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vchengapvvchengap Posts: 7
First of all, hello to everyone here. I've been lurking for a couple days and thought I would contribute today.

I suffered from an L4-L5 herniation in early 2004 when I was 21. Probably brought on by poor form while weight lifting. One day I couldn't get out of bed without feeling excruciating pain. Doctor performed a micro-d and it worked like a charm. 99% pain free for the last 6 years.

I got back into lifting weights earlier this year but I was extremely careful to avoid excessive strain on my back. Unfortunately, I started experiencing sciatica again a few days ago. Pain has progressively gotten worse and I'm worried that it will continue to get worse until I'm no longer able to get out of bed. I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday. I'll keep you all posted, but in the meantime I have a couple questions:

- Does anybody have any experience with Dr. ABC and Dr. XYZ in Dallas? I have an appointment with Dr. 123 on 9/30.

- Would it help to get an MRI done before the first doctor visit or should I see the doctor first and see what he says?

- I'm a full-time student right now and am under my wife's health care plan. It's a PPO that has a 20% co-pay. What sort of expenses am I looking at if I need another micro-d? If not, how much does PT cost approximately?

Thank you

Post edited to remove the name of medical professionals and institution. Moderator haglandc


  • Just an update -

    The sciatica has gotten worse over the last couple of days. I can no longer stand or sit for than 5 min. I'm assuming the nerve is getting more and more compressed. Doctor visit is 2 days from now. I was hoping that it wouldn't get worse and that I would improve with some bed rest and PT, maybe an ESI. I'm a full-time student and I can't afford to miss too many classes. A bit worried at this point. If it turns into a severe herniation, I know they'll recommend surgery. That would be my 2nd discectomy. I'm sure there's an MRI in my near future. Just wanted to share my thoughts. Will keep you guys updated.
  • Hey there..try not to worry too much. You are doing teh right thing by visiting the doctor. It may just be an inflammation. My fingers are crossed.

    The doctor typically needs to order an MRI so you are doing the right thing by waiting for the visit. I would indeed push to get one. THey will likely need to do one with and without contrast due to scar tissue. It could also be scar tissue build up hitting the nerve in the wrong place.

    Anyhow, I would try not to come to any conclusions just yet. If you did reherniate, there are many options including waiting to see if the material will reabsorb/dry out, ESI, revision microdiscectomy, etc.

    LEt us know how it goes.
  • Saw orthopedic surgeon (spine specialist) last week and had MRI done. Confirmed L5-S1 re-herniation. All other discs look normal thankfully.

    Pain has gone down over the last week. Now I have pain when I get out of bed in the morning and a dull pain that lasts throughout the day. Over the last couple days, I've had a shooting pain running down my left leg that comes out of nowhere at night. It's been disturbing my sleep recently. I've been getting a lot of bed rest and walking a little bit. I've been VERY careful with my back since the re-herniation. Fortunately, I am able to walk around and sit for greater periods of time now - so I'm getting my life back a bit.

    I have a feeling the doctor will recommend physical therapy or an ESI or both.

    Does anybody know what happens to the disk material that has oozed out? Does it dry up or get absorbed by the body? Or does is just stay there permanently and the nerve just learns to deal with it? In other words, will the ruptured disc heal over time? I'm only 28 so I would think that the body can regenerate these things at my age.

  • Doctor saw the MRI and had some news for me. Basically said that there's a very large fragment pressing on the sciatic nerve. Due to the size of the herniation, he said I could try conservative therapy but it would most likely be a waste of time.

    I figured this might be the case because physical therapy and ESIs usually only deal with the pain - they don't treat the underlying problem which is the loose disc material.

    Anyway, I need to think about this a bit more and maybe get a second opinion. My greatest concern is that there won't be much disc material left after the surgery. So I'm not sure what this means for the future of my back.
  • Over the last few days, my condition has improved considerably. I'm sleeping well and have very little pain during the daytime. Pretty huge turnaround considering I was about to schedule a 2nd microdiscectomy. I'm still taking it really easy and getting plenty of rest.

    I wonder what the MRI would show if I got another one now. Wonder if some of the extruded disc material has been broken down by my body. Anyway, let's hope it holds up.
  • Wonderful news. :) Please keep us updated.
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Hey friends, I'm back.

    Reading my last post makes me sad. A month ago I felt great. The herniation seemed to be healing and the pain was almost nonexistant. I had my life back.

    Well, it was too good to be true. As of yesterday, the pain came back much more severe than before. Now it feels like the first time I herniated the disc over 6 years ago. It was triggered when I went to go watch The Nutcracker ballet with my family. Sitting in an uncomfortable seat for 2 hours was the culprit. Now I'm back in bed.

    Calling the doc on Monday to see what my options are.

  • Hey there...I am surprised at the drastic turn around and turn around again.

    Were you trying steroids (prednisone or medroldose?) when the pain reduced? If not, did the doctor say it might help?

    My question is, when the pain went down, were you resting, walking, and doing the back friendly things? When the pain increased, do you think you were pushing it?

    I have had 2 microdiscectomies. My herniations were both massive (the sciatic nerve couldn't even be seen). After the 2nd one, I tried waiting to see if my body would reaborb the material (I guess it dries out and only needs to dry out a little bit to come off the nerve). Unfortunately that didn't work for me and I also got a significant amount of scar tissue build up as well.

    I wish you the best in your decision. I was extra careful after my revision and seem to be doing generally well.
  • DNice,

    When the pain went down, I was absolutely doing back friendly things. MacKenzie strectches, daily walks, and not sitting for long stretches. I also finished a course of prednisone steroids. I was virtually pain free for about 3 weeks. Then I went shopping for shoes a couple weeks ago and bent down to tie the laces and it has been going downhill since then. The Nutcracker incident made it even worse.

    Another update since posting yesterday: I attempted to sit up in bed around 2pm yesterday and felt a sharp pain in my back (like somebody had stabbed me). I immediately went prone again and the excruciating pain probably lasted for around 3 min. Parts of my left foot went numb but I still had motor control. The pain was so intense that I had my wife call 911. I was taken in an ambulance to the Presbyterian in Plano, TX where they put me on an IV and administered dilaudid, valium, and some steroids. They prescribed some stronger pain killers than what my orthopedic surgeon had prescribed a month ago. They prescribed some valium and another prednisone dose pack as well.

    Now I'm getting bed rest again and anxious to speak with my doctor about my options. I tried the waiting thing and it had gotten better but I'm much worse now than I was a couple months ago. Thankfully I have an extremely loving and supporting wife and family. I don't know how people handle stuff like this by themselves.

    I have a couple questions for you if you don't mind. I'll send you a PM. Thanks for listening.
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