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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 35531
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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During an exercise called "deadlift", three months ago I had

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During an exercise called "deadlift", three months ago I had an injury in the sacral area of the spine. It has been slightly painful until now. However there has been no pain into the legs until 4 days ago, when I had a quite heavy and fatty meal. After that I started having a very strong pain in the sacral area that didn't allow me to sleep all the night. The pain went down to the legs and the feet (and also the arms). A new strong pain appeared in the middle of the spine, more or less at the level of the stomach. But this pain was strong only after coffees.
After 4 days it improved and now everything returned almost like before, with a slight pain in the sacral area, no pain in the middle of the spine, and still slight sensation in the legs.
The GP didn't find any loss of sensitivity.
During the last month I had some chiropractic sessions, and the last yesterday.
I got two different explanations for what happened. The chiropractor said that the heavy meal probably caused the contraction of muscles and then a problem with a nerve in the middle of the spine. This also increased the pain in the lower back and caused all the other sensations. He stated that it doesn't look like I have any hernias.
My GP instead stated that the meal cannot have caused the problem, that the pain in the middle of the spine was digestion-related and not a nerve. He also said that I probably have an hernia in the lower back. Finally he said that it doesn't make sense I have pain in the arms, unless there is a problem in the neck.
The two explanations are completely different, so I would like to solve my confusion. Is the sciatica caused by a nerve irritated after the meal or more likely an hernia? How likely is an hernia, considered the pain is now again very slight? Is it true the pain cannot irradiate to the arms, unless there is also a problem into the neck?

Hi. First question--have you had any MRI's of any part of your spine?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no MRI

OK--exactly what kind of hernia were these doctors referring to?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They didn't specify an exact type.

Abdominal hernias or were they referring to heniated disks in your back?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

herniated disk in the back

OK. We can continue after this if you'd like Davis but I don't think the meal or any digestion problem was involved with this. It sounds like a multiple disk problem--maybe both in your neck and your lumbar spine; Your symptoms a consistent with nerve root compression and it would take an MRI of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine to check for that.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

By "disk problem", do you mean hernia, or also something different?

If the digestion was not involved, why was it worsening after each coffee?

In the neck I never had pain, but I know to have a straight cervical. I had an x-ray 4 years ago because I felt my head pushed forward when I speak with other people.

However I never had back problems, before my injury few months ago.

Can it be an hernia even if the pain is not strong (except for three days)?

Yes--a herniated disk that's pressing on one or more nerve roots. The only intestinal problem that might cause any type of back pain would be either a peptic ulcer or pancreatitis, but neither of those would cause arm or leg symptoms. And herniated disks in the cervical and lumbar spine can cause just arm and leg symptoms without much in the way of neck or back pain. Most times a herniated disk that acts up resolves itself in just a few days at most
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, so it can be that I had an hernia for a few days, considered that now the pain to the legs is slowly disappearing? I didn't know it can heal so quickly, as my brother had hernia problems for more than 10 years.

So it can also be that the gym-related injury to the sacral area, which was not causing pain to the legs, is not an hernia?

Many people can have bulging or even herniated disks and no have any symptoms at all and if a disk herniates and does cause problems often those resolve in a few days on their own. As for the sacral injury--if there is actual tenderness there that isn't a disk problem but that injury could have ruptured a disk or two
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Will the ruptured disk or herniated disk heal themselves? Does chiropractic or physiotherapy help?

In time the disk may dry out a bit and retract itself but the tear in the annulus of the disk never repairs itself. I suggest a physiatrist--a physical medicine and rehabilitation MD specialist--for my patients with herniated disk problems
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