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Old 02-17-2012, 01:23 PM   #31
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Question Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Jjunda, it sounds like you and I suffer from the same affliction. Been dealing with my injury for 3 months now and have definitely made progress. I do however still have trouble standing for more the 15 min and my left foot still juts out when I walk along with a slight limp I can't seem to get rid of. I also have stepped up my own fitness regimen in hopes I can speed this process up. I do my daily stretches twice a day plus low impact cardio and planks ect at gym. It's def helped but the time is shortly coming for me to go back to work( I work as a fireman), and with this injury and the fact that my job can be very slow one moment and extremely physical in another, I worry if Im still feeling the same as now in a couple of weeks I might have to consider surgery. If I'm still not able to perform at a high level I might even want it. How did your body respond once you starting making a pronounced effort to get better and did you ever have to get surgery or were you able to fight through it with pt and exercise until you were better? Your input would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

 
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:01 AM   #32
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

I would strongly urge you to commit to daily streching + pt and put off surgery. Not sure how bad your Herniated discs were but mine were pretty bad (4mm) - completely out and 7 out of 8 neurosurgeons wanted to perform immediate surgery.

However, I commited to stretching/pt/accupunture and eating healthy and was able to resume normal activities. I still perform such exercises daily and have strenghtened my core significantly.

Last edited by moderator2; 02-18-2012 at 11:05 AM.

 
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:20 PM   #33
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Jjunda, thanks for the quick reply. I definitely don't want the surgery but as I'm sure you can empathize, the time and effort this injury takes from you can be quite frustrating. My Neurosurgeon is very much against me getting surgery due to my age(28), which is great, but doubt has been creeping in lately that my job and life will continue to suffer if I don't do something drastic like surgery soon. Having read your previous posts and reply it seems that I just need to follow some hard earned advice and stick it out with the stretching and pt. Its not easy, but knowing there's others like yourself who've struggled with the same or worse problems and made it through ok keeps me motivated. Thanks again for the reply. Do you have any advice on daily activities that help you maintain a pain free back, any particular stretches or workout you've found work best, and did you find that an inversion table or any other devises particularly helped you with the pain? Thanks

 
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:10 PM   #34
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

I can understand what you are experiencing as I was weeks away from surgery myself and in intolerable pain including sciatica and popping numerous advil each day.

However, I committed to a daily dose of PT + stretching as well as diet. Really important to do core exercises to firm your midsection. Planks/pelvic tilts are a must along with Hamstring stretches for 30 mins a day will do the trick.

Stay focused. It is not easy but trust me it works.

 
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:12 PM   #35
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Smile Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Thank you so much for the advice. I'm really glad I found this message board, it has provided great insight and perspective. I'll continue with my exercise and stretching along with the core exercises you've recommended. Thanks again for sharing your struggle. Hopefully next time I post on here in be at or near 100%.

 
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:38 PM   #36
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjunda View Post
I can understand what you are experiencing as I was weeks away from surgery myself and in intolerable pain including sciatica and popping numerous advil each day.

However, I committed to a daily dose of PT + stretching as well as diet. Really important to do core exercises to firm your midsection. Planks/pelvic tilts are a must along with Hamstring stretches for 30 mins a day will do the trick.

Stay focused. It is not easy but trust me it works.
Thank you so much, your story inspired me as well. Can you provide a more elaborate update on your herniated disc? Any pain? Positions that bother you? Flare ups? I'd love to hear as much as possible about your current status after healing for a few years. It gives me hope!

My backstory..

I'm a 31 year old active male. I used to do cross fit before my injury, and have been playing [ice] hockey for the past 6 years, several times a week.

I herniated my L5/S1 doing deadlifts in January of this year. Nearly 6 months have passed, and I'm doing well. I returned to playing hockey about 2 months ago. Sometimes I'll feel it a bit, but lately I've haven't felt anything at all short of my cardio being terrible and my flexibility limitations. I'd love to get back into jogging and eventually crossfit. My PT is me on a hamstring/calf stretch routine several times a day and then we're going to focus on rebuilding my core strength.

My NEW doctor (my old Kaiser Dr was TERRIBLE) has been specializing in herniated discs for 25+ years or so, and is convinced in most cases the disc herniation will heal itself but could take several years before all the disc fluid is flushed/absorbed out, so I'm looking forward to the day where I don't have flare ups (from this injury). I'm almost at a point where I can lay in any position without a flare up, but I'm not out of the woods just yet.

Sitting is still the worst, but some days are better than others. I sat and ate dinner after my game a few nights ago for about 1 1/2 hours and felt nothing but the joy of eating Stromboli after scoring 2 goals in a big win

Looking forward to hearing some success!

 
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #37
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Rapidimovement- i know jjunda has helped us both out with his story of recovery. I can give you some tips as well since Ive been dealing with this for years but a lot worse most recently. Ive been out of work since december with my current injury. My recovery has been extremely slow do to issues with getting to see a PT but Im happy to say Im feeling much better. I injured my l4/l5 years ago just being an active person playing sports and was always able to fight through the pain and eventually I would get back to 100% on my own but I guess with age and a really putting a lot of stress on my herniation, its now gotten pretty bad. I could barely walk for the first 3 months after I was injured and having an active job didnt help since I HAVE to be completely healthy in order to function. No desk job. Im around the same age as you and although this has been the most frustrating thing Ive probable ever gone through, jjunda was right! I tried my best to keep a at home stretching and core exercise routine going while I recovered. It was very hard since my back would lock up if I twisted the wrong way and stretched odd, but, its amazing how the body works to heal itself. I wish I would have recovered sooner but I would say after 6 months Im pretty close to fully recovered. I still have a slight limp after I sit for to long but my sciatica is gone and my range of motion is pretty good considering. I still have a sharp shooting pain if I twist quickly or try and lift to much but Ill take that over not being able to walk at all. My doctor persuaded me to not even consider surgery and that the herniation would eventually heal itself. I know even when Im back at work and back at the gym going hard Ill still need to be careful. Contrary to popular belief, a relatively large herniation will not go away or reabsorb. You can only manage the inflammation which is what cause the pain and muscle spasms. Rapidimovement: I dont know how severe your herniation is but while you continue to be active dont make the same mistake I did and think your back has fully healed to its old self. You will always need to be conscious of the strain you put on your back from here on out. You can easily go right back to injuring it. Over the course of months and years with out a reinjury the herniation will subside a little anx become less noticeable but never dissapears and since its already ripped through the membrane walls its even easier to have that jelly like cushion come out and push on a nerve root. I dont say this to scare you, just want you to know what I didnt. I thought being so young and active Id be fine in no time but back injuries are tricky. Just google Larry Bird, Don Mattingly, The Rock, ect. All young big time athletes who were never the same after a lumbar herniation. They all kept pushing themselves as if they were healed. Its not like a knee, where if you have surgery they repair a torn ligament or cartilage and you will go back to being almost 100% normal after rehab. The spine herniation surgery can only remove the herniated material, it cant stitch up the membrane so it wont happen again. That why its not recommended to have one and to just learn to live with it. I know Ive ranted a bit and it sounds like your doing much better with being back to playing hockey, but dont get any false hope. Play your heart out but continue to stretch, take care of your core and watch what you do in regular activities. Those everyday stresses we all do like lifting, sitting to long, eatinh bad, all contribute to helping thst injury occur again. Good luck, and let me know if my story or recovery can help in any way.

 
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:57 PM   #38
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Hi Jrocky5,

Thanks for the reply and the advice moving forward. I don't pretend to think that I will be back to 100%. I only really aspire to living a relatively normal life and to "fully" accept what has happened to me. Its not entirely difficult for me though, as I suffered from a broken jaw two years ago rendering me with nerve damage in my lower half of my mouth. I know its not the same, but the level of acceptance in knowing I'll never be the same again is truly what got me over the hump with that. My girlfriend kisses my numb spot frequently just to see if I've regained feeling. She's quite the gal

Moving forward, I'm not going to try and be the same invincible man I thought I was. I know I'm of the age where my body is starting to work an up hill battle and this back injury has reminded me that I have to take better care and caution for myself. I'm not interested in doing dead lifts or any other lift that will jeopardize my recovery or maintained level of living. There's a lot of other crossfit exercises I can and will continue to do, when the time is right. First things first though, I have to strengthen my core and make sure its nice and tight before I return to any vigorous activity.

I have already eliminated sitting from my daily job as a graphic designer and now use a stand up workstation with a high stool to prop up on every so often to rest (10 min, max). If I even so much as feel a flare up coming, I stand up and move around. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what works and what doesn't.

I don't get the sharp shooting pain anymore, at least I can't remember the last time I felt it. Mine comes in a form of an ache now. When I do have to sit for long periods (my drive to work), once I stand up I'll sometimes feel some pain in my hip, and my foot with tingle but once I take a few steps it subsides. I'm usually very tight in the morning too, but once I do my hammy stretches it goes away.

Anytime I begin to feel down about being injured, I think back to how I felt months ago when I couldn't even stand the pressure of my gf's hand on my leg. When I thought about how I'll never play hockey again and how I'll never get to wear the awesome Flying Hellfish jerseys I JUST designed for our team. Then I come back to "now", and I'll see my gf's lovely leg wrapped around me as we lay together and glance over too see my Hellfish jersey hanging on the wall, probably needing a wash because I just played a game in it....and I smile

Things may never go back to the way they were, but things never do. I could have been killed the day my jaw was broken, but I'm still here. I hear horror stories of others with back and sciatic issues, years and years after their injury and how they can't even walk anymore. I'm thankful for what I have, where I've come, and where I could be headed. I take these wrongs and learn from the mistake and make some sort of positive out of it. I broke my jaw because I was going down the wrong path with alcohol. Post injury, I got my life in order, reached a stepping stone in my career, and today I'm making a very good living for myself doing what I love. This back injury is helping me learn about my physical body now and the steps I need to take to make sure it lasts a long time.

I appreciate your rant. I'm not afraid to admit I don't know it all and value the stories and experiences of other people. Hopefully others will read what I have had to say and it will make them smile. Not for false hope, but for positive, realistic ways to move forward.

PS, I have a 3.5mm herniation and a relatively smaller canal to work with. Remarkably though, I'm improving where as some others with better "stats" haven't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrocky5 View Post
Rapidimovement- i know jjunda has helped us both out with his story of recovery. I can give you some tips as well since Ive been dealing with this for years but a lot worse most recently. Ive been out of work since december with my current injury. My recovery has been extremely slow do to issues with getting to see a PT but Im happy to say Im feeling much better. I injured my l4/l5 years ago just being an active person playing sports and was always able to fight through the pain and eventually I would get back to 100% on my own but I guess with age and a really putting a lot of stress on my herniation, its now gotten pretty bad. I could barely walk for the first 3 months after I was injured and having an active job didnt help since I HAVE to be completely healthy in order to function. No desk job. Im around the same age as you and although this has been the most frustrating thing Ive probable ever gone through, jjunda was right! I tried my best to keep a at home stretching and core exercise routine going while I recovered. It was very hard since my back would lock up if I twisted the wrong way and stretched odd, but, its amazing how the body works to heal itself. I wish I would have recovered sooner but I would say after 6 months Im pretty close to fully recovered. I still have a slight limp after I sit for to long but my sciatica is gone and my range of motion is pretty good considering. I still have a sharp shooting pain if I twist quickly or try and lift to much but Ill take that over not being able to walk at all. My doctor persuaded me to not even consider surgery and that the herniation would eventually heal itself. I know even when Im back at work and back at the gym going hard Ill still need to be careful. Contrary to popular belief, a relatively large herniation will not go away or reabsorb. You can only manage the inflammation which is what cause the pain and muscle spasms. Rapidimovement: I dont know how severe your herniation is but while you continue to be active dont make the same mistake I did and think your back has fully healed to its old self. You will always need to be conscious of the strain you put on your back from here on out. You can easily go right back to injuring it. Over the course of months and years with out a reinjury the herniation will subside a little anx become less noticeable but never dissapears and since its already ripped through the membrane walls its even easier to have that jelly like cushion come out and push on a nerve root. I dont say this to scare you, just want you to know what I didnt. I thought being so young and active Id be fine in no time but back injuries are tricky. Just google Larry Bird, Don Mattingly, The Rock, ect. All young big time athletes who were never the same after a lumbar herniation. They all kept pushing themselves as if they were healed. Its not like a knee, where if you have surgery they repair a torn ligament or cartilage and you will go back to being almost 100% normal after rehab. The spine herniation surgery can only remove the herniated material, it cant stitch up the membrane so it wont happen again. That why its not recommended to have one and to just learn to live with it. I know Ive ranted a bit and it sounds like your doing much better with being back to playing hockey, but dont get any false hope. Play your heart out but continue to stretch, take care of your core and watch what you do in regular activities. Those everyday stresses we all do like lifting, sitting to long, eatinh bad, all contribute to helping thst injury occur again. Good luck, and let me know if my story or recovery can help in any way.

Last edited by rapidimovement; 06-05-2012 at 05:01 PM.

 
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:56 PM   #39
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Hey jjunda, JRocky5, & rapidmovement,

The last post to this thread was almost a year ago, but I just came across it last night. I found it encouraging because your situations sound similar to what I'm currently going through. I'll tell you my story - it would be great to get a reply from any or all of you to let me know how you all are doing these days, as well as any input/advice you can give me.

My story is this: About 18-20 months ago I began having severe pain in my leg/foot. It was most severe in my hip and caused frequent foot numbness. Being a stubborn man I let it go on for a few weeks thinking it would eventually go away. It didn't. So I go to a chiropractor for about 6 months. No change. Then another chiropractor who specializes in non-surgical spinal decompression. I went to him for 3 months with some improvement, but nothing significant or lasting. It was then that he recommended I get an MRI. I got one which revealed that I had a 6mm herniation at L4/S1. So that chiro recommended that I get an epidural steroid injection, telling me that there was a 50% chance that it wouldn't work. Well, it didn't. So the chiro recommended that I have a microdoscectomy.

Not being a fan of surgery I sought a second opinion from another doctor who said that my leg pain may actually have nothing to do with my herniated disc (which apparently is pretty common). He turned me on to prolotherapy, which I've now had 3 sessions of (it takes 6 sessions to complete the treatment). Prolo has improved my pain fairly significantly, but not lasting. So, I've now been going to PT for about a month. Of course, my physical therapist thinks the pain is caused more by muscles that are too tight or too weak rather, but says the herniation "might" have something to do with it. And yet again, there's been some improvement, but no significant change.

As you can imagine, I am completely frustrated and there are days that I just want to give in and have the surgery, but that prospect still scares me.

So my question to you all is, how are you doing these days? Has your pain disappeared completely just through stretching and PT? How long did it take to see some significant change?

 
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:59 AM   #40
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Good to read your post. I am in bad shape after a MVaccident 17 months ago. I have neck, mid back and L4-5 S1 herniated. The lower is the worst. I still have problems walking. By evening I look look like the zombie walk. To complicate things, I have RSD all limbs. I had everything settled down and was doing well before the accident.

I am supposed to go for a facet injection in the lumbar. I am not sure if that is better than an epidural. All a risk with the RSD..

 
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