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Herniated disk on left but severe pain on right side-Anyone else?

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Old 08-18-2003, 08:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bath, MI USA
Posts: 7
Bluebrush2 HB User
Unhappy Herniated disk on left but severe pain on right side-Anyone else?

Hi, I have a L4-L5 herniated disk to the left with nerve compression of two nerves. I have severe back pain which radiates down the back of my right leg, numbness and tingling, Great toe severe pain, burning, aching, not able to sleep, I can only lay down for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, I can't sit or stand for more than 20 to 30 minutes, I'm in constant motion and I'm exhausted. The only symptoms I have on the left is Left hip pain and occasionally the great toe is painful. I have had PT, Aqua therapy, faucet injections, and 2 Rhizotomies. The only thing that worked was the first Rhizotomy lasted 1 year which was great but the second only lasted 3 months. Now I scheduled for a cortisone injection. The physician will not even discuss surgery because the pain is on the opposite side of the herniation. Has anyone else experienced this? What treatment did you have and did anyone have surgery? I have had this problem since 1991 but it has only been in the last 6 months that the nerve's became impinged. Please HELP! Thanks Cathy


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Old 08-19-2003, 05:45 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: PA United States
Posts: 402
ChristinaD HB User

Hi Cathy!
Welcome to the boards!!
Do you mean that your main pain is on the right side and your herniation is to the left? If that is the case, that is kinda weird.
I am having a all kinds of right sided pain due to a herniation/rupture to the right side. I having been going through this this time for 14 months and it isn't going anywhere. I decided to have a discectomy in Sept. hoping and praying that it will take care of it.
What are you options?


27 years old
1993: T1 to L1 fusion due to scoliosis at age 17
2000: Tore and ruptured L4 L5 & L5 S1-it finally got better after about a year. Did really well for about a year.
June 2002: Had a relapse and tore/ruptured disc again.
Now I'm 14 months into it and the pain is still there.
Can't deal with it anymore so I'm having a discectomy in Sept. Hoping and praying that it takes care of my problems!!
27 years old
1993: T1 to L1 fusion due to scoliosis at age 17
2000: Tore and ruptured L4 L5 & L5 S1-it finally got better after about a year. Did really well for about a year.
June 2002: Had a relapse and tore/ruptured disc again.
Now I'm 14 months into it and the pain is still there.
Can't deal with it anymore so I'm having a discectomy in Sept. Hoping and praying that it takes care of my problems!!

Old 08-19-2003, 01:15 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Shawnee, KS
Posts: 17
ktboxler HB User


Just thought I would add my 2 cents if it helps. I had a laminectomy in February. I too had a disc herniation at L4-5. When the disc actually herniated all the pain was on the left side of my back and hip. After the disc herniated the pain kind of changed and it went to my right side and this was nerve pain. A very large amount of disc material had come out and migrated down and was pushing on a nerve. This is terrible pain and it is hard to sit or even lie down for any amount of time. My doctor referred me to a Neurosurgeon and he immediately told me that the disc material needed to come out. They make a hole through the bone in one of the vertabrae and pull the disc material out through that. The incision is only about an inch to inch and a half long. I was off work for 7 weeks because the nerve pain was not gone. It seems that the nerve had been squished for so long it just took a while for it to get sensations back.

Now I am doing great. I would do it all again in a minute. Back pain and especially nerve pain is not fun! It is terrible to have to live with it for so long. I certainly would see a different doc or find one that would send you to a neuro. Mine said he could do all the conservative things like PT and shots and stuff but nothing will fix it but taking it out.

Good luck to you!

Laminectomy L4-5

Old 08-19-2003, 04:20 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: California, USA
Posts: 124
Raiza HB User

Hi, I have a question for you. I just under went back surgery 5 weeks ago. L5-S1 herniation. Well, even though it is much better than before surgery, I still have pain.

This is how I feel right now: I don't have the arthritis/rheumatoid pain on both of my legs, that is gone. And the horrible throbbing buttock pain is gone also. I have now a different kind of pain, still the nerve pain and the right buttock hurts (and sometimes left) but is not that horrible throbbing sensation anymore. The pain is lower in my buttock tho. Before surgery was coming from higher. Don't know If I am explaining right. Basically goes bellow my right buttock and then goes down to the back of my thigh... and every now and then I feel it a little bit lower down the leg. The first two weeks after surgery, I felt my right foot in pain as if I had twisted my ankle. That is gone now. So I don't know. I thought the nerve pain would be gone after surgery.

I am still taking pain killers. The doc told me to start swinging the pills, such as extending the period of taking it. Right now is every 6 hours, he wants me to take it every 8 hours and then longer until I drop it. But right now, I can't wait two more hours. I don't understand, perhaps the surgery didn't take. I don't know. Some people say it take months after surgery to start feeling better because of the damaged nerve. The doc says that the nerve had been pressured for 2 years and it will take months (up to a year) before I start feeling better. Perhaps I waited too long to have surgery? Is this familiar to you? How long after surgery did you stop taking pain killers? I have a friend that had back surgery only 10 days ago and he is not taking pain killers anymore. He feels fine. I am 37 years old. I don't have children. My hubby and I were talking about having kids when I was 35 and then I got this herniation. I can't get pregnant if I am still taking pain killers. My doctor is a Neuro Surgeon also and someone recommended him to me. Please let me know if it is normal that after 5 weeks I still have pain. I must tell you though, surgery has made feel such much better.

God Bless you all, and I hope he is healing you as well.

[This message has been edited by Raiza (edited 08-19-2003).]
-Surgery (07/16/03)
-Laminectomy, Lumbard L5-S1 herniated disc.
-Started with back problems on 08/27/01.
-Had 3 epidurals. First they missed, Second worked, however, pain was right back to square one by the fourth month. Third one didn't help much.
-Went to chiropractor for 4 months, I was worse after each session.
-Went to acupuncture for 3 months, Dr. told me I needed to go to a specialist that he could not help me.
-Body massage, would relief pain for a couple of hours.
-Did exercises/stretches, no help.
-Changed insurance. Kaiser was just sending me home by saying: "It will get better" ...never did !!
-Went to see a new NS with a different insurance, in w/in a week he was doing surgery on me.
-2 first weeks post/op was feeling better (too drugged).
-The next four weeks It became worse than before surgery. Dr. told me it was normal.
-I am in my Third and half month post/op and it feels so much better.
-I am glad I went through surgery. Life is better now.

Old 08-19-2003, 06:25 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bath, MI USA
Posts: 7
Bluebrush2 HB User

Ktboxler: Thank you for your notes. My physician is an orthopedic surgeon, I will start looking for a neurosurgeon. To be honest, I don't know any good ones in MI. The pain is so severe that I'm willing to travel out of state if necessary. I'm averaging 3 hours of sleep nightly and thats with a lot of waking up related to the pain. What side was your herniation on? Did I understand you correctly that you had a fusion? Did they remove the entire disk or did they do a disk replacement? I'm trying to get as educated as possible so when I go to my next physicain I will be able to ask all the right questions and maybe I'll get some help. Thanks again.
Christina: The answer to your question: yes it is weird but the herniation is on the left and the pain is on the right, at least the constant and severe pain. Occassionally I'll have pain in my left hip and buttocks and left great toe but it doesn't happen very often.The only option that I was given at this point is steroid injections. I've had them in the past and they did nothing. The pain medication they have me on is not touching the pain. I don't take them during the day because I have to keep working-I don't get paid sick time. I'm saving as much vacation time in case I'm lucky enough to have surgery. I taking Oxycodine and it doesn't even dull the pain. I'm so tired of fighting with pain.
Thanks everyone again. I'm glad I found this site. My husband is very sweet and supportive but when he, or others, say they know or understand what I'm going through or feeling-there's no way. Not until you live it. I'm trying to stay positive that a physicain is going to help me get my life back. Thanks again and god bless. If you have anyother thoughts or comments please write back.

Old 08-19-2003, 08:43 PM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: NE,USA
Posts: 84

Well your not alone, The damage was to the left side of my discs. But most of the unbelieveable pain down the right side, I also do not get much sleep, 1-2 hours I am up and down all night, I am so exhausted that I can barley function.

Yes I had surgery, I have had (2) 360degree fusions, they removed my discs and replace them with LT-Cages with rod and screws, and used my pelvic bone to fuse. My doctor went crazy to try to explain to me that I should have more pain on the left side of my body. I tried (4) ESI's they did not work. I have had (1) discogram, (Ouch). Oh they also decompressed my spine and than made more room for the nerves because they felt that they were pinched or being rubbed. Now I can feel my left leg and foot, but I still have burning stabbing, pain down my buttock, on the top and outside of the leg, down into the foot and toes. IT happens I guess.

I am now out of options for more fusions and I am currently waiting for WC to say if they will authorize a column stimultor. I am told that it may help with the nerve pain on the right side. I just would like to have a couple really good days pain free.

To help sleep I found sometimes if I take 10mg of Flexeril (it is perscribed), and 200mg of Darvoct, it helps me get into a sleep and I can sometimes get 4-5 hours but I can not function well for several days afterwards. But when you are exhausted it is worth it.
Like I said I rarley take the Flexeril just when I can not stand the pain any longer. I always try every none medication route first. Best of Luck and keep us updated we all know what you are going thru.

Good Luck

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