Debilitated by Herniated Disc

Hello, my name is David. I am 55 years old. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc (I think the Dr. said it was between L3 and L4). I have been out of work now for 4 weeks. It hurts to walk even for one minute. I can walk down the hallway to the living room and that's about it, before the pain kicks in. Once I sit down, the pain subsides. But, I cannot just keep sitting here forever.  I have a life to live, bills to pay, a job I need to get back to, etc.

I went to the emergency room 4 nights ago. They gave me steroids to take for 6 days. I had taken them about 3 weeks ago, from my family doctor, and he also gave me a steroid shot, as well. Seemed like I did start feeling better after that. But with just the pills alone this time, there's not much of a difference. I am scheduled to see a surgeon on the 20th of this month.

I can't believe how slow the process is here in the U.S., of getting anything done. My life has been put on hold. I don't know what to do. I had been going to a chiropractor here, who just thought that it was my sciatic nerve and said my hips were out of adjustment and she had been working to realign them. Now I'm wondering if she made it worse by doing this.

I can't believe how in just one month, I have gone from working and living, to not being able to do anything at all. I feel for everyone who has to deal with this. It is so depressing to watch the world go on around me. Are there any suggestions as to what I can do to get back to the land of the living? I need to get back to work. If not, I don't know what I will do. For everyone who has written on here about their pain, I am so sorry. I feel for you. I really do. - David

Update 4/29/12

Well, since I last talked to you, I saw an orthopedic surgeon. He recommended a spinal epidural. I had that done 2 weeks after seeing the doctor. It helped tremendously, but I still had some of the pain in my hip, leg, bottom, etc.

I went back to the doctor for a check up 2 weeks later. He recommended getting a second shot. I did that 2 more weeks later. The second shot helped a little, but still not fully. I was thankful to not be in constant pain though.

I have been doing therapy, exercising, have lost about 20 pounds. I think it is all helping. I can actually function like a fairly normal person now.

The best exercises for my problem have been (as recommended by both my doctor and my therapist) biking, and sitting on the large exercise ball and bouncing gently for about 5 minutes a day. The bouncing is spine-friendly and helps allow more blood/oxygen to get into the small space in my spine, which in turn helps with healing. I thought that someone else could maybe benefit from this information. These two things have helped so much. The biking is great, because it allows you to lean forward and puts no pressure on the spine.

I am back at work. If I am on my feet for very long, though, the pain does start setting in and I have to sit down. Still, from how I was just a few months back, I feel very lucky. I am hoping that if I keep up with the therapy and exercise, that I will be able to stay as well as I am now.

So, in 5 months, I have gone from not being able to walk, to being back at work, thanks to the two epidural shots. I feel that they have really worked for me. I wish that I were 100% pain free, but I am just thankful to be where I'm at now.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated as to how things go. Thank you again for your interest in my progress. It is good to be able to share my experience for others to read.

Thank you again for letting us share our stories on this forum, and thank you for updating my story. Best, David

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