Bulging Disc

I have been very quiet for a while, and I am now going to tell you why.

Two days prior to our departure and final performance in New Orleans, I hurt my back.  I was diagnosed with 2 bulging discs, the L4 and L5.  Apparently the risk was really high and I was told, muscle fatigue is a huge factor in back injuries.


How it happen for me: I was at our hour and and a half warm up before rehearsal when during the final 10 minutes it happened.  I was practicing my grand allegro (big jump).  After landing one of those Jetes (split jump) I felt my legs simply giving up; I could not push on it anymore.  It took me a second to get feeling in them back.  It was almost like I could not control my legs for a second. A dancer goes through tons of small injuries but it does not stop us from performing or practicing. I decided to go grab some water and take a break, thinking a little few minutes would help.  Well two minutes was all it took to have my back completely frozen. I was stuck, not able to even walk.

My recovery:

The injury occurred around the 10th of May. Today, August 17 (3 months later) my pain has eased.  However, I still have very difficult mornings and even tougher evenings after a long day of practice, but in general the pain has cleared. Any regular person with no extreme physical activity would probably feel fine but my daily routine includes eight hours of lifting and back bending, which can irritate the nerves easily.

I ice twice a day for 15 min and have Physical therapy twice a week for core strengthening.


Bulging Disc Overview


A bulging disc can cause discomfort and disability in various parts of the body, depending on the location of the affected disc(s). A bulging disc occurs when one of the discs between your vertebrae develops a weak spot and pops out beyond its normal perimeter. Interestingly, many people might have a bulging disc and not even know it, as long as the bulging area does not press upon surrounding tissues. When the bulging disc impinges on the nerves of the spinal column, however, that’s typically when symptoms begin. In the lower back, the damaged disc can cause pain to travel to the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. In the upper back, the pain would radiate from the neck down the arm and to the fingers.

Approximately 90% of bulging discs occur in the lower back, or lumbar area of the spine. The most common lumbar bulging disk is seen around levels L4-L5 (lumbar segments 4 and 5) or L5-S1 (lumbar segment 5 and sacral segment1), which causes pain in the L5 nerve or S1 nerve, respectively. If the bulging disc impinges on the sciatic nerve in the lower back, it can lead to a back problem called sciatica.



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  • Fabrice, consider this: what happens when you sleep on your arm...it becomes numb. If a disc were pressing on a nerve it would eventually cause the effected part of the body to go numb, not hurt.

    You are apparently in great shape; does it make any sense that you have to strengthen your core?

    Can you keep an open mind? If so, I can suggest a book that will help you -- "Healing Back Pain," by John Sarno MD.

    Think of this, too. For millions of years the human spine had to chase down Mammoths, jump from rocks, run, bend and lift. The epidemic of back problems has only emerged during the last forty years or so, with the rise of modern imaging. The mystery is explained in the book above.

    Wishing you health.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Thank you Richard,
    I will search for the book "Healing Back Pain," by John Sarno MD.

  • Physical therapy was the most painful medical procedure I've ever experienced -- and I sprained my ankle. I hope you're weathering it better than I did.

  • Fabrice, you are very very fortunate. I spent months bein extremely still and months unable to walk easily. I have had a lifetime of pain as result of spinal injuries, but when I suffered injury, there wasn't technology that exists today and mentality of medical profession is to abuse women as psychotic, neurotic or paranoid, hypochondriac, etc... Moreover, insurance companies will or claimed "pre-condition". Spine has a curvatrue, so they should not cover medical costs... and the person suffers doubly if not triply. First there is the ral physical pain, secondly the psychological stress of being taunted or abused by doctor when patient knows something is wrong or in pain and 3 exploitation of medical industry/ insurance industry. If this happens in normal work situation, it can be disastrous for the patient because of loss of job, loss of insurance and the agony of recovery coupled with the psychological stress.

    What you write here is very important issue. As result of similar injurie I lost jobs, but was forbidden to wrok and yet could not get medical coverage as result of "pre-condition" etc. It's big stress. not being able to move freely is very bi stress to an active person whether you a dancer, or somebody like me who did a lot of heavy lifting as part of job. it doesn't matter because it causes tremendous stress and destructive to daily life, confidence, career, job, etc.

    You should explore this more depply and perhaps think about becoming a sponsor or speaker on behalf of those with spinal injuries.

    I can't even begin to tell you the amount of hardship my life has endured as result of similar injury and improper medical or lack of medical care. When I hurt, I must just pretend I don't hurt and get on with it because if I show any pain, the bullies pounce. The result is I am isolated from world and very very much alone. I try never to speak of pain I suffer because I know the consequences of bullying and harassment. Nobody survives a fox under the cloak. Eventually it does eat out the guts of the person hiding it.

    Social support and communication is critical for a person suffering spinal injury. Thank-you very much for posting this. Develop it further.

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