Bulging discs and nothing is working to help the pain!

Posted , 9 users are following.

I have 3 bulging discs. I am on gabapentin 4 tablets 3 times a day and at physio. The pain has moved and is now going down my right leg to my ankle and can't get any relief especially in a night time. My GP has referred me to a neuro surgeon (I think that's what they are called) and waiting for an appointment. Has any one had this and can reccomend anything that can help . Will an injection help ? I have a newborn baby and feel I can't enjoy my time off with him: -( really getting me down now

0 likes, 25 replies

Report

25 Replies

Next
  • Posted

    Gosh that's sounds tough especially with a baby.

    You might be past injections. They tend to work for minor cases or disc herniation.

    Surgery will remove the part of the disc that is pressing on the nerve. It takes some time to recover though. Expect 6 weeks very slow, with no lifting twisting or bending. then gradually more activity over the next 2-4 months. It's a long road but it works for most people. I hope you can get surgery soon if that is what is called for.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Just to add that surgeons usually advise surgery. It's their thing. Generally doctors of any kind tend to tell you that their speciality is what you need, so don't be surprised if the neurosurgeon tells you he wants to operate. Unless you discs are completely shot they will probably do a microdiscectomy. This is simple enough but you do permanently lose the bulging bit of your disc so it m and you will always be a bit vulnerable in that area of your body and will have to work on maintaining your core muscles until you are old, or so it was explained to me.

      FYI neurosurgeons are surgeons of the brain and nerves. They regard themselves as a cut above straight orthopaedic surgeons (surgeons of the bones) as they have better hands used to dealing with tiny delicate structures like nerves, which is probably fair enough.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      From my experience doctors s are reluctant to operate unless absolutely necessary, this may be different in the private sector, but it should only be an absolute must
      Report Reply
  • Posted

    I sympathise with u, injection s don't work for everyone, there not designed to last for long ethier and could make it worse , they never worked for me they in fact made me worse and poorly

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi could i ask which of your spine was affected Jessica.how many injections did you have in the one go and how long was it worse for? i have hernaited c spine discs 2 badly one no as bad, injections are being suggested. Be good to hear your experience
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I'm sure Jessica will reply shortly. FYI, I had steroids at various times. I had oral Prendnisone before my first op which actually did a good job for a few days, but my disc had ruptured big time so there was no escaping surgery,

      After surgery I had a good spell for 6 weeks then it went bad as I probably slightly reherniated and maybe did some other general damage to the joint due to overexercise, in any case, I had three steroid injections about 2 months later and none of them really helped, but my back was a post op mess so it's not a normal situation. 

      On a straight bulging disc with an inflamed nerve, they are worth a shot. Very straightforward to administer in the main. Not comfortable and it will be  sore for a day or so where they injected but nothing traumatic. 

      Injections will buy you time. If they work, they will reduce the inflammation for a period of time. Maybe weeks, maybe months. They worked for my step mum for about two years I think. Either way, you should follow up with physio and core strengthening and make that part of your daily routine pretty much forever. If you have a bad disc, it's most likely degenerative, so it won't get better as such. But it can be maintained and cared for if you attend to it going forward. Pilates, yoga, not sitting hunched for long periods, that kind of thing.

      Everyone is different but injections aren't scary so nothing much to lose trying them. 

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, I'm new to this forum as just been to orthopaedic surgeon to be told I have a prolapsed disc causing sciatica which is the pain down the leg. In the short term you should be on anti- inflammatory, I'm on 4 different meds as well as pregabalin ( which isn't either a pain/anti inflammatory) it just blocks the Iain signals. This is my experience so far and others might have other opinions

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    A Bulging disc is not the same as The Herniated

    Disc. Symptoms might b same but the surgeon normally won't operate on a Bulged disc

    I feel your pain !

    The gabupentin at your dose isn't helping ? Then your Dr should consider other options. That drug is used off label meaning it's not for what you have. Find another Dr

    Good luck & use lots of moist heat

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hmm, I don't want to sound contrary but I don't think that is exactly accurate.

      Gabapentin is predominantly an anti epilepsy drug, that is true but it is widely used for neuropathic pain (I.e. Nerve generated pain). You will find people on this forum who have had relief using it.

      Re the condition of the discs, doctors treat the symptoms here. Some small bulges can be agony. Some large herniations can go unnoticed for months and years. It depends on how they are interacting with the nerves.

      It is fair to say that going straight to surgery on 3 discs while they are still intact could be rushing to surgery. It might be that a few months (think 3-6 at least) might yield better results. It's always better to not cut bits off your discs if you can help it, and physio can work to work the discs into a better shape and position, but it does depend on your anatomy and the character of the generation you have going on that has caused the bulging. Healthy discs don't bulge. They have to degenerate first. BTW that degeneration does not get better but you can sometimes manage the effects with physio and lifestyle.

      How much physio are you doing? How long have you been doing it for?

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Sorry I just have to comment about using heat. I would rather advise ice, Sorry, that does sound contrary now! 

      Heat will increase blood flow to an area. That is good if you are trying to bring nutrients to the area and also for reduces strains in muscle. That is not the problem here. Inflammation, along with direct pressure on the nerve, is the most painful thing here. Inflammation will get worse with more blood flow. Ice causes blood flow to reduce so the inflammation will reduce. Also the nerves get numbed as you would expect. But be careful. No direct contact between the ice pack and your skin else you will get frost bite, and also not more than 20 mins in place  per couple of hours. Else you will start to damage your tissue.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      That's ok ! I've used Gab many times with max dose and it did nothing for my nerve pain.

      If patient is taking 2700 mg a day with no pain relief it's best to find a Med that works

      Gabapentin is widely used off label for nerve pain even though No Real studies show it to be an effective pain reliever on its own. Too many Patients are on max dose and have built up tolerance and it's a horrible drug to get off of / similar to Opiate withdrawal. Not my first choice for any kind of pain. The side effects aren't worth it

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Good point. Working out what is going on and what can help is one of the frustrating things about a complicated condition affecting nerves like this. I guess try both and see which works. I usually experiment carefully with new stuff these days. E.g. Try moist heat for a day and see how you feel that day and the next. The do. the same with ice. And then see try to work out which was better.
      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Thanks for all the replies. I really don't want surgery I'm terrified something will go wrong. I would try the injection but now concerned it will make my pain worse!

    Does anyone know any other medication that might help ease the nerve pain down my leg? I have been back and forth to the doctors but they say I have tried everything ?

    Regarding heat, I do go to bed with a hot water bottle on my back and on my leg and I do feel this dies ease the pain slightly. Maybe I should try ice too.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi

      re meds, you can try pregabelin (aka Lyrica). This is a bit like gabapentin but newer and more effective for some people. The NHS prefer gabapentin as its cheaper. I would suggest you stay away from anything opiate and also Tramadol. God I hate that 'medicine'.

      i would not be overly scared of surgery though. It should not be your first choice but if you have tried everything more conservative and it has not worked then surgery ought to beat being in pain, disabled and miserable.

      Microdiscectomy has a good success rate, like 85-90%. Many people make good recovery. As it happens, I didn't, but there are reasons for that, like the poor condition of my disc before and my over-eager attempt to get back to activity after.

      You do have to bear in mind that drug treatments don't fix anything. They just cover up the pain. All the while your discs are unhealthily and the nerve, which is very delicate, is under pressure and potentially suffering long term damage. They take a very very long time to heal and some damage may never heal. That means the physio becomes more important as you need to try to help the discs get back into shape. It can be done. A friend of mine went from being unable to sit for work without pain to being pretty much fine over about six months. He was an Olympic athlete and trained his core like crazy to the point that he was doing 1000 crunches every day etc. So not easy but it can be done.

      good luck.

       

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      People hear surgery and freak out as they do when they hear the word cancer. But surgery can make people life's betters or worse. Satstics can show certain surgery been beneficial, but it all boils down to the individual. Iam due spinal fusion in may am terrified am like will I won't I will I won't I but I have to make that Decision based on on well if I don't l never know and if I don't how much longer can I live like, this. On the other hand if I do and I don't improve or end up in worse pain could I cope ? It's like how longs a peace of string good luck

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Jessica

      you are soooo right. I have been in exactly that boat for months and have also opted, finally, for surgery - a second in my case. I will be have a dynamic stabilisation, a half way house to fusion. If you have a structural problem, in the end surgery to fix it is just your best option. But I have gone back and forth on the decision so many times. 

      I was actually booked in for a revision op but pulled out. Now I have opted for a bigger surgery to give my back some help - my disc is just not much good any more.

      You are in good company getting a fusion. Tiger Woods just had one after a microD, then a revision in November, did not quite fix him.

      Good luck, 

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      As an Advocate for Pain Patients I feel that Opiate medication is a VERY EFFECTIVE way to control pain. Opiates have been demonized by the media and parts of the medical establishment. Less than 5% of patients that use opiates as prescribed will become dependent.

      Addicts die from Heroin and corrupted Fentanyl & not from pain medication.

      We are not meant to suffer but some feel we should. It's not ok to see an animal in pain so why is a person any different.

      Use medication as directed and start out with a minimum dose.

      30 years in pain, I've learned very much !!!

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi John

      i totally have to bow to your experience here as I have only done a year trying to avoid pain from my back. However I will standby my horrible  experience with Tramadol specifically. It works reasonably well as a painkiller but I got horrific withdrawal symptoms after about 3 weeks of use. I tapered off etc but it left me feeling achy and very depressed, practically suicidal. Once I had been off it 100% for a couple of weeks I felt normal again. I had to take it once more for 3 days. Only a small dose and the withdrawal kicked in just as badly albeit for a shorter time. Gruesome for me and those around me. My wife was terrified especially as my then surgeon did not bother to mention side effects...

      I do not subscribe the idea that people should get used to suffering, anything but. I can't imagine that anyone that has been fit and healthy and then gets struck with chronic pain could feel that way. Pain is not something that I have had any success "getting used to". It's always nasty, infuriating, distracting and distressing.

      I guess my point about painkillers in the context of this thread is that while other treatment options remain available like physio or surgery, then they should be pursued, before accepting the status quo and a long term need for pain relief.

      Again sorry if I offended you and for making over-general remarks.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      No offense taken & Tramafol is a drug I have never used. Oddly enough my 10 year old Golden Retriever is now on Tramafol for her pain. It's sad that my dog is given 3 x the dose that a Human in pain would get.

      I've used A Chiropractor for 25 years I've learned bio feedback used Acupuncture Self Hypnosis Injections Body cast Spinal Stimulator and was just turned down for a Pain Pump because my Spinal Cord is severely compressed at 4 levels.

      Opiates along with other modalities got me back to work and LIVING again for 15 years The so called Opiate Scare has forced my Dr to reduce my medication by over 50%. Now I struggle to bathe & dress myself while my Pain Dr says " Don't blame me blame the government "

      12 million Pain Patients in the USA need Opiates to get through the day or to avoid a life of agony and suffering. It rips my heart to watch my 57 year old wife leave for work everyday while I remain home and all because some people abuse Opiates.

      We cannot treat every patient the same as we are ALL different & government cannot treat my medical condition the same way they treat a lab rat. Nearly all studies show that Opiates are the best treatment for severe chronic pain after other modes fail. To deny proper pain treatment is a denial of basic human rights.

      I've never abused my medication but I'm treated like an addict yet I don't behave like one. Somewhere there is a reason as to why the media has lied about Opiate facts and the deaths they cause. If there was real worry perhaps it should be directed at the near 1 million patients that die every year from a Hospital mistake or the 100 million Americans that are grossly obese.

      I could go on & on and I will when my book is finished

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      hi, ive just joined this forum and have a similar problem to what you had, i realise this was 2 years ago but wondering what the outcome was for you? susie

      Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up