Seen Osteopath has anyone else?

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Following my diagnosis of a bulging disc and a waiting list of 16 weeks for Physio (because I am not urgent!) I decided to take things into my own hands and went to see an osteopath. He said that the bulging disc is the least of my worries as the L5 disc has bulged but all around my pelvis and lower back is inflamed which is giving me the pain in my right hip. So he has done some manipulation with lots of cracking and it really helped for a couple of weeks. He gave me some exercises to do which is really helping to and when I went back he said that things had improved slightly.

However I am a bit puzzled as he doesn't seem to listen to the fact the sensations in my leg are still bad and the cold/numb feeling in my foot is bad. I think that the exercises and manipulation are helping the muscles and bones in my lower back but aggrivating the bulging disc. I cannot seem to have improvement in both at once.

Exercise helps the pain but aggrivates the disc - which must be pressing on a nerve as my leg feels so weird. Also he says that I should avoid surgery at all cost - which is conflicting to the stuff I read on the forum.

I am totally confused???!!! so anything anyone could add would be much appreciated.

Do I just keep visiting the Osteopath every couple of weeks for the rest of my life at £37 a time?

Many thanks for anything you can add


xx :D

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Sam

    I'm sorry to hear that you're suffering so much big hugs.

    I visited my osteopath when my sciatic pain first hit me last November. He said that my L5 vertebrae was out (I've had this before) and that my sacroiliac joint was all inflamed. He manipulated my lower back which got rid of my back pain and told me to wait 3 to 5 days for the inflammation to go down so that the pain in my buttock/leg/foot would go away. It never did, it got worse and I ended up being hospitalised.

    I've always had faith in my osteopath but my personal view is that they have their limits. My best friend's husband did the same thing in January but he took his MRI scan with him to see the osteopath. The osteo said there was nothing he could do and would recommend the operation.

    I sometimes wonder whether osteo's says things just to make more money if you know what I mean.

    I would personally badger the NHS to get an MRI scan if you haven't done so already - only then will you know what's really going on with your back.

    I wish you lots of luck and hope that you'll be pain free soon.


    Jude xxx

    P.S. I had a micro-discectomy on the 14th May and I've never looked back, still in recovery but doing well.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sam,

    My situation started out very similar to yours, except that I saw a Chiropractor initially. I went to bed one night and woke up with a prolapsed disc (L5/S1) as well as acute left sided sacroiliac joint syndrome, with associated piriformis muscle strain and just to top it all leg longer than the other and a tilted pelvis!!! The Chiropractor was brilliant at dealing with all of it apart from the prolapsed disc and what went with that, i.e. my leg symptoms. I quickly found out that Chiropractors are generally opposed to surgery, they prefer manipulation, even if it takes forever. For most people this is fine, and the symptoms do clear up as the disc shrinks back and the compression on the nerve eases up, but if it is going to happen it is unlikely to take longer than six months. On the other side of the coin I have spoken to NHS staff who think that Chiropractors and Osteopaths are no more than quacks who should leave well alone. But I have also found a few NHS staff who think they are brilliant too. I don't think it is so much about robbing you of your cash as a totally different belief system.

    I agree with Jude, push your GP for referral and an MRI scan. That will show the true extent of the disc bulge and the nerve compression. Take heart though, not everybody needs an operation and it may be the case that initially they will continue with medication, including injections and/or physio. Whatever happens, you can guarantee that with the NHS it will all take ages, so the sooner you get started....!!! Then if after a while you do improve, you can always step back.

    I found that numbness was a progression of the nerve compression, follows by all sorts of other weird and wonderful things going on with my leg/foot. In fact, dare I say it but I actually preferred the straightforward pain. At least I knew where I was with that!

    Good luck!


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  • Posted

    Thank you guys so much for your input. I have had an MRI scan which showed up as a bulged disc which is pushing on a nerve which is giving the wierd sensations in my foot/leg. The specialist didn't tell me anything else only that I am not a candidate for surgery as it is not causing nerve damage. His only advice was to not sit for too long - get up every 10 mins, go swimming and get Physio. As I said before there is a 16 week waiting list for Physio where I live and as I couldn't wait that long I saw the osteopath.

    It is really interesting everyones different views on Osteopaths, I thought he was the best thing since sliced bread for the first couple of times are saw him as he literally took the pain away. However the pain this weekend is worse than ever and am finding it difficult to put my leg anywhere that it feel comfortable (sounds weird but my leg does not feel attached to my body properly)

    Hopefully the physio will start soon so they can give me advice which might help too.

    thanks everyone

    Sam x

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  • Posted

    Hi Sam,

    Can I ask what sort of specialist you saw that gave the opinion that you are not a suitable candidate for surgery? What it a neurosurgeon? You seem to be showing leg/foot symptoms of a compressed nerve and if you haven't already done so I would try to get a referral to a neurosurgeon for a second opinion. They are the specialists in this field. Often local hospitals are slow to do this because you are moving into third level tertiary care. But if your local hospital doesn't do neurosurgery, or have a neurosurgeon in an outpatients clinic, then they should refer you on.

    It sounds like you are starting to experience the continuum of nerve compression from pain, to numbness to the other weird and wonderful sensations. It doesn't sound weird at all to me that your leg does not feel attached to your body properly. I used to have a problem walking because my knee and foot seemed out of sync with each other, probably only by a split second, but that was all that was needed!! At one point walking was difficult because I could never be sure where my foot was or what it was doing! And even now, every night I have problems with my leg and would like nothing more than to be able to unzip it and park it at the end of the bed because it feels so weird! It plays tricks on your mind.

    In the meantime I would really push for the physio. At least at the first appointment they will bend you and twist you every way imaginable and they may support a referral to a neurosurgeon, because your treatment is inside the NHS. The problem with the Osteopath is that obviously he can't refer you anywhere. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that it is not a good sign to be getting worse. Many people here have suffered for a long time because they got lost in the system. The best advice I can give you is to keep banging on doors!!

    Best wishes


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  • Posted

    All I can say is that I completely second what TFU says, your feelings aren't unusual with nerve problems and defo bang on some doors.

    Well said TFU


    Jude xxx

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  • Posted

    dear sam,

    if difficult to know what to suggest i originally slipped my disc L5S1 back in december.2 weeks in bed at home and a third in a naval hospital.filled with pills and sent to physio.luckily the navy has good support.the physios were adamant that the bulge would reduce and physio would stretch the nerve around the bulge.i did physio 3 times a aweek and hydro twice a week.3months of 6 cocodomal and tramadol a day,it was improving.unfortunately in march the disc gave up completely and scan followed by op last week.

    so what to do is a hard one you probably wont get physio 5 times a week as i had and in the end the pain was too much.

    it may get better or you may spend months in pain waiting to see.

    GET a scan! at least you can see and make a more informed i say mine did improve for a while but ultimately it failed and ended up with op anyway,so months of pain for no benefit.

    if you can cope the op should be last but dont suffer for ever my surgeon said to me book the op anyway and if you improve while your waiting all the better you can cancell it easily(your the customer!)

    if you wait to book your op will be further away.

    i cancelled my first op as i thought i was getting better,and ended waiting another 4 weeks to get in ,but at least i then knew it was the right decision for me.

    good luck and get a scan its the starting point for informed discussion.

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  • Posted

    sorry sam

    you have a scan!if its any help i asked my surgeon what he thought of my scan and he said it doesnt matter what i looks like its how it effects your the physio advice still stands as he said he had seen some awfull scans and people got over it,some didnt ,i was one.

    eventually the op was the option and its been brilliant so far,so i regret the time i spent in pain now but its your journey and have to make the right decision for you.

    good luck and best wishes

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