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Chronic pain

Disc bulges

31 replies

Dontwakeme · 12/09/2022 20:42

Have had several weeks of terrible nerve leg pain and eventually had an mri which showed 3 disc protrusions/ bulges . My nhs appointment to discuss a plan forward isn’t for 6 weeks despite being urgent, have a private appointment in 2 weeks for similar consultant. Just wondering what my options will be? The pain is only easing slightly at times now as I’m on a lot of medication ( Amitriptyline, naproxen, codeine) . I have small children so absolutely want to avoid surgery if possible-still waiting to hear from
my physio. But for those who have been through similar what’s the treatment options generall? I’ve had little improvement in the leg symptoms since it a happened a few weeks ago and everyday I think surely it’ll be better with time but it’s not, Ruining lots of lovely plans I had for this month. I will see the consultant privately but any treatment will
need to be nhs (unless somewhat affordable) as not covered by my insurance. Any advise appreciated/ should I be exercising, resting or stretching right now etc to try and improve things?

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frazzled101 · 15/09/2022 14:33

This is a difficult question to answer because everyone will tell you what solved their back pain, and I only ever found it frustrating as nothing was working for me.

I've tried almost all of them, and at the time where I had a disc bulge, surgery was the solution for me.

I also tried a chiropractor, an osteopath, acupuncture, reflexology, Pilates, physio, an epidural injection etc There's probably more I can't remember.

Years on and during pregnancy, I had a recurrence of the nerve pain, and on that Ocasion I feel like time was the cure. Probably took 9 mths post delivery to recover.

Nerve pain is horrendous so you have my sympathy. Gapapentin and pregablin are prescribed for nerve pain and might help.

Dontwakeme · 15/09/2022 19:42

@frazzled101 thank you for taking time to reply, yes there is so much conflicting advice/ opinions based on individual situations but I suppose the crux of the matter is that it’s based on everyone’s circumstances being different. Surgery would be the absolute last resort for me at the minute as realistically I couldn’t manage the recovery with little support I have and small children. I think I will speak about changing from amitriptyline to one of the others you mentioned as I don’t think amitriptyline is doing much to help.
The nerve pain is like none other, I’ve never taken as many tablets as I hve this last month and hoping it is a short term basis. Thank you and glad you got relief via surgery eventually

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Oxborn · 15/09/2022 20:15

I’m currently suffering from severe nerve pain it’s awful I’m currently taking 15 tablets a day tramadol and pregabalin it takes the edge of the pain but numbs me as a person physio was pointless and now having to wait to get re referred to have the injection into the nerve can’t remember what it’s called if that doesn’t work then it will be surgery, I really hope you find something that helps soon

BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 15/09/2022 20:46

Only thing that helped me was the curable app. I have tried everything

Dontwakeme · 15/09/2022 21:04

@Oxborn you have my sympathy it really is terrible pain!i am also hoping I will be offered the nerve block injection. Have you had an mri yet to confirm what discs are impacted? My nhs appointment after mri is 7 weeks to see the orthopaedic team, from there I don’t know time frame for actual treatment. Were you always prescribed pregablin or did you try others first?

@BryceQuinlanTheFirst the curable app, what is that please?

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BryceQuinlanTheFirst · 15/09/2022 21:11

It's techniques to treat chronic pain. Lots of education about why we experience pain, exercises, meditations.
My pain isn't cured but I brought it down from a daily 6 to a 2 and I was on 8 coedine a day.

CatNamedEaster · 15/09/2022 21:26

I'm sorry you are going through this.

I had this. I was told there would be 2 stark options if movement didn't improve by my next appointment after my MRI; carry on and hope it improves or surgery to fuse discs together.

Literally two days before that follow up I was able to lift my toes off the floor by 5mm. So he decided to wait and see. It took another three months but it did improve by itself.

I had 'physio' but it involved someone looking at my range of movement as she couldn't actually get close enough to do anything beneficial as the pain and fragility of the discs made it too risky for her. So it was just a case of doing nothing but hope for about 5 months from the date of the injury.

Only once I was at that 5 month mark was I referred to a rehabilitation course in a group setting which I found invaluable, but until that point I wasn't in a position to do any exercise.

I truly sympathise with anyone going through it. I still remember thinking at the time that I couldn't believe it was possible to feel so much pain for so long without passing out. It was torture. I hope it improves for you.

Dontwakeme · 15/09/2022 22:17

@BryceQuinlanTheFirst thanks for explaining I will definitely check this out. I am trying to limit my codeine use as much as possible as was heavy on them initially and quite zonked- yes I couldn’t feel much pain but I also couldn’t do much else!! I’m now using 3 or 4 of the30/500 in 24hrs. Plus the rest of the medication but the codeine is the worry longer term.

@CatNamedEaster thanks for sharing, I have heard that for some people when the bulge is so bad that in 6 months your body can reabsorb it but that won’t happen for everyone. Great that it did for you!! Did you notice a general reduction in nerve pain in that time or were you on nerve medication also? I would continue on the amitriptyline if I thought there would be an improvement however thinking 6 months of this level of pain and limited mobility to do things as a family and with my children doesn’t fill be with great hope! Hopefully the consultant will shed some light for me and explain options.

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Oxborn · 15/09/2022 23:12

Dontwakeme · 15/09/2022 21:04

@Oxborn you have my sympathy it really is terrible pain!i am also hoping I will be offered the nerve block injection. Have you had an mri yet to confirm what discs are impacted? My nhs appointment after mri is 7 weeks to see the orthopaedic team, from there I don’t know time frame for actual treatment. Were you always prescribed pregablin or did you try others first?

@BryceQuinlanTheFirst the curable app, what is that please?

Yes mri showed spinal c5,6,7 so effects my left shoulder neck arm hands and fingers did you say you had done physio as they made me do that first. At first I was given amitriptiline and codiene but didn’t touch the pain.

Mxflamingnoravera · 16/09/2022 10:07

I am in a similar position (but my kids are grown up so I'm alone with my pain). I've refused the gabapentin and amitryptaline because of the sexual dysfunction side effects, I am not going to lose the one thing I can still enjoy.

I did a private MRI and was referred to muscular skeletal team yesterday. They are referring me to private spine specialists but NHS will pay. I want to avoid surgery if possible because it terrifies me. I'll try to get a faster first consultation by paying privately but the treatment will be paid for by nhs.

I've lost my job because of this. I can hardly move due to leg and foot pain and it's wearing me down mentally. I'm 9 weeks in. (I also tried all the other alternatives but nothing has worked). I'm hoping for a fast referral now into a spinal consultation and fast treatment, otherwise this will bankrupt me.

Sending unmumsnetty hugs and good wishes for a speedy recovery. I'll have a look at the curable app, I've been doing some hypnosis stuff but it has not helped so far.

CatNamedEaster · 16/09/2022 14:12

@Dontwakeme I was just on codeine but I didn't take the full dose as I was terrified of becoming reliant on them.
I was lucky really as I didn't have a child at that time and we were living in a really cheap rental between selling/buying a house so DH's salary covered our bills. So I had the time to wait it out.

The pain did gradually dissipate as movement returned, I guess because as the bulge got smaller the pressure on the nerve reduced. But I still have a 'fuzzy' feeling all down my leg and I can't do breast stroke as one hip won't flex outwards. I know it's still fragile so I have to keep it in mind whenever I'm moving, sitting, lifting anything.

Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 21:45

@Mxflamingnoravera an I didn’t realised the sexual issues with amitriptyline at a low dose!
im sorry I are also experiencing this, what pain killers are you finding helps?
Ive found in the last two days things a little less intense with the nerve pain so many several strong co codamol , naproxen and amitriptyline are finally kicking in.
that’s good you’ve had an mri - I didn’t realise that you can get referred to private big nhs will pay?
I don’t know how both private and nhs interlink so be great if you could give me some info on this.
I hear u about the cost- Iv spent ALOT of money on physio alone in last few years. I hope you get some relief this weekend.

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Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 21:48

@CatNamedEaster that’s great that the pain reduced - what was the time frame for that do you think- was it nearer the 6months? I’m wondering how long life will look like this, I get wee glimmers of hope and it’s definitely so much better than the first few weeks were I was absolutely beside myself in pain . So happy to hear time was kind to you and it resolved !!

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Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 21:51

@CatNamedEaster sorry reread your earlier post and saw your timeframes mentioned x

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SimonaRazowska · 17/09/2022 21:58

I don’t really want to give advice as I am not a doctor

but my story is: 2 bulging/protruding discs when I was 32, L4 and L5. Was in pain but it would disappear and then come back. It was debilitating

I was recommended surgery to remove the bits of disc that would trap the nerves.

but I did not want surgery as had 2 very young kids to look after.

went for a second opinion, and was told another option would be to get an injection (once) and then simply continue as normal, but no kind of lifting/heavy lifting. Learning how the pick things up from the floor bending my legs rather than my back. He said especially not to start resting but that walking and swimming were good. And to take pain relief if required.

he also said I should be careful not to put on weight , as weight on the belly can pull on the discs , even a few extra kilos

anyway, I went with the second opinion

20 years later and no regrets yet

but I am careful about the weight thing. Apparently it can be a big factor

hope you find a solution, the pain can be debilitating . But it can sometimes sort itself out.

StarCourt · 17/09/2022 22:00

Hi @Dontwakeme I've had 2 micro discectomy ops due to bulging/herniated discs. The choices I was given were either 6 months absolute rest or surgery. (At one point I couldn't walk due to the severe pain) I'm a single parent and couldn't have coped with a 1 yr old at that time so I chose surgery. The 2nd time I chose surgery again because I knew it would help based on my first op.

Mxflamingnoravera · 17/09/2022 22:25

I had my mri done privately. I took my mri results to the doctor who prescribed "morphine" patches (10umg per hour) plus naproxen and paracetamol. Was good for a couple of days but the pain returned.

She also referred me to the NHS muscular skeletal interface service who looked at my mri and did a short examination and said they would refer me into the private sector hospitals locally. They said I could possibly pay for a first consultation and then because I've been referred by nhs the treatment would be free and this might speed things up. Nb "might".

Today I am in agony, I can't walk, stand or sit comfortably. I've taken all the painkillers I'm allowed but the pain is still debilitating. I'll call the dr on Tuesday to ask about any other pain relief that does not cause sexual dysfunction, but from what I read, all the ones that seem to work (Ami, gaba, pregab etc) seem to cause loss of libido and affect the ability to reach orgasm along with other nasty side effects, this seems a high price to pay, but I think I'm finally at the point where I may have to try them because I cannot go on like this. I'm already feeling like. Zombie living from one pain relief dose to the next and I'm certainly not feeling like I want to have sex either because my sciatic nerve gets triggered by orgasm.

I don't know how the nhs private thing works, just that this was what was being put forward to me. I took away a list of all the spinal surgeons in my area and I'll contact them all on Tuesday to try to get a consultation that will trigger treatment. I'm willing to pay the £300 or so that this will cost if treatment follows quickly. I've lost my job and I'm losing my life to this awful pain.

Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 22:40

@Mxflamingnoravera dear love u , you have my sympathy! I hope you manage some sleep tonight and certainly recommend looking into on of the nerve related medications- sex is the furthest from my mind so can’t say that’s a massive concern at the minute tbh!
wishing you some rest for tonight x

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Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 22:42

@StarCourt thanks for sharing, was the recovery from the surgery not just awful with a small child?! I feel like I couldn’t manage that at the minute.
Glad you got relief and All went well xx

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Dontwakeme · 17/09/2022 22:45

@SimonaRazowska thanks for this, absolutely hoping I get offered the injection and that’s it’s as successful for me. Interesting you mention weight and belly fat, I am about two stone overweight my pre baby slim size so I am trying to lose this as definitely have some belly fat. I wonder wi will this be mentioned to me. However on the flip side I had sciatica and back issues 15 years ago when I was size 8 but not as bad at this obviously!

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Willide1 · 17/09/2022 23:09

Have you tried duloxetine? I was agony for months last year and mri showed bulging discs at L4/L5. I was prescribed Amitriptyline and then Nortriptyline, neither of which had any effect on the nerve pain. The GP then prescribed duloxetine and within a couple of weeks the pain/numbness/weakness in my leg had completely disappeared. I decided to come off them after about 6 mths but the nerve pain very quickly returned so I’ve remained on them for now. Hope you find something that works for you, nerve pain is awful!

StarCourt · 18/09/2022 00:33

@Dontwakeme it wasn't easy but it was better than 6 months rest

SpinCityBlues · 18/09/2022 00:58

I've just finished a 'physio session' such as I can manage on my bed. This is like a club you really don't want to join, isn't it?

PeloFondo · 18/09/2022 01:01

For anyone that is scared of surgery, please don't be
I hadn't had any operations before and had a 5hr discectomy and laminectomy for cauda equina, L5/S1. There was no other option and had a neurosurgeon as it was so bad
I walked an hour after surgery, and was discharged less than 24hrs later
Did a lot of private physio, paid a PT for 8 rehab sessions and worked and worked to get my fitness back. 8 weeks post op I was back on a horse
That was 2017, I do 4 spin classes a week now. Some residual numbness in my leg/foot and I get the odd moment where my back sort of locks and hurts but it is nothing like the pain before
I actually asked them to cut my leg off because I couldn't cope with the pain, and then I lost all feeling. If a disc went tomorrow I would be straight back to have the same op

Dontwakeme · 18/09/2022 09:24

@PeloFondo thank you for sharing your experience with us, sounds very positive and glad you recovered so well!

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