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Surgery on a herniated disc?

I've had extreme leg/hip/buttock pain and extreme weakness and numbness from the knee down on my right side for about 2 years. My family has always had a history of bad bones, so I really pushed aside the pain and tried to ignore it. But now the pain is so bad that I have trouble walking, bending, sitting, and standing if only for a few minutes and its difficult to get going and do any of these things. I've also had problems with my bowel/bladder functons- I've peed myself bending over and just standing there, there is no warning whatsoever when I have to go. And my bowels- when I have to go, its a NOW thing. Recently, my lower back and left side started hurting extremely bad in spurts as well, and that's new pain to me.

My family doctor didn't believe anything serious was wrong, and told me to try PT and perscribed me Flexeril, 10 mg 1-3 times a day. The pain was so bad, I was taking as many as 5 a day with absolutely no relief. I kept on with PT for 6 weeks and the excercises HURT! At the end of the 6 weeks I still felt terrible. My family doctor seems to lack any interest in her patients and just wanted me to stay on the Flexeril and see if continuity would work even though I made it clear that I did not feel it helped. At this point, I was so angry that she seemed to push it off as nothing, and in so much pain I went to the emergency room.

They did an XRay and found nothing wrong, but they highly reccomended that I get an MRI to look closer. While in the ER I received 2 shots in my hip, 1 motrin, the other they called a steroid shot for pain. I only felt a little relief and after the 3rd day, I was back in full blown pain. I've iced sore parts, as well as used heat and advil, tylenol, and ibuprofen for months now just trying for a little relief with no results.

My MRI did show that I have herniated discs at L5 and L6 that are rubbing on the nerves that extend to my right leg. I got an appointment with a Neurosugeon and he decided the best course of action would be for a steroid injection directly on my spine (I've heard there is more of a chance of it being UNsuccessful). I told him that I didn't feel that the other injections I had helped, and that I would rather treat my problem than mask the symptoms but he's decided that is the best course of action- that's over a month away!

I've been out of a job for almost 8 months because of my limitations, and the pain is beyond tolerable anymore. Is surgery a viable option that I can kind of demand?



  • You need to get another surgeons opinion. I dont think you can demand anything, but the bowel/bladder problems sound serious and should not be ignored. Finding the right doctor/surgeon can be a tough thing, but it worth it when you can find the right one.

    Good Luck, hope you find help very soon!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • You may wish to look at "conditions / lower-back-pain / cauda-equina-syndrome" and have a discussion with doc / surgeon about bladder/bowel issues.
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome is usually considered a medical emergency. I would get a hold of your surgeon immediately. You can have nerve damage that can cause permanent incontinence if left untreated.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Injured my back in June and had two herniated disks in L4 & L5. Tried treatments for several weeks, but still had extensive pain, numbness, and weakness in my left leg.
    Had a laminectomy the end of July (also a trimming of the disks). The pain went away within a couple of weeks. I'm still working through the nerve damage, but making progress. I was told that part of the nerve damage is because I waited too long for the surgery and the herniated disk had more time to rub the nerves.

    Based on what I know now, I would have done the surgery on week one.
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