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torn L4 & ruptured L5

dolphins3ddolphins3 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all I am new here,

I have been suffering with DDD/DJD for many years now, I have also had a slight bulge at the L5 until january 2nd 2010 when I bent over to get clothes out of the dryer and felt a pull then pop and a terrible pain that kept me from moving for several minutes. I thought that I had pulled a muscle so I did what anyone would do, I iced it and took tylenol then tried to work it out, still having so much pain I ignored it for a while then the tingling and numbness started in my right leg which I thought it was the nerve growing back from an ablation I had done 3 months prior, I finally went to my spine/pain specialist who sent me for the MRI which revealed my tear and rupture. I have had the 3 sets of epidural steriod injections which did very little, all they did was allow me to move my right leg a bit more I had stopped dragging afterward, byt this point the numbness and tingling and pain had moved into the left leg as well with tingling in my groin area as well. My spine specialist recommended the spinal stimulator which I refused, so I opted for physical therapy to see if manual traction would help, after 2 weeks I was in the shower and I bent slightly to the right to wash my leg and again terrible pain rushed along my low back and down my legs and then both my legs at the same time from the knees down went completely numb (I have been having numbness this whole time, but not in that way) then the heaviness in my right leg came back. I had to get help getting out of the shower and getting dressed, the physical therapist wouldnt even touch me until I saw the doctor again which I did today, after again refussing the stimulator he is now refering me to an orthropedist surgeon for surgery, the doctor said physical therapy would not help me. I am depressed and just want to get back to my life again. Any suggestion would be much appreciated.

"throwing in the towel"


  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The best thing you can do is have a full review and consultation with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and/or Neurosurgeon. I still have back problems (my case is a bit different as I have ligament/tendon problems throughout my body). And I can tell you my recent fusion has relieved a good amount of my upper (L3) back pain.

    Before your visit look up a spinal dermatome picture/chart. This will show you which spinal levels can cause symptoms in other areas of the body.

    If you haven't already make sure you have an MRI to show the surgeon. Or they'll send you to get one.

    Once you have back problems you have to pay attention to how you do things (bending, lifting, carrying, etc)
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I also tried PT that actually made things worse for me. Just like you I went numb and Pt sent me back to my doc refusing to treat me until I did.
    I had an annular tear at L3/L4 which a discogram proved was causing a great deal of my pain.
    My Pain Management doc did an endoscopic microdiscectomy and PLDD which did eventually stop the pain going down my leg and the numbness. My only other option was fusion which sometimes causes more problems than they solve.

    I would always suggest trying the minimally invasive procedures before opting for open surgery but that is just my personal opinion.

    I hope that you are able to get some relief soon and please keep us posted.
  • I tried all the conservative treatments first. Finally, there was nothing else to do but surgery. I had a minimally invasive microdiscectomy (2 actually). I am very glad I did them.

    I did a ton research before the surgeries and chose what I felt was best for me. It was an informed decision.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I have spondy L5S1 my L5 vertebra has slipped forward over an inch I lived pain free with this and a herniated disc for 10 years. In Dec I was pushing a very large patient in a wheel chair and felt the pop and immidiate pain in hip/buttock. MRI showed tear/rupture impinging r nerve root. Took 2 injections and 2 visits to PT now going in this morning for rods screw and spacer. I hope that I have not damaged the nerve and will be back to as normal pain free as can be in a few months. I have no other spinal problems all discs and vertebras according to Doc are "perfect" and no arthritis no degeneration no herniation so I think or I hope that this will be all the problems I have. I HOPE! I think sometimes getting surgery early might be the best thing. Good luck to all
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