continued to get worse and that I should be offered a c-section. This won't help during the pregnancy (you can take paracetamol and codeine for that - see your GP and ask), but my spinal consultant thinks it will be better over the longer term. Yes, you need about 8 weeks to recover afterwards which is better is you have a good support network, but he said if hormones kick in to overide the pain in the third tri you can have a seriously painful relapse post baby (especially with all the bending and picking up).

If this option sounds appealing, make the right appointment and push for it. For me the idea of labour and excruitiating back spasms at the same time makes me break out in a cold sweat!

We've also thought carefully about how we will manage once the babies here by buying the highest products we can find. This means a Stokke pram, a Boori Crib and a change table. We're also selling both cars to buy an SUV so I'm not bending down to pick up the baby out of the car.

Good luck!

EldonAve Thu 03-May-12 10:04:45

Have you asked for a referral to the pain clinic?

musicalmrs Thu 03-May-12 13:30:46

Hi applecrumble! I'm not in precisely the same situation as you, but a similar one - I was diagnosed with a bulging disc a couple of years ago. They wanted to operate but I refused, and went with holistic methods (Alexander technique, and bell ringing oddly enough!), which really helped the situation improve. I may well need surgery later on (as it's a genetic condition in my case), but at 24 and as a musician who couldn't work while in so much pain, I couldn't accept surgery so young.

Anyway, I'm now 38 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I've been looking after my back really carefully and although I've had problems with it for the last month or so, it has actually been incredibly well behaved for the majority of my pregnancy and I can't complain. Pain nowhere near as bad as it was before!

Just wanted to give you some hope that it might not get tonnes worse! Suggestions I'd offer up:
- Physio - but make sure it's a good physio as woopsidaisy says. My physio personally wasn't that helpful at all, but I've heard that some are absolutely brilliant. There are pregnancy physios too, maybe get one who does a bit of both, or try to see two separate ones?
- Alexander technique - have you tried this? It sounds a bit barmy, but it really helped me to help my back. When I was told I had to go for surgery, I contacted the Musician's Benevolent Fund to ask for advice on what to do (feared it was the end of my career as I could no longer do the things I needed to do), and they gave me some funding to try some of this, citing how much it had helped other musicians in a similar situation. And it really has!

I can't comment on how it will be after the baby arrives, but if mine doesn't improve from its current condition I can always report back after mine's arrived and let you know. Again, I realise my back condition isn't as serious as yours (or at least, doesn't seem to be currently!), but I might be able to offer some suggestions.

applecrumple Thu 03-May-12 20:53:45

What's The Pain Clinic Eldonave? Yes, we've also been looking at higher pushchairs - think we will be going for the Joolz Day, can't really stretch to the Stokke, but the Joolz looks like a good bet.

I am a little worried about after the birth & how I'm going to cope with back pain & all the lifting that's nvolved. Tbh, I'm just a bit low at the moment, but I think that's probably understandable!

Naisy I had thought about the c section, but was put off by the recovery, but then like you say it may be better in the long run. I had heard about The Alexander Technique, but don't really know much about it.

Thanks ladies, I knew I wasn't alone!

EldonAve Thu 03-May-12 23:00:00

Your hospital should have a pain clinic - they should be able to help with painkillers/other stuff. Definitely worth asking about

Lovetobeamum Mon 29-Apr-13 12:22:56

Hello applecrumple. I'm also from south Wales and I had a discectomy only six months after my daughter was born. This was two years ago but I still feel pain, which scares me quite a lot. We are also thinking about having another child and I would love to be able to hear from a mum that has been through a pregnancy with a disk problem.
How did you get on? What helped you? Any tips?
Thanks a Lot!

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