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L5 herniation with foot drop,is surgery the only way?

karen67kkaren67 Posts: 2
edited 07/14/2013 - 3:56 PM in New Member Introductions
Hi... I am Karen, I am a 45 year old Mum to 5 cherubs :).....

. About 4 - 5 weeks ago, I developed slight back pain, which rapidly developed into severe pain from right sided sciatica, which included numbness, and weakness in my leg, and foot. I have since had tests, which show I have a right, Para central L4-L5 disc herniation, with an 11x8x13mm tear !! which from what I understand is quite large. I visited with a neurosurgeon last week, as was basically told, due to a partial foot drop and the size of the tear, that surgery is the only option ??...

The problem is, that at the moment, I am almost pain free ... I would say I have a minimal ( about a 1) amount of pain in my leg, and back, and slight ( maybe a 2) pain in my foot, and calf muscle. Do I NEED to have the surgery. If I don't have it, will the partial foot drop recover completely, or will that only happen with surgery ??.. or not even then?. My fear is that I will go through the surgery, and be left with more pain than what I'm in at the moment.

If I don't have the surgery, will the crippling sciatic pain return in the future ??

I realise there's not definite right or wrong answer to many of my questions.... I would really just like to hear of others experiences, and outcomes, so I can be sure I am making the right decision

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.. I look forward to hearing from you.


  • I'm not a Dr. and don't know the exact extent of your issue, but I too have a herniation at L5/L4 which presses on the S1 nerve, but on the left side.

    Mine happened about 8 months ago during child birth and I lost feeling of my left leg (touch, cold and heat sensation) I started sleeping on my stomach and the pain started to fad. I then went to a chiropractor that has helped me BIG time!

    I'm not limping anymore. I can feel my left leg about 90% of the time which is MAJOR progress. I don't know how if you're familiar with the yoga pose Upward facing dog, but when I watch TV I make an effort to lay on the floor like that to encourage the jelly to push back in where it belongs so everything can heal.

    It's been a little bit over 8 months for me and there were days where I wanted to lose all hope, but things progressed and I can do things I wasn't able to do months ago: For example: I wasn't able to tippy toe on my left side or raise my left heel when balancing on my left leg, but I can now.

    I would recommend getting a second opinion though, surgery should only be a last resort.
  • I have the pain and numbness on the right from a disk herniation. Had the surgery and still have the pain, a,
    Lthough I've been told it will improve. In my (non-qualified) opinion, if you don't have pain the put surgery off. Just be very careful with your activities so you don't herniated the disc. It is my understanding that the tears can heal over time. I believe I had a tear for three months which caused some annoying back pain, but I was living life normally. Then, on vacation, I did something REALLY stupid and got on the back of a jet ski. After a rough ride with my butt (and spine) pounding and pounding on the seat, I believe my disc material ruptured out of the tear.
    For me, the leg pain was1000 times worse, the damage done. The only way to remove the material was to have surgery.

    If I did not have the rupture and the pain, I would have opted to go to a chiropractor and just maintained and managed my back.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
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