I've been running and working out regularly for the past 5+ years, and I've been relatively pain-free. Last week I went to the gym, and felt fine afterwards. The next morning I had a lot of pain in my left lower back. It was difficult to bend over, and even more difficult to stand up straight again. I also had pain extending down to my left butt cheek and hip. The pain seems to shift between my lower back and my hip/ butt, and it comes and goes. I think it is most likely my sciatic. It's been over a week and I feel slightly better, but far from normal. Now I'm wondering if maybe I have a herniated disc that is putting pressure on my sciatic and causing this. Any ideas? I've never experienced anything like this and I'm not sure what to do at this point. I've been trying to take it easy in the meantime.
1st. if it's bothering you a bunch that you're worried... go to your doctor...
Herniated disc is possible. as are a bunch of other things that can cause similar signs/symptoms...
The fact that it wasn't instantaneous, and 'comes and goes' spontaneously leads me away from disc.
Regardless... if it's getting better... good.
Even if it is a disc- No difference @ 6 mo in outcome between microdiscectomy vs conservative management.
Thanks, I think I might make an appt and get checked out. It's been over a week with not much improvement. 'comes and goes' wasn't quite accurate, it just hurts more at certain times than others.
I smoked my back back in September, and ended up in the ER late October in extreme pain. This day and age, getting someone to recommend a MRI is harder than pulling teeth. First 3 days back from the ER I needed crutches in order to walk, that's how bad I was. A week of bed rest, then months of walking helped.
I read somewhere that everyone will have a disc that is slightly out at any giving point, most are asymptomatic. Different things help different people. Most people that I've spoken to, got better on their own, ditto for for me. Others took more invasive action, some getting epidurals, spinal root blocks, and microdiscectomy and some had to have radical spinal fusion type surgeries.
Most people who hurt their backs being active will probably easily recover through conservative approaches. Word to the wise, many physical therapists are as worthless as a hack chiropractor.
The best thing for me was just walking around being active without going to hog wild and long with NSAIDs.
Go to the Dr as stated.... An MRI is easy and a quick way to see whats going on with you. A disk injury such as a herniation would manifest the pain differently and over a long period of time.
Originally Posted By Enfieldguy:
Go to the Dr as stated.... An MRI is easy and a quick (and $3,000+, and limited in it's potential treatment benefit) way to see whats going on with you. A disk injury such as a herniation would manifest the pain differently and over a long period of time.
Pain is only one of the three things that a cutter is going to look at before considering surgery. Pain in a radicular distribution (sciatic distribution is what the OP is describing if i remember correctly), Physical exam (reflex assymetry, and a whole host of other signs), and radiographic evidence.
As I said, the vast majority of discs can be managed conservatively without intervention... as long as there are no 'red flags' of neurological compromise (loss of bowel/bladder, extreme numbness/weakness, numbness around the genital areas).
Even with surgery (discetomy, as pain is not an indication for fusion or more radical intervention), at 6 months, the outcome is nearly identical between surgical intervention and conservative (Physical Therapy, Osteopathic manipulation, etc).
If the pain
is NOT improving over say 6-12 wks and the neurological exam is stable, then they get sent out for interventional pain evaluation (for possible injections, stimulations, rhizotomy, etc. depending on the causes of the pain- Often the pain guys will order imaging at this time, but that's because they're going to be ramming needles into your back...
SO––- I'm of the camp "I'll image if the signs/symptoms are worrisome (red flags as above)... Otherwise It most likely will be a wash, and a waste of $3000+ to get an MRI.
Ironically, I'm having similar back problems. And I came to this section specifically looking for info. Damn ARF.
Anyway. About 2 years ago I was getting up out of my beach chair. (No alcohol involved here.) Well the sand collapsed below me and I caught myself. Well as soon as that happened, my back cramped up, and I was screwed. Ended up going to the ER. The muscle in back back was cramped. They said it looked like a softball, but I couldn't see it. The injected something in my back, and instant relief. They said follow up with my Dr.
A few weeks later I was picking up my grill, and same thing. Off to my Dr I go. Same softball size cramp. Another injection and some Percoset (SP?), I think it was. I only took 1 that night.
Well yesterday, I went to stand up from the computer, and boom. Not quite as bad, but its real tight today. There is no position of comfort, I cant stretch it out, nothing I do helps. I cant go back to my Dr till next week at least due to work. But I think I am going to bit the bullet and make and appointment.
I will admit that at the time of these incidents, I was fairly active, Crossfit, run, etc. But this back thing, and shoulder pain has me benched for a while.
I hope you gets yours figured out, and Ill post back if/when I go to my Dr.
My is on the right side, about halfway down, BTW.
I had a hemi laminectomy and discecotmy done on my back almost a year ago. I had a similar situation as the op. Did PT with my squad then the next day I had to have my roommate help me out of bed so I could go to PT. It would sometimes get worse but it was always there, and no amount of NSAIDs and rest did anything for it. The pain shot through my left buttcheek deep in it, down the side of my leg, skipped the knee, showed up in my calf muscle and on the top of my foot where it would migrate across. When the pain reached my foot my whole foot would usually go numb and I would start experiencing drop foot.
It was probably about 6 months later I finally got sent to physical therapy for it after fighting with army medics and PAs because I produced an MRI I had taken while I was on leave (actually that whole point of me taking leave was to see a friend who's a sports med doc and get some sort of treatment because I wasn't getting any though the army). 3 months of physical therapy didn't do anything, and when I got referred to a surgeon he was pissed about how I was treated. Shots were completely out of the option at that point as they wouldn't have done any good since it had gotten signifigantly worse from my first MRI. Had surgery in late June last year, and I can say I'm quite happy with the results. I have limitations now that I didn't have before, but thats to be expected with any back injury.
I was told the same thing about With time it may improve on its own, frankly it kept getting worse so it doesn't apply to everyone. Add to that I only was getting an hour or two of sleep a night for over half a year I didn't really care what it took I just didn't want to be in pain anymore.
As for my diagnosis. Herniated L1 through S1, had L4 through S1 worked on as they were what was giving me the pain and also buldging out way more than the other ones.
I've been putting off going to the Dr because I was feeling better, though not 100% back to normal. I haven't run or worked out in 2 weeks. Normal day-to-day stuff has been OK, but with a few exceptions. Last night I fell asleep on the couch in a weird position and when I woke up I could barely get up. Pain seems to be mostly in my left butt cheek area, but it seems to shift to my upper left hip and to my lower back at times. At times it is almost impossible to straighten my back, and I have to walk around with my back arched. Sometimes it hurts to bend over, and other times it is no prob. I definately have some sciatica symptoms based on the info I've found. I still think a herniated disc is the most likely cause, but hopefully I will know for sure soon. I'm really hoping this doesn't sideline me for good. I've been very active for the past few years, lots of running and working out, and I've made great strides in my fitness. I'm concerned that I won't ever get back to 100%, or that I will have a propensity to re-injur myself. Hopefully I'm just overreacting. At any rate, I'm making an appt tomorrow so I can find what is going on.