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Introduction to me and my back (sorry for the long post)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:29 am
by chewie688i
Just wanted to say hello to everyone and give a brief run down on my problem. First off I'm in the Navy and am fairly young (28). I first noticed a problem around 7 years ago. I approached my doctor on the ship, and they diagnosed the problem as a possible pinched sciatic nerve. I was treated with some good ole Motrin and stretches, and was told there was nothing else I could do. I figured they were right, and lived with the pain for 5 years. There were days I had all I could do to get out of bed, and I won't even talk about trying to do the Navy's Physical Training regime.

Five years later, I transfer from the ship and got stationed on shor duty. I decided to head to the Naval Hospital and have it looked at again. The doctor there was amazed that I had lived with it for so long, and never had an MRI or other diagnosis done on it. He did up the order for me and set me up with a Physical Therapy program. The MRI revealed I had degeneration in L5 and small broad based far lateral left-sided disc herniation. After physical therapy, including 6 weeks of traction, I still had pain, and went ahead with steroid epidural injections. Those injections worked wonders, and I was pain free for one year.

I took a cruise, and once I got back, I again started to feel pain again. The doctors started right down the same path again with Physical therapy, again to no avail. After much deliberation, we went ahead with the injections again, and I just finished the last injection a few weeks ago, but my back is still stiff and sore. I do stretching exercises everyday, yet I can't seem to overcome the stiff feeling, or soreness localized in my lower back. I'm hoping that something can be done so I can continue my naval career as I have 10 years left till retirement. Any suggestions you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.

Been there too.....

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:52 am
by krd
Hey Chewie688i

Your situation sounds alot like mine. I too have a broad based herniation at L4-L5. I went 2 years trying to stretch, and I did find some relief. However, the 2nd time that the sciatica hit me, I could not get out of bed for 8 weeks.... the pain was so great. I went and had 2 epidural injections (guided flurooscopy), 3 weeks apart. I then went to 8 weeks of rehab, 3 times a week. I worke my tail off, and continued to do so for the next 15 months with no pain or discomfort. I was even playing golf 3 to 4 time a week.

Abouth 2 months ago, I woke up to tightness and pain starting to radiate down my leg. I again went back to PT, 4 weeks at 3 times a week. I am again completely out of pain and playing golf again. I continue to strengthen my core muscles on a daily basis, as well as stretch. I am currently taking a Pilates mat class to further that strengthening.

I kow that the epidurals helped to get me out of pain, but it is the hard work of daily strengthening and stretching that make the long term difference. Dean's books are full of detailed info on stretching techniques. Don't give up, you can beat this. I am soon to be 53 year old, and I am in the best shape of my life thanks to my back. Work hard and I am sure that it will pay off.

Ken