Anyone have bulging disc at L5-S1 and would it cause tingling of feet AND hands?

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 5/29/2010 10:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Should I also get an MRI of my neck? Because my upper body is effected too. My weird thing is that I have a lot of symptoms of MS so wondering if I should also get a brain scan. Or do bulging discs mimic a lot of the same symptoms of MS?

Here is a list of my symptoms:

tingling hands and feet
electric shock feelings
sore and crampy feet and hands every so often
sore spots on my body that move around- but mostly in my upper arms, shoulders, neck, upper back, elbow area, side of knee and ankle area
get light headed easily-- especially when exercising, hot or stressed
my arms bump into things a lot
a weird crawling sensation in my head
my left cheek feels partially numb and somtimes my cheeks feel flushed
also my right hip constantly feels sore so that would make sense from my bulging disc, altough my lower back doesn't hurt all the time
get tired easily

For those with back problems, are these typical symptoms or should I get further testing? I know my Aunt has MS and my mom has Fibromyalgia, so maybe I shouldn't rule that out yet

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 5/29/2010 11:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Bridget, welcome to the forum. You will find others will stop in thoughout the day and respond. It seems like you have alot going on and I would encourage you to have a dr address all of the issues. They may or may not be related but no one here on the forum would be able to tell. We have members here with back and neck issues as well as MS and fibro so they might be ablt to be of greater help to you. Our bodies do wierd things to us at times and pain often seems to move around like it has a mind of its own. I am not sure what drs you have been to but the mri seems to be a good place to start if you have a dr that is will to be patient enough to look at all the areas.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 594
   Posted 5/29/2010 11:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi bridget10 and welcome! Nice to meet you. I am pretty new here but I will share my experiences with you! To start, so sorry for your pain, it sounds like you have a lot going on. I have chronic lower back pain in the same spot. Unfortunately, my only MRI was handled by a workers comp doc and I have never felt like he was in it to help ME! The report indicated that I had a "non-specific" problem at L5-S1. That was 3 years ago and things have just gotten worse. Due to pretty lousy health insurance when I had it and now no insurance, I have not had the resources to get more stuff done. They released me back to work after 3 months with no follow-up and then shortly after I was fired from the job! That whole situation stunk but there is not much I can do about it now. I have a very good GP who understands and helps to treat my pain but currently....that is all we are doing! Anyway, let me tell you, back problems with nerve impingement can do crazy things to your body! I will list some of the things I have had...keep in mind, this is over 3 years and other then my lower back, none of these are constant and pretty much come and go randomly. I will try to tell you if it is real random or things that seem to come together and so on.....well enough ranting and here goes..

Constant lower back Pain-ache, stabbing, throbbing (on a good day, still rates about a 3)
Left hip pain-ache (approx 2 days a week)
Right hip pain-ache (seems more like a bruise here most the time because I sleep on that side and don't move all night long, however, occasionally hurts like the left one)
Left knee pain-ache when bending, straightening and walking (occasionally)
Right knee pain-same as left (not real often)
Pain in left thigh really high with a lump (1-2 times a week the front of my thigh just throbs)
Feet-OMG....I get terrible cramps in my feet for no reason. Happens when I sleep, sit, walk...just whatever. Sometimes the cramp feelings last for days and I can hardly walk. Also, other times my feet just feel bruised on the bottom or they just ache.
Shoulders, neck and head-tightness, ache, stabbing (used to be more random and it seemed to relate to when I was have a bad back day. I used to think it was just because I was tense from the other pain and that may still be the problem, but I feel pretty tight and achy in this area most the time now!

I do not have a lot of symptoms in my arms well before a couple weeks ago but that is something new, however, my hands do fall asleep easy.

Now my legs are a completely different story as far as the nerve things go. I have electric shock feelings, muscle spasms and what feels like spiders crawling on my legs constantly! Well not everything all at once, all the time.....random but all day! Sometimes they drive me crazy but getting more used to that. Also seems to relate to when my back is bad! I also have this weird vibrating feeling like a phone on vibrate that I get in my upper thigh, buttocks and groin area.

Back seems to always be worse with low or falling barometer, but I think many will tell you that! Sometimes I feel like I can tell you the weather better then the news can!

Now 2 weeks ago, I started something new.....but we think it is actually something completely new....possibly RA. Still working on a diagnosis on this one and that was a whole lot of different pain then I get with my back.

Anyway, please do not take this as a diagnosis and assume that your stuff is just back related and not pursue it with a doctor. All of this is scary stuff and you need to let your doc know. We share a lot of symptoms, but I do not have much in my arms, cheeks elbows....well at least I didn't before 2 weeks ago!!

If you are concerned, make your doc aware of it....never assume it is ok!!! Anyway, I don't have a lot of room to talk in that sis and hubby will attest to that!

So, welcome....hang in there, keep coming here and Take care of you!!!!!


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 5/29/2010 12:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Beckey, that is interesting you also get aches and pains in your upper body as I thought the lower spine only affected the lower body. did you have an MRI of your cervical spine as well? Do you get light headed a lot? That, tingling and fatigue are probably my worst symptoms. The pain isn't even that bad, more like sore spots, and my lower back only aches when I am close to getting my period! Otherwise I really have no back pain at all, but that could be because I see a chiropractor every week (which coincidentally I started seeing her last year to AVOID getting a bulging disc, but maybe that is not w hat they are for)

I just started seeing a neurologist because of the tingling and hip pain I have had for 7 months now. so he ordered the MRI and I just found out that result yesterday. I will follow up with him on June 16th with my whole new list of symptoms and see what he thinks. I did get a full blood work up which was normal, and got an EMG/nerve test done which was all normal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 594
   Posted 5/29/2010 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi again, yes I do get upper body aches and stuff, but I do honestly believe that those are more related to me being tensed up from the lower pain. Not positive though! Glad you are going to follow up on this! I have not had a cervical spine least not yet. I am hoping to get some insurance stuff straightened out soon so that we can go forward and not just continue treating symptoms! I am always fatigued....pain takes a lot out of you and, for me, goes hand in hand with my depression. I think many people can relate to that. I am actually involved in a 3 week study looking into the link with pain and depression. Really glad you do not have a lot of back pain and praying it stays that way, at least for a long while!! I really hate the tingling and spider crawling feelings! You get kind of used to them, or maybe my pain just consumes me sometimes and I can't think of anything else!! I don't know....chronic pain is certainly a journey...and we all travel our own paths, but it is nice to know there are others on their own pain journey that truly understand!! Keep coming here....I only joined so I could post a few days ago.....but I have spent many hours of many days reading here!! Take care of you!

Have a good weekend!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 5/29/2010 2:41 PM (GMT -7)   
You and I sound like we have a lot of the same problems and damage in the same places.....I just went thru a whole new set of MRI's from my head to my tailbone.....Like you, my aunt has MS. My doc thought for a long time that was what we were dealing with but it never showed it's ugly head on the MRI. My doc sent me to a Neurologist...the best thing that could have happened. Even tho I spent 5 days in the hospital while they ran test after test, the definately ruled out MS and Lupus which is the other disease they were considering. Even tho I don't have MS or Lupus, the results of all the MRI's weren't exaclty what I wanted them to be. What they discovered was that I have 3 areas of scoliosis, 3 areas of moderate to severe stenosis, numerous bulging, protruding, and damaged vertabrae. Basically, out of all of my vertabrae, at this point, 3 are not damaged. I also have degenerative bone disease, so some of the discs are disolving. I see a Neurosurgeon the 22 of June, to see where we start. It sounds like they are going to start with my neck, but my question for them there is I experience times that I am unable to use or feel my left leg,,,(today just happens to be one of those days....) I know I am looking at 2 or 3 surgeries at least thru out the summer and fall. Every symptom i had resembled MS and Lupus, and yes I have many problems with my hands and feet...I think I would check into it,
New MRI's show I have 3 GOOD vertabrae.  The rest are bulging, compressed, protruding or in one of the three spinal stenosis' in my back.  One stenosis in my neck and two in my lower back.  Fibromyalgia, cfs, degenerative bone disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, HORRIBLE memory problems, panic attacks, depression, and muscle cramps that don't stop.
Meds:  Oxycontin 60mg 2x day, Effexor xr 300mg 1xday, Robaxian 3xday, Valium 10mg 4xday, Lortab 10mg 4xday, Phenergan PRN, Folic Acid, B12 and B6

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3670
   Posted 5/29/2010 8:26 PM (GMT -7)   

Even though you have more problems with your leg maybe the reason they want to start off with the cervical disk, is that maybe they found more serious damage up there??? It is possible, depending on the person and where and what the damage is, it is possible to have really severe damage to your disk and not know it, and the high up in the spine you go the more critical it it is. If your spinal cord is damaged down low in your lumbar area you migtht lose the use of your legs, but if it is damaged in your upper cervical area, you might lose everything including the abiltiy to breath I think breathing is C3/3 area, but all those nerves that come out of the cervical all break off and combine and innervate all the upper portion of the body but if the disk is pressing on the spinal cord its self then it can affect everything. When I had my herniated diskl at C6/7 the disk was ruptured so bad that it broke up into pieces and they were all pressing directly on my spinal cord, it actually bent my spinal cord, and was flattening it. all I had was severe arm pain but the the doctors said they could not understand why I wasn't a quadriplegic with all the damage I had in my spine. My surgeon said somebody was watching over me, because there just wasn't any other explanation for not being a quad! He said with the way the damage was, if I would have ever fallen it could of severed into the spinal cord and killed me. So you never really know finallyreallycrazy, but it is good that they found out waht was wrong with your spine and they are going to take care of you now!.

White Beard

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15150
   Posted 5/30/2010 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Bridget, just wanted to pop on and say hello. As you know none of us here are drs just people with different medical issues. If the neck is involved you will have upper extremity symptoms and if the back is involved lower extremity problems. In other words if you have low back pain you will not have upper problems caused from the low back. The way the nerves and dermatone patterns are each come with their own set of problems. Best thing to do is talk to your dr and let him know what is going on so he can order MRI's to see exactly what is going on. Many of your symptoms could be from a pinched nerve possibly.

Take care.

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 6/3/2010 8:34 AM (GMT -7)   
thanks "finallyreally crazy"... (it's strange calling you that!LOL)

WOW-- sorry to hear you only have 3 good vertebrae. that's just nuts. I hope and pray you get treated well for that.

My other question is: is lightheadedness common with a bulging disc? I get light headed easily, but I've noticed it is worse when I am hot, which is more a symptom of MS. However, I also get like that if I am squatting or bending down and then stand up, or if I"ve been sitting still for a long time and then stand up.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/11/2013 5:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Bridget I know it has been awhile since you posted this but I am wondering if you were able to get a reason for these symptoms. I have the same problem to a tee and after blood work and an MRI my doctor said nothing was wrong it must just be in my head.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 790
   Posted 1/11/2013 5:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Canadiancutiepie, welcome to the forum. Yes, this is a very old thread, I haven't seen the original poster around since I've been here. I'd recommend starting your own thread, where more people will see it, and possibly offer you some more insight/personal experience, ect.
dx: just had L3-4 XLIF and ILIF, gotta see what happens. Disc bulge in T12-L1, ddd through rest of lumbar region. Gastric Bypass 2003, bleeding ulcer in pouch 2005, full small bowel obstruction 2011. Left shoulder has Bursitis, tendonitus, separated bicep muscle (I was told all the muscles look like string cheese lol, or a frayed rope), and arthritis of the Glenoid and humeral head.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 269
   Posted 1/12/2013 1:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello, we have some of the same problems. I have neck and back problems with scolisis, bulging disks, DDD, spinal stenois, etc.

My lumbar which was L1 thri s1 does cause leg and hip pain, tingling, and electric shocks in my lower back sometimes when I move. I saw a Nuerosurgeon and due to my other health issues he said he would do surgery only on a have to basis.
I have been thru physical therapy, I do gentle stretches, and I get steroid injections. I know they are supposed to be bad for you but you do what you must because I don't want to take a lot of pain meds til I have to. I know with my other problems things will not improve drasically, I can only hope to maintain.
I wish you luck, ask questions of your Drs. and do research. Above all keep a positive attitude .
Post lymphoma,Spleenectomy, Lupus, Sjorgrens, RA , Fibromyalgia, GERD, short bowel syndrome, scolisis, arthritis of spine, spondylosis, splondylesis, DDD,DJD

Faith in God, the love of my family and a good attitude keeps me going.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 216
   Posted 1/19/2013 11:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi bridget welcome to the group. Sorry you are having this sound like me, actually....i have had chronic pain for several years...since 2004 and was intermittent before that. I have been treated for the several disc issues in my low back and sciatica for years. i have had intermittent neck pain during those times but always during a major flare of my low back which can leave me laid out for weeks unable to move when i have a bad i and my doctors always associated the upper back poisson with my low back as just a side effect due to muscle spasms and what not. And let me correct was not my neck but upper back kinda between my shoulders that would hurt. Over the past several months i kept feeling like i had a kink in my neck....but it was happening all the time. I get these crazy headaches all the time, and tingling down to my pinky on one side and then the other side started feeling like i hurt my shoulder and bad pain to my elbow....i had a neck mri and found out i have 3 broad bulges invaded my nerves and a bad protrusion, and a bunch of other fun stuff. Get an mri of your neck...this will help answer some of your questions. I am so sorry you are experiencing this, when you talk to your doctor tell them everything...even write down a list so you dont forget anything. This way they can narrow down the cause. Wishing you the best...
~ Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ~

Sciatica and sacroiliac joint dysfunction, degenerative disc issues with multiple broad disc bulges/protrusions in low back and neck with mild to severe narrowing/stenosis/uncinate hypertrophy, osteoarthritis, and facet joint syndrome.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/10/2017 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a herniated disc L5-S1. I have static pain in my right leg that runs from my butt to my knee. The main pain is in my butt and thigh. It can be really painful to manageable depending on what I do and how much I stretch it out and sit etc. I got an MRI and the doctors all say to get surgery. I want to avoid it if possible. I have some numbness and tingling but not to bad. My biggest concern is that I have numbness in the entrance of my vagina. My family doc believes it's related to my herniated disc pressing on my nerve and causing the loss of feeling. My surgeon doesn't think it has anything to do with the herniated disc. Does anyone have anything similar that they could share with me? I have spoke to 2 men that have had loss of feeling in their genitals and erectile issues due to their herniated disc in the same L5-S1.
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