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Old 08-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: Herniated Disc- Does it ever fully heal?

1. Will this ever heal 100%? Like I said, I'm very thankful that I'm not incapacitated in any way but I would like to know if there is anything that can be done to get it back to 100% or if I should just live with the 90%. When you herniate a disc it can never "heal" to be the way it was before the herniation. The disc is compromised and you have to depend on what your symptoms are to guide you in how much this is affecting your quality of life.

2. Could this potentially get worse if I keep playing the sports I play? I am a very active recreational athlete and, luckily, I am able to play all of them without any ensuing pain. Will I pay for this in the long run? Essentially, what is the worst that could happen? The best thing to do is get an MRI and full evaluation by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon. They don't only do surgery but can fully evaluate to see how bad the disc damage is and advise you what may help improve the symptoms and what may be best to maintain as little pain and damage as possible

3. Do I need surgery to fully correct this? Doctors have advised against this option, saying that I am young and it should heal on its own. Surgery often entails complications of scar tissue which could be disastrous in an area that sensitive. I would rather not go under the knife but may consider it if it means a return to normality.It depends. If you took everyone in the NYC subway today and made them all get MRI's there would be quite a few who have herniated discs but have no symptoms. So beyond the findings are what symptoms you have and how severe the symptoms are. In some people the herniated portion may not be impinging on the nerve or spinal cord, but in other people it can and thus be causing significant pain, weakness, numbness, etc.

4. Should I see a chiropractor? I have heard good and bad things about chiropractors. For one, their field of study is essentially a cult practice of medicine and doctors do not recommend it. However, I know specific patients who swear by them. Could a chiropractor even do anything in my case?Before seeing a Chiropractor get a full consult and examination by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon. Chiropractors do "adjustments" and if they adjust that level the wrong way or too much you could have more of an issue with more pain and other symptoms. If an OSS or NS agrees that chiropractic is an option then seek that out. If you do see a chiropractor you want him/her to want to take a look at your x-rays and MRI. When I first had neck symptoms I did go to a chiropractor for a few weeks. But once my MRI results were in he said that I was not a good candidate for further chiropractic care in that area of the neck and to see an OSS or NS.

Back problems at this young of an age are scary but I have been lucky thus far. I know that it could have been a lot worse but I also know that pro athletes have recovered and returned to action from similar ailments. I would like to know how they did that and if that type of rehabilitation is available for me.Pro athletes do have significant back (or other joint) problems and they fight through them. Sometimes they are given numbing medications to help them through practices and the games. There are quite a few that end up with surgeries in their 40's, 50's and beyond. Hulk Hogan had severe back pain and on his show they displayed his x-rays and it was easy to see the toll his profession had taken on his spine. He did have some surgery and he said he knows that he'll never be 100% but that's all part of the game when you are in pro sports or anything similar.
Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08