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What is worse? L5S1 or L4L5 herniations?

backman38bbackman38 Posts: 37
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

I've had the great opportunity to have a microdiscectomy on my L4-L5. I see more L5-S1 on this board. In fact I have two friends with the same condition. They seem to do well. I'm limited, overdo it from time to time and find that repetative twisting can and has done me in. I get some upper leg pain if I stand for long. But, I've read how some people go back to their sports and live normal lives. So does that occur more for one level thant the other or does it even matter?

Or simply put, is L5-S1 or L4-L5 worse?



  • I think it would be like what is worse, going through a Combine Left Foot First, or Right Foot First.
  • In a word, NO. More than 90% of lumbar disc problems are caused by L4-L5 (50%) or L5-S-1 (46.3%) so it really makes very little difference in outcome or recovery. Compression of the 5th lumbar nerve root happens most frequently.

    This is the part of the spine that carries the brunt of the spine's movement and motion. Also, the L5 nerve root has the largest diameter of the lumber nerves and the foramen where it exits the canal is more narrow than any other lumbar foramen...so you can see, there are good reasons why it is so commonly injured, squished, compressed, etc.
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