Hi there, I'm looking for some opinions on my situation. I am a 33 yr old female, who's had a bad back from sports over the years. Six weeks ago I hurt my back playing softball. I had an MRI done, and the findings indicate that I have a herniated L4-5 disc, with a disc fragment that would appear to be causing significant compression on my L5 nerve root. I took some anti-inflammatories for the first week after it happened. I was prescribed percacet, but never took it, as the pain really hasn't been that bad. I'm pretty much pain free, and have been for a couple of weeks. I do have the typical numbness that they say is associated with L5 nerve root compression, but other than that, I feel pretty normal, no pain. Will the numbness ever go away? Is that disc fragment there for life, or will it absorb in my body? Is surgery an inevitable procedure? We would like to start a family soon, is getting pregnant going to mess my back up even more? If anyone has any comments, suggestions, or similar experiences, I would truly appreciate it if you could post something. Thanks so much!
I had this too, the L4/L5 disk fragment sitting on the nerve, compressing it. I let mine go for a long time because the back doctor wanted to see if i would heal on my own. It takes months for the body to absorb the disk material and heal the disk tear adequately. Unlike you, I continued to have pain, and got worse and worse, until finally, one day I awoke unable to move my foot or walk.
Prior to that I had the thigh and toe numbness for months. If you reach a point where you cannot lift your toes, see a doctor immediately as it's serious nerve compression. I had to have a microdisckectomy at that point just to be able to walk again. So my back problem turned into having lost the use of my whole leg.
But if you are not having pain, then you may be okay and healing fine. Yes, the doctor said the body will reabsorb most of the disk fragment 50% of the time. 50% of the time it doesn't and those are the ones requiring surgery if there is continued pain/problems.
The disk material that herniated out onto our nerves looks like toothpaste (actually like crab meat), and dries out eventually like toothpaste. But that takes many months I guess. Most of the time the body will heal itself but thank heavens for surgery when it doesn't.
As a result of my nerve compression at L4/L5, I am now in for a 1 to 3 year recovery as my sciatic nerve heals. I can walk again, but my leg is weak. Surgery has done wonders for my back and I have no more spine pain.
I would keep an eye on how you feel. Note if you get any weakness in the leg. Otherwise, if you are pain free now, just continue to take it easy on lifting, bending and twisting because I have heard it can take 18 months for that disk tear to fully heal and you don't want to reherniate more out. My tear wasn't healing as I had a chunk sitting in the opening.
I had the same thing but it was my L-4 ,L-5 and S-1..I went through alot of pain and time off of work..Some times the pain was so bad I could not even get out of bed or to the bathroom. I went and got the shots twice a week and everything sleep with the pollows between the legs bed rest and all...One day I said enough looked on the internet for 4 days found the best Doctor I thought had all the right stuff called him and set up a appointment. My surgery was on 9-30-04 replacement of 3 disks. And wow what a different world I feel 100% better.. Its like I'm 19 years old again(which I'm really 35) but I feel great went back full time at work on 10-18-04 but I was not allowed to left more then 25 lbs. Now it 11-08-04 went to the Doctors today and he said everything is fine and he could not beleive how I recorvered from the surgery. He said you are one of few but if anyone would like more info on the Doctors name just yell. He is my new best friend, we even go hunting now together. So I wish you luck and hope you feel and get better. Just before you get back surgery check out everything first..