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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi I am a new memeber. I have had sciatica for about 10 months now. It started when I was twisting and lifting at the same time. Initially it started as excruciating pain for about two weeks and with medication it has become somewhat managable. Over this time I have had many flair-ups and alot of muscle atropy in my left leg.

My MRI shows that I have a bulge in my disc btween L3 and L4.

I have tried pain mediacations, physcial therapy, physical rehab exercises, spinal injections, spinal decompression and still ten months later I have pain burning down my leg and at the bottom of my foot. I can not even walk free of pain.

I have seen two different doctors one who says that I simply have to tough it out and eventually it will go away, and the second who says that the only way I am going to heal is by surgery.

My question is, has anyone been in this situation? I mean, how long does one have to wait to see if your body can heal itself? Can I have hope that I will heal on my own?


  • Larry, I've been dealing with leg pain for 7-8 years....epidural injections worked for most of that time..now they are no longer effective....I went to the #1 spine Dr. here in San Diego (at UCSD) and after looking at my MRI he feels a procedure called a Laminoforaminotomy (Foraminotomy for short) will relieve my 24/7 pain (sometimes mild, sometimes killer)...I get the procedure the end of March...check my posting of a few days ago...there are others that have had success with the procedure....I will post results after my operation...good luck...I know just how you feel...bummer!
  • Hey Woodsdad

    I hope your procedure works. I have a couple of questions for you. Is that procedure for a bulging disc and did you lose muscle mass in your leg with your sciatica.
  • Larry.....I have had some muscle loss in my legs (especially around the calves) but I can't really pin it on the sciatica...could just be a shrinking problem due to old age!....I don't know if this procedure is what you need....I think it's just to "free up" the pinched nerve....I suggest you go to Google and type in "animations of minimally invasive lumbar surgery"...then look for the one that most describes your problem.....good luck!
  • The important thing is to find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist whom you trust and feel comfortable with. Sometimes this takes some shopping around until you find the right fit. I liked a couple of my doctors, but didn't like the treatment they were recommending. When there is a difference in advice from the doctors you are consulting with it makes the selection process a bit more difficult.

    Even if you decide to wait on having surgery, it is important to have a surgeon in mind and "lined up" just in case your situation develops into an emergency.

    It is difficult to know at what point you should throw in the towel and agree to surgery. Doctors vary in their advice. Some say if a disc hasn't cleared up after about 6 months, chances are that you will need surgery. But I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. It depends on what the patient has done to treat the problem conservatively, whether he has perhaps aggravated the problem during this period of treatment, etc.

    I would suggest you find one more specialist and have one more consultation. If you have seen a neurosurgeon, try an orthopedic spinal surgeon, or even a physiatrist that specializes in spinal disorders. Be sure they are all independent of one another. You don't want to just see physicians from the same clinic or spine center.

    Depending on your problems, you are probably looking at a laminectomy, disectomy or a fusion, if there is instability. You can find tons of information about all these procedures on the internet...including films of the surgeries, if you are so inclined!!
  • Hey gwennie

    Thanks for the advice. I know for sure that I have reagrivated my injury on many occasions. As a matter of fact, each time I had therapy and it came to core or strength building I reinjured or at least aggrivated my injury. That is a good idea maybe I will get a third opinion.
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