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Lumbar disc herniation/Steroid injection

Hi All,

I wanted to share my story in case there's anyone out there currently going through something similar.

-I'm 35 years old and in good shape, with exception of my current disc herniation in my L5 and respective nerve pain down my left leg- confirmed by a recent MRI.

-Over the last 5-6 years, I've had a handful of short battles with lower back pain (like once a year). These battles typically happen after I've over-exerted myself with landscaping projects, or other weekend work. This is likely due to using bad form (ie; bending forward to pull weeds, working long hours without breaks, etc.). My symptoms usually surface a day later and consist of an acute pain left of my tailbone area when seated, and general tightness as well (ie; difficulty bending forward to tie my shoes). I've always recovered after about a week of taking it easy, but unfortunately, never realized these were likely warning signs of a potentially bigger issue.

-About 3 months ago, I was struck with another episode. Per usual, several days passed and I could already tell the pain and stiffness was about 50% better. However, prior to fully recovering, I believe I exacerbated the injury while performing a task that put me in a precarious position. By the next day, I could tell something wasn't right. The pain was more extreme than normal, and I began experiencing left hip flexion issues- something new to what I had previously experienced. I also found I was unable to remain in a seated position without impinging the nerve. Whatever I did that day, was the final straw toward what I now know is a disc herniation. 

-Over the last 3 months, I've been in chronic pain, which fluctuates day to day from mild to severe. I still have to avoid sitting down as much as possible. I also still rely on Ibuprofen when the pain is too much to bear. Admittedly, I've probably been more active than I should have during the times I've felt okay, which has likely inhibited my recovery a bit. That said, I've also gone from feeling okay to being in pain during times where I've been diligently resting. I've consulted a PT, a chiropractor and a former neurosurgeon, as well as had an X-ray and an MRI.

-Given the duration of this injury and the consult I received, I decided it was time to seek a more aggressive treatment and am in the process of scheduling a spinal steroid injection. The hope is that this will reduce inflammation enough to relieve my L5 nerve root, which is the culprit of all my pain. I know this will only address the pain, and the need still remains to rest and stretch appropriately, but given the chronic pain, I'm ready for the next step.

Thanks for listening to my situation. If you have questions or can relate to my situation, please feel free and chat. I will keep this post updated as I get scheduled for my injection, and beyond.




  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,440

    hello seanferris!!

    welcome to spine-health.

    i think all of us are guilty of overdoing when we feel good. it's a normal reaction and i'm the world's worst!! you think things have got to be done right away so you just do them. but in your case you have to, you are still working every day.
    one thing that we all agree on here is chiropractors. they are not spine experts and we avoid them.
    when you have your epidural try not to bend, twist or lift anything. bend at your knees, spin on your heels.

    while you are waiting on other members to reply please click on the welcome link below as well as the system tutorial for more information.

    welcome to spine health

    all new members should take the system tutorial 

    i hope you do keep posting on your progress, your information will help so many others. thank you so much.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical Story  
  • Sounds very similar to my situation. Are you having facet injections too? I believe they have helped my inflammation more than the epidural.

    Careful with the ibuprofen. Make sure you use something like omnrprazole to line the stomach. I've had gastritis, probably from using NSAIDS too much.

    Physios and the like always stress the importance of moving rather than rest. You just need to strike a good balance. Gentle specific stretches can help greatly, but use the advice of your physio for this.

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  • seanferrissseanferris Posts: 1
    edited 08/23/2017 - 8:14 AM

    Checking in as it's been awhile since my first post. I appreciate the comments and tips very much.

    Update on the injection is that it didn't provide me very much relief, if any at all. I'm going back to that clinic tomorrow but don't have any intentions of getting another shot yet.

    In the meantime, I have decided to begin decompression therapy at [edit] I've had 2 sessions already and will be going in 3 times a week for the next few weeks. Knock on wood, but I've noticed an incremental improvement after just 2 visits. I should know very soon if it's truly helping. I will definitely update my post with that information. In case you're wondering, this therapy is NOT covered by insurance (at least in my state) but it has a high success rate and seems like a no-brainer compared to surgery. There are no health risks.

    @BBH- I'll ask my doctor about the facet injections, thanks for that info. And yes, using the ibuprofen as sparingly as possible. 

    Forum rule #5.10- you agree not to name a physician or medical facility.

  • Update after 8 treatments (2.5 weeks) of decompression:

    -I'm feeling WAY better!

    -I've felt incrementally better after every treatment, but turned a new corner last week in which the incremental improvements finally added up to a significantly noticeable improvement. Note- I've experienced some soreness in the days following treatments.

    -The sciatic nerve pain has greatly reduced. 

    -The worst of my pain (which is nothing compared to before) is when I wake up. I still have a lot of tightness in my hip and surrounding area. With each passing day, it seems to decrease a bit.

    If you're specifically dealing with a lumbar disc herniation, I STRONGLY advise you to look in your area to see if anyone offers decompression. Consult with them to find out if you're a good candidate. My only regret is not having known about this months ago.

  • Hi seanferris

    It is good to read of your improvement and clearly that is something you want to share.

    Please remember the forum rules though, about advice or recommendations.

    I am a little curious as to why this treatment is not covered by insurance if it is so successful?  Surely they would encourage less expensive treatment to pay out for on a claim?  I am from the UK so maybe somebody for the US would be able to answer this.

    Good luck with your ongoing recovery and don;t forget - remember your MRI results when pushing yourself on your limits :-).  As Sandra said previously, we have all over done it and most live to regret it afterwards lol! Me included




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
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  • Thanks for the word. Just to be clear, I advised looking into this treatment option and consulting with a doctor. 

  • hi ive had 3 days of injections in bulgaria, it worked well 10 days now im back in pain again facing surgery !!.ive2 herniated disc in l 3 4 5

    chronic sciatic pain to feet.

    what is this compression treatment,not heard of.

    my operation will probably entail plates, wedges,etc

  • Thank you! very useful information!

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