I just found out two days ago, via MRI, that I have a bulging/herniated L4/L5 disc. Here's a link to one of the many pictures from the MRI: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6196/6050044492_e9cece6a76_z.jpg
My back has been a mess for the last few years, but really started getting bad about 5 weeks ago. Along with really bad pain, the bulge is impinging on nerves, causing sciatica. At times, I am completely hobbled, having a tough time walking or standing. The only relief I find is lying on my back with a few pillows under my knees.
I've been 95% paleo for the past 8 months, having lost 45 lbs in the process. I'm a former college athlete and am a very active person. To make this short, I'll just say I'm not completely ignorant when it comes to proper training techniques. Along with losing the weight, I've become a lot stronger, focusing a lot on my core strength, doing yoga and stretching, along with various other activities. The extra weight I had put on since college was mainly due to battling gout attacks in all major joints in my body. I have now conquered gout, and then this happens with my back. It's quite depressing knowing I'm once again hobbled with something quite serious.
I know that eating paleo will keep the inflammation down in my body. My last blood test was taken the other day when I had to go to the ER (yes, it got that bad) for my back. Everything looked perfect, including the inflammation/infection indicators.
I'm just wondering if there is anything else I can do Paleo-wise to help. The beef I eat is grass-fed and I take my Carlsons fish oil every day. I will start PT once the pain subsides. Right now it would be impossible to do any type of PT or stretching because of the pain and numbness. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This sucks....
P.S. One thing I'm keenly aware of is that if I did live during the time of Grok, natural selection would have taken me out long ago!
asked byNate_6 (804)
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on August 20, 2011
at 02:05 PM
Nate, This type of presentation typically starts as a sacroiliac joint problem. When the bottom disc in the spine (for you the fourth lumbar disc) is worn while the others are not, it indicates poor sacroiliac joint alignment. This results in torque when you walk or run.
This is how the one disc goes bad while the others around it are actually in very good condition. Any blood level values, or foods for that matter, would have affected all of them equally. Your MRI shows a very specific pattern of breakdown.
This problem is old, several years at least. Over time the bottom movable disc wears out. Again, I would echo the quilt, all the MRIs coming in have similar patterns of disc wear. 4th and/or 5th lumbar disc problems, then the older ones get worse from there.
I have seen many people crawl or be carried into our office two weeks after their trip to the ER. Disc problems and all they can still get great results if they work at it. You have got a lot of good structure to work with, even if it doesn't feel like it. Quilt's right, though, these get worse over time if unaddressed. Even when some of the symptoms reside with the acute inflammation, the mechanics will not get better on their own.
on August 18, 2011
at 12:38 PM
You have DDD and 60% disc height collapse and without seeing the remaining cuts the ligament may or may not be torn. It does not appear to be a frank herniation. I see no protruding disc into the canal or the cal sac.....but it is only one cut of the MRI. That all being said.....I bet your hs crp is up vit d is down with DHEA and pregnenolone down and bet your HDL is lower than you think. You need to go the conservative route gets labs done and proceed with caution. Zero problems with you doing chiro care but if you get no relief in three four months then you will need to consider posterior ligament taxis and increasing your foramina height.....but you need full conservative treatment first. I doubt your gut is as good as you think with a disc like that.
I am a spine surgeon who sees this fifteen times a day. Don't blow it off......but your loss of height tells me this has been going on 7~10 years
on August 18, 2011
at 09:54 AM
I'm a chiropractor that specializes in disc cases. Send me your town and I will try to find referral for you.
on August 18, 2011
at 03:30 PM
Ive been through all this same stuff you are talking about Ive even had an operation (microdiscectomy) as well as Calcium, K2, Human Growth Hormone (10months straight), 9 hours a stretching a week with one of the best trainers in professional sports, and maintaining 25 Hydroxy vitamin D levels just above 50 and adapting a Paleo diet (which caused a loss of 34 lbs in 3 months) have done little or nothing to improve disc issues.
I dont buy the whole weak abdominal muscles theory either as I am able to do more abdominal excersices, as well as holding various plank positions for much longer than anybody I know.
Here are some studies Ive found in my research:
This one discusses Thunder God Vine:
This one discusses antibiotics, which is an angle i would have never though of:
Here is one using Resveratrol:
Anybody with anything to add please do.
on August 18, 2011
at 12:42 PM
Please make sure you strengthen your Transverse abs (TA). most people have weak TA and glut medius. Therefore the brunt of the weight is beared on the lumbar spine (as it should) though with incorrect form. Pelvic tilts in the supine position helps and "flattening" your back to ther ground. Bracing your self as if someone "punched you in the gut" is what contracting your TA feels like.
on August 05, 2014
at 10:14 PM
Food isn't going to cure it, of course, but it CAN help reduce pain and inflammation. You want to be well hydrated, ingest foods that are anti-inflammatory, and give your collagen and bones good support. Here's what I'm trying to get my husband (herniated cervical disks) to do:
1. Stay well-hydrated and maintain a good electrolyte balance by using salt and eating potassium rich fruits and veggies.
2. Bone broth, bone broth, bone broth! Plus, add plain gelatin or collagen to whatever foods and beverages you can.
3. Avoid inflammatory oils, experiment with nightshades to see if eliminating them helps your pain levels at all. And of course, particularly avoid gluten cheats.
4. Keep your blood glucose levels in check.. That means limiting sweets, high glycemic fruits, and starches.
5. Feed up on anti-oxidants--primarily colorful fruits and veggies.
on February 24, 2014
at 08:29 AM
@Nate 6 I am having back problems and have decided (after knowing about Paleo for a couple of years) to adopt it, hoping that I can repair my body. I alredy do a lot of walking so my core muscles at the front are fine. I am investigating the vitamins and minerals (and the foods which contain them) which promote muscle strength and bone density. Protein is obviously one, especially cold water fish and foods containing high quantities of Omega 3. I have got as far as looking specifically for foods which contain silicon, boron, magnesium and calcium, but have a lot more work to do to put together a 'bad back diet'. If anybody has any more ideas put them here.
on January 30, 2013
at 10:16 PM
I had low back pain problems this summer and went to a Chiro. I was diagnose with l5-s1 herniated disk. I was told to do cat/cow exercises to strengthen my tranverse abdominals and side planks to strengthen my quadratus lumborum. They also taught me an exercise they called "Foundation" I did these exercises for a few weeks and was feeling great. I was curious about this exercise and started googling which brought me to Foundation Training. Too much sitting had made my glutes and hamstrings become pretty much dormant adding to my posture problems. I spent the last year trying to strengthen them but just hurt myself more doing deadlifts and squats wrong. I have been doing these exercises for 3 months and feel muscles in my legs working I never felt before. There are some videos on the website. The Founder is the exercise my Chiro gave me. Give it a try and see how it feels for you.
on January 30, 2013
at 07:54 PM
Got here via web search on my condition, read the posts and thought I'd share what has worked for me.
My diagnosis is:
~ L4-5: Concentric Disc bulging with a moderate sized superimposed left paracentral disc protrusion.
~ L5-S1: The L5 vertebra is transitional, showing a transverse process on the left and partial sacralization on the right.
I've tried traditional physiotherapy, chiropractics, acupuncture, yoga\stretching and various Mackenzie method stretches. They all helped to varying degrees. But, the one thing that made a world of difference for me was aqua therapy and swimming. A woman whose Son plays on my kid's hockey team is a physiotherapist from Italy. She does most of her work in a pool. I did six 1 hour sessions with her and the nerve pain that had been running down my leg for 3 months completely subsided in under 3 weeks. Now, I swim lengths 3 or 4 evenings per week for 30 minutes and then stretch and do the exercises she showed me in the shallow pool. I finish by putting one floatie noodle under my neck and one under my knees and then just float for 5 to 10 minutes, completely relaxing the back. So, if there is someone in your area who offers aqua therapy, I would give it a shot. Worked really well for me.
on August 20, 2012
at 11:02 PM
Here I am with a L5/S1 disc herniation and major S1 nerve root impingement and it's hard for me to swallow how I lost my mobility in a matter of days. For those of you who've had the Microdiscectomy are any of you happy with that surgery's results?
on April 20, 2012
at 11:34 PM
While you wait for chiro or PT, you may want to read up on the subject. Read anything by "Stuart McGill" or "Craig Liebenson" - leaders in the field of back care/injuries.
on April 20, 2012
at 08:26 PM
Nate, Sorry to hear you having this trouble with your spine. I have the same problem at L4/5 and a slight bulge at L5/S1. I have had 2 microdisectomys at the L4/5 level and am still having the sciatica pain and low back pain. I have tried everything from chiro to decompression therapy to PT to injections with no real lasting relief. I'm kinda over going to people that charge me a ton of money for not helping my situation. I recently went to a different neurosurgeon and looked at my MRI with him, clearly showing the continued re-herniation after the 2nd surgery. He said "it looks good" and is not convinced that is the source of my pain MRI Image . I'm a 28 year old and in pretty good shape I'm kinda over going to people that charge me a ton of money for not helping my situation. I am in the same boat as you Nate, I am looking for some relief. I wonder why that surgeons don't reinforce the disc to promote strength while healing after a surgery. A dissolving suture would work. Good luck. I think I will try the Resveratrol.
on August 18, 2011
at 04:23 PM
Specifically what motions/activities cause the majority of your pain? Does it hurt more to flex forward, extend etc? Do youIf you can tell me that there are some pretty simple exercises that you can perform that can help with pain relief. These are more light stretches/mobility exercises rather than strengthening.
I am a certified athletic trainer, and work with a lot of athletes and sports injuries. If you find a good PT or physio as it would be in Germany. They should keep in mind your pain level and treat you accordingly. But if you are in too much pain to even do simple stretches. I would start by doing some hot and cold treatments if you have the capability. Examples could be ice pack, heat pack. If you don't have those, try taking a hot bath etc. That will help with some basic pain relief and help relax some of the muscles, and may allow you to do some light exercises.