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Old 02-11-2008, 04:33 AM   #1
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Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

Hi everyone,

Please welcome me. I just ran into this site, after doing some Googles for back problems I have been having.

I have a back saga that goes on a little over 3 years now. I hurt my lower back badly from probably just lifting stuff wrong (and after moving to a new condo) about three years ago. Went to my family doctor, did some leg raises, and had no pain in my legs. He said it was muscle. Later, the pain was gone in a few weeks, although my back was stiff, and I could not walk for three days very well.

Three months go by, I start to run again because my back feels great, and the back pain starts again. Rest, go easy, recovered. No pain now again.

Six months go by, back goes out again, but I can walk. This time I have some slight leg pain. Go to acupunture. Guy sticks a lot of needles in me. Leg pain completely gone. Back is better in two weeks. No pain. I take it easy. I learn about proper lifting, etc.

Six months go by, back goes out again. I can walk. I go to orthopedic surgeon. Does leg raises. No pain in leg. Says it is muscle. Sends me to a physical therapist. Do exercises, traction, TENS, and ultrasound for a few weeks. Pain completely gone. Feel great. Swim. No pain for 9 months!!!

So after those 9 months, I start to run again. Now, back goes out again. I can walk. Go to physical therapy. Says muscle. Pain gone, but stiffness never goes away. Don't feel really 100%. I don't run anymore.

Six months go by (now last November). I carry a printer a few blocks and put it in my car. Next day, reallly bad pain in back. I can walk and it gets a little bit better. I have some leg pain in right leg. Also some pain in upper buttock. It does not go away. I go to ortho surgeon. She orders an MRI. L5-S1 disc herniation. She says try physical therapy. I do therapy for two months. Better, but not great. I still have pain, but mostly just back and in upper buttock. I can walk fine. Muscle is always tense in back.

So it has been almost 4 months since my last injury, still back pain persists. I am wondering, does this stuff ever really get better or should I start to look into surgery? I am looking a nucleoplasty. Not sure what to do anymore. I am 32 year old male. I am scared to move normal, and never bend forward even to wash my hands. Not sure if this is the right attitude or what.

Thanks for any inputs. Any help appreciated.

 
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

When I read your history, it sounded EXACTLY like my situation 2 years ago.

I ended up getting a microdisectomy in March 2007 on the L4/L5 disc. I still have the pain/tightness in my upper left buttock and the pain radiates into my groin.....but the pain in my lower back is pretty much gone.

I'm 33 now and was very active in the past and I'm now very cautious about doing anything that requires me to bend/twist/lift/carry/push/pull.

 
Old 02-11-2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

What was the deciding factor to finally get surgery? Was it worth it?

What kind of recovery time did you need to take?

Thanks!

 
Old 02-11-2008, 03:38 PM   #4
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

Quote:
Originally Posted by optimus View Post
What was the deciding factor to finally get surgery? Was it worth it?

What kind of recovery time did you need to take?

Thanks!
The deciding factor for me was fear. When my back "went out", it was the most excrutiating paid I had ever felt. I felt something pop in my back, felt a shiver go up my spine and fell onto the floor in agony. I had to crawl to the phone to call my wife so she could drive me to the hospital. After the initial pain went away, my left foot was numb and I had sciatica down my leg.

I was so scared that my back would pop when I was driving on the highway, while carrying my baby niece or on vacation in a third world country that I decided to get the surgery done.

I'm still not sure if it was worth it or not. Just weeks before my surgery, I had no back pain at all, no buttock pain, no groin pain.....just a bit of tingling in my left foot which I was fine with. The morning of the surgery, I was really considering backing out....but my wife gave me a nasty look and I knew I really had no choice

Up until 4 weeks ago, I was feeling great.......now, I have a bit of pain in my back, tightness in my buttock and radiating pain in my groin. I can't stand/walk for longer than 5 minutes at a time. I'm not sure if I have re-herinated a disc or not.....but I see the specialist at the end of the month so hopefully we can figure something out. I'm hoping that I just have tight glute muscles and some deep massage therapy will loosen things up a bit and relive the pain in my groin.

My recovery was 1 week in bed, and 3-4 weeks of taking it easy. After the first week, I was walking around and would go for a 30 min walk everyday. I went back to work at week 5.....but I probably could have gone earlier if needed to.....but my company wanted me to take the full recovery time.

The thing I remember the most about the surgery is that the pain meds they gave me (oxycontin) made me extremely constipated to a point where the pain in my stomach hurt more than the pain in my back. If I have to do it again, I'll skip the pain meds and just deal with it.....as I never want to go through that again.

James

 
Old 02-11-2008, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

Thanks for replying Jason. It is posts like yours that really make me feel that I have it better than many, and maybe surgery might not be needed right now. I can walk pretty much as much as I like (not a hike or anything), and stand/sit with minor discomfort. Luckily, laying in bed I have no pain. My leg pain has been gone for about 2-3 weeks, but that one spot in my buttock is still bothering me.

Just for the heck of it, I decided to book an apointment with a new neuro/ortho surgeon, to see what he thinks. I am going to show him my MRIs. Same as you, the main reason I was looking at surgery is the "fear factor". Not wanting it to go out at the wrong time. Interstingly, I know someone exactly like you that had lots and lots of pain, and then just days before the surgery, it went away, and he actually did back out of the surgery. So far, I think he is OK, but it has been a month or two, so I need to check. I wonder if some of this is stress related, causing the mucles to tighten up. If you are scared going into a bend/lift etc., that could also cause problems, if the back muscles tighten up because of the stress/fear.

Well, will let you know what the doc says tomorrow. He is supposed to be one of the best around.

 
Old 02-11-2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

I just can't figure out my buttock pain. I went through the last 33 years of my life with my "butt clenched" all the time. I just thought it was normal to always have my glutes tight when I walked or was standing. It was only a few months ago that my wife noticed that my butt cheeks were always tight.

I've really tried to keep them loose (it's tough as I have to keep mentally checking 30 times per day) and noticed that my back was not as sore.

It's not helping now, as I have a big knot in my glutes....but I'm hoping a massage will help and then I can see if my pain goes away

James

 
Old 02-24-2008, 12:11 PM   #7
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Re: Does a herniated disc ever get better if pain last over 4 months?

Hey there,

I'm a 24 year old female w/ a herniated disc in the L-3, L-4 region as well as DDD. I have encountered some of the pains that you are stressing. The buttocks and groin pains are definitely nerve related, and they are stubborn as hell! I lay on the floor almost every hour, or more depending on the pain. It can be so relentless sometimes, but I've been told that the most important thing is subsiding the nerve pains, how ever long it may take...to ultimately get the pain back to the source. Some days the pain won't go away no matter what I do... have you been doing PT(probably a stupid question.), but if so, does your PT tell you how to alleviate the pains in your buttocks, legs, feet, etc...?
It seems to be helping me. I have good days and bad days, but for the most part I am scared to do anything. I'm wondering if what I am doing is actually working for me, or if it is just covering up the problem for now.

Mindy

 
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