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L5/S1 affecting S1 nerve - causing other probs?

Started by cp on 03/02/2010 8:47am

3 yrs ago while bending over to do some garden work, I ended up with pain shooting down my left leg. A MRI said there was L4/L5 small disc heriation & L5/S1 moderate disc extrusion that impacted the S1 nerve root.

Some muscle relaxers and a pair of nerve block shots ended the pain until last May, when a lot of digging work in my crawlspace started giving me lower back pain again, but not the pain going down the leg.

But shortly after that I started having random episodes of frequent urination (not bladder control loss) It would come & go and the standard medicines for it didn't really help. A urologis mentioned that lower back pain can imapct that due to the nerves signals all being located around there.

I even started having problems with erectile dysfunction. Those nerves also seem to be around that area & the pills advertised on TV don't help all that much (at least not like they're advertised)

I was wondering if these problems can have their basis in nerve signals being impacted somehow by the disc problems - if anyone else has experienced things like this and if any type of back treatment alleviated the other problems.


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12 Responses


I just about crushed, destroyed, and any ohter thing you can do to your L5 S1 about 9 years ago. I oh so gracefully landed on my fanny at work and low and behold pain. According to my pain specialist and my bio feed back psychologist. Everything that you have going on with you can be caused by the L5/S1, S1 nerve root. Have you spoken to your pain specilaist about this? If not PLEASE let him/her know what is going on before it gets out of hand. Yes there are things that can be done to help all your situations. Have Him/her explain why your body is behaving in this manner. It helps to know what is going on. Forewarned is forearmed. God bless and Good luck


thanks - currently seeing a chiro that several neighbors praised for how he helped their lower back probs. Definetly hasn't hurt, just not sure it's done anything to help - but just starting that process out. I don't know if I'm interested in more nerve blocks or anything that just deadens the nerves from feeling anything. Right now I'm trying to gather info on minimally invasive techniques. I'm considering making an appt with an orthopedic who is board certified in those procedures & initially just get info on what shape my back is in & what possible treatment plans may be applicable.

The back pain comes & goes but is always present to some degree - just not at the level it was 3 years ago. But that combined with the other issues that just happen to pop up shortly after the back pain started makes me what to find a resolution that hopefully would solve everything.


I developed lower back pain after twisting while I was lifting a very heavy object. Ibuprofen managed the pain adequately for about one year. Then the pain became more frequent and much stronger, and I began to have feelings of "need to go". Not bladder control failure, but it felt as if I were "going" when I wasn't. Over two or three months the sensation became very urgent, powerful and almost like an electrical buzzing. Uroscopy was normal, and urologist suggested it may be related to my back pain. No medications seemed to help the bladder sensations much.
Then an MRI revealed a herniated disc at L5-S1. About 1cm bubble of ejected disc material causing nerve compression. Neurosugeon performed a micro-discectomy (where only the protruding portion of the disc was removed using an endoscope). The trouble with my bladder sensations immediately ceased and have not come back. Pain in my back was much reduced, I was pretty happy with the results.
5 years later an MRI shows a new herniation at L5-S1 (on left side this time instead of central). My current back pain is awful, but problems with bladder sensation have not recurred. Worst effect now is sciatica that is horrible and nearly constant. But problems with bladder sensation have not recurred.
I am a firm believer in the power of the MRI for diagnosis. My advise is get a solid diagnosis and go from there. In my case the MRI showed the problems very plainly. It is a great relief to know when you're onto something real.


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I have been on a 15 year search for the source of back pain from my C-Spine all the way down to my sacrum. Currently I am plagued by intense lower back pain, recurrent pain, if you will. Interestingly enough, I managed three years of celibacy as part of a personal ijmprovement initiative. I enjoyed a few experiences with my partner in a short time threafter, but not long after that I began to experience erectile dysfunction. I did not notice it as such, because I wasn't that active, but it became clear within a few months of this latest go around with back pain. Sure nuff, among other spots on my spine, L5/S1 is a hotspot. There is an old lumbro-sacral fracture, and herniated disc, and L5 root nerve compression. I am told that my L5 nerve is flattened. So, thanks for reading this discussion via internet search, I called my neurologist right away. I had never though to mention this, so thanks to this community, which I am proud to join. My vision is not so good so I typo often, but I will try to keep it clean while I share any progress I encounter. I'll be watching out for your stories too. Good hunting, cp.


hi, i have the same symptoms that you have. I hurt my back lifting some weights about 18 months ago and i woke up the next day with numbness, weakness on my right foot, numbness around my genitals (which only lasted a few days). I have recovered from the numbness and weakness in my foot and toe mostly. But i stated experiencing frequent urination 8 months ago and i have seen a urologist and ortho specialist and they don't have an answer. I used to get ED when my back pain was severe. But thats resolved mostly. My only issue now is the bladder/frequent urination which comes and goes . Please let me know if you found anything that helps.

I wish i knew why this was happening. My ortho doctors told me this couldnt be happening with a L5S1 disc bulge but i feel like they might be missing something.

And also, when i bend my toe on the right foot, i feel something in my bladder at times. Please help me out.



Hello, i seem to maybe be having same problems as you guys. I hurt my back a few years ago weight lifting. Shortly a few months later i noticed i was urinating more frequently. (Not loss of bladder control). Final this past year was able to see the doctors both a orthoedic doctor and a urolgost. The urolgost did a renal ultra sound and that came back great and he said he is most liekly the back injury. Seen the back doctor and got a MRi and x rays and i have L5 S1 degenerative disc disease. But the MRI shows compression on nerves. But as of recently the past few months ive noticed nerve pain in my butt/left hip. I recently got a type of immflamtion shot in the lower back and that helped the pain just not my bladder or the hip. If anyone has had these type of problems and has any insight to what could help. Let me know please! Thanks.


I am going through this now. This condition has also caused weakness and swelling in my right knee(left side). I have had an epidural. The effects, however, only lasted 2 weeks. I will probably have another.


To the guy who said his right toe stimulates the bladder thing. Thanks for posting that, now I don't feel insane. I told my neurologist that and she looked at me like I all my dogs weren't barking. I have the frequency which is intensified by anything touching the toe , even wiggling it.
I have congenitally short pedicles and a bulge at l5-s1 that is "sandwiching both exiting nerve roots" stenosis in the neck too. Wow so much fun. I see a neurosurgeon next week, hopefully this nonsense can be cleared up to some degree as my life is ruined . And as for the toe nerve , I found the irritation was specifically in the nail bed so I trimmed the side of the nail down and it lessened the bladder stuff. Crazy, right ?


Sounds like Arachnoiditis!!

Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs
Sensations that may feel like insects crawling on the skin or water trickling down the leg
Severe shooting pain that can be similar to an electric shock sensation
Muscle cramps, spasms and uncontrollable twitching
Bladder, bowel and sexual problems

Join my support group Arachnoiditis We Can Fight This and we have information to share with you and help you. Also support!


Started by Jessica Blakelock 5 hours 5 min ago
I've had a bad back since I was 15. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia and hyper mobility at 20. L5:/6 degenerated and lumbar stenosis in 2012.Emergency back surgery at 36 for 2 discs L4and L5. They had burst and where compression on my spinal cord, had part disectomy of both disc no fusion ect leaving the 2 vertebrate to more or less rest on each other . So been in pain, also many bad eposide s, of been laid up in. Bed since and over night stays in hospital for pain relief . Suffered from constant pain in the left arm and stiff neck for some time MRI and X-ray showed bone spur , c5 / c6 and disc budge. Also since June this year I've spent a lot of time been laid up, lower back again , recent MRI last week. Stilll no news. As symptoms of water running down my left leg, horrendous sciatica in left leg and also pain in right to knee. Numb left leg and bum cheek, dragging leg when walk . Rest over 9 wks has eased it a little, but iM left unable to sit in an upright position, many sleepless night s very limited mobility as even just going to the toilet, (which had increased dramatically due to nerve irritation.. levels me laid up resting to relive pain. And also gave very little power when pushing to empty my bowls . Havining to use 2 fingers over my exit and push against them to go . Also my geniuses area feels quite numb. My fox has referred me to a neurosurgeon at private hospital. I see next week, as nhs is 2 slow hope I don't have to have another op, but if it means getting some of my life back I'll do anything. Spinal blocks and Physo have not worked for me. I have de genitive disc diease , bad backs we believe is hereditary in my dads side . So may have even more issues as o age hope not Iam only 40. All these years of pain take its toll.


Well, guys, I had a long way to find out this one.

I'm 25. Male.

I had a pain in my back since I was a child. It was always a problem to go in for sport. Couldn't play footbal, but somehow I managed it and was boxing for a while. I always had a pain in my back and legs, didn't understand why. Then at the age of 18 I got pain attacks, they were really severe, so big I couldn't sit.

I made x-ray and it showed Spondylolisthesis in L5S1 segment. The invertebral disk is pretty damaged. MD said that the only way to fix it is to go for a surgery. As I was still a kid, my parent's didn't let me do that. I think it was a mistake now.

After that, a few years later, I started experiencing a really bad erection. Then, It was painful to urinate. Really painful to urinate after erection. After that, it was painful to sh*t (sorry for my language). This was not permanent, like one-month active pain, then 3-4 month of silence.

Now this pain is always with me, I can't even slip normally. Need to go to a toilet every 3-5 minutes (when there is a pain attack) and I'm falling asleep at 4 am usually. Burning feeling is almost there for the whole day, starting from the morning after a wake-up.

I have visited a 5-7 urologists, 3-4 proctologists, and everything is clear. Absolutely.

I'm starting to think about that L5S1 is causing all this. Actually, back pain has progressed a lot for last years and all those exercises do not help me to reduce the pain.

I'm thinking about minimally invasive surgery, to make a permanent fixation of l5s1 with CAGE system and removal of the invertebral disc.

But what I'm confused about is that one MD said that my urination problems, erection and pain in lower abdominal + rectal burning are not connected with L5S1.

However, the other two MDs and chiropractor said that it really could be a reason for those pains.

As for me, I don't really understand what else can cause so dramatic consequences in that area. As I don't have infections or pathology couldn't be found by urologists and proctologists. So, just wanted to hear your thoughts, maybe you know what's causing this.

If you have any info for me, please share it. You can write me on dannyllug@gmail.com orwww.facebook.com/dannyllug

Thanks guys, take care.