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20 years old with multiple herniated discs

Hello Everybody,

I am new to the forum and had a couple of questions regarding surgery. I recently turned 20, but have been dealing with a couple of herniated discs. at L2-3,L3-4 and l4-5, as well as a central disc protrusion at L5-s1 for six months now. The spine specialist, which has been recommended by many people has told me that I could receive surgery, and he would be performing a an right L3-4 foraminotomy and discectomy, because that is where he believes the problem is coming from. I currently have some pain in my hip flexors, right leg as well as my back. I also experience numbness in my right leg going from my knee to my foot from time to time. I have gone through physical therapy, 3 epidural injections, yoga, traction and a variety types of medicines in order to get rid of the problem. While my pain has decreased substantially, I still cannot walk properly and go through episodes of extreme pain.

I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions of what I should do. I really want to get the surgery because I want to get rid of the problem already. I know that there is a chance that the disc my re-herniate or that the other discs may cause me problems down the road, but I just don't know what to do anymore. Everyone keeps on asking me if I think I'm ready for surgery. I just don't see a big deal with getting surgery, I don't know if it is me being impatient, or no longer believing in non-surgical procedures, but I just want the pain to stop and my mobility to come back. I have heard of using inversion tables and other non-surgical methods. I would really appreciate some form of insight into these things. Have any of you guys had surgery? Had success with any other things, please any help would be appreciated.


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    I would check under the pain forums, for lower back pain and read those posts. The decision to have surgery or not , is based on the exam findings and the imaging studies , along with your surgeon's opinion. You are very young to consider having spine surgery. Herniation and ddd are two different animals in the world of spine surgery.....It would be rather unusual for someone your age to have so many herniations in the lumbar area.
    A foraminotomy is a to relieve the pressure or compression of a specific nerve root , that might be overgrown due to bony over growth or a bulge in a disc that is in contact with the nerve root...depending on how big it is or how much contact there is, the foraminotomy is done to relieve that contact and give the nerve root more room to move....
  • SpineyKD23SSpineyKD23 IllinoisPosts: 89
    So sorry to hear you're experiencing this. If you read my history by clicking on my profile picture you will see I also have experienced many spine problems at a young age. Based on your post, I would think that you are a good candidate for surgery. Ultimately it is up to you- I know that can be overwhelming at such a young age. Each of my surgeries got rid of all or 95% of my nerve pain. I struggle with back pain because of my number of surgeries, being overweight (I lost 50 lbs. since January and plan to lose 30 more), ignoring my limitations (I will not be doing that again) given to me by doing things like heavy weightlifting, riding horses and falling off them, lots of physical labor, etc. But all in all my pain is a 1-3 after everything I have been through. It is intermittent and does not affect my ability to function and I am thankful for where I am at right now.
    I don't mean to scare you, only share the importance of protecting your back. That doesn't mean you can't return to activities, just be careful. You have tried all conservative treatments so surgery is an option for you. I would definitely recommend a neurosurgeon if you are not already seeing one. My surgeries have been very successful and I do not regret getting them. For me nerve pain was relieved when I woke up from each of my surgeries. Pretty fantastic feeling. May I ask though, how did you injure your back?
    25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.
  • Reading your post is crazy. What finally caused me to have to go to the doctor was dancing. I did a twist on the floor and I couldn't stand afterwards. However, the doctor believes it was my work out regimen which led to it. I use to weight 250 pounds, and went down to 170 with intense running, 6 miles a day in addition to very heavy weight lifting. I don't know why I don't see surgery as a big deal, I just want to get better. My leg has started to numb up from time to time again, so I'm starting to worry again.
  • Yes, crazy is probably appropriate lol. It sounds like you are comfortable with potential surgery and that is really all that is important. If it eases your mind you could get a second opinion. Surgery is always something to try and avoid, but at the same time it could also make you pain free. By the time I saw a surgeon I was so ready for relief I jumped at the chance.
    25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.
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