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Herniated disk! Cortisone injection NOT HELPING!

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Author Topic:   Herniated disk! Cortisone injection NOT HELPING!
WendyCity
Cool Runner
posted Jun-16-2007 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WendyCity     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been having hip pain on my left side, coupled with a tight hamstring and lower back pain. Having gone through this in 2005, which was diagnosed as piriformis syndrome, I went back to my PT. She diagnosed it as sacro-iliac joint dysfunction.

However, after 8 months and two rounds of physical therapy, core and stability work and seeing a chiropractor, nothing helped. I was still in pain, especially when sitting. So I decided to have an MRI. What it turned out to be was NOT piriformis syndrome OR SI joint dysfunction.... I have a herniated disk at S1/L5 which caused inflamation of my sciatic nerve! I had a spinal cortisone injection 10 days ago (and let me tell you, it sucked!) I felt great for about 4 days but now I'm back to square one: same pain in my lower back and hamstring. I'm training for the Chicago Marathon and cannot run even 3 miles without feeling a painful "pulling" sensation. I don't want to have another injection. I'm going back for more physical therapy. I'm so depressed!! What else can I do?? Will the herniation eventually resolve (like my doctor suggested?) Ack!!!!

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WendyCity
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ejr
Member
posted Jun-16-2007 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had some back problems that were causing sciatica, tight left hammy etc. The chiro and pt helped to a certain extent ( like when I was going) but once my sessions were over it would come back.
I resorted to riding the bike as the running caused too many problems.
I never thought I would be able to run again. I was considering surgery
at one point but never went forward with it.

I bought a book just for the hell of it called treat your own back by robin McKenzie and I would say it has been all of the difference.
My back problems are mostly a thing of the past.
It is not as bad as yours ( an MRI showed 4 bulging disks) but it hurt anyway. I tried running again this spring and eased into it slowly from fear of kicking up the sciatica again. It however did not return and I am up to 12 miles a week with no problems.

I think the wrong running shoes sparked it up in the first place as it
coincided with the purchase of them. If I stick with a completely neutral no motion control shoe I am fine .

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carina
Cool Runner
posted Jun-16-2007 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second the recommendation for the MacKenzie book. It is the best! I combine some of the exercises with core work (abs and lumbar stabilization exercises). My back (L4/L5) was a constant problem. Since I have implemented the exercises DAILY, my back hasn't gone out in over a year. Also, get a lumbar support. I have a self-inflatable one that I take everywhere.

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WendyCity
Cool Runner
posted Jun-17-2007 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WendyCity     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, people! The clinic I'll be going to for rehab is a big proponent of the McKenzie method, and all of their therapists are trained in this. I'm looking forward to learning more about it.

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WendyCity
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mom2sethc
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posted Jun-18-2007 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mom2sethc   Click Here to Email mom2sethc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi!

I herniated L5/S1 in 2003. I had 3 spinal injections and 8 weeks of PT. I did not have pain, but instead numbness. To this day I still have numbness along the back of my quad, hamstring and into the 2 little toes on the left side of my left leg. The quad, hamstring and calf muscles in my left leg are always a little tigher than my right, so I have to be diligent about stretching and maintaining flexibility. I also find that some yoga moves for the back work great at keeping my back pain-free. I also spend some time working on my core muscles. I must keep at the stretching and exercises otherwise my body will get a little angry. I herniated my disc in July of 2003, I returned to running in October of 2003 and have ran marathons every year since. The docs say that a good percentage of people will heal from a herniation w/out surgery. I am healed, but still have residual numbness that I expect to always have. But since it doesn't prevent me from running, I can't complain. Best wishes to you in your recovery.

Elaine

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Tiger Dude
Cool Runner
posted Jun-18-2007 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tiger Dude     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It took the full three-set series of epidural storoid injections for me to get relief - I have had it done twice (5 years apart) & had good results, but it was a gradual recovery for me, not immediate.

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WendyCity
Cool Runner
posted Jun-18-2007 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WendyCity     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mom2sethc:
Hi!

I herniated my disc in July of 2003, I returned to running in October of 2003 and have ran marathons every year since. The docs say that a good percentage of people will heal from a herniation w/out surgery. I am healed, but still have residual numbness that I expect to always have. But since it doesn't prevent me from running, I can't complain. Best wishes to you in your recovery.

Elaine


Hey Elaine,

It's encouraging to know that I can continue to run despite my herniation. I know that everyone's case is different but I'm hoping that mine, too, is a success story!

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WendyCity
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WendyCity
Cool Runner
posted Jun-18-2007 10:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WendyCity     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tiger Dude:
It took the full three-set series of epidural storoid injections for me to get relief - I have had it done twice (5 years apart) & had good results, but it was a gradual recovery for me, not immediate.

Ack, I don't want another injection! The first one hurt like a mother****!!! I'm beginning a new round of physical therapy at the clinic where I got my injection. They're all McKenzie certified so I'm hoping it will help in lieu of another injection. I know this will be a gradual process... I went out for an "easy" 45 minute run tonight and OUCH! I still managed to log 9:30's which is my normal training pace, even doing walk/run the last two miles. I need to slow it down and not push it because what was "normal" for me may be too hard on my back and sciatica right now. Frustrated because I'm in my 6th week of marathon training and next Saturday's long run is 8 miles. I'm supposed to be substituting that for 80 minutes on the elliptical and I don't wanna!!!

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WendyCity
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mom2sethc
Member
posted Jun-19-2007 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mom2sethc   Click Here to Email mom2sethc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi!

My recovery was also gradual. I did not run through mine, I took about 3-4 months off of running. I waited until I didn't have any pain in my back. I also did a lot of flexibility, yoga and strengthening work. I spent the 3-4 months on the elliptical. I returned to running after the series of PT and spinal injections.
I couldn't run until mine started to heal because I have numbness, and with that came some muscle atrophy. I really had to come back slowly to allow the muscles in the numb leg to regain their strength. I do remember when I returned to running, it literally felt like I was running on a stick, like it wasn't even my leg. All better now though, even though I still have the numbness, most noticable in the little toes.

Elaine

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WendyCity
Cool Runner
posted Jun-19-2007 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for WendyCity     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mom2sethc:
Hi!

My recovery was also gradual. I did not run through mine, I took about 3-4 months off of running. I waited until I didn't have any pain in my back. I also did a lot of flexibility, yoga and strengthening work. I spent the 3-4 months on the elliptical. I returned to running after the series of PT and spinal injections.
Elaine


Well, today was just *awful*! I think it's the worst back/leg pain I've had since even before the injection. My left leg's alternately throbbing and numb. I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow morning. I'm afraid he's going to suggest another injection at a different level. Meanwhile, no running... hell, I can barely walk around my office during the day! It's been such beautiful weather here in Chicago. I live on the edge of a park and am really jealous at the tons of runners I see each morning and evening. I want nothing more than to join them and train for my marathon but I can't. I think I'm stil in denial about my disk herniation. The doctor said it's mild but it sure feels severe! I guess I'll just have to be patient and hope for the best.

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WendyCity
http://interwovendesign.com/kick/userdisplay.php3?username=WendyCity

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chele519
Cool Runner
posted Jun-20-2007 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chele519     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've often had to have more than one injection before lasting results. I'm also a big fan of the McKenzie book. When I first had the problem, I wasn't running but now that I am, i can keep it under control with strengthening/stretching and haven't needed an injection for a few years. Oh, and I have 4 herniations that still show up on MRI but don't cause any symptoms.

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zoomharp
Cool Runner
posted Jun-20-2007 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for zoomharp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As long as you are checking out books, you really should try "Healing Back Pain" by Dr. John E. Sarno.

Here's my story. Before Sarno's book: 7 years of chronic low back and hip pain, 1 MRI, 3 different diagnoses, 3 months of deep tissue massage and PT, 2 cortisone shots, a dozen ergonomic aids (heel lifts, low back pillows, etc.), 1 threat of possible back surgery, countless miles of running lost...

After Sarno: 2 weeks to get through his "program," about 3 months of follow up work with small, brief "trigger" pains, 3 years without relapse so far, 13 marathons, zero injuries, currently 45-55 mpw of pain free running, 1 55 lb. child whom I can still lift and carry happily, 2 friends with back pain also helped, and dozens of acquaintances unwilling to even look at the book for fear that it is some whacko theory too good to be true.

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raeskates
Cool Runner
posted Jun-20-2007 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for raeskates     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, I had sciatic pain so bad that I passed out one day in the kitchen. My dr's response was to give me pain pills. Yeah right! Well, I don't know if I had a damaged disk or not but after 3 months of chiro treatment and using a TENS machine and ice daily, I still had pain. I went to an acupuncturist. I went to one who was also a DO, so I could feel comfortable in knowing that he was a "real" doctor. Anyway, after 3 treatments, the pain went away. I still have to be very careful and I think I might get the Mckenzie book, but this is one suggestion. Also, it really only hurt a little with the pins in the finger and toes (too many nerves). I couldn't feel the ones in my back, hips or legs at all.

Rae

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Tiger Dude
Cool Runner
posted Jun-20-2007 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tiger Dude     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I second both the McKebnzie & Sarno books. Both are great.

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mom2sethc
Member
posted Jun-21-2007 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mom2sethc   Click Here to Email mom2sethc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wendy,

You might find that you may need to take some time off of running, I know it's not what any runner wants to hear. But on the positive side, you will heal. As I said, I missed 3-4 months, and I was training for my first marathon when I herniated my disc. Ironically, I resumed running on the very day that I was supposed to run my marathon! Here I was running around a dirt track on my marathon day, but boy did it feel good!!! I've since ran 3 marathons, 1 per year.
I did have a series of 3 shots before I returned to running. Basically I had 8 weeks of PT, then the shots..at that point there was nothing more they could do for me unless I chose surgery, which my surgeon didn't recommend. So he released me. I spent a lot of time stretching and doing yoga to get my legs and back muscles feeling better. My muscles knotted up in my numb leg when I returned to running. I had to slowly work through it all, but eventually things came together. A disc herniation is a slow recovery. You don't notice day to day improvements, but over time you'll look back and see the improvements. Also, I did weights, swimming and the elliptical during my time off of running. It is nice to challenge your body in different ways, and necessary sometimes. Oh, and I recovered running a faster pace and more mileage than I was doing before my herniation, and I'm no spring chicken (41 at time of injury)! Listen to your doctors and listen to your body. Give it the time it needs and you'll be out there running again before you know it.

Elaine

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andyroberts007
Member
posted Jun-21-2007 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for andyroberts007     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi;

Several years ago I threw my back out while bending over, and had an MRI that showed a herniated disk - L5. A physical therapist was able to determine through questioning me that my stretching regimen for hamstrings was bad over a period of months - I was bending down to the floor straight legged and touching my toes. I had put undue pressure over months on the disks by compressing them. I changed the strecthing routine, got a lumbar support for my car and at work (a folded towel), and did exercises to strengthen the muscles. I managed to walk/run through the whole ordeal, and got fully better. Now it's as good as new - running 2 marathons a year. In my case, I coaxed the disk material to go back where it should be, and never needed surgery or shots. I recommend to take a close look at your lower back posture throughout the day - because something is causing it. And running - in my case - was not the cause of it.

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