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Why does my back become numb if I sit for long?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 126 Questions
I injured my back a few years ago during an Army parachuting accident. I broke my tailbone and herniated my L4-L5,L5-S1, and I have 2 compressed. I have pain shooting down my right leg and when I sit down for more than 10 mins everything below my waist goes numb.I have seen Va Dr.s and all they do is give me pills
Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 23 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

From your history its seems that you are suffering from a condition called IVDP (Inter-Vertebral Disc Prolapse). Here the disc between the L4-L5 or L5-S1 could have herniated into the spinal canal thereby compressing on the nerve roots supplying the nerve the lower limbs. The shooting pain and numbness are symptoms of nerve compression.

Treatment is either conservative or surgical.

The general approach towards managing this problem is as follows:

1. Initially the treatment involves analgesics (prescription NSAID's are better acting then over cthe counter medications) and physiotherapy.
2. Epidural steroid injection if oral pain relievers are not effective.
3. Some people have tried alternative medicine therapies such as accupunture and have found improvement. You may have read about them too. You may consider if the above 2 have not been helpful.
4. Surgical treatment is called Disc-ectomy. In this procedure the herniated discs are removed, thereby removing the pressure on the nerve roots. This will relieve you of your symptoms permanently. Pros and cons of the surgery can be discussed with your treating doctor.

I hope my answer has been adequate and informative. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.

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