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Bulging disc 3 years on...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Lower Back Pain
I suffered a bulging disc about 3 years ago, it tok me two years to finally get an MRI Scan here due to our health system which showed a very small localised bulge which has been pressing on the leg nerve. Although the pain is by no means debilitating, after 3 years of back pain, a pulsating/ twitching calf muscle on my right leg and an avoidance odf almost anything that involves sitting down, i have been reading up on the surgery to remove part of the disc that is pressing against the leg nerve. But i have read that the longer you leave it, the less likely a positive outcome. Is it likely after 3 years that the nerve is simply damaged and will never heal, and these leg twitches and cramps i would continue to experience even after surgery.? I have tried severla physiotherapists and chiropractors and none have made any improvement at all, in fact some made it worse. I simply feel that as a 37 year old, i am avoiding things and thinking like a 67 year old and its very upsetting. Any advice.?


  • hi nick?
    if you can manage with the pain .then TAKE MY VERY GOOD ADVICE DO NOT HAVE SURGERY PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!.now you must be thinking what is he on about or is he a nutter?? well no i am not .i have had 2 surgeries back in 1996/7 i had a laminectomy at L4/5 i had leg pain and back ache before the opration ..it was bad but i could still do stuff like work drive have sex.then as time went on things got worse so much so that in 2007 nov ..i got out of bed and S1 went!! back to hospital for another big operation .its been over 12 months and i have just been told that the pain that i have will not get any better!!..i am very upset as i am only 42.married .i am on oxycodone {a very strong pain killer } i can sleep more than 3 hours i can't work /have sex i can't even wash myself properly!! can you imagine that?? you and i are a similar age .i am in a mess i lay in my recliner all day i have gained weight i don't have a social life i have a lovely kind wife and a lovely home and car but i have poor health because of my pain.think long and hard my friend please if you want more info please contact me on
    i am in manchester uk
  • unclear how long it takes for nerves to be permanently damaged. For me, it was only 4 months. For others, they suffer for years, have surgery, and then their nerves fully recover.

    I had 3 surgeries in one year, but had the nerve damage prior to the 1st one. Each successive surgery was needed for back stability, but none helped or fixed the nerve pain.

    It is a really tough decision. I recommend you get multiple opinions, go with a doctor you really trust, and then follow your gut. Exhaust all conservative methods of treatment so you won't look back and have regret. I don't have any regret - it is what it is.

    Good luck and welcome to Spine Health!!

  • This is a copy of my post from another thread:

    Your back problems sound very similar in nature to my own. My bulging disks L3,4 & L4,5 (left side) and degenerative disease has caused pain, numbness and discomfort to come and go since about 2002 but with time the pain and leg numbness had become more persistent and severe. Two days ago I had laser surgery done in Florida which included PLD for the disks and DTA from L5 to S1. Its too early to give this surgery a definitive thumbs up of course but the day of my operation, and since, I've had no pain or numbness at all in the formerly affected areas. There is post op discomfort at the site of the incisions but its minor. If early indications persist, this operation will be a winner. So far so good

    This part is new:

    A testimonial, particularly one given by a recently operated on and enthusiastic patient (ME) isn't the sort of thing you should base any serious decision on. On the other hand, like you, I've spent several years too many enduring an ever increasing problem not solved by nonsurgical means. At this point I'm not 100% sure the surgery I had will continue to improve my situation as it appears to be at the moment. I am, however, 100% sure my situation would continue to deteriorate if I kept on doing nothing. At 37 years old you need to actively explore every available option. I'm a darn site closer to 67 than you are and there's no way I'd accept a situation like ours as inevitable.
  • Hello Everyone I am new here.I found you all trying to get more info about my back problems as the doctors, or at least in my case did not really tell me that much.I have been having leg pain and back pain actually on and off for years now. It was only recently when I literally could hardly get out of bed that I finally went to see a doctor about it. I have several problems going on. First xray shows my pelvis joint left leg is actually cockeyed as my doc put it. Left is higher than the right and has alot of arthritis in the joint causing the joint to sort of lock up on me at times. I guess because I have been favoring it unknowingly for so long it has caused my disks from 1-5 ro bulge and compress a nerve mri also showed a nerve sheath I guess is what it read. I have pain radiating down my leg especially the left and muscle jerks and spasms all the way to my toes at times.I know all of you know this is frustrating. The problem for me is my job.I am 36 but I work as a certified nursing assistant working on nursing degree. I am on my feet running practically for the 12 hour shifts I work 3 days a week mostly 3 in a row. I am required to lift patients and I work with 98% of my patients being over the age of 70 so it means helping them in and out of bed etc. I believe a recent problem I had with a patient legs giving out on me caused this severe flare up. I also no doubt am sure that my profession has only added to the problem over the 10 years I have been doing this. What I can't get any doctor to clarify is if I continue to do this work will it make my back worse over time. It is required that I lift. It is not an option. I would have to completely do something different and that scares me as I love my job. If there are any CNAs or nurses out there that are going through same thing I would love your advise. I start physical therapy next week. I am off work right now on a no lift rest and the hospital can't use me unless I can.
  • thanks for all the comments and advice (except the last post..which should have its own thread.!)....it is difficult to know what to do, i read some real horror stories and it and hear success stories too. At the moment i have good mobility, hiking regularly and have just started some gentle cycling again....so its not really a lower back pain issue that has frustrated me...its just this twitching/ crmaping calf on my right leg. When its cramps its agonising....as i am sure some of you have experienced...i think while i am stable at this stage i wouldnt pursue surgery, but if it ever slipped againand i was really immobile as i once was then i would look to that laser surgery in the USA, theres no point pursuing anything in this country as it takes forever to get anywhere...

    I thank everyone for their advice. Has anyone found anything more of a help for the disc.? I was given loads of stretching exercises from the last physio but all they do is make me ache more. Its hard to know now whether the ahcing are muscles that havent done anything for the past few years or its strain on the disc. No one can give me definitive things what i should and shouldnt too, one chiro said avoid swimming, one says do it, etc. Who do you listen to.?
  • I'd be concerned about too many surgical procedures...

    I heard about a treatment called Vax-D that might be beneficial. It's not chiropractic, it's not traction, and there's no surgery involved.

    If you want more info, try googling "VAX-D Chicago." It's FDA approved, but only offered at a select number of places. I've found the website for American Back Center in Chicago to be really informative.

    Good luck!
  • I am one year since I herniated L5-S1 and bulging L4-L5 with a L5 compression---I had three opinions, one being spinal fusion, and two experts that said ,
    just treat it with pain management, and PT, one year later I still have back pain, but nowwhere what it was, I use a back brace anytime I lift, I walk two miles a day, even through it sparks up the nerve--I REFUSE SURGERY, b/ cause I feel the body will heal, the back takes forever-- and I feel very frustrated that I go to bed and wake up with the same pain, but I refuse surgery, everyone is different, and you can go crazy listening to those that have surgerys that go well and those that are worse off---I will take my chances that with time it will resolve on it own, it,s a mental thing, try to believe that your body will heal in time ,unless you feel there are no other options and you canot stand the pain and the limitations, and have had at least two opinions from Dr,s you trust, if you have a Dr who hesitates about surgery , don,t do it , take pain killers and stretch--,walk,keep active , and give it one to three years, just my take ,
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