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L5-S1 disc extrusion (large) - what path to take?

msobie64mmsobie64 Posts: 3
Hello all,

I'm new to the forum here and have recently been inducted into the back problem club.


Been active all my life, football, track/field (shot, disc, hammer throw) all through college. Currently 6'1" - 255lbs (used to be in better shape (225lbs been out of the workout game for a bit, 2+ yrs, sit a desk all day for work on computers).


Started back in mid March 2012 - woke up one morning with severe glute/hamstring/upper calf pain (like being stabbed with a knife). 6 weeks of chiropractic and massage therapy and pain is gone, however I went for a light jog and found that I could no longer explode off my right calf (upper calf muscle seemed to be unresponsive). Went to general practitioner and was ordered to get an MRI.

MRI results:

At L4-L5: There is a moderate to central and left paracentral disc protrusion. This abuts but does not displace the descending never root on the left. There is bilateral facet hypertrophy. No stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing.

At L5-S1: There is a large right lateral recess disc extrusion, that extends inferiorly behind the superior endplate of S1. This abuts and posteriorly displaces the decending S1 never root. There is bilateral facet hypertrophy with marginal osteophyte formation at the neural foramen bilaterally. Moderate bilateral neural foraminal narrowing, no central stenosis.

So, with all that being said I have an appointment with a neurosurgen this week. Was looking for some advice on what questions to ask the doctor upon my visit? Also, I find it odd that I have almost no pain at all anymore but still have the calf impairment and numbness on the outside of my right foot. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks ahead of time,


  • You might want to take a look at a dermatome map, I believe that is waht it is called, that shows what nerves exit where fron the spine and see if what it shows matches up with what you feel.

    "I find it odd that I have almost no pain at all anymore but still have the calf impairment and numbness on the outside of my right foot."------ Ask your Dr. this and see what his response is.

    Did your GP Dr. mention surgery? Ask the surgeon to tell you in common terms what the MRI says? By the way you want to get a surgeon who only works on spines if your going to have surgery. They also need to be fellowship trained. Before I would have a surgery I would also get at least 1 other opinion to make sure what your being told is the same from both Dr.'s. If not you may wish to get a 3rd opinion.

    You really don't want to go down the surgery road unless it is your last option. There are all kinds of different tests that can be done so a Dr. knows what is going on. You may be sent to physical thearpy, or sent for steriod injections, or maybe nerve blocks. They have a lot of tricks in their bag that may/may not help you. Everybody seems to be different and what works for one doesn't always work for the next one.

    Kinda went on and on here.

    The questions you ask the Dr. are dependant on what he tells you. Very hard to give you some questions to ask other then the basic one which is What is the course of treatment? Why don't you post back what he tells you and people will help with their experiences then. Good luck.
  • Will do, I have my appointment tomorrow.
  • Hi Mike,
    What happened with the dr appt?

    I'm going through the same calf weakness following excruciating pain.

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