Re: Disc fragment compressing on L5 nerve root?
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.