SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

new to the Board Herniated L4L5 and Degenerative L5S1

Started by tatddr on 05/13/2010 12:37pm

Hi everyone,
I have been reading on this board for some time now. I just want to introduce myself. So sorry for such a long story.
I'm a 50 year old wife, mother and grandmother. My story started about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I had tripped over my shoe lace (of all things) and fell hard on my left knee on our ceramic floor. Boy... I said a few choice words. I prob should have gone to my Dr. But I'm not one to just go for a fall.
About one month later I started getting pains in my left hip and down my left leg to my foot. My knee was still sore so I didn't think too much of it.
Three month later it was so bad I couldn't sit lay down or stand on it for a long period of time (10-15 mins).
My hubby kept hounding me to go in and see the Dr. So after another month I finally did. He said he didn't see any damage to the knee so sent me to a bone specialist. After another month he discovered I had Bursistus (not sure of the spelling) . And told me that would NOT cause pain to my foot, only to my Knee. And prescribed me Hydrocodone for the pain( that didn't cover half the pain). And it should heal in a month or two. But I still complained about the pain down my leg to my foot.
After another couple of months the pain was still there. So I asked for a second opinion. The new Dr had done an MRI of my lower back. And discovered I had a Herniated disk at the L4L5 and a Degenerative disk at the L5S1. He scheduled me for the steriod injection in the L4L5. And not Therapy since it had been going on for so long (it had been 11 months now). The first injection helped for about 1 1/2 days. Was told he wanted to do a 2nd injection in the L5S1. Said he didn't think it was big enough and didn't think any surgeon would do surgery. He wasn't the one in pain. So two weeks later another one in L5S1. That one no relief after a few hrs.
In the mean time the pain is getting worse in my back, leg and foot. My foot is numb and tingley most of the time. And unable to stand for no longer then 3-4 mins at a time.
So he sent me to my last Dr. He did a physical examination and said I had some obvious nerve damage in my left foot. Not the best news but was so glad to hear there was a reason for my pain. He sat down and explained my situation to my husband and I. He scheduled me for a Nerve Conduction test and an EMG. I go in today to get the results. He also sent me to a Negro surgeon and I see him on the 28th of this month .Dr Connolly thinks its time for surgery since it has been going on so long (now a year and a half). He also gave me Tizanidine 4mg. I take 3 of them at night to help me sleep since I haven't been getting more then a couple of hrs a night. I've been on it for 6 days. And seems to be helping some. Also a pain patch along with my hydrocodone. Just started that yesterday. Still no help.
I know my story sounds a lot like some of you with having to jump through all the hoops with the Dr's before you finally find one that will listen to our pain and not their text books.

Thank you for reading my story.

Do you find this discussion helpful?

7 Responses



You did not mention your age, but that doesnt matter. Many Dr’s will do every thing they can to avoid surgery/which is great to not rush into it.
I know the Dr. who you are refering to. This is a great Dr. the fact you have so much pain for such a long time indicates it isnt going away.
You have undergone all sorts of things to see of any of the normal procedures will work. You have a very good Dr. Personally I would go with what he says. The fall to your knee would not cause this pain as you are describing. It sounds { I’m just a lay person} but have endured so much . I have friends and personally went through some of the same procedures you exspeienced.
I would go with your Dr if I were you.
The man is right, you ought not have this much pain. It has gone on way to long.
You are on strong medications. If you do have surgery take things very slow after wards. It was { in my own case } me being a young stuborn girl who went back to work with a colar on and a muscle spasm on the shoulder and a constaint headache.
Nothing they did helped much, not until after surgery.
Do not be afraid, you are in great hands. I personally have not used your Dr. but people I know who were very ill have, and he comes with great recommendations. Good Luck in your recovery. The sooner that it is done -especially at this time of year the better.
Take it slow afterwards, warm moist heat, slowly do a little then lay down.
I wish you all the luck in the world......Dr Connly is great! You can rest assured as I stated he will do right by you.


I had a 2 Herniated disk L4 and L5 and a lot of scare tissue that built up after 23 years of back pain. I finally found LSI on the internet. It is a laser instuite that is great. Before I went there I could hardly do anything. I could not stand up strait and was in pain always. My left leg kept cramping really bad not all the time but it was bad. They even sent me home from work and I was off for 2 months till I found LSI on the interent. It is a laser instiute and when I had this done it took around 2 hours I went back to my motel room and slept the rest of the night. The nexty morning when I got up my wife said god your taller. I did not feel any pain at all. I decided to walk a little so I walked 16 rooms down the hall and back and felt great. I live in Kansas and had the treatmeant down in Arizona. The next day I seen the therapist and he said we could drive home. I felt great all the way back. Here is the webhttp://www.laserspineinstitute.com/ I hope this helps. I had a car accident 2 months after the laser treatmeant and it messed my back up again but I am going back to LSI to get it fixed. They have centers in Flordia and Arizona and Pennslvaina I think. It is GREAT NO PAIN AT ALL AFTER LASER TREATMENT. I don't know where you live but this is a great place. Hope you get it done it cost but it is worth it. Good Luck Jake Tomlinson


Hi Sue, I feel your pain. (rather felt it for more than 10 yrs) Did you get a patch with Fentynal in it? Is it a patch that you wear for 3 days and then change it? Or one that goes on the back and is suppose to numb the area. ?? The numbing one just will not work for your problem. Now the one with Fentynal or whatever sub they use now, in it should. It takes days to get into your system, and they will always start you with the lowest dose. If after 1 week still no change, call Dr and tell him. He may increase you to the next highest level, say 50mmg. I Iwaited 10 years to get surgery, the main reason was pure terror. But small kids also,(now grown) very busy at work (now laid off). So, I just ran out of excuses. Also, couldn't walk without severe pain and weakness (legs/back) It was severe spinal stenosis. It has been 5 1/2 weeks since the surgery and I am feeling stronger every day. Don't let your Dr.s push you around. If you need more meds b4 surgery, then insist on it Just don't go too high,(150 mg/day) for after surgery, you'll be in a great deal of pain. hope I helped.



2 years and 3 months ago, I lost my balance in my kitchen, fell backwards on my back smacking open the oven door on the way down. It hurt immediately. I had a nasty bruise around the ankle. About 1 month later, I had a lot of pain in my hip. After 2 weeks of the pain getting worse, I went to the doctor. He thought it was piriformis syndrome (sciatic nerve going through the muscle instead of over or under). He gave me a local injection and prescribed physical therapy. Physical therapy lasted about 5 or so weeks and brought pain on. I started getting pain in my ankle and my lower leg between the knee and the ankle. It felt like a tourniquet (sp?) around my lower leg and very tingly. I could barely control my left leg. I couldn't stand for long and was in constant pain in my hip and low back. After an evaluation by the PT, I was in excruciating pain. I used an ice pack and a heating pad. I could not move my leg in my car to control the clutch without picking up my leg be grabbing the material on my pants leg. I went to bed that night. In the morning, I crawled to the bathroom. I could not stand up from the toilet. I could not stand up at all. Needless to say, I called the doctor and then 911 for an ambulance to the ER. 2 weeks later, the full diagnosis - Herniated disk at L4/5 with bulging at L3/L4 and L2/L3. Degenerative disc disease L3 - S1. I was on massive doses of pain killers and muscle relaxers, I could not walk, could not straighten my leg, could not stand upright. My left left felt like it was severely sunburned and that I had try shaving my legs. My big toe was constantly cold through the center of the toe. ICE packs, 3 epidural injections, more pain killers and muscle relaxers and I was able to finally walk again. I had more Physical Therapy, used neurontin (gabapentin) for the ongoing nerve pain, and I have avoided all surgery.

Some day, I may have to go with surgery. For now, I have weakness on the left side (it's not profound), I have many more good days than bad, I see a chiropractor every 2-3 weeks and when I overdo it, I still take a muscle relaxer, a prescription anti-inflammatory, a narcotic pain reliever, use an ice pack and get some rest.

I'm only 39, and am currently 80 pounds overweight (I was 95 pounds overweight when my disk was herniated).

Good luck with surgery. You will need a good physical therapist during recovery. It is very very important to do everything with proper body mechanics.



Best of good to you. Go sloooow with surgery, try everything else first. There are some success stories with 1st surgeries but there are also many failed surgeries that cause problems .... in what seems to be forever. Just don't be in a hurry and do your own research too.



I am 55 and had been in pain for years. Tried over the last five years pain management shots and chirop twice a month. Degeneration of L4-L5, L5-S1. Ended up having disc replacement at L4-L5 level and fused the lower level last November at Yale University Hospital. After six months, pain level is much less but still there, but mechanics are really good. I advise everyone to leave this for the last resort, but to give it serious consideration. Had major issues with insurance company, but that is a whole other story.
Dave B.


I have some of the same problems. I have grade 1 spondylolisthesis L5 upon the sacrum, bilateral sponldylolysis at L5, small central disc protrusion L5 S1, small central disc protrusion with annular tear L4 L5, L3 L4 far left lateral disc protrusion. I am experiencing tail bone pain, lower back pain and really bad right side hip pain. I have just start having the tingleing in my toes and some in my right leg. I'm really scared because it seems to be progressing. I fell at work so this is a workmans comp issue. The workmans comp doc is saying I was born with this. I just know I was not like this until I fell. I see another doctor this month. I hope they have answers for me. I will let you know how it turnes out. I will be seeing a Orthopedic surgeon. I hope you are doing better.