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Is a sudden back pain due to a disc bulge?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 43 Questions
I have severe lower back pain when I walk. It's so bad I can hardly walk. If I push my hips forward and walk there is no pain. I have a bulging disc on the l/s that abuts the nerve root but this pain does not feel like that pain. I had no problems until after a hot yoga class. The next morning, I could hardly move. I am 5' tall, age 57, weight 141. I have been on a 1200 calorie diet and exercise 2 - 3 hours a day for 2 months.
Sat, 28 Apr 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Sangeet 10 hours later

Thanks for the query.

If the back pain was of sudden onset, especially when you bend forward, it could be very likely due to a disc bulge.

Disc bulge usually causes pain which shoots down the back of thigh and it aggravates on bending forwards. It can also cause weakness or numbness in your legs.

If the pain is static and not shooting down your leg, it could be either due to instability of your spine or due to menopausal osteoporosis.

It would be better to get examined by an Orthopedician and few investigations like X XXXXXXX and MRI of the spine might be asked.

Meanwhile you can follow these measures:
- If the pain is severe, you need bed rest till the pain resolves.
- Get some analgesics prescribed and apply analgesic spray or ointments.
- While resting, keep a pillow under your knees if it doesn't bother you.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.

Hope this answers your query. In case of any doubts, I am available for the follow ups.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is a sudden back pain due to a disc bulge? 3 hours later
It does not hurt when I bend over. It hurts when I walk. When I step with my right leg, there's pain in my tailbone area on the right side, when I step with my left leg, there's pain in the same area but on the left side. It's not in the same area as the bulging disc. No pain laying down.

If I spread my legs about 2-3 feet apart and walk, there is no pain.

Thanks for your response.

Answered by Dr. Sangeet 1 hour later
Hello again XXXXXXX
I guess you have had your MRI already done which shows a disc bulge abutting the nerve.
If this pain hasn't been there for a long time, I think you should get some rest and avoid exercises for a while as it could be a muscle spasm following exercise.
Give hot fomentation over that region if there's no swelling. avoid walking long distance for a week.
If the pain doesn't subside in a week's time, please visit your Orthopedician.

Wish you good health.
Kindly get back to me for further follow up.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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