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Old 01-04-2010, 07:34 AM   #1
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Question Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Thanks for reading and any comments/suggestions are welcome!! I have had sciatica for 17 years and was treated when first diagnosed with physical therapy - which did not help. So, I have suffered with on again off again pain in my left buttock, down my left thigh and left calf since. A year ago, I finally went to my family physician and he gave me a steriod shot in my SI nerve which helped greatly, until the pain came back recently. He decided to try the shot again, but this time it did not work. So, he sent me for an MRI and when the results came in, the nurse called and said I had a disc pressing on my sciatic nerve and they wanted to send me to an orthopaedic. Well, I didn't want to go that route first. I wanted to go to a pain management doctor. So, they set me up with one and I had an epidural with a steriod injection. OMgoodness!! I was in more pain from that treatment and suffered from additional pain that I didn't have to begin with. The horrible pain finally eased after 4 days, but still have pain. However, before I had the injection, I found out from the pain management doctor that I have a BULGING disc and a PIECE OF THE DISC is broken off and I'm guessing just floating around in my back - which is scarry. A couple of people I know have had disc problems and they have gone to neurosurgeons to have the problem corrected not orthopaedics. Can anyone offer suggestions on this?? Who would you go see to correct the problem? A neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic? Thank you in advance for any advice!!

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

I have similiar problems as you. I have an L4/5 herniation with severe compression on nerves. I went to a nuerosurgeon that specilaizes in minimally invasive microdiscectomy surgeries. I will be have this procedure on Jan. 14th. However, I did go to an orthopedic surgeon to fuse my neck (C3/4/5) 4 years ago and did not have any problems at all. But I feel more comfortable with the nuero for this recent procedure. What ever you decide, you will need to research doctors, surgeons, procedures, therapies, and get others experience first! There is alot of information out there. This board and the people here will help.
Oh by the way, when I visited my surgeon he indicated that most (not all) herniations break away from the disc. So don't be to alarmed.
SP

 
Old 01-04-2010, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

You can see either an orthopedic spine ( board certified) surgeon or a board certified spine neurosurgeon. They are both fully qualified to treat the problem you are having. It is only a patients' preference in one specialty or another that determines whether or not one chooses a neuro or an ortho. I have had both do my back surgeries. The first was an ortho and the second a neuro. I happen to prefer an ortho for "structural" problems and a neuro when the spinal nerves are involved.
If you do have disc material that has broken off from the disc, you do need to see a surgeon though, and get it taken care of.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:07 PM   #4
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

I read all the posts from here & I'm trying to make up my mind what to do. I have the same as the 1st women who posted, a bulging disc & ques of small free disc fragment, I' assuming its the same as a piece of disc broken off. I have tried chiro, acupuncture & physical therapy, the last being a disaster just made it worse. Have no idea who to see, my chiro had sug a neurosurgeon to see back months ago but I didn't it freaked me out. Thanks for reading this

 
Old 02-04-2010, 05:43 AM   #5
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

I went to a neuro for my surgery (microdiscectomy). Maybe see a neuro and get a second opinion from an orthopedic. Always get a second or third opinion. Find a good Dr. Do you homework and ask alot of questions. Good Luck.

 
Old 02-04-2010, 06:32 AM   #6
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Did that surgury work for you?

 
Old 02-04-2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Hey Gram,
So far so good. I am 3 weeks post op tomorrow. You can read my thread "Microdiscectomy Surgery Tomorrow" on this message board. I tried to give an accurate description of my experience for others information. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sookiepooka

 
Old 05-11-2010, 11:18 AM   #8
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

[QUOTE=Mommyin96and99;4155374]Thanks for reading and any comments/suggestions are welcome!! I have had sciatica for 17 years and was treated when first diagnosed with physical therapy - which did not help. So, I have suffered with on again off again pain in my left buttock, down my left thigh and left calf since. A year ago, I finally went to my family physician and he gave me a steriod shot in my SI nerve which helped greatly, until the pain came back recently. He decided to try the shot again, but this time it did not work. So, he sent me for an MRI and when the results came in, the nurse called and said I had a disc pressing on my sciatic nerve and they wanted to send me to an orthopaedic. Well, I didn't want to go that route first. I wanted to go to a pain management doctor. So, they set me up with one and I had an epidural with a steriod injection. OMgoodness!! I was in more pain from that treatment and suffered from additional pain that I didn't have to begin with. The horrible pain finally eased after 4 days, but still have pain. However, before I had the injection, I found out from the pain management doctor that I have a BULGING disc and a PIECE OF THE DISC is broken off and I'm guessing just floating around in my back - which is scarry. A couple of people I know have had disc problems and they have gone to neurosurgeons to have the problem corrected not orthopaedics. Can anyone offer suggestions on this?? Who would you go see to correct the problem? A neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic? Thank you in advance for any advice!![/QUOTE]
I just had a disctectomy 2 wks ago today had my 10 staples out yesterday. I had a bulging disc and a ruptured disc went thru all shots pt chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression. It caused sciatica all down my whole left leg. I couldn't walk longer than a couple of minutes or stand 4 to 6 yrs ago this was not as bad I lived with it then I had the miniscus in my right knee repaired and my back was good for 3 yrs.. The pain came back with a vengeance June 2009 when I lifted a heavy gate when closing at a store I worked at and I heard and felt a crack that started the pain. My sciatica is almost all gone my back feels good just a little sore and the dr said it should get better with time. I can walk and stand over 1 hr without pain. When they operated they found a piece of the disc and removed it, it didn't show up on the MRI. The surgery I had was minimally invasive laser surgery. I had it done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston by an orthepedic surgeon Dr. Christoper Bono and I went home the next afternoon. I highly recommend it I did get sick fr the anesthsia but was walking without most pain just hours after. Get you life back don't waste any more time. The only thing I noticed is me left calf and toes are without much feeling but it is from the sciatic breve damage I'm sure. It doesn't interfere with anything. Good luck!

Last edited by dtt0217; 05-11-2010 at 11:21 AM.

 
Old 05-11-2010, 11:39 AM   #9
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Wow you had just about exactly the same as I have including the floating piece of disc. I'm going to copy it & show my family Dr, he had said he wanted me to see an ortho Dr sup to be a good one. Did you have the terible groin pain too, that was by far the worst but I'm happy now thanks to the chiro that put me on a stretching machine that is gone. Now it's the pain coming from the back around to the side & leg
that hurts. When it gets real bad I take a 600mg ibuprofen but nothing the only thing that stops it is a pain pill hydrocodine but I don't like to keep taking them.

 
Old 05-11-2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Gram
I feel your pain, I have had 4 herniations on my L5S1 and all of them have fragmented. I did 3 micro discectomies and had enough so I just fused 2 weeks ago. I had a nuero do my mds but an ortho do my fusion. I interviewed 5 doctors before my fusion. I found some ortho and nuero surgeons to be equally qualified. In order to do the spine they have to do both nuero and ortho procedures, eventhough they do not hold certifications in both. The Cleveland Clinic is one of the best places to do an internship for spinal procedures. Check into the doctors background, training, and go see several if possible. I interviewed one doctor who was highly recommended but I did not care for his bedside manner, but several people I knew would go only to him. If you have several consultations you will be able to compare doctors and procedures. Out of 5 doctors 4 recommended fusion for me and only one wanted to do it anteriorly and posteriorly. I ended up having a posterior TLIF. It has been 2 weeks and I am progressing well and am thankful I did take the time to have this operation.

I hope this information is helpful, it will take time, and hopefully the shot will bide you some time to make your decision.
PEmom
3 micro disc on L5S1 2008,2/2009, 6/2009
TLIF post fusion L5S1 4/2010

 
Old 05-11-2010, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: Sciatica...bulging disc & pieces of disc floating in back...

Thanks, that jerk who did my nerve root injections made it so much worse than it was before. Did anyone ever say how dangerous a piece of disc floating was?

 
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