Herniated disc, sciatica & back pain: I recovered without surgery

Herniated disc, sciatica & back pain: I recovered without surgery

Herniated disc, sciatica and back pain: one adult out of four world wide is affected by one of these back conditions.

In Canada, 35 % of the population is affected by back problems and in the US, this number almost double:60% of the adult population is affected by herniated disc, sciatica or another type of back problem.

Most of the time, it starts with a false move, a bad seating position, bad posture,…and the pain goes away.

But sometimes, the pain comes back. And this time it stays longer…You start getting some weird feelings in your legs, like something is being pulled inside…one of your feet falls asleep and you can’t feel it anymore, and the pain in your lower back just won’t go away.

Lower back painYou go to the doctor, see a specialist, get your spine checked through an MRI…and you end up with a prescription for pain pills and physical therapy treatment…
This is the usual conservative treatment for an herniated disc.


How to treat & recover from an herniated disc & sciatica ?

I started this blog to tell my story about herniated disc, sciatica conditions that made my life so miserable for like 10 years and how I recovered from double herniated disc L4-L5 / L5-S1 without surgery, but also share some pointers, explain what’s good and what’s bad for people with back condition, publish some tick & trips that actually work to get relief and if possible without having to use pain pills (although, when you have to, just swallow them.)

I am no therapist and have no qualification in any medicine field whatsoever.
I wanted these pages to contain practical informations for people who suffer from back problems, and not just the same discussion, where every one has the same question and nobody has the answer (which is so frustrating when you’re looking for answers).

I spent months in bed, swallowing pain pills, anti-inflammatory pills and muscle relaxers, waiting for the moment where doctors would grant me a surgery procedure to relief the pain in my lower back.
At that time (somewhere in 2005), the vast majority of doctors decided for surgery procedure only when the hernia would causes a paralyzing sciatica.

In the meantime, the recommend treatment for an herniated disc / sciatica condition is pain pills & physical therapy and rest since most herniated discs eventually subside and heal spontaneously: an herniated disc recovery time without surgery will range from 3 to 6 months in most cases.

Obviously at that time, nobody ever told me about some rules that are part of the treatment and should make the recovery time shorter.

1. Do not sit down

Sitting down kills your back and until you feel pain in your low back, avoid sitting down. I know it’s easier said than done but you really need to figure something out if you want to recover.

2. Don’t lift your arms

Whatever exercise your physical therapist asks you to do, remember that lifting your arms without anything supporting them will kill your spine and prevent you from recovering: not only will you suffer from low back pain, but you will start having neck and shoulder problems, just trust me.

My story

I was 40 and I’ve always been very healthy and in good physical shape, but I work in IT and sit for eight hours behind a computer which is not ideal for the back.

I’ve never had back problems until the day I felt discomfort in the lower back, the lumbar region. This discomfort soon turned into pain and after a few days I began to feel numbness in my right leg.
I consulted an orthopedist, had a scan and found myself with the verdict: Double disc herniation (L4-L5 and L5-S1 for connoisseurs), degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis causing a sciatica and paresthesia (loss of sensitivity) at the right leg and foot.
The doctor advised me to stay in bed as much as possible during periods of acute pain and avoid physical activity.

I received two epidural injections in a pain clinic, followed by an anti-inflammatory treatment, and when pain would give me a break, conducted a few sessions of physical therapy.

Back pain everywhere, back pain all the time

Herniated disc / sciatica is actually a very common back condition and many people don’t even notice that they have a disc problem as long as they don’t feel pain in their legs. (This occurs when the disc is not pressing against the sciatic nerve).
For me, it lasted several years, during which it was impossible for me to stand, to sit or to lay down: I was part of the club of people who always complain about their bad back and back pain with all the physical, social, psychological and economic problems related to this condition.

This lasted for four or five years, I do not know very well, I could not see progress in terms of back pain over periods ranging from 6 months to 6 months.

And little by little…

This blog is not intended to be a cure or solution to back problems.
But through the pages you will realize that there is a way to get around , if not completely, at least in good part and recover some quality of life and self-esteem.

I hope you find this blog with information, tips, things to do and not to do when yout back hurts all the time, and make your life easier.

Most importantly, I hope that by reading these pages, you will find confidence and hope : for most people, back pain doesn’t have to last for ever.

You need to stay lucid and be patient.