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Finally have an answer...

econgirl419eecongirl419 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Lower Back Pain
After 8 months of back pain, a lot of doctor visits, and a ton of tears, I have an answer. I had an MRI on Monday and received the results yesterday. The disk at L4/5 has a large herniation. I am being referred to neurosurgery.

Of all the things I was thinking it could be, this is the one I wanted the least. I know several people with bulging disks and they have had problems their whole lives.

I cried for a bit, but then I decided that I'm not going to let this get me down. My goals now are to lose weight and quit smoking.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words in my newbie post! Looks like I'll be staying awhile...



  • Hi Econ, before you have surgery you may want to consult with a Sports Med doctor who treats backpain using nonsurgical techniques. Unless you have leg pain all of the time and on heavy meds surgery may not be your best option. Surgery should only be a last resort.
    Good luck, be open to all possibilities.

  • I agree with Ozone, econ. Just because it is a herniation, even a large one, does not make surgery the only option. There are many other nonsurgical options (although I would suggest using only those that are shown by solid placebo-controlled and peer-reviewed research to work!).
  • Well i am glad you got results. A good neurosurgeon will have you do conservative treatments before doing a surgery. So i would go get their opinion and ask for a Pain Management Clinic (ie Non Surgical Back Specialist). Not sure where you live but if it is NJ..send me a PM and I can help you with some stuff.

    Good luck.

  • It's good to hear that you have a reason for the pain. Read up on all you can find about herniated discs. Many do heal on their own after diligent conservative therapy. The healing time can be very long so you will need to follow a program to the letter for a while.

    Did they do a flexion/extension x-ray on you where they have you bend forward and backwards and take x-rays of your back? This would show if L4 has slid off the top of L5 thereby showing a disc problem on your MRI. This condition is spondylolisthesis. Most of the time, at some point, this condition needs fusion to stabilize the spine.

    Best wishes to you and keep us posted.

  • Don't fret, it is something that can be treated, just the how and when and where needs to be figured out. That's where the neurosurgery consult comes in so important. There they will evaluate your condition and help you weigh the pros and cons of conservative vs surgery. From that point, you will most likely be given a few options to consider. Unless it is determined that you are at risk of permanent damage, the doc normally recommends a wide array of conservative treatments. Any where from physical therapy to pain management.

    Have you started to write up a list of questions to take with you? That is tremendously helpful anytime you meet with a neurosurgeon. Also a pain diary. Document your daily pain, location, triggers, intensity and anything you could find to reduce the pain.

    Losing weight and dropping the smoking is always a good thing and even more so with anyone facing possible intervention in regards to treating the spine. There are tons of folks here who have gone through or are going through the very same thing and they can encourage you and help you along the way.

    Using the Internet to research you condition and your options is something to keep an eye on. While you can find some great information, you can also garner some that is total garbage.

    It looks like your doc has set you on the right/standard path, I hope that you continue to get great care and assistance from your docs.

    Kindest Regards,

  • I too have a herination L5-S1 area) and have opted to try to do most anything, just to avoid more surgery (I had a fusion done in 2008 on my neck as there wasn't anything else that would have hedlped w/ 2 discs that needed to be removed and more issues too). Have you tried injections? Massage? acupunture? I've had all of these, and am also on medication to help manage the pain. But, as someone who has also have a prior spine surgery - I do know that it won't bring you back to "normal", and you may be on pain meds - even after surgery, for quite some time.
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