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1 year and 23 days since my rupture. Update.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
A little over a year ago I ruptured L4/L5. Large migrating protrusion. You can read my posts during that time. I opted to do nothing but take drugs. No pt. The first 6 months were hell. Lived on hydrocodone and 800mg ibuprofens. The second 6 months I liberally used motrins and never left home without them.

Today, I'm happy to say, I am 100% cured. It took a good year but I no longer have motrins in my pocket. Sciatica is completely gone. I can sit and sleep anyway I want. I'm completely free from thinking about it.

I'm in no way bragging because I remember the horrible pain. Nothing compared to it. Instead, I want to show there is an option to surgery. In my case, the body did heal itself. I'm planning on getting another MRI done so I can compare the images side by side. I couldn't find such a comparison on the web so it might be valuable for others to see.


  • That's excellent news. I used to work with a gentleman who did basically the same thing and had a very similar result. He experiences little reminders from time to time if he forgets to watch his body mechanics or sits at his desk for an extended period of time. Otherwise, he feels free of the burden that he was carrying around with him all the time.

  • Thanks for sharing, Firestorm. It's so great to hear of those kinds of successes. I'm on that plan too. ;)
  • Did you have any injections? Either way good luck and take care of yourself. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • No injections. I did nothing, except walk my dachshund a lot, for the first 6 months or so.
  • My husband ruptured L5-S1 about 17 years ago. Back then (you know, the good old days) they weren't so quick to recommend surgery. My husband got a number of opinions and each specialist advised him he was not a candidate for surgery "at this time."

    He went the conservative route, too. He had a course of PT and didn't take pain meds beyond the first three weeks. He gradually got better. He still does his "back exercises" faithfully every single morning. He resumed all previous activities with the exception of giving up playing ice hockey!! He uses good body mechanics and is aware of posture, keeps his weight normal, etc. He paces himself when he does jobs that are traditionally "bad for the back" like raking leaves, some gardening, shoveling snow...etc. After doing something that stresses the discs, he comes in, lies on the floor and lets the discs unload.

    He hasn't had any bouts since and he still runs six days a week, much to my chagrin!

    Thanks for posting your story. So many members feel they must have surgery if a disc is not better (all better!) in 3 months. Hope things continue on for you!!

  • Did you do anything specific, besides the drugs to make yourself better? I have a pretty good rupture at L5-S1 and the Orthopod I saw pretty much said injection, and then surgery. I can't believe that those are my only options.

    Also, is there any way to search these forums by user posts? I'd love to read the rest of your posts here, but using the regular search isn't really very helpful.
  • Firestorm, that's really inspiring! Did you ever have it so bad that you couldn't go to work and could hardly walk a few feet without pain?
    I guess you are careful to keep up with back stretches, and regular exercise. Do you find yourself being more careful than usual with lifting, and certain movements?
    discectomy in June 2010 - success! No sciatic pain, just some remaining numbness in foot. And I get charlie horses a lot.
  • Yup. During the first 6 months the pain was so bad I actually laughed a few times thinking, "Why are we even capable of this much pain? What's the point?" Once at McGuires in Destin I was in so much pain I stood up from the booth and couldn't move. I told people at work it felt like I stepped on a mine. Big toe, top of foot, side of calf, thigh, butt.

    But I'm stubborn. I didn't want anyone cutting on my back and I concluded if it's God's will for me to watch TV the rest of my life, then so be it. My personal choice.

    Stretching only hurt so I didn't. Now I'm back to running, weight lifting (modified routine), whatever I want.

    I don't get the search on this site. I don't know how to pull up posts based on login. Maybe a moderator can help.
  • Then you can check out your buddy's post. That's great yours healed Firestorm. My herniated disc has healed although I still have pain from DDD. I'm trying to walk everyday or starting at every other day. Thanks for the tips Firestorm and best wishes and keep us posted how you do. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I'm thrilled to hear your story.
    I would love to see your old posts.

    Can you give us a run-down of the symptoms?
    1-leg or both?
    Pain? What level?
    Numbness? If yes, where?
    Loss of strength or foot drop?

    In my case, I felt as if I had no choice - my nerve took a really hard hit and I feared losing bowel/bladder function and that was not something I could live with. I had several opinions that felt my situation was urgent and because of where I had numbness my 'quick' research had me believing my fear was valid.

    I've remain status quo after 2 surgeries at same level (minimallly invasive) and I'm inclined to go with my "now" surgeon who did the 2nd surgery but only after we waited. He is of similar mindset to you that people should really avoid back surgery if possible because it is a slippery slope.

    I'm very tickled to hear that you are doing well!
  • I'm surprised you can pin in down to 1 yr 23 days! When did you notice improvement? Was it steady improvement?
    discectomy in June 2010 - success! No sciatic pain, just some remaining numbness in foot. And I get charlie horses a lot.
  • I really love reading these stories. Thank you for posting it.
  • Firestorm, you can to to "View my posts" in the "my stuff" section on the left and find all of the threads you started. Find the one that you're talking about and then place the link here.

    (If you don't know how, when you get into the View my posts area and see the post you want, click on it. Then, click in the "http" bar at the top, select the whole thing in that bar, hit ctrl+c to copy it, then ctrl+v to paste it in the comment area.)

  • Thanks Cath111

    left leg
    Pain level was 9-10 for the first 2 month. Couldn't make it through the night. I'd limp around the house at 2am thinking I was screwed. Month 3 and 4 6-7. Months 5 and 6 dropped to 4-5. Then gradual improvement for the next 6 months. Today 0.
    I had numbness in shin area and top of foot.
    No loss of strength or dropfoot.

    One thing that got me through it was my ns told me an older guy came in with a full orbital protrusion, way worse than mine. The patient refused surgery and in 6 months the protrusion was completely gone.

    What was weird is I noticed improvement in spurts. Sudden improvements. The last one, a month ago, was realizing I didn't need motrin. One day I needed it, next day I didn't.

    I did alot of thinking and reading over that last year. I'm in no way a doctor, but from what i experienced and read, here's my theory. A year leading up to the rupture my lower back hurt, but I figured it was age. Typical waking up stiff and achey during the day. That was the buldge ready to burst.

    March of 2009, after lifting a bunch of furniture, L4/L5 finally ruptured. The nucleus rupture is like jello and mushes against the nerve. The pain is from physically touching and chemically reacting. The brain then attacks it as a foreign body using proteins. Since the pressure in the disk was relieved, no more squeezes out. My age was a benefit since my disk nuclei are naturally drying and contracting. Eventually the rupture dissolved.

    The trick for me was babying my back and letting my body do it's job. Sciatica took a year to clear. All I have now is occasional stiffness in my back. No pain. And the back pain I had a year leading up to the rupture is completely gone.

  • Thanks for giving the run down summary.
    It is very helpful.
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