Good News for Now!
My son, Gregory, had his first consultation with a spine specialist after his regular physician had told him that he would need surgery(after looking at his MRI) about three- four weeks prior.
The specialist told him that surgery was not advisable. Gregory it seems has a herniated disc (probably happened when he was lifting something heavy). His orignal pain was "excruitiating" starting in his back and then down his leg into his foot on his right side which brought him to the ER. The pain began subsisding since that time and he is now not having any pain at all. The specialist told him that "excessive pain" is the #1 reason for surgery.
The specialist did a series of mobility tests and nerve tests and told Greg to go home and start a series of moderate exercises (no drugs). He thinks that perhaps he suffered the initial severe pain when the disc herniated and a piece of it hit his nerve...this is his guess at this time.
If Gregory's pain should return he would of course need to take the #2nd step...which would be other treatment ie. drugs, shots, etc. But the speialist said that surgery was the last resort and even told him that it appears that this will be unecessary as long as he does no heavy lifting or exessive exercising.
Does this sound too good to be true? In any event, Gregory will get on with his life as he is now not suffering any pain and take the doctor's advice.
Anyone out there just suffer one exceptional pain episode and then just a little discomfort from time to time with a herniated disc?
I would love to hear your story if it relates to my son's.
Exercises will work. Do them twice a day, about 15 minutes, once in the morning and the other before bed.
I don't know why they don't give your son some strong pain medication to give him a break. Doctors don't always listen. I had to almost scream to get some morphine after I had some breakthrough sciatica pain from a ruptured disc. I only took it for a week, but it was a huge help, just to get a break from the pain. Also, meds to help sleep would be good for a few weeks, because sciatica (at least for me) was worst when you lay down and try to sleep. Be sure he has the extra pillows ... does it help to put a pillow between the legs, and bring the hurting leg up toward the chest in bed?
Also, oral steroids could reduce the inflammation. I took prednisone for a week, but I don't know if that is safe for young people.
The great majority of herniations do not require surgery. So your son's case seems to fall in that category. A lot of people get fed up with the pain and desperately want surgery but the facts are it can take up to two years before things are back to normal.
Tell your son to be very careful that he does not twist or lift anything that puts a strain on his back. I always say bend your knees. This lets you upper body and legs do the work not your back. Never lift without doing so. Herniations can reoccur but usually the herniated portion of the disc gets reabsorbed into the body.