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massive disc herniation with extrusion and injection?

I just found out that I had a 15 millimeter herniated disc, the l5 s1, with an extrusion.I currently have no pain,however I'm constantly battling numbness and tingling in my left leg. I have also accepted the fact that I can no longer feel my heel. I've seen about four doctors, all of whom are in disbelief that I have no pain, and they all say I should be in enough pain to warrant surgery, however, I'm not even taking ibuprofin. I'm able to sit, to walk, and carry on with most of my normal day to day activities. Eventhough I have clearly expressed my lack of pain, I was still given oxycodone, celebrex, and lyrica. None of which I'm taking. Two of the doctors quickly advised an epidural injection. I'm on the fence with committing to the injection since I was left feeling that everyone was so quick to try and treat this non-existent pain. I'm worried that this injection may mask any pain that I could potentially feel. Since pain is an indicator of something going wrong, wouldn't I want to know if I'm over doing it and causing potential ham? Will this injection actually help treat the cause rather than just masking symptoms?


  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 09/04/2013 - 7:30 PM
    If the numbness doesn't bother you, ask your doc if it would be ok to just leave it be. I had a similar blocked nerve, but my leg was in horrid pain. My big toe and top of my foot were numb, but that I could have lived with. Can't believe they prescribed pain pills for no pain. Go figure.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • jennanne087jjennanne087 Posts: 2
    edited 09/05/2013 - 5:11 PM
    Thank you, sandi! I was a bit surprised my orthopedic surgeon never mentioned surgery, but I didn't think anything of the size until I started researching once I got home. He told me 7 out of 10 back injuries heal on their own if given enough time. He told me to get the shot, come back and see him in 2 weeks and get another mri in about 6 months. Im now leaning more towards getting the shot because that's what everyone is telling me is the next step, but now I'm thinking of consulting a neurosurgeon... or maybe even seeing a different orthopedic surgeon.
  • I always tell people that when it comes to making a decision about surgery or no, then it is wise to see at least one board certified ortho and one board certified neuro spine surgeon . You'd be surprised how often their opinions can differ in what needs to be done.
    If the extruded material is not in contact with the thecal sac ( covering of the spinal nerves) or the nerve roots, and there is no canal stenosis or foraminal stenosis, I can see where he wants to take the wait and see approach.
    He is right in saying that most spine problems do resolve over time, so if you don't need surgery, and there is no danger of nerve compression worsening, then injections are the standard of care.
    There is a link in my post at the bottom that gives you the outline of the course of getting back pain treated, it might be worthwhile to read.
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