Hernia in back

I have been suffering with extreme sciatic nerve pain over the last week (pain all down my left leg). Yesterday I had a magnetic scan thingy (don't know the exact English description for the machine)which has shown up two small hernias in my lower back. I'll be going to the sports doctor / physiotherapist tomorrow so that they can prescribe a series of cures / exercises etc.

Now I'm really worried about not being able to return to running seriously, without even mentioning skiing, rock climbing and mtb.

Anyone out there had a similar problem and been able to resolve it.

Oh, better mention that my age doesn't help - 47.


  • MRI scan?
    Did it show hernia or 'herniated discs', which is doctor-speak for slipped discs?

    Sciatic pain would go along with herniated discs. Various treatments are possible. Most cases will resolve without surgery (don't have surgery, IMHO!)

    I had sciatica and slipped disc 10y ago. After a period of rest i was able to start exercising again, and (touch wood) - ok since. I'm going skiing next week, haven't rock climbed for a few years, but still go hill walking and mountain biking!

  • Hi eamonn, Yeah I guess it was MRI (Risonanza Magnetica in Italian).

    The radiologist just told me that there were a couple of small hernias and that the channels were thin (therefore more complicated?). I know that one of my vertebra is slightly misplaced (possible result of a bad rock climbing upside down fall 7 years ago).Also the radiologist said that surgery would be the last resort - I agree wholeheartedly.

    Anyway I'll get the whole report tomorrow and hopefully my doc will also explain something to me.

    I know that you're a doctor so if I may I'll come back to you if there is anything I'm uncertain about.
    Anyway it's encouraging to know that it can be cured and there'e a chance I can get back to running.

  • By coincidence I think mine came on from a rock climbing fall as well!
    I was running again after 3 months.
  • Eamonn, I have the full results. The main problem seems to be a lateral and left foraminal herniated disc (slipped) between L4 and L5.Creating potential conditions of discoradicular conflict with the 4th lumbar root on that side. It also says that the central discodural conflict is minimum and of little significance.

    There is a smaller problem between L2and L3 of disc hernia concerning soft material on the right paramedian side with a modest tendency of expelled material rising upwards and occupying the right antero-lateral portion of the epidural space at the height of L2.In this case the discodural conflict is relatively modest and not particularly significant.

    Another small central bulging discomatic is observed in L5-S1, without significant conflict due to a larger epidural space.

    Bloody awful translation isn't it.

    My doctor wants me to take an appointment with a Neuro to look at how the pain can be reduced (epidural injection) before starting physio (traction, exercises etc.)

    I would really appreciate if you have any comment. Thanks
  • it is what we'd call a 'slipped disc' with the main impact being the one pressing on the L4 root. This will probably cause numbness or altered sensation on the inside of the calf.
    Seeing a specialist with a view to epidural, traction and physio is very sensible. Hopefully the swelling will reduce and the symptoms clear up as the discs shrink back.
    I had an epidural and physio.

    off skiing now!
  • Thanks Eammon. Hope you have a great week skiing. The conditions are pretty good in the Alps right now and weather, at least in the Southern Alps, is forecast as sunny. I envy you like crazy.

    Just one last question when you have time to answer. You say that you got back to running within about 3 months. Is this competitive running or lesiurely. E.g last year I managaged 4 marathons and 3 halves. I'm guessing that at best I'll have to reduce the marathons to one or max. 2. At worst I may have to reduce to only 10-21 km races.

    Maybe I could decide to take up triathlon since I've been thinking about this for some time. Swimming and cycling being low impact and then the run would be only 10k.

    Anyway thanks again for your encouragement you've really cheered me up.

    By the way the pain, numbness is on the outside of the calf rather than inside (though I did have pain previously on the inside which I put down to shin-splits).
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