Need help finding pain medication for my L3-L4 and L4-L5 Central Disc Herniation. Please help

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My back problems all started in May. I really have no idea what caused it but it could possibly be caused by the medication Accutane. 

So on May 9th my back pain was unbearable & I had no idea what was going on because it felt like something was wrong w/ my actual spine, so I decided to go to the ER. It was a bad idea since I didn't get the answers I wanted. ER Dr. said I had minor scoliosis + some arthritic movement which is completely false because I've had scoliosis tests done as a teenager & you don't find that out when you turn 18. He sent me home w/ a pain med called Norco which didn't help. He also referred me to a great back specialist that I ended up seeing in the next couple of days. I was still in unbearable pain. When I went to the back specialist I got more X-rays done & he said that I had a back spasm since I was leaning more to my right when I tried to stand up straight. He prescribed me muscle relaxers + a steroid pack which was supposed to help me but both of those didn't. I then started physical therapy which I don't think helped a whole lot but my back pain was starting to improve slowly over time but it still was so painful. 

It was July when I finally got an MRI done & got some answers. I found out that in my L3-4 I have central disc herniation measuring 3mm and in my L4-5 I have the same thing but it's worse measuring at 5mm, yet it's not that bad where I need surgery right away. I just had bilateral epidurals the 1st week of August & I have had no relief from them. I am in pain 24/7 and it's all I think about. It's ruining my life.

I'm currently looking for a pain medication to help me because nothing I've tried so far has worked for me. I have tried Norco, muscle relaxers, steriods, Gabapentin, and getting 2 epidurals. 

Sorry this is such a long post, but any suggestions would help. Thanks.

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  • Posted

    Hi Taylor, where are you based??

    Unfortunately when a disc protrudes and hasn't gone back in of its own accord with PT then it's not likely too. Looks like you'll be looking at surgery to fix this. I've had two Discetomy's. The first was a total success the second not so much. Now had doh me fusion.

    Pain wise I would try some Diclofenac or Dihydracodiene. If they don't work then look at morphine patches.

    But, unfortunately it looks like surgery will be on the cards!!

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    • Posted


      I live in northern California. Thanks for the helpful advice. How were your discetomies? Also, how long did is take you to recover and how much pain were you in at the time? I'm a freshman in college and I need to plan out when to have the surgery done because I don't want it affecting my education. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Taylor, it took approximately 12 weeks to recover from both of these but with restrictions on some activities for approx 6-8 months.

      My thoughts on yours is they may double fuse it like I had. That's a much bigger op and takes much longer to recover from. I'm at 4 months and no where near ready to do anything other than walking and Physio.

      You need to work out what the surgeons want or will do to help you and what is best for you. A double discetomy is of course very possible. The longest part to recover is the ligaments, muscles and tendons in your spine as these all get moved, cut or sliced to get into the discs.

      Get the best surgeon you can and do your research on them and see if they have reviews or proof of what they have done.

      Being a Freshman I am presuming you are into sports?? What one?

      Hope this helps? I'm

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    • Posted

      I do have a very good surgeon that has been working with me but he believes I do not need surgery right now since I'm still doing several non surgical options but I think all of those have barely helped. Since he is located where I used to live he just prescribed me a presrciption for a new pain med over the phone but I can't remember the name at all. I didn't know that I would be restricted from activities for 6-8 months. I workout almost everyday even though I have pain but I try to refrain from things that make it worse like squatting and leg presses. The only thing that feels somewhat better on my back is when I foam roll it. My Dr. did give me a paper on what type of surgery I need I think it would just be a disc replacement because both of my discs are completely black instead of white with fluid. 

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    • Posted

      If it's disc replacement then if going to be fusion surgery. That's what I have just had. I was L4-L5 and L5-S1. The fuse doesn't grow and take fully till 8-9 months and then it's about building the back and core up to take the weight off the spine.

      My double your age and been into sport all my life, been a PE Teacher for 21 years. Not now, I'm in management but played volleyball, golf, soccer, badminton and trampolining for years which hasn't helped my back. I've still got another 2 discs in the lumbar area that are knackered and black, so I'm not out the woods yet. Doesn't help when your Physio gets you to do crunches as part of your rehab. Been put back a good few weeks because of this and back in pain. Changing PT next week to a specialist who I've seen before. Hopefully they'll get me back to where I was.

      I'm also getting a lignocaine Infusion in two weeks to help with pain relief as I have no feeling in my right foot or left thigh. Pain in left hamstring and bum.

      Keep me posted on how you get on and what surgery you are looking at.

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