One of the symptoms that a disc is pinching on a nerve is when the back pain radiates down your leg. It can be either leg or both. Many different things can cause disc problems. Injury like lifting something too heavy like in my case can cause the disc to herniate and put pressure on the nerve which is what causes the pain. Sometimes just getting older can cause the disc to weaken and the inside of the disc can leak out causing it to push on a nerve and cause pain.
I suspected disc trouble when I had a sharp pain in my right buttock that did not get better with anti-inflammatory medication. My doctor ordered an mri to confirm that my pain was indeed disc related. Eventually, the pain radiated down to my foot and I ended up having surgery.
My first notice of disc problems was severe pain and my legs would not hold me up when I attempted to get out of bed one day. The next times were the low back pain and increasing pain accross the buttocks and down the leg plus I could not stand upright if both feet were on the ground. It can come on with sudden herniations as mine did, or slowly with bulding disc or smaller herniations. It varies with everyone.
Many people have disc "problems"; that is to say, there is something wrong, but it is not causing pain or discomfort. As we age the discs begin to deteriorate. Or an injure of some kind precipitates a bulge or other problem. If you are not having pain, loss of strength, or other symptoms, then I wouldn't worry. Practice good back mechanics..stoop rather than bend, avoid lifting heavy objects and do lots of walking to build up the back muscles.
My doctor gave me muscle relaxers and anti-inflammitories the first couple weeks after I injured myself. Then she gave me a steriod anti-inflammitory called methylprednisolone. I was in so much pain at that time I could not walk to the bathroom by myself. The steroid anti-inflammitory really helped a lot. I only took it for 6 days. I have been taking aspirin every day for about 6 weeks now for the pain. I walk on my treadmill and do back stretching and exercises designed for someone with damaged disc that I got from my doctor. I have been feeling better each day. This Monday I quit taking aspirin and for two days it got worse I think from withdrawal and now I am feeling almost no pain. I still walk on my treadmill to keep working and strengthing my lower back muscles. It's been about 9 weeks since my initial injury and I am almost all the way better. It gets a little stiff sometimes but I stretch and it helps. I know I could not run right now or it would probably drop me to the ground but I am healing and doing really well. I am one of the lucky 90% of people who have a disc injury and will not need surgery.
One more thing I wanted to mention that helped the most for the pain. Using ice packs really numbs the pain and shrinks things down if there is inflammation. I swear by it. I could not have handled it if I hadn't used ice packs. When the pain was really bad and I was having back spasms so bad I couldn't get out of bed. I would put an ice pack on the bad spot for 15 or 20 minutes and it made the pain not as intense when trying to get up. I have used the ice packs for pain up until just this week. I acually use a bag of frozen peas. You can freeze it over and over, works great.
I had symptoms for 1 1/2 weeks before I had an MRI. I went into the doctor 4 days after the injury because I was having back spasms so bad I could not get out of my vehicle or out of bed. I had taken 10 ibuprofen that day and it did not touch the pain. So that was my treatment before seeing the doctor. Bed rest and ibuprofen. The doctor prescribed strong anti-inflammitories and muscle relaxers. I went back to her 4 days after that first visit and was getting way worse. I could not walk on my own or even sit without supporting myself with my arms. I sat in the chair waiting for the doc to come in just crying in pain. The doctor took one look at me and must have thought it was pretty serious. She was thinking surgery maybe at that point that is why she sent me to have the MRI. She was going to refer me to a surgeon. I did not know that at the time however. I would have never gone along with it. Then she gave me the major steroid anti-inflammitores and that did the trick. The next week I went in to see her and I was doing a lot better. Still hurt a lot but could walk on my own again. So she said I would not need to go to the surgeon but did want to give me a steroid shot but I said no. I was surprised that after only 1 1/2 weeks she would be thinking surgery. I am sure the MRI was a big help in deciding not to do surgery. I was in so much pain I could not even sit or walk. They do need to check out what is going on. I could have totally ripped a tendon or something that they might have to sew back together. So in the end she did make the right decision to give me the MRI but said no surgery.
I totally agree. I had pain that was not even close to my disc problem that she could not explain. I have had major pain right around my disc damage but also have pain about 5 discs away where they did not find anything. That has been where most of my pain has come from. She could not explain it.
My sister has back pain every day and they did a MRI and she turned out to have a disc protrusion but it wasn't even close to where she was having the pain.
They just seem to blame disc problems for everyting. I just don't understand it. There are so many things that can go wrong in a back that aren't even disc related.
I don't feel just lucky though. I am knowledgeable and always research about everything I can before I actually make a choice about what to do. My choice was no to what they had offered me and it was the right choice.