Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Young, Confused, In Pain, and would appreciate advice!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello! I am new to this website, but not new to the effects of back pain. I have suffered from constant pain daily for the past 7 years. I am only 21 now. All the orthopedic doctors every told me was to do exercises and take pain medication and anti inflammatory pills. I was told that I had IT band problems and tendinitis. I have recently gone to a chiropractor who has helped so much with my pain. He asked me to get a MRI. I am now told that I have a 11 mm bulge in my L5 S1 disc. To be honest my neurosurgeon appointment is next week, but I was too impatient to post for advise. I am told by my chiropractor that the bulge is hitting my nerves and is the root to all my pain. I am fairly confident in my ability to recover because I am young and healthy, but I have never been so scared in my life. Is there any advice that you can give me? I would like the blunt truth. No matter the negative message. Should I see a neurosurgeon or a orthopedic dr? Should I try to work with a chiropractor or go into surgery? Is this something I will have to suffer through my whole life or is there an answer? Thank you for reading this and I hope you take time to help answer my questions and hopefully calm some nerves and make a good decision.


  • After you try all the conservative treatments(sounds like you have already), then you might start considering surgery.

    You can see both types of spine surgeons. You can see as many as you like.

    A chiro is not going to be able to fix that buldge.

    No you do not have to be in pain all your life. Many people fix their problem and go on to lead active, normal, productive lives.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I used a orthopedic surgeon for my back surgery. 11m sounds like a big bulge to me. you shouldn't have to live in pain the rest of your life. Your young and its only the 1 disk. Surgery is painful and its not a easy decision to make. I chose surgery to lessen my pain and the gamble paid off. I am in less pain but not 100 percent of the pain has vanished. Anything was better then before my surgery. My surgeon said it takes pain to relieve pain and he was right. Each day improves after surgery if you listen to your doctor and do what he says. There are many opinions and people who have experienced spine operations with lots of knowledge but the surgeon is the person who went to medical school and knows about your situation the best. I would take his advice first and try not to worry so much that will increase your pain. If you have access to a pool get in it and just walk with the water above the L5 S1 spot, that will take some pain away. good Luck!!!
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Hi, I'm sorry you have such pain at such a young age, but it's not a forever thing. The best kind of surgeon is probably a spine surgeon from a teaching hospital. They are pretty reliable. Remember, when you teach, you learn even more. You can find relief, and it doesn't take long.
  • Is the "bulge" 11 mm anterior to posterior AP (front to back or more important dimension)? since you can have a 2mm AP bulge that measures 20mm wide-so what). If it's a 11mm AP it is likely a herniation (layman or older medical term with a protrusion or extrusion being more accurate terms). Check with your medical doctor (NS or ortho who specializes in spine and check the radiologist report-these docs should understand the terminology). Please also read my LUMBAR DISK HERNIATION REVIEW 1. A bulge is usually not significant unless you have underlying spinal stenosis. Your back pain may or may not be related to the disc or the disc may only be part of the story. Great if your chiro work has been successful but if somebody is talking about a disc causing you problems I personally would say it's time to see an MD. IMO- "bulge" "smulge"- so common in asymptomatic people that they're nearly normal except in your case being so young. So see a doctor.

  • Thank you for all the advise. I will update you on the information I receive from my neurosurgeons.
  • Great! I hope you get some good medical advice from your doctors. Remember, just because you see a surgeon doesn't mean you need surgery. I personally wouldn't be to pushy for the surgical option. See what he/she says first. I was actually relived to hear my doc really focussing on conservative (non-surgical) therapy before the surgery word came up. I've had 3 surgeries (discectomies) but my decision was based on very acute/rapid specific symptoms (radicular more than back pain), quickly progressing weakness, very large (>15 mm AP diameter herniations on MRI which correlated to my symptoms),and the need to get back to my work (self-employed) as fast as possible. Your better off if you can avoid surgery IMO.
  • be able to get away with a smaller surgical procedure such as a microdiscectomy instead of something like a fusion. Since you are young and apt to heal faster, that might be an option the doc offers you. I felt like dancing after my micro -- unfortunately, I'm old and already had too many problems to make it be effective for very long. It might be a good option for you. See what your doc has to say. I hope they can help you without too much fuss.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • My bulge was 11mm at L5 S1 too! I am 35. My disk is collapsed and I've been told I'm inoperable. I had a microdiskectomy to remove the bulge. It did help for 2 months, but all the old pain started coming back. I was told by my surgeon that the disk was completely collapsed and needed a fusion. He preferred the "front" approach and told me to lose weight first. I then had to switch docs, and the 2nd one told me that he wanted to try an epidural first. I had the epi which didn't help. Then we moved out of state, and the 3rd doc I saw told me I would not have a good out come with surgery and that he wouldn't operate on me.

    Your situation could be totally different. A microdiskectomy might be just fine for you. However, with a bulge that big, you have probably lost a lot of disk material.

    I could barely walk before my microd. I could not lift my right leg, and my back hurt constantly. I started to lose some sentation and develop muscle weakness. I had to have the microd before there was permanent nerve damage.

    Good luck with your appointment. By the way, I saw my chiropractor for 2 years before I herniated. He was very helpful, and was also the one in my case to recommend I get a MRI. (Our stories are so similar :) ). Once we discovered the herniation he wouldn't touch me. :) He said that it was beyond anything he could help me with.

    Take care!

  • You are young. You have that going in your favor. I first recommend that you stop seeing your chiropractrator for now. (until you find out what exactally is wrong & to insure that he/she does no harm to the injured area).
    I am glad to hear that you have an appointment with a nerologist. Also that you are getting a MRI. MRIs' do not show everything, but it is the most common start & form of test done to look for issues of the spine.
    A 11mm buldge is rather large. I would make certain to ask if it is herniatted, if the fluid will re-absorb with time. How long you can wait without having surgery.(If surgery is needed I would strongly advise the pro disc fusion, because it pivots. Allowing the body to move. The straight fusions, keep your spine straight so you can not move that area, putting great pressure on the discs below them, which usually leads to complications later on on the discs underneeth, causing that disc to need fusion 5 to 10 years later. ( All this is info I ahve gathered from 14.4 years of speaking to people who have had this done.)
    I also strongly advise do not jump into any surgery, get many opinions from many doctors. See many nero sergeons as well. Do a lot of research. See how you body is responding. Ask about as many non-invasive treatmentments as you can.
    Best of luck to you. Remember, You have youth on your side. ;-)
  • I just received a personal copy of my MRI report. It sounds/is worse than I had anticipated. I do not think there are any chances of conservative options. I just got a new marketing job and have one year left in school. The only chance I have of keeping a normal life after surgery is if I can get it done over winter break and ask off of work. If you have personally had back surgery how long did it take you to be able to walk? I would have 3 weeks before having to walk into a classroom.

    Here is my MRI report:
    L5-S1- There is a large posterior disc extrusion which measures 11 mm in AP dimension. Extrusion lies adjacent to and slightly posteriorly displaces the right descending S1 nerve root. There is overall moderate canal stenosis from the disc herniation with partial effacement of the ventral thecal space. Neural foramen are patent.
  • Don't take your MRI report and start making yourself feel you have no choice. Only a good surgeon can look at the films and make the determination. The report is done by a radiologist. I will not comment on your report since I am not a qualified individual to do so. You could have the same report as someone else and the two of you have totally different symptoms.

  • My surgery was June 10th, and it was 13mm. I could've gone back to work in two weeks. Please keep in mind that sitting could possibly cause you a problem. You'd need to be able to stand up and walk around a little every 30 minutes or so. I really didn't have an option for surgery because my disc had disintegrated and it was vertebrae rubbing vertebrae. I attribute the ease of my surgery to the fact that it was an ALIF (incision in the abdomen). My back muscles didn't have to be cut. Maybe you can avoid surgery, but I would follow my doctor's orders. Good luck.

  • I had 2 herniated disks taken care of at the same time and went back at 3 weeks. My restrictions were to get up every half hour and take a five minute walk. No lifting or bending period until my doctor said so. If you must reach the floor I was to squat only. No bending the back!! They will give you pain meds but I doubt you can take them and go to work and school. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
Sign In or Register to comment.