I thought I would share my story for others who my be having similar problems. Its kind of long winded but here it is.
I've been recovering from a Herniated L5-S1 with annular tear. I've been dealing with back pain off and on for about 6 years. It was assumed to be a strained muscle after my first MRI showed very minor herniations then. Fast forward to Jan. 2013 while running the snowblower I felt a sharp pain and assumed I had strained the muscle again. After a couple of months of the pain slowly getting worse and eventually going down my leg I made an appt to see an Ortho. X-ray was negative and MRI showed the herniated L5-S1. He reccomended PT which I was doing and it wasn't helping.
I went for three rounds of epidural shots, each two weeks apart. The first shot seemed to help my leg pain. The next shot seemed to do nothing at first but the then the leg pain came back. The third and final shot almost crippled me. I got the shot on a Friday and by Sunday the pain was so bad I called out of work on Monday. Monday I ran out to the store and while getting out of my truck almost passed out from the pain.
Back to the Ortho two weeks later and he says there is nothing he can do for me because my herniation is on the right but the pain is in my left leg. My wife and I left there frustrated and dejected. this was around August, I had already lost the spring and summer riding season and it looked like the rest of the year too. We decided to get a second opinion and called Mass General. There I was referred to a Physiatrist. He looked over my MRI and asked me about the annular tear? What annular tear? Apparently the Ortho missed the small annular tear that was most likely leaking fluid and irritating the Sciatic nerve causing my leg pain.
He recommended more PT and just generally taking it easy. BUT staying as active as possible. Lots of walking. No prolonged sitting or lying down. Sitting made both my back and my leg pain worse.
Now its December. Iíve lost my biking season. The pain has gotten a-lot better. I did have a minor set back for a couple of weeks but all in all Iím back to about 85%. I also started A.R.T (Active Release Technique) towards the end of my PT to loosen up my low back and leg muscles. That has seemed to help with the tightness Iíve been feeling on occasion. Now its winter and weíve already had two snow falls. Running the snow blower has been fine. The shoveling the stairs brought back some pain but an ART treatment and staying on top of my stretching seems to minimize the pain.
I hope to get out on my snowboard in February if I can stay pain free for January. I should be back on my bike come Spring. Its been a long hard year but Iím looking forward to getting back on the trails and hopefully getting even stronger than before.
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Thread: MY L5-S1 Herniation