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  • L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

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    Old 12-28-2014, 11:45 PM   #1
    spinestruck
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    L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

    I had a fall two years ago that resulted in disk herniation at L5/S1. The pain after almost around a year subsided and i thought its gone but then again started again. I have pain in my calves and feet and sometime in hips as well.

    I have been to neurosurgeons, some suggested surgery and others were like you dont need surgery at all. As per the ones that didn't advise surgery, exercise was my way to recovery. With the anti inflammatory medicine and some multi vitamins i continued my life with a change in job, then leaving that job due to its requirement of physical work and now to almost jobless situation. The thing is after two years i feel i am at crossroads to have surgery or not. Doctors are conflicting in their own way and i don't blame them as each one has and can have their own opinion. But the thing is my healing, my recovery. I am almost 30, just when i was about to have a good promotion, start earning good money, get married, help my parents/family/people around me, be a part of their solutions to problems, contribute to society, excel in basketball; there came sciatica and it grounded me( I believe each one dealing with spine injuries has their own background).

    The anti inflammtory medicines after some time started to have a reverse effect on my stomach so i stopped them. Despite the pain in legs and feet, i don't want my stomach to go wrong way. In past 4-5 months i have avoided them at all and am only taking multi vitamins(is it good or bad to leave anti inflammatory medicines, do they help in disc healing or only reduces the pain ).

    A friend of mine had a surgery and he is doing good now. Reading posts here I see every one had different outcome, some went great and other had negative effects of surgery. I am confused, the prospects of having a pain free life encourages me for surgery and then looking at some people experiences it feels its better to be in current state and wait for healing rather than an unsuccessful surgery.

    I am doing stretching ,strengthening back and core muscles exercises but im not so sure if they are helping at all. Just for reference I have attached my spine MRI just to get a comparison from other members how do it compares to their scans. Does this herniation asks for a surgey. This MRI was done two years.

    http://img125.imagevenue.com/loc550/th_771505299_MRI_122_550lo.jpg

    My MRI report was, I have deleted the parts where its findings are normal.

    CLINICAL DETAIL: Low back pain with left sciatica.
    Multiplanar and multisequential imaging of the lumbar spine done.

    OBSERVATION:
    Vertebrae are normal in height and alignment. Normal marrow signal in the vertebral
    body and posterior elements.
    There is straightening of the lumbar spine, which may be due to muscle spasm.
    [B]L5-S1 disc[/B]: Has loss of T2 signal, dehydration and there is diffuse disc bulge with a small posterocentral protrusion, which is indenting the thecal sac and there is
    narrowing of the left neural foramina in its inferior aspect. There is also indentation on the bilateral pre-exiting nerve roots.

    IMPRESSION:
    Discal degenerative changes at L5-S1 indenting the thecal sac and bilateral pre-exiting
    nerve roots. No disc herniation or bulge elsewhere. Rest of the lumbar disc reveal normal
    T2 signal.

    It would be great to have comments from other members how did they decide to have surgery or not, the reasons they weighed for or against to decide a surgery.


    Thanks.

    Last edited by Administrator; 12-29-2014 at 08:39 AM.

     
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    Old 12-30-2014, 07:38 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

    Welcome to the board. What conservative treatments have been tried? Did you have a course of physical therapy? Did you have epidural steroid injections? Usually conservative treatments are tried and have failed prior to considering surgery.

    If you can get by with a micro discectomy surgery, that may resolve your symptoms. But do be aware that back surgery rarely returns the back to the way it was prior to injury or onset of symptoms. As one nurse inquired of me: "Do people ever have just ONE back surgery?"

     
    Old 12-31-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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    Re: L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

    Yeah I had a course of physical therapy but what i felt was that it didn't help me that significantly. I do stretching and back strengthening daily. The stretching exercises not always but sometimes decrease the level of pain felt. A question, do stretching exercises help in healing the disk as well or they only relieve the pain. And no i hadn't had epidural steroid injection.

    As you have mentioned that back surgery doesn't always help is the reason i have avoided surgery for two years. But i think, what I have concluded now, is that my quality of life has not been that what it was before, and i know after back surgery it cant be the same what it was. But i am hopeful it would be better than the current level. That being said, i would still wait for at least a couple of months to see how it goes and then decide for it.

    I can manage pain most of the times but sometimes its unbearable. Its in those times where i think of having the surgery. But then i start to have negative thoughts about surgery. Thats when to think to hold on and wait for it to heal naturally. Its a confusion and I hope meanwhile in my confusion the disk heals up.

    Thanks teteri66 for replying.

     
    Old 12-31-2014, 09:36 PM   #4
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    Re: L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

    If you know you do not have instability in that segment, a spondylolisthesis, you might want to get a copy of "Treat Your Back" by Robin McKenzie. He is a physio from New Zealand who developed a system for diagnosing and treating disc pain. Many people have had luck healing a herniated disc using his program as outlined in his book.

    I would think your spine doctor would want to try a series of epidural steroid injections. That is usually the next step prior to contemplating surgery.

     
    Old 01-01-2015, 03:59 PM   #5
    vprice1057
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    Re: L5/S1 Disk herniation, On/off pain,Whether to have surgey or not

    Hi, I have decided to go forward with a L3-S1 Lumbar Decompression & Fusion. I have Sciatica, nerve damage, arthritis, slipped disc and herniated disc - I know, a lot of going on. I am an older adult and quite frightened by the upcoming surgery. I am in quite a bit of pain that is no longer responding to medication (Vicodin) as it was. My life is at a standstill as it is very hard for me to do most things without help. The doctor does not really think physical therapy will help me and I cannot do it anyway due to the pain and my inability to get about. If anyone can offer any suggestions re this surgery, I would appreciate it. Oh, I have had 3 epidural injections with no help at all. Thanks. all.

     
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