I've got a bulging disc. It's given me a fair amount of pain for over a year now, but very rarely when I'm sedentary. I can even sit for a few hours at a time. And sleeping isn't a problem.
I do have on-and-off pain in my right thigh, but it's nothing I can't deal with. I was very active prior to all this--now it's just walks and hikes for me. I do get shooting pains pretty often, usually when I just turn to reach for something. I stear clear of pain medication as I'm a little scared of it (and the cost!).
Anyway, my health insurance doesn't cover my back, so whatever I do, I pay for. (I stopped my ESIs because of cost and ineffectiveness. I stopped PT for the same reasons.)
So, finally, my question: what is the risk in waiting to deal with all this? Nerve damage?
Are further problems inevitable, even if I take it easy?
I'm in a holding pattern in terms of insurance (I'm looking for a job almost primarily to get solid health insurance).
Any input at all would be appreciated. Thanks very much.
my guess would be it would depend on the injury on if you'll get nerve damage if you wait. That would be a great question for your doctor. If the pain is tolerable then I would wait as long as you could. For me the pain was bad enough to interfere with my quality of life and things I wanted to do. I wish you the best and sorry I couldn't answer better.
Have you seen a spine specialist yet and had an MRI? Are you sure of what is wrong with your back? If the answer is yes, and if you are not having shooting, sharp, hot pain in your legs, then you will be just fine inwaiting for a while. However, with a bulging disc, you don't know how it will be in a day, week, month. You can herniate with a sneeze! So, I would say to be careful, avoid lifting, things like raking, avoid bending from the waist or stretching over your head. People can live for years with a bulging disc and never get any worse....there is always that hope. With luck, you will be among those who never need more than to take care.
I've had two MRIs, the latest in October. I was told my two different doctors two different things: one said herniated disc, the other said bulging. (The worst it got was when I was immobile for three days, and walking with a dramatic tilt for a month.)
I'm perfectly willing to wait things out and hope for improvement--recently things have gotten slightly better (then slightly worse, then slightly better--you all know the drill). And my insurance situation is dictating that anyway.
But I would also like to get back to at least some of the things I used to do. I'm 35 and not ready to pack it in. I have a one-year-old and I'd like to be able to do the things you do with a kid as they grow up.
The things a back problem can do to you! I'm changing careers but have to look for something that my back can handle; every physical move I consider in advance. There should be a support group.
If you can deal with the pain, and your doctor says you are not at risk of permanent nerve damage, I would put off surgery if I were you. You may be one of the lucky ones whose problems resolve with time. Be extremely careful about bending, twisting, and lifting- you have to make your back a priority in your life now. Good luck!
You really need to make sure if you are dealing with a bulge or real nerve damage. They can tell by testing. It makes a difference if the nerves are involved, in my case the wait was to long and the damage permanent at 34, but if it is back aching and pain that is tolerable, than hold off as long as you can and do all the conservative treatments that are out there, even if they feel useless at times. Good luck to you
Hmmm. We know you definitely have disc problem as shown on the MRI. Bulging? Herniating? Doctors and non-doctors alike usually use them interchangebly. And I'm sure at this point you don't really care what it's called...but rather just want the pain to go away. As you could probably tell by my username, I'm a chiropractor. I have to ask if you've seen one...or two...or three? I say that b/c chiropractic has very good results with disc problems...and if you have in fact been to a chiropractor and didn't get such great results...maybe you should see another. I, personally, have found the Cox Technique (aka Flexion/Distraction) to work very well on pain resulting from disc problems. Unfortunately, many in my field now play the same game as MD's and charge ridiculous fees for their services (thanks to horrible insurance plans). So unlike the days of old, this could still be somewhat of an expense for you. But depending on where you live, you may be able to find one who is fair...or is like me, and operates on a "cash" basis which means we have to be reasonable! But ultimately you'll have to decide on what's more important, those activities that you're missing out on & so badly miss being able to do...or sacrificing right now on the financial end to get the care you need.