Hi everyone! I just found this site yesterday and am very impressed with the answers. This is my problem: I herniated L4/L5 last summer after painting a room (stupidly moved some furniture). I am a teacher so I had some time off. I went on vicodin and ibuprofen and rest. Soon I started physical therapy, and did that three times a week for three months. Then I joined Curves. I am a very active person with three grandkids, four horses and several other animals. I live for my summers when I actually have time to spend with those whom I love. I was feeling quite well by the end of March; going horsebackriding every Saturday, babysitting the kids once or twice a week, and going to church every Sunday. I babied my back, and didn't do things like any kind of lifting (exception of grandkids - no choice getting them out of car seats. I'd be a little sore, but didn't think it was a big deal).My husband went out of town for two weeks in April. I had to carry the hay out to the horses 2X/day and doctor the foot of one who went lame. I could feel soreness returning in my lower back, so I went back to my GP who increased my dose of vicodine from 1 pill(at that time) a day to 2. I continued going to Curves and riding on Sat. In April, after a 7 hour drive (with plenty of stops) the pain got worse. Gp upped vicodin to 3 a day and gave me a muscle relaxor. I got slowly better, in fact felt great last week. I had a thermal ablation on Thursday and felt fine. On Sunday, I only had 1 pill. I went to church, lunch, took a nap and visted with the neighbors. I had a few beers. When I woke up Monday morning, I couldn't move. I have bruises from my husband pulling me out of bed. I am in such severe pain. Was in the emergency room Monday night (screaming pain trying to lie down). Got a pain shot and some prednisone. Saw GP on Wed who gave me more vicodine and a referral for an epidural injection which I had yesterday. I still am in screaming pain. The shot guy gave me oxycodin which takes the edge off the pain for about 1 1/2 hrs, then I slowly walk around till I can take another pill. I only sleep an hour or two at a time, then literally crawl to the the pills, stand still for a half hour, then slowly walk back to the couch. I'm sorry to sound like such a whiner with a long post. I know many of you are in much worse shape. I just can't believe this happened again (and feels worse). So here are my questions: Should I not have done anything (horses/kids/exersize) when my back felt well? How long should I do nothing after I feel OK? Did drinking beer help bring it on? (I often feel sorer after drinking, and I only have a beer if I'm nottaking pain meds.)I again have ruined my summer. I am so depressed with the severe pain and not being able to do anything but slowly wander around the house. I'm scared that I won't ever be able to do the things I enjoy again. It has only been 6 days since the severe pain, but it is not getting any better. Can it take days for the injection to work. The sciatica is unbearable. What is normal? Is it too soon to see a surgeon? I have to be back to work on 8/1.Thank you so much for any input. Again sorry for being so longwinded.