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Malpractice or just bad advice? Surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Have a herniated disc (L5) that is bulging out an down. Never really got the numbers but it is causing pain down my left leg and into my foot. Two doctors have recommended surgery but I started with an Epidural injection this last Monday. Received enough relief that I can now sleep on my side and walk and stand for short intervals, however any attempts to walk or sit are painful. Will receive next shot on Monday and am hoping for more relief.
I am taking 4mg Dialautin/hydrocordone? and it seems to dull the pain, but the new doctor says he wont prescribe it and is giving me 7.5mg Vicodin instead. Im also going to try clebrex as a nurse friend suggested it may help with the inflamation. Any advice is appreciated.
As far as a Partial microdisectomy should I move forward if the shots dont give me considerable relief? Im a 38yr old male in relatively good shape my chiropractor says Im young enough to recover and be OK.
Will read other posts to see some answers?
Now on to how this happened. I had very mild pain in my left leg for about two moths finally decided to see a doctor who took an xray looked at me for 5 minutes and said you have herniated disc and "it will go away in a few months"!
He said I should get therapy. I went to one session of therapy and the pain got worse. They said it was part of the treatment. After the third session I went and saw a chiropractor whom immediately ordered me an MRI. The day of my MRI I could not walk or do anything but lay on my back or stomach. I suffered my way to the MRI to find out about the herniation.
Was my Doctor at fault? Should I have been given therapy? I don't really want to sue anybody I just want to know if the therapy worsened my herniation.



  • I think that PT might have worsening your herniation since they might show you wrong moves. In this case it is PT fault. I saw so many different PT in my life and they are NOT equal. Even in the same place. What kind of excercises they made you to do? Rule of thumb: if you have pain WHILE doing the move during PT - stop it immediatly, it is not good for you at this time.
    You Dr prescribed you standard concervative treatment. X-ray does not show herniation, however herniation is VERY EASY to spot during clinical exam - few simple tests and the question if you symptoms increase during sneeze/cough will do it. For example when I saw my dr he ordered MRI just to confirm his findings, he diagnosed me right to the level of the spine affected after 5 min of clinical exam.
    As for your surgery question - I can not advise you. I chose non-surgery and it is a looooong recovery time. For example. I initially had to use the walker to get around the house and it took 3 weeks to stop using it. And I was able to walk/stand more than 20 min at a time after 4 weeks. So, it is very long time. It is 3.5 month now since the herniation and I still have trouble sitting. Walking/standing is OK now. I also have nerve damage which I am not sure at this time is permanent or not since I see improvement but they are not complete. Vicodin is good for me unless I have to think :)
  • Thanks for the quick response. The Osteopathic? doctor. He didn't neccesarilly say he saw the herniation with Xray I think he just saw from my clinical exam that I had a problem.
    Since my post I spoke with the doctor and they conformed what you all say that they had me on conservative treatment.

    So when I went to the PT for the first time they had me lay on my back and checked my hip alignment they essentially checked to see my ankle alignment. They pulled my feet to kind of even them out.
    But the biggest thing they had me do was stretch my hamstring by lying on my back and pulling my leg up straight with a strapand holding for 20 sec and repeating 5x each. This gave me mild pain (similar to the level I felt before I saw the DR). They also would bend your lower leg in 90' and pull across to your other shoulder. same repetitions.
    They also had me tuck my knees up and rock them from side to side for as long as was comfortable. They then massaged, iced and electro-stimmed my back.

    Ill add that during most all of this I could sit comfortably. I work as an editor and often sit for 6-8hours a day. So when I sat the pain would subside. However when I got up to walk the pain re-imerged and the leg was difficult to walk on.

    They informed me to stretch at home and I did but with little success.

    Well the chiropractor I had somehow did and I am glad he did because the morning I was scheduled to go I could barely walk without excruciating pain. I wanted to do the ER but knew that the MRI was more important. Im going to try the Epidural shots and see what effect they have. Ill make a decision after the third shot. Its a week today that I have been pretty much layed up. I tried to drive but it was very painful sitting upt o work is out of the question.
  • Even though you probably feel like you've been in pain forever, you are still relatively early in the process. Most surgeons will not consider surgery until all conservative treatments have been tried and there has been no resolution of pain for six months. Obviously there are some emergency situations where the "six month rule" does not apply, but, in most cases, you are not considered a candidate for surgery prior to this passage of time.
  • My personal opinial after seeing 3 PT for disk herniation that the excercise with knee bending is a no-no during herniation. Everything that involves flexon movements is bad for the disk. Instead they should have given you back extension excercises - goggle Mckenzie method (by the way you can try doing them at home now. I felt immediate relive after the first extension session, however if you do not feel relive in leg pain, stop doing them. I did mine every 2 hours and still doing them every 2 hours every day, They produced more pain in the back but they got rid of my leg pain which is OK according to my PT, they suppose to 'centralize' the pain). Hamstring stretch is also very painfull during herniation, it should have been done after you started to heal, otherwise it is very painful.
  • I think PT is just somewhere people get sent when they can't get real treatments. Medicaid pays for PT.

    I have a disc (L-4 L-5) That is almost completely gone. The bones are rubbing on each other and you can see on the MRI that the bones are starting to look jaggedy where they rub. One is on top of the other with hardly anything in between. I know what I am looking at when I look at the MRI and it makes me cringe.

    These doctors are STILL trying to tell me to go to PT! I have been there before several times. I was told "It is SUPPOSED to hurt...that means its working" Why would i want to put myself in more pain? Why would I want to got to PT 3 times a week and feel like I'm going to throw up or pass out every time and not be able to walk the next day? something seems very wrong with it.

    I just don't trust any doctors anymore.
  • The other day when I did attempt to drive I made my way to Sports Authority and bought the suspension table/ inversion table? Its about $300. I tried it and it didn't seem to bother me. Hanging seems to relieve the pain slightly. No worse no better. Chiro says it cant hurt. PA at the back doctor says its 50/50.
    Is this type of thing good or bad?
    I tried a few of the Mckenzie stretches with the PT session particularly the one with your leg straight out on the chair (hamstring?)
    So if its only been a week should I really just be resting?

    Funny enough just talked to the PT he says stop stretching now because of the swelling but try to keep it up?!!! Light Hamstring stretching good or bad?
  • Is absolutely a necessity to stabilize a spine. Day after day, that's all it takes to help people with back pain and problems to conservatively manage their pain. Lying on your back while stretching the hamstrings and piriformis muscles is not something that normally aggravates or makes a herniation worse. It can irritate a trapped nerve, however since the pelvis is being kept in line with the spine and the load is off the spine, it normally won't make a problem worse.

    PT is not a cop out nor is it a place to send someone just because they can't get real treatment. PT is very important for training someone how to take care of their body, while aiding with some mild pain and muscle spasm relief.

    The doctor's job is to diagnose the problem. The PT's job is to evaluate the body to see what is weak and what is overcompensating. The PT makes recommendations on what exercises and stretches should help each individual. The PTA is then there to assist the individual in properly executing the assigned protocol. The individual is responsible for giving feedback to the PT and PTA so that if necessary, modifications can be made.

    The norm is that a 4 week usually 3 times a week PT schedule will be recommended with a follow up evaluation with the PT after the 4 weeks to determine if there is any change or improvement. Generally for those showing improvement, they are shown how to do a home exercise program and told to follow up if necessary.

    From reading your posts, it sounds like everyone is doing their best to treat you in the most standard conservative manner so that you can possibly avoid the need for long term pain meds and or surgery.

    Best of luck,

  • There is no such thing as Mckenzie stretches. Mckenzie excercises are back extensions (and few are flexon but they are for after acute period).

    Hamstring stretch on the chair is not good for acute period either since you might bend in a wrong way. You can try 'doorway stretch' insted, this way you will not hurt yourself.

    Try to go to different PT. You are not obligated to go to a specific place. Ask around for a good one. Also, the job of PT is not only to relive your pain this very moment but also to show you the way how to move safely so that you are not harming yourself by doing everyday things. For example, they should show you how to get from the bed, how to sit (may be using lumbar roll or towel), how to pick things from the floor etc etc.
  • After finding this site I feel much better about where I'm at and what to expect. I called both the Dr and the PT today to inform them of my situation. I feel like they were doing the right thing after listening to others on these forums.

    Hoping the constant icing and rest will at least allow me to walk and sit after my second epidural shot on Monday. Currently it is tough to sit or stand without nagging nerve pain in legs.

    Do you think this is a reasonable expectation to be able to walk drive and work. I sit a lot at work and do not have to do anything physical.
  • Yes, but patience is required.

    Most people end up having surgery for a herniated disc mainly because they are too impatient to wait it out. It is possible to recover from a herniated or ruptured disc without surgery but it takes a great deal of patience and attention to building up the muscles that stablize the spine, good body mechanics, avoiding activities that might aggravate the disc, etc. The healing is a VERY slow process.

    You are early in the process. Hopefully the ESIs will help and you will be able to return to your activities. If the process is rushed, the disc ends up reherniating or other problems arise.
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