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Old 09-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 45
brittsmom8 HB User
Re: Herniated Disc- Does it ever fully heal?

Originally Posted by at2395 View Post
I am a 24 year old male who herniated a disc in my lower back (L4-L5 region) about 14 months ago playing roller hockey. When it first happened I couldn't walk without a limp. The pain shot straight through my left glut and down my left leg.

A few months later, it healed to the point where I could walk without a limp and could participate in practically any physical activity without any pain. I resumed my recreational soccer, tennis, basketball, swimming, running, elliptical, you name it. Until this day I can and do play all of these sports on a regular basis. However, all is not well with my disc.

When my disc "healed" it never healed 100%. It kept getting better and better until it plateaued at around 90%. Here are the movements that trigger intense pain down my leg:

-Bending over to touch my toes while keeping my legs straight
-While sitting, touching my chin to my neck

These movements are especially noticeable right when I wake up in the morning. It has been almost a year and this hasn't gone away. I am thankful that it has not hindered my ability to perform any physical challenge but a few questions linger in the back of my mind:

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%.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Thanks in advance for any and all answers.
I just wanted to reply about your comment about Chiropractors. I just wanted to correct you on a couple of things. While Chiropractors are not MD's or DO's, they are Doctors. They have the same training as medical students. It is an alternative to prescription drugs and surgery. It is probably not for everyone, since some people may be more comfortable with conventional methods, but Chiropractic has kept me from getting surgery.

Also, medical doctors are recommending Chiropractic Physicians more and more. Both my MD and DO have recommended Chiropractic Physicians. So what you are hearing about Chiropractors is very outdated. Contrary to what some people believe, most Chiropractic Physicians do know what they are doing, just like most MD's and DO's know what they are doing.
I have had 2 herniated disks (L4/L5, L5/S1) with annular tears. I have also suffered from Sciatica. I have had some flair-ups over the years but then I go to my Chiropractor and I feel so much better. I will try the Alternative way before I have to have anything invasive. For me, Chiropractic Physicians are the way to go.
I think a lot of times, Chiropractic Physicians aren't looked upon as "real" doctors. When in fact they are "real" doctors. But the key is to find a good Chiropractic Physician. Mine has sent me to have MRI's over the years, and also EMG's. At times he has called my family doctor to prescribe meds for me. That is the key...Find one that works with traditional medicine. Good luck to you. I hope you find some relief!!