I am 46 years old. 5ft 1 and 55kg When I was 22 I had a bad fall off a horse and it made my pelvis come apart and left me with a locked hip on the left (I think it s the left). I m managed all these years but now not so well. I m in South Korea and I can t communicate with the doctors, so I don t know how serious my condition is. I ve been living here for 3 years. In early 2009 I started feeling this strange like pins and needles in my third and fourth toe on my left foot whenever I walked for a long time (like and hour or more). Once I got home and sat down it was fine again. I kept on with my exercises and in 2010 I wanted to lose some weight so went running regularly. That pain in my toes came but I didn t pay much attention to it because I just didn t know where to go about it or what it was. Then one day when I was running my lower back felt like when you sprain your ankle it felt like that in my back. I rested a bit and went running again the next day it got worse. So I finally went to see an orthopedic here in Korea who took xrays. This was about a year an half from the time I first felt that itchy in my 3rd and fourth toe. When he saw the Xrays he told me I have a herniated disc in my lower back between 4 and 5 and that the radiating pain is going to my left foot. So I started getting treatment every night I d go get a hot pack, then this electronic machine that 3 or 4 pads would attach to my nerve pathway, then traction. The pain in my left toe left after about a week or two and I just kept going every night because I was scared it would come back. They didn t tell me I don t need to come back. I thought if I go every night for months then it will be cured. So I finally worked it out I think. I go now only when the pain comes back but I don t really know what I m supposed to do if I m supposed to exercise and if so what kind of exercises or if that is going to put my back out more. He said it is not operatable but I m really scared. I don t know if I m getting true answers from him. The next thing is that I also have a herniated disc in my neck (please see attached). I found out about that in January 2012 when numbness hit my hands. The doctor could not communicate with me so he put me in for an MRI. (thus the attached). I m very very worried that I have not just one but two herniated discs. One at the bottom and one at the top. It s simply impossible to get both treated contstantly. I can t afford it and I don t have the time. I just don t. I don t have any insurance for this and I m scared that I will need an operation if I don t already. I rarely can get in a comfortable position unless I m lying down and that I may have to live with. I have a comfort neck traction unit those new ones on the market that you lay down on and then pump the thing and it is traction for your neck. I spend 10 minutes a day on it. Is there anything cheaper I can do that is not an operation? I heard a friend of mines dad they just slit open his back and took a disc out to make room and it was all done in outpatient treatment. I have a LOT of tension in my neck and I m constantly stiff. I can t help it I have high stress and I simply can t stop being stressed. I don t know what to do because that tension is very dangerous I think. Maybe it will make the herniated disc condition deteriote faster. Maybe it will even cause a stroke . I m really scared. My lower back the physio therapy doesn t help but yesterday I went to get a massage on my very stiff neck and upper back and now the radiating pain has significantly decreased in my leg. It seems to have helped the disc in the lower back. Sorry for the long story with all the detail. The don t speak English here and even when they do they don t tell us anything. I hope you can help me. 1. How often do I need to go to therapy? 2. During therapy should I be resting completely and not exercise or should I be accompanying the physio treatment with my own exercises? If so What kind of exercises should I be doing? 3. Am I in danger of a stroke because of all the tension in my neck? 4. Am in a very bad state because I have two herniated discs? How soon will I need an operation can I go through life without an operation? Thanks Margo.
Asked On : Sun, 2 Sep 2012