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I have a few questions, but first let me tell you what is going on with my injury. I am 35 yrs old, physically in shape 10 yr infantry foot soldier Sgt 11-B in the US ARMY. I am told I have Sciatica, and my need to leave the military- under medical conditions. I want to retire and keep my job. I know no other life but being a soldier. So I am very scared.

An MRI shows that I have a Bulging disk in my lower back. Four months ago – I woke up in tremendous pain (so bad I was screaming/crying at night) and had to crawl- because I could not support myself. I crawled for 4 days and could not sleep or move much at all. I seen a doctor who prescribed pain meds and inflammation pills. For 1 month I was still in pain but able to walk with a cane. Slowly, I was able to do stretches that really helped me out when I seen a specialist.

After my second month I was able to walk – unsupported- with pains shooting though my leg and but- into my ankle. I could not get more than 4 hrs sleep a night at that point

Now, I barely have any pain- except stiffness – and ankle pain. I still cannot run. I have been swimming a lot to relieve this pain- upside-down bicycles/flutter kicks- that seem to help the little pain/stiffness that I have. I am able to sleep now for 6 hrs- and I do notice that every week I am slightly better than the previous week.

I am now 4 months in and I still cannot do road marches or run yet with my ankle pains- which is barely noticeable unless I walk for a long period or bend down.

My question is if I stay on the same path- being that every week is slightly better than previous- will I ever be able to run again- and do road marches- so that I can stay in the Army or is my career probably over- any advise would be greatly appreciated.

God Bless



I have the exact same symptoms. I really need track your progress. I hurt my back 2/18 and my progression has been eerily similar to yours. Please keep me posted.




Well I tried herbal treatment and a good Chriropractor helped-

I minced 2 cloves of garlic and 1 cup milk together and drank int 2 times a day for 3 weeks

this reduced the pain 1/2 and form that just had to remember to bend at the legs - dont sleep on stomach- swim alot- i am 99% healed and am able to pass the army fitness test- thanks for asking and hope that any of these tips help if you are still having problems



really interested to hear about anyones progress who have decided to treat bulge disc / sciatica without getting surgery.

i was diagnosed with a bulged discs in l3/l4 l4/l5 and l5/s1 - a 12mm extrusion which is causing the sciatica... I was told I would need surgery which I did not want to do for various reasons....

anyway, 6 months into it and have made massive progress from the initial tremendous pain which sgtpain spoke of.

after various treatments i found stretches, acupuncture and most recently scenar provide the best relief and help. my advice is to avoid painkillers as soon as possible (i grew dependent on oxycontin which was as bad as the sciatica i was trying to treat!) and feel so much better and in touch with my body after i stopped taking them.

so massive improvements and i can now sit and walk pretty much pain free, though as an active and healthy 28 y/o guy i want to return to the gym and sports.

how long has it taken people to achieve a full recovery??


and good luck to anyone who is suffering from a bulge disc. its a tough road that only someone who has suffered the injury can comprehend. feel free to contact me if you want any further information on the non-invasive treatments I have spoke about. i have tried nearly all the treatments you can imagine apart from the scalpel!


I feel your pain guys I am a 35 and have a l5 s1 bulge and it sucks. I am a pipe fitter by trade so no work for me $#%^%$#. I started pt about two weeks into the injury and I am getting some pain relief from acupuncture which is good because the pill diet is not good. I have also resd about alo vera juice it is good for repairing soft tissue damage. I will give that a trie and let you know.


I am 45 and have started the back shots for my sciatica. Let me start by this. Prior to last night, I have not slept more than 4-5 hours a night since December 5th.

Medical statistics support that 75% of all men above age 45 have an herniated disk. Most are minor buldges and are never felt.

I've been training Martial Arts for 12 years and hurt my back a few years ago. The key is a day or two of rest and then stretch, stretch and stretch.

I've had success with chiropractic care and PT. I recently started having sciatica pain, with no lower back pain. I opted for the shots because I found an extremely competent orthped surgeon. The shots that are offered today are completely different than a few years ago. My surgeon used the live xray. I was in and out in less than five minutes. No laying round for 1/2 hour and I drove myself to the surgery center some 40 miles away.

I found that less than 5% of patients have complete relief after the first shot.
The series of shots should be given within a 5 week period. Some will do monthly, which is not as effective

Back shot are more effective for Sciatica pain then for lower back.

I had 30-40% relief the first day and opted for PT and the shots at the same time.

Sleep is critical to healing the back. Lack of sleep adds to the stress to the back. To help, my Dr. perscribed a relatively new medicine UltraRM. It blocks the pain receptors in the brain, allowing the person to sleep.

Ultimately if you want to be pain free, you must deal with the pain and once it subside


I'm 30 and I got out of the Navy in 2007 with a bulged disc and severe sciatica, The VA gave me disability for it but my life still hasn't been the same since 2007 when the pain first started.

After trying Navy rehab and civilian chiropractors, acupuncture and VA epidural shots with no results i gave up and just decided to stop trying to fix it and learn to live with it. I got a desk job and for the whole year of 2008 i rested and did not exercise much at all. Now I am almost 100% I have almost no pain, and i now need to find away to slowly ease back into the exercise without hurting my back again. Can some of you guys share your exercises and stretches so i can get back to 100% again.


I dedicated my life to long distance running I ran 80,000 miles in 30 years and was going to retire in 2 years and lead a life of elderly distance running.
One morning, I came back from a tempo run and as I was writing in my on-line log, I realized that I could not take off my wife had to.
That was January 2nd 2009. i tried to rest, but went from not being able to run, to not being able to walk by Feb 2nd.
i got an epidural, it did not help much at all.
Went to a specialist and the MRI said two herniated discs...
I am in PT now,,,the pain is right in my tailbone with severe referral pain in my left calf.
Making myself hobble helps. Ice on the back.
PT tonight..very depressing.


Hi everyone. Sounds like we all have been through alot of suffering. I had a chiropractor rupture my disc the end of March 2009. I was crawling on hands and knees crying in agonizing pain. The breath was taken right out of me and I thought I was going to pass out. In the course of 2 and a half weeks I got progressively worse from the chiro. I told her I was losing feeling in 3 toes and the pain at night was unbearable. She told me it was part of the healing process. I realized how untrue when she adjusted me a new way and I discovered i couldnt walk the next morning. My MRI revealed a ruptured disc with a fragment pushing on my nerve root. My EMG showed severe nerve damage. This whole event has drastically changed my life. I live alone. I am single and its so hard to get by each day.. The smallest things can become the biggest of chores and frustration. The worst was trying to put a sock on!!! I actually walked around with only one on for quite some time. I am currently in the care of my family DR. I have been prescribed 3 meds but i dont like taking pills. I have been walking as much as i can. I bought an inversion table which seems to offer good traction. I do stretches and tried yoga but its way to soon for that. I have good days and bad days.. The mornings are awful. I hurt and suffer for about 3 hours. I get angered and exhausted. I got the spinal injection 2 days ago. I was so against it but tired of suffering and want relief even if its for 2 weeks. It hurt real bad. I was scared. It seemed to take a day to work. I woke this morning and I walked with almost no pain. I actually smiled and started to cry. I am going to put on my hiking boots today and I am hitting the woods.
Its hard to believe at 36 and being in amazing shape I have been through this. I am such a free spirit and independent I pray this isnt going to be a permanent part of my life.. I hope I can beat the odds of being forced to get surgery. I am in need of support from others who are going through this.


I had a sciatic nerver compression problem after my delivery. It started with severe nerve pain in my left leg that radiates from the lower back upto the end of the leg. I could not sit,stand or even walk. I was having my food lying in bed. I could even stand or walk for even 2 mins while going to restroom. My neurologist advised my 2 weeks bed rest. An MRI scan revealed 2 disc herniations in L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs. But after 2 weeks, there was not much improvement, and I was hospitalised. They put traction of abt 10kgs everyday for 8hrs each, and i had physiotherapy exercises. Also had Ayurvedic treatment ( applying herbal oils, massaging and taking herbal medicines ) .I was discharged after 2 weeks and advised to take rest again for 3 more weeks. After all these days, i am feeling much relieved now and able to work in office and do my normal chores at home. The most common causes that leads to this disease is increased body weight, stress, excessive pressure applied on the lower back due to heavy work etc. So we should be always careful not to do such things that causes herniation again.


Hi Everyone,

I'm a healthy, pretty active 25 year old, but was careless about taking care of my body with years bad posture and lifting incorrectly for a few years. Prior to my incident I threw out my back and it got better by the time I had to move out of my place, this was from Dec '08 - Jan '09. I think the combination of heavy lifting, not stretching and bad posture finally caught up with me and one morning I woke up and pain just started shooting down my right leg. Like most of you I was hindered in walking and really did not know much of what was going on. I thought I had just pulled a muscle, but the pain was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I tried dealing with the pain of walking for 2 weeks before I went to see the doctor. The doctor diagnosed me with sciatica. After a month of the diagnosis I was beginning to slightly get better so I decided it would be okay to work out at the gym. Boy was I wrong. The next morning the pain got worse.

The last few months have been very trying and my doctor has not been very helpful. I think she assumed I would be okay within the 2 months of my first incident (that was the end of February), but that wasn't the case. For the first couple of months I had 2 epidurals, which alleviated the pain but temporarily. Trying to walk started to take so much out of my and putting pressure on my affected leg was not an option so I began to shift the weight to my left leg, and getting weeks of bed rest NOT a good idea. My the time I started physical therapy at the end of May '09 my walking stance was very off and my affected leg was getting weak. During the course of PT I found no improvement. My leg continued to get weak and my knees were affected. By June my right glute became so tight that anything from sitting or walking was unbearable. Even using the restroom became a battle. The tightness in the glute and the pain in my lower back caused atrophy in my right glute and leg. I went to the doctor again and she finally recommended a orthopedic surgeon which after almost 5 months finally approved me to receive a MRI. I got the results back and it turns out I have a herniated disc in the l4 area touching my sciatic nerve.

I went to a neurologist who suggested if the pain was not getting any better to consider surgery but that is out of the picture seeing as my nerves are all okay. I'm pretty much the poster girl of what not to do in this situation (avoid bedrest and fatty By the 5th month I've slowly begun to do gently exercising such was walking and light stretching. I've also tried to maintain a healthy diet because I've noticed this helps with the inflammation. Even though I'm pretty exhausted after 9 hr work days I still try to come home and take walks. I have also started using a cane which has helped alleviate the weight off of my affected leg, but I try to put as much pressure on my leg as possible even though it hurts. Mornings are rough and I usually have to "wake" my leg up by walking around the house for about 45 mins. Sitting in stiff chairs also help but can be painful for the first 20 mins. Compared to where I was 4 months ago I can definitely say I am improving. I try not to let the pain affect my life but sometimes it can be so hard if you are doing it on your own. I know, believe me. Keep your head up and don't let your faith dwindle. This can take so much out of someone and one can easily get depressed without the support from family and friends.

My ortho is suggesting a cortisone shot. I know this is also another temporary solution but is it worth getting?



Hello to evreyone on this post-

After a severe fall in my kitchen I am also suffering from low back pain, hip pain and a knee that has dislocated twice.

After being active all my life, like all of you, I am finding this very hard to deal with emotionally. Just walking causes pain later in the day. I have been very depressed.

Getting an MRI of my knee first after seeing a knee otho surgeon and mext I am off to see a back ortho specialist. They do not combine efforts which seems crazy to me.

Anyway, best of luck to all here on this site...


Hi, I finally wrote up my own experience with sciatica/herniated disc. I hope it will help someone. Here is what I went through, and here is what worked:

I had lower back trouble on and off for quite some time. With the help of a lousy mattress, somewhere along the way I developed sciatica. I started sleeping on the floor to keep my back straight. The sciatica just kept shooting further down my leg. It got to the point where I was walking around with a cane. I was thirty years old and had been in the best physical shape of my adult life. I tried to figure out what happened.
I remembered a bicycle accident. I remembered overstretching one day in yoga (which otherwise had been great for my back). Then one day after my back had gone out, I went running. I had been running frequently and did not want to fall out of shape. Once I started, my body told me to stop. I didn’t listen. I told myself that I would tough it out. After a couple of minutes, I didn’t feel a thing. Several miles later, when I stopped, my back felt like it was going to collapse.
I think the sciatica started after that, but I really don’t remember. The sequence of events is not entirely clear. What I know for sure is that back trouble and sciatica started at the same time. And that it kept getting worse. I kept telling myself, it will heal on its own. It will get better. In the mean time, it was easier for me to stand than sit. It was easier to walk around with a cane than without one.
The next thing I knew, sitting became a serious problem. And I needed the cane. And then my back would slip and I couldn’t move it at all. Everything was so delicate. I was losing the feeling in one of my legs. It got to the point where my mind could not adequately control it to move. I had to sit down on someone else’s grass because dragging it was just too much.
Finally, my back went out so bad that not only did it become immoblized, I became immobilized as well. I couldn’t move. The slightest attempt to move and the pain was unbearable. I had to get help to get off of the floor and lay down in the bed. I thought that I was going to have to use the bathroom in the bed. But I managed to lay down on my stomach and force myself all the way down the hall using only forearms. It took about fifteen minutes to get there and was one of the hardest things that I did in my life.
I had to be escorted to the car and taken to a primary clinic. I was given drugs. I never took drugs. But I wanted them. I wanted anything to make the severe pain go away. And I was losing control of my leg so I was given drugs for that.
I was laid up for quite some time. I just lived in my bed. People had to bring me food, and the getting to and from the bathroom was the hardest thing I did. Fortunately, it became a little easier each time. And the drugs helped with the leg nerves so that I was no longer losing control of my left leg.
I was not living anything close to a normal life. I could be my on feet, but not for more than a few seconds. I could not go back to work. I just laid in bed and played online poker and made the most of things.
Somewhere along the way, I saw Dr. Ethan Feldman, a chiropractor. He diagnosed me correctly as having a herniated disc, and believed that he could help me. I was just starting the recovery process and wanted to heal naturally. I had read about conflicting cases of people who had what I had who had surgery. I was waiting to be approved at the clinic for an MRI. I was weighing my options.
Dr. Feldman showed me some of the proper stretches to get started, like having someone lift my legs off the ground when I was flat on my back. At first they wouldn’t go up at all. As the days passed by, they would go up higher and higher. As Dr. Feldman explained, the key to natural healing was to open up the space between the vertebrae so that the disc could slide back into place.
Another thing that he gave me was an inversion unit. I used to hang on the inversion unit for a little bit each day. I could feel the space opening up. It seemed to make a difference. Slowly, but surely, I was getting better.
As I improved, he guided me along the way. He showed me how to try and balance my lower back on a stretch ball with my stomach on top, and how to sit with hands and knees in table position before extending the opposite hand and the opposite leg as far as I could.
As I was getting better, I would start to get careless. I might bend over too quickly and the back would slip again. Then I would not be able to move the back again and would have to start from square one. Only the healing process each time was that much quicker.
Along the way, I learned how to be more careful, and I learned how to heal. I did all that I could to open up the space in my back. Regular stretching, the inversion unit, heating the back, and so on.
It took some time, but I was able to sit down again and eat a meal. It was the quickest meal I ever ate because all I knew how to do was to lay down and to stand. I laid down in the backseats of cars. I walked short distances, and then longer distances. I was definitely getting better.
When the MRI finally came through, it took way too long, I decided to pass. I had seriously been considering surgery, but I was making progress the natural way. I had to be patient and to be strong. The help of some loving family and friends and the chiropracter himself brought me along the way. It took a year or two out of my life, but now I am better, and I feel empowered when it comes to dealing with my back.
In retrospect, I should have dealt with the problems immediately. The reason why I write this at all is because I want people to know that I had a very serious case and that I did recover naturally. Surgery is an option for a herniated disc/sciatica, but it’s not the only option. There are gentle chiropracters out there, like Dr. Feldman, who do not just crack backs, but know what it takes to heal backs. The body can heal naturally with guidance, patience, and time.



A few months ago we moved to a new house. I did a lot of heavy lifting during the move -- wood working equipment and other really heavy stuff -- mistake! I then played volleyball and fell on my butt a couple of times kind of hard, but thought nothing of it -- mistake number two. Two days later I felt like I had a big cramp in my right leg -- I would get up and kind of have to wait to straighten my leg out. I went to the Dr. and he thought I had pulled a muscle, no big deal. A week went by and the cramp turned into severe pain in my butt, and ankle -- had to walk with a cane and could only make it about 200 steps before the ankle pain forced me to sit down -- I was taking 800mg of Motrin at the time also. Sleep was a real issue since I couldn't really straighten out my right leg nor put any weight on my right butt cheek. So, I would wake up every couple of hours in pain, which would turn into worry about making it to work the next morning – bummer. This went on for 10 weeks – I went to PT and was put into traction, which helped a little, but couldn’t get me away from the use of the cane. I did a ton of stretches each morning and night. I found that doing stretches in a hot bath (luckily we have a big tub) in the morning for 45 minutes was the only thing that got me to work each day. I missed about four days of work over the 10 week period which is pretty amazing (I think) as this is the worst pain I have ever been in. I took vicadin almost every night during the last 4 weeks to get some sleep as the motrin just did not take the pain away. I also slept on the couch for the entire 10 week period as I could kind of sit up with my legs off the edge of the couch – a strange but almost pain free position and the only position I could sleep in – one position for 10 weeks – miserable. Someone at work told me that unless you have experienced chronic pain, you will not understand it and will always underestimate its effect on one’s life. In the tenth week I had an MRI done – two bulging discs and an extruded disk that was obviously causing the sciatica. I was lucky to get an appointment the next week with a spinal surgeon. He explained the main risk of trying to PT/exercise/stretch the pain away is nerve damage. Apparently, the extruded disc was applying pressure on the nerve and causing the pain and could also be causing damage to the nerve at the same time. Although no one can say how much pressure was being applied and how much damage the pressure was doing, there is some risk of nerve damage – which is a bad thing – not really fixable. So, this fact combined with 10-11 weeks of bad pain – 6-8 most days, touching almost a 9 if I did something wrong (pain would take my breath away), made my decision easy to have the surgery. Although there is risk with any surgery (obviously), the relief (as life changing as when the pain started) is immediate and almost 100% -- truly amazing after all of the suffering. I had the surgery two days after I talked with the surgeon (he had a cancellation) on a Friday (a week and two days ago (Sunday today)) and left the hospital the next day – walking, without a cane to my car. Of course the surgery location hurts, but it is really nothing compared to the last 11 weeks of pain. I slept in my bed the first night home – awesome. A week later the surgery area is still a bit painful, but I am down to only 3 400mg of motrin a day – compared to 4 800mg a day with little relief before the surgery. The Motrin at this point is really only for the surgery location pain – although I have just a little pain in my butt – but it is like a 1 instead of the 7 before. At this point I would highly recommend the surgery for relief of pain and getting back to a normal life in general.


what kind of specialist did you see? i would see an orthopedic surgeon or or neurosurgeon.

physical therapy will help and post pone surgery. i am not a doctor, but i have an ems back ground and am a three time neck surgery patient, but it sound to me as though if my next step were surgery, i would only do minimally invasive. have the portion of the disc tht is protruding removed, caderization, but do not have full open back surgery!

as for running, this is impact excersise and thus puts more pressure on your disc. i would be very surprised to hear a doctor tell you that it's okay and you'll run again without first stablizing that disc. after which i see no reason why it's not possible. god bless