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Chronic pain

Herniated disc help

11 replies

microbean · 16/03/2023 20:54

DH has just come out of 3 days in hospital where he was diagnosed with a herniated disc L5 following and MRI. He is still in a huge amount of pain although not the agonizing pain he had before going into hospital. He's on Tramadol and has just started amitriptyline tonight. He is house bound but can go around with a walking frame on wheels. Up until last week he was cycling 100 miles a week and swimming 3x a week. I was wondering if anyone could share any positive outcomes they have had for herniated discs. Everything I read scares me so much. Has anyone discovered anything that really helped with pain and getting your life back. He has a follow-up appointment at hospital in 8 weeks and physio in 3 weeks.

OP posts:
Mumski45 · 16/03/2023 21:27

I had one more than 2 years ago and only physio and time have sorted it. I was also cycling about 150m a week or more when it happened. I am back to moving around OK now and back on my bike but being more careful.

It's been a long slow road for me but I think that is unusual and most people recover quicker.

I would start physio as soon as you can.

microbean · 17/03/2023 06:17

Thank you. Sorry it's taken you so long to recover. We're you offered surgery? We think it probably too soon to start physio as he only came out of hospital on Sunday.

OP posts:
Laserbird16 · 18/03/2023 07:19

Go to physio even now in the acute phase. It's better to keep moving, activating muscles and dealing with imbalances rather than atrophy and have to gain it all back

Mumski45 · 20/03/2023 09:05

Yes was offered surgery but I didn't take up the offer as at that point I could feel it was improving and was hopeful it would resolve itself which it did.

To be honest I didn't really trust the neurosurgeon very much. He had no interest in physio at all and when I asked about it he nonchalantly said it was up to me if I tried it or not. My second MRI showed little difference in the bulges from the first one but he had no explanation for why my pain levels were reducing anyway. He just said it was my body/brain getting used to the pain. I am obviously not qualified to say but I think this was bullshit and that a lot of the pain was caused by muscular/skeletal imbalances and tightness pulling on my spine which was helped by the physio.

I agree to get started on physio asap. If he can get an appointment and start off with really specific exercises which he can cope with it could help get him moving again.

It's worth asking if a spinal injection for pain will help get him moving. I had one of these and I do think it helped in the early stages and I was amble to reduce the pain killers for a while although didn't come off them completely until about a year after the first symptoms.

Gherkingreen · 20/03/2023 09:12

DH prolapsed two discs about 13 years ago. He didn't want surgery due to potential risks involved, so opted for rest & physio, but it did take a very long time to recover.
We had young DCs at the time and I think we've both blanked it out! He couldn't stand, walk or sit, he had to lie on the floor, or crawl on all fours.
He's always been very fit, and his focus post-discs is core, mobility and strength.
He still runs/cycles/swims/cycles but his focus is on keeping his core muscles balanced and as strong as possible.
If possible, book a decent physio, even if it means paying for one rather than waiting for NHS (love the NHS but waiting lists are insane.)

microbean · 20/03/2023 16:44

Thank you both of the above for such detailed replies. He had a spinal block/steroid injection in hospital but unfortunately it has not done anything. The physio is in 2 weeks so we may wait for that. He seems a bit more mobile now and is walking on crutches a bit more rather than a walking frame. I bought him a back brace which is helping too. Fingers crossed it improves quickly.

OP posts:
Rebel2 · 20/03/2023 16:50

I had surgery, it wasn't an option to leave it as I had cauda equina
Life changing and no more pain

Toomuchtoolong · 26/03/2023 22:32

Was in same position as your husband from august 22, unbelievable pain- 2 herniations L4L5, L5S1. I can honestly say it was the worst pain I have ever experienced and I’ve had two emergency surgeries before. I had a nerve root injection that didn’t do anything ( paid private) . Sept-nov things that helped slowly- Amitriptyline , was initially 30mg. Made me very tired and was drugged a bit the first week but was great. Painkillers- codeine 30mg worked a lot better than tramadol or morphine. I was in hospital twice as worry about Cauda equina and pain management - first was the initial occurrence, things seems to settle a little and sept/ oct with some gentle movement/ physio and the amitriptyline and painkillers. Then unfortunately had a flair up after a long drive and the pain was 100X worse than the initial pain and I was beside myself - didn’t sleep for a week crying for someone to cut my leg off. So your husband has the most sympathy from me. Had another injection - didn’t help. But what did was doubling the amitriptyline dose. Miracle worker.
was told by the spinal consultant that for the majority of people the body repairs it ( reabsorbs the bulge) in about 6 months and in December they and I thought I was in the unfortunate minority as the pain level was continuing to be so bad BUT can say that thankfully I held off on any surgery as really wanted to avoid that and even though it took 7mths and a lot of pain relief and nerve meds and physio/ gentle exercise I can say I am much much better. Have reduced all medication now and even tho I am so frightened of it reoccurring again I am in a more positive mindset.

is it nerve pain he feels in his legs or back pain? If nerve pain id highly recommend trying the likes of amitriptyline, also “gentle” exercise. Just walking if possible when able , not sitting for long periods - especially long drives. ( at the start I couldn’t sit down for 2 mins even) and finally a mobility strengthening program - I highly rate the Tom Morrison simplistic mobility method. Daily exercises 20mins.
good luck to you and your husband and wishing him a swift recovery!

FruitBadger · 26/03/2023 22:44

I had a herniated disc in my neck last year, C5/C6. It's the worst pain I have ever been experienced. I was on amitriptyline, codydramol and etoricoxib. I've had 2 emergency C sections which I managed on one dose of oramorph and paracetamol and ibuprofen thereafter so have a fairly good pain threshold.

It will improve but for me it was c6 weeks for agony to reduce to significant discomfort and 4-5 months from the original injury before I felt I was largely back to normal and off all medication. I'm now 8 months post injury and would say I'm 90%. It still twinges if I do something wrong but most of the time I don't have to think about it.

I do a completely desk based job and was signed off for 8 weeks and a phased return to full time hours for a further 12 weeks.

microbean · 28/03/2023 18:31

Thank you everyone for the advice. He is on amyltriptaline but it is making him slightly nauseous. He made a lot of improvement last week but it has now plateaued. He can walk a few steps without crutches. He has physio next week so fingers crossed it will help.

OP posts:
neptunelisa · 05/05/2023 16:42

I am in a similar situation. I lifted something heavy back in March 2022 and felt an immense pain in my side resulting in the most horrendous pain I have ever been in. I spent 10 days bed bound as any movement was excruciating. MRI showed L3/L4 disc extrusion. I only get pain in my back every so often and always have. Deep tissue massages have always kept it in check. My pain has mainly been in my knee and all over my thigh. From stinging pain to itchy burning sensations. I have had a lumbar & lateral femoral cutaneous nerve block but neither have worked. I am on amitripyline which helps. The pain does flare up every now and again. I have been seeing a private manual therapist for 6 months as NHS physio said there was nothing more they could do. He has tried everything. I have now been referred for pain management. As of yet I do not have a definite diagnosis which is more frustrating than anything. I have tried every stretch exercise I can find but nothing has got rid of it yet. Hopefully yours will heal quicker than mine :-)

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