Monday, April 29, 2019

Herniated Disc Pain

Couches.  Good for more than just sitting - this is my bed, my dining room, and now my office.

Seeing as things are not improving at the speed I'd like, Jeff moved my computer to the family room so I can lie down and blog.  And take care of my banking, and of course read YOUR blogs and hey, maybe even comment now that it's easier to type and I don't have to fill in my info each time I comment.

I realize this might begin to bore some of you, what with me writing about my herniated disc so often, but as I've been searching out other people's stories online (yes, looking for a glimmer of hope), I'm not finding much, and zero with an L3 - L4 herniation, so who knows, maybe this will help out someone who has the misfortune of dealing with this.  Also, I've been on the couch for over two weeks so it's not like I'm doing anything exciting to write about.

When I left you following last week's post, I was hoping to be one of the lucky ones who felt the epidural steroid injection begin to work on day seven.  I was not.  Today marks day eleven...could this finally be the day?  Or will I have to wait the entire two weeks for relief?  Or, and I hope this won't be the case, will I be one of the few for whom the injection doesn't work?  I really, really hope not but I freely admit to going down that path of despair when the pain is at its worst.

Types of disc presentations.  Mine is the red one.

Let's talk pain for a moment.  Until now I thought I knew what bad pain was - after all, I've had gallbladder surgery, surgery for an ankle injury, pseudotumor cerebri, and of course, I've given birth twice.

None of these come close to how badly I hurt now.  The herniated disc is pressing on a nerve in my spinal column.  Nerve pain is almost indescribably agonizing - and I do not use that word lightly.  My herniated disc is between the L3 - L4 section, and the nerve there runs down the front of my left leg.  I hurt on the outer edge of my glute, in the crease where my leg meets my torso, in my thigh muscle, in my knee, and a little down the front of my shin.  Even though the herniated disc is in my back, my back does not hurt because it all depends on the location of the herniation; if this was happening in the next set of vertebrae, then yes, my back would be feeling all of this instead of my leg.

Each spot has a different type of pain - for example my thigh pain is deep down, and I try to press on it, kneading it with my hand, when it's really bad.  My thigh has lots of tiny bruises as a result.

The crease pain is sharp and throbbing, and I can barely sit upright without a shooting pain coming on within a minute.

The knee pain is hot and my kneecap feels like it's going to break in half.  This one makes me cry the most.

The shin pain isn't that bad compared to the rest of the leg, or else it could be that everything else is so bad that this is small potatoes.

With all of this, you'd think I would welcome narcotic pain medications.  Well, yes and no.  Yes because if they relieve this pain, then I'm OK with taking them.  But no because I do not like taking narcotics, I do not like how barfy they make me feel, and I do not like how my brain doesn't always fire correctly and I can't seem to form a coherent thought at times.  We won't even go down the whole addiction issue...honestly, I'll deal with that later if need be.

I stopped taking the narcotic, Belbuca, last Thursday morning because we had tickets to see Avengers:  Endgame on Friday afternoon and I was determined to feel good enough to see the movie - I did not want to have to leave the theater to barf.  I felt pretty good just taking 400mg of Motrin every four hours on Thursday and Friday and we made it to the movie just fine.  We both loved the movie and I'm thankful for reclining seats in the theater.

But late Friday evening the pain was back with a vengeance - and I was in tears and miserable for hours.  I finally had to go back to the Belbuca, and anti-nausea meds, and Motrin as well because this was horrible - I was at a 9.5 on the pain scale of 0 - 10.  For reference, when I was at the pain doctor the morning of my steroid injection, I was at a 10.  I really hate that I cannot get by without the narcotic, but unfortunately this is where I'm at right now.  I hope to report back soon with better news about the pain - cross your fingers for me that the epidural steroid injection kicks, now.


  1. O wow, I am so sorry you are in so much pain. I'm glad you got to go see End Game and you got through the entire movie and Jeff made you a nice set up there at the couch! I hope that steroid injection kicks in so you can have some relief! Hugs to you. -M

  2. I know you hate the narcotics...and how they make you feel and the risks. But take them when you need them!!!

    I am SO happy you got to see the movie!!!! That would have been insult to injury to miss that after you’ve looked forward to it so much!!!

    Thoughts and prayers are with you!!! Keep writing...and keep us posted!!

  3. You'd think with them injecting the steroid right where the herniation is, THINGS WOULD CALM DOWN AND COOPERATE, DAMMIT!

    Truly it makes me feel so bad that you can't get the relief you deserve. I swear I'd be haunting that doctor although I know you have to wait some things out. I am glad Jeff hooked you up because there are only so many things that can be done on an iPad vs a real computer. And I'm glad you managed the movie because lord knows staring at the walls of your house can't be much fun either.

    Still keeping my fingers and toes cross that one day you will magically feel healed.

  4. Oh, Shelley, I am so sorry to hear that the epidural didn't work. What is next for you? I couldn't take that pain. You are a tough soldier!!! Keep on sharing your story--God knows you've been reading mine enough!

  5. I'm sorry about this. I had the same area with my disk and the fact that it irritates the sciatic nerve makes it worse. Unfortunately, the recovery is a long term thing. Narcotics really are the only thing that dulls the pain - or at least makes you not care about it so much. Has your doc suggested surgery at all?

  6. Hope your pain magically disappears. That swanky little nest that you have built there on your sofa looks mighty comfy.

  7. Oh when you described the knee pain, that almost made me cry! Keeping my fingers crossed that it will all go away soon.

  8. Keeping my fingers crossed that TODAY is the day you start to turn a corner with the pain meds.

  9. Oh Shelley...I'm so sorry. Praying that relief is found SOON!!!

  10. Shelley, I'm feeling your pain radiating all the way here in Ohio... and wishing you some relief!! I've only had some minor issues but remember how discouraged I got. I hope reading different blogs helps you to stay positive!! Your blog is one that I have followed over the years to help me stay motivated and I really appreciate your efforts! Stay Strong. Thinking of you!! Chris

  11. Well aren't you the cutie patriotic in your little nest. I guess Pack is under the table near you so you can tickle him now and then. Thank goodness you have Jeff there to pamper you. Best wishes with the shot kicking in.

  12. Good grief:Paco...not Pack! And I'm not on any medication!

    1. OK Jennifer, as a fellow sufferer of autocorrect, this made me laugh!

  13. Oh man, I hope you have better news now too. :( It IS good you are writing about this in case someone else has the same thing - they will find comfort in this and maybe have some ideas for you on what worked for them. The pain just sounds horrible and I wish it wasn't happening to you :( I'm glad you still got to see the movie though! :)


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