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Old 02-06-2010, 06:44 PM   #1
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how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

how long does it take for a large herniated disc in the back to heal. I have done PT religiously over the past 3 months and have made progress and do not have any loss of strength but am still not right 4 1/2 months later and need 5-6 advils a day to control the sciatica. Should I contine to do PT or consider surgery.

 
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

I had a severe herniation of L4/5. I am now 3.5 weeks post from a micro-discectomy. The surgery went well and I seem to be recovering just fine. If advil is controlling the pain stick with the PT and use other types of therapy. Most people with severe herniations may require pain meds. So if you are comfortable with advil don't change. The meds can open up other problems. I saw a neurosurgeon after about 5/6 months of no results from PT and other meds. You may want to post in the "Back Problems" section. There are many people with your problem on that particular section of this board. I have a thread detailing my progress after surgery there. Check it out if you like and good luck.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:34 AM   #3
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

I also had a large herniation, and went through 6 months of PT, the pain improved, but this does not fix the herniation. I recommend you see a neuro surgeon. I saw 2 so I had 2 opinions. I knew after 6 months that I was not getting any better, and knew PT was not going to fix the herniation, just help with the pain, which is exactly what both neuros told me. I did have surgery, and am happy I did. If they suggest you try epidural injections next, before surgery, do not have these without making sure you talk to the doc in person and are numbed and sedated for this. I have also had 2 of these, I barely felt or remember a thing, but they did nothing for me. They help with bulging disks, but not really for large herniations. You should be doing very well by now after months of PT,but with a herniation, a person only improves to a point, because it does nothing to help the disk problem, so I would see a neuro. surgeon, and then if you want, see another for a 2nd opinion. If yo do have surgery, please remember that it can take 6 months to completely heal, you will feel very good on days and can overdo it very easy, and end up laid up again in pain, so remember to take it easy no matter how great you feel. Also, ask your doc to make sure you are numb when you wake up from surgery, I didnt know any better and didnt do that, so when I woke up I was in alot of pain, but in the end, am glad I had it. After 6 months of PT, I still could not stand or walk for 5 min. without pain. I am pain free as far as that area goes now. Good luck to you.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

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Originally Posted by Kasey443 View Post
I also had a large herniation, and went through 6 months of PT, the pain improved, but this does not fix the herniation. I recommend you see a neuro surgeon. I saw 2 so I had 2 opinions. I knew after 6 months that I was not getting any better, and knew PT was not going to fix the herniation, just help with the pain, which is exactly what both neuros told me. I did have surgery, and am happy I did. If they suggest you try epidural injections next, before surgery, do not have these without making sure you talk to the doc in person and are numbed and sedated for this. I have also had 2 of these, I barely felt or remember a thing, but they did nothing for me. They help with bulging disks, but not really for large herniations. You should be doing very well by now after months of PT,but with a herniation, a person only improves to a point, because it does nothing to help the disk problem, so I would see a neuro. surgeon, and then if you want, see another for a 2nd opinion. If yo do have surgery, please remember that it can take 6 months to completely heal, you will feel very good on days and can overdo it very easy, and end up laid up again in pain, so remember to take it easy no matter how great you feel. Also, ask your doc to make sure you are numb when you wake up from surgery, I didnt know any better and didnt do that, so when I woke up I was in alot of pain, but in the end, am glad I had it. After 6 months of PT, I still could not stand or walk for 5 min. without pain. I am pain free as far as that area goes now. Good luck to you.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Hi again, I would love to visit more with you. I am leaving for an appt. and won't be back till later. Did the neuros suggest surgery to you? Even after 2 neuros telling me I needed surgery, I still put it off lol, but wish I hadn't. I do know though, that they both told me nothing else would fix it, and it made sense. After 6 months of PT, chiro. and epidural injections, I was still limping, my left foot was turned out, and I couldn't stand long at all, I knew I should have been well after all that time. Please write again and I will reply when I can.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:24 AM   #6
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Thanks. I saw 2 neurosurgeons..............1 said I need to move forward and the other said lets continue to see how your therapy goes as you are passsing all of my strength tests and that at the end of the day it comes down to a quality of life question. How active do you want to be.

Would love to discuss further to compare situations/progress before you elected to move forward with surgery.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:58 PM   #7
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Hello - if you have a low level medication like NSAID working and it controls your pain - and all other things look good, don't do the surgery. There are studies that show about 5 years out that majority of surgery, non surgery patients are about the same in how they feel. In complex cases the surgeons will recommend surgery, but if they feel it is safe for you to not do it, then why go through that! FYI - you might discuss a prescription NSAID anti-inflammatory medication like Mobic (gentler on the stomach) and is known to work very well on patients who respond well to ibuprofen.

 
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:01 PM   #8
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Thanks! Much appreciated.

 
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:22 AM   #9
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Well here is my experience, I realized I had been living around my back and pain, for 6 months, and realized there was no way I wanted to live like that for the rest of my life. I was told by the neuros that because of all the PT I had, anti-inflammatory meds, chiro. treatments and injections, that I was as good as I was ever going to get, and it was up to me to decide the quality of life I wanted to live, and I already knew it was not quality. It was dealing with it every minute of every day and appointments and pain and keeping me from doing the things I normally did, simple things, like walking for awhile, shopping, going out, bowling, about everything. So you will know when you have had enough, after PT, meds, epidurals etc. Once you have tried every non invasive thing you can, and you are still having problems, then you know you can't live like that for the next 40 years.

Last edited by Kasey443; 02-11-2010 at 10:24 AM.

 
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Many thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you are feeling better.

I am making progress and see improvement but I am still not where I want to be but that has motivated me to work harder.

I guess over the next 60-90 days I will know how to proceed.

Went for another MRI today and look forward to reviewing the results and if the situation has improved.

Best!

JJ

 
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:21 AM   #11
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Hi again, the surgery worked wonders for me. I have other back problems, but that has nothing to do with that area. I got to a point in PT where I just quit progressing and getting better at all. This went on for a few months, then I went to my chiro. and he said I should have been way better and done with treatment by then, he sent me back to my regular doc, who sent me to a neuro. There is a huge difference in a bulging disc, and a herniated one. A bulge can be treated with noninvasive techniques. A herniated one is where the inside of the disc ( like a balloon filled with water ) has burst and spilled out, when it is a large herniation, which is what I also had, all the treatments can help with the pain, but they don't really fix the disc. The injections work well for bulging discs, and so does PT, but all these did for me is help control pain and prolong me putting off surgery. I would also give it a couple of more months if I were you, to see if you improve more. Also, did the neuro suggest epidurals for you? These injections shrink the disc, taking pressure off the nerves causing the pain. In a couple of months, you will know if you are sick of living around this daily. If you stop improving in PT and notice you are at a standstill after a couple of months, then I would look into surgery. This is what happened to me. I tried harder even then, to do everything, but my herniation was just too severe. So good luck to you and I hope you see some improvement within a few months.

 
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:21 PM   #12
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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 Kasey443 View Post
Hi again, the surgery worked wonders for me. I have other back problems, but that has nothing to do with that area. I got to a point in PT where I just quit progressing and getting better at all. This went on for a few months, then I went to my chiro. and he said I should have been way better and done with treatment by then, he sent me back to my regular doc, who sent me to a neuro. There is a huge difference in a bulging disc, and a herniated one. A bulge can be treated with noninvasive techniques. A herniated one is where the inside of the disc ( like a balloon filled with water ) has burst and spilled out, when it is a large herniation, which is what I also had, all the treatments can help with the pain, but they don't really fix the disc. The injections work well for bulging discs, and so does PT, but all these did for me is help control pain and prolong me putting off surgery. I would also give it a couple of more months if I were you, to see if you improve more. Also, did the neuro suggest epidurals for you? These injections shrink the disc, taking pressure off the nerves causing the pain. In a couple of months, you will know if you are sick of living around this daily. If you stop improving in PT and notice you are at a standstill after a couple of months, then I would look into surgery. This is what happened to me. I tried harder even then, to do everything, but my herniation was just too severe. So good luck to you and I hope you see some improvement within a few months.

 
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:24 PM   #13
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

You make several good points in your response.

I plan on continuing PT and will perhaps suggest another epideral over the next month to help reduce the herniation size.

Today was a good day as only popped 2 advils.

Keeping the faith.

All the best to you.

JJ

 
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:29 AM   #14
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Re: how long does it take for a large herniated disc (L4/L5) in the back to heal

Thankyou, I also forgot to tell you after all my treatments, when I did go see the 1st neuro., he checked me by having me lay flat on my back, and he raised one leg at a time by my ankle, straight up, one was fine, the herniated side produced alot of pain, I guess this is a simple test anybody can do. The first injection I had did nothing except make my symptoms move from side to side to each leg. The 2nd injection did nothing so I refused the 3rd.

 
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:35 AM   #15
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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 Kasey443 View Post
Thankyou, I also forgot to tell you after all my treatments, when I did go see the 1st neuro., he checked me by having me lay flat on my back, and he raised one leg at a time by my ankle, straight up, one was fine, the herniated side produced alot of pain, I guess this is a simple test anybody can do. The first injection I had did nothing except make my symptoms move from side to side to each leg. The 2nd injection did nothing so I refused the 3rd.

 
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