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Old 01-27-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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alan93 HB User
L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

I don't know how all this started.
It seemed to be intermittent starting out after splitting wood with sledge and wedge. Also did chainsaw work in brush bending over.
Also did shovel big driveway of snow one winter which is twisting back.
Then after getting fit one year doing twisting sit ups (alternating for obluiques) It got more frequent so started PT in 2007 to minialize pain in right leg which was about 7 on 1-10.
PT let it go down to about 1-3 on pain scale.

Now, after being inactive for shoulder surgery sciatica has gotten worse and I even notice numbness bottom of right foot when standing in shower in morning. Getting out of bed in the morning is the worse as it aches bad.
By the end of the day I feel good as I hve been moving around a lot.

I am wondering if the slight protrusions on my MRI from 2 years ago have gotten worse as I cut my own fire wood and such. Also bouncing on my riding mower for about 1.5 hours to cut grass can't be good either.

What course do I take now? I was supposed to start chrio treatment at a board certified Chiropractic Neurologist after my shoulder surgery healed which is now but not sure about it.

Just tired of pain from sitting and then standing up all the time.
Advil helps but can't take that the rest of my life.
only 45 and very fit and trim, never overweight.

I have gotten an inversion table but it doesn't seem to help and numbness started after using that. !?!

Last edited by alan93; 01-27-2009 at 11:30 AM. Reason: added last line

 
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

This is the first time that I've posted on the boards but have browsed them for months for the information that everyone has been so kind to provide. I wanted to reply to your post as I have problems in the same area.
I have had off and on problems with my lower back for years as I was in a job that demanded a lot of lifting and pulling. This past summer I was taking time off to get some things done around the house before starting a new job. I was doing things like staining the deck, walkway around our patio. Then I was doing repetitive motions for an entire day removing some daisies that had gotten out of control in the front yard. I couldn't straighten up the next morning and had problems from that time on that proceeded to get worse over the summer (this was in June). I eventually got an MRI that showed a disc herniation at both L3-L4 and L4-L5 with a disc fragment that was lodged between the L3 and L4 vertebrae. I tried the conservative route for several months until I could get in to see a neurosurgeon. When he repeated my MRI in August the discs had decreased in size but my symptoms were actually worse. I had weakness in both legs (right worse than left) and could only walk about 5 minutes at the most before I was exhausted and my legs numb. I was prior to this an avid speedwalker and walked on the treadmill 4-5 days a week.
I guess what I'm trying to say is if you are experiencing a change in your symptoms especially with the numbness in your foot, from my experience I would ask your primary physician for a MRI to check out the changes in your back. Based on the results, I would suggest that you have a neurosurgeon consult and give you an opinion based on your symptoms and MRI results. Hopefully it will be as simple as avoiding certain types of activities and movements and more conservative measures.

As for me, I am 11 weeks out from a laminectomy with a single level bone onlay fusion and I am now walking on the track at the community college 1 1/2 miles a day without any numbness or footdrop on my right leg that I was experiencing. I'm increasing the distance slowly as I don't want to overdo (as I have a habit of doing!). I did have central canal stenosis also along with the bad discs. I hope this helps as it doesn't hurt to have the MRI repeated to see where you are. Things change over time and if you are as active and busy as you sound, that would be a good place to start. Best wishes.

 
Old 01-29-2009, 07:02 AM   #3
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

Thanks for that.
And it is interesting that we share some similarities and differences.
I do have the numbness in middle of right foot but it is intermittent and more of a tingle.
I started getting back to core strength exercises and 90 degree leg/nerve stretch while lying on my back and it seems to have improved some.
Then of all things ,,,,I fell on my back yesterday on the icey steps of my deck! Thankfully, i had on my lower back brace on and a lot of winter coat padding so I am ONLY just a little sore today between shoulder blades thank God.

But last fall I had minor pain with sciatic and I was walking a lot with no problem. Up to 2 miles a few times a week. I think the walking acutally helped except for the fact that it increases the muscle in the posterior and that may push on nerve some too.

Mine doesn't sound as bad as yours and they say avoid surgery at all costs, so I think I will try to see if it will get better again now that I can exercise.
THey did take x-rays of my back before my shoulder surgery so I have yet to find out if it has gotten worse since MRI of 2 years ago if they are able to compare the two.

Thanks again, glad yours is better.

Last edited by alan93; 01-29-2009 at 07:04 AM.

 
Old 01-29-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

Sorry to hear about your fall but glad you were well padded! I have always treated my other major low back incidents conservatively and had great success with it. Walking, gentle stretching and 20 minutes of a good heating pad to the low back always helped too. The electrostimulation that some PT folks offer really helped during one of my previous episodes also.

I was using Pilates exercises for the core strengthening and I miss being able to do those, but will get back to it as soon as I get the OK from the neurosurgeon. I really believe core strengthening helped me stay in my former profession for 30 years. Funny I should blow out the discs though in the yard on a summer break! (Really not so humorous.....I guess ironic is the term I should use). Just wear and tear I guess. But I agree, back surgery should be a last option for anyone.

Stay warm but don't hurt your back chopping wood or shovelling snow.

 
Old 01-30-2009, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

THanks, It's been two years or more so not sure what chance i have of healing this on its own.
It's strange, like last night I had it feeling good but then sit on the couch crooked or not straight for a while and it starts aching again.
It's like good then ouch .
Thanks for the tips.

 
Old 01-30-2009, 09:58 AM   #6
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

You know what they say about hindsight, boy if I had known that my lower back problems had the potential to get this bad I would have been a lot more conscious of every type of repetitive motion that I used. I wasn't doing a lot of heavy lifting when it finally went out so be careful with the repetitive stuff. Wear and tear can get you just as much as lifting heavy weight and I got 55 years out of mine so hopefully I will be good for a few more years now. Although I know my back will never be the same and I will always have to be careful.

I know what you mean about different positions bringing on the pain though. Sitting in a chair and getting in and out of the car has been the worse for me. Walking has always seemed to improve my discomfort from both issues. Standing in one place for too long wasn't a lot of fun either. So keep moving as much as you can!! My surgeon said to me when I was lamenting the surgical prospect, "Hey, it's only three months out of your life!" Well, it has been the longest three months of my life!! Fortunately, it seems to be paying off with increased strength and improvement in the leg function so it has been worth it. Take care of yourself!!

 
Old 05-20-2009, 10:01 AM   #7
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Re: L3-L4 & L4-L5 problems for over 2 years

I would like to update this as I near the 3 year mark of when this inititally became really bad and mention how my recovery has gone.

I am nearly pain free. yay!
I can't say why that is but I do believe in prayer and have prayed about this.
Though I can't say this is a miraculous healing but I have even prayed that God would show me how to exercise and stretch to fix this as there are many alternatives to that.

Here is a list of what I did to where I am now which is virutally no pain at all , except when I went out and did some strenuous back and leg work a while back and it flared up but went away quickly in a day or so which this never happened in last 3 years.

Some or all of these may be responsible. Keep in mind everyones situation is different.

1. Started core strenghening with fitness ball after initial PT 2 years ago. I did this religiously about everyday and sometimes 2 times a day.
a. laying on belly on floor and lifting hands and feet up, few seconds each time like 30x.
b. lifting up front trunk up on fitness ball on belly hands behind head.
c. leaning on back shoulders on ball making a bridge for 30 seconds.
d. standing with stretch bands on ankles and move straight legs straight back like 20 times
e. on hands and knees lift one leg up straight behind me and move from side to side like 20 times.
f. Situps on fitness ball. It's better on that because if you do it right, it supports your lower back while strengthening your mids.


The ones that made my pain go away the most after doing them were
b, c,and f

2. stretches
a. on back lift bad side leg straight up (nerve stretch)
b. sitting and putting one leg out straight and leaning towards it (back straight) ham string stretch.
c. lay on stomach on floor and push up front torso for 30 seconds.

The last one didn't do much for pain but other 2 did though b was painful at time and I had to make sure I didn't create pain when doing that one.

3. Got an inversion table about 5 months ago. I didn't notice any immediate results but after 3-4 months of every day , every other day, or twice a day and then gradually doing less it seemed to have gotten better.

4. I gradually quit doing core strengthening (after 2.5 years and mild pain remained) as I think the muscle build up will tend to keep pressure on nerve, guessing here but it worked. I noticed too that while walking it felt good, lots of walking (strengthening glutes?) seems to make it hurt more.

5. Trying to keep posture straight at work (all day at desk) and on riding mower (very bouncy) I got an extra seat cussion and wore a back support to help me keep it straight as this was a lot of bouncing and bad if slouched.

6. Got lumbar support for car. This was when I noticed immediate change though it may have been in combination with everything else. It feels a little weird because it pushes on my back so much and even my bottom away from seat but it feels great.

7. One other exercise I started when noticing pain going away completely is something a little embarassing to mention but similar to um, sex act and pelvic tilts while laying your back. I heard somwhere that keeping the spine flexible and moving keeps or puts the fluid in there more (as does inversion table) so that with fitness ball if you can picture that lol. It is also a core strength exercise.

I also heard someone say that condroiton and glucocimine where things that improved it but didn't try that yet. It started getting better before I got some. Good thing because the stuff is expensive!

O well, hope this helps people some.

Oh I forgot to mention sleeping position.
Sciatica nerve problem was right side. So I started sleeping on left side, left leg straight, and right leg bent up towards chest and resting on pillow. I don't know if that helped but it was part of it. Sleeping on back seemed to be the worst even with support under legs.

Also, when laying on couch laying on left side propped up on left elbow always made it feel better.

Last edited by alan93; 05-20-2009 at 10:31 AM. Reason: sleeping habit added

 
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