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Question about back pain and surgery

Hello, I have been lurking this site for quite sometime and decided to post my story as well as some questions. Here goes.

My started having back issues a little over two years ago. I jumped a fence and landed weird and ended up throwing my back. I had very little back pain before (just sore occasionally) but this incident was on a whole other level. So after my incident I could barely get out of bed and eventually went to see my primary care physician. He brushed it off as just some back soreness and sent me on my way. Well a month later I went back and was referred to PT. in about a month of regular PT I was starting to see results and eventually got rid of 99% of the pain. I never had any formal tests but the concession was that I had a bulging disc that was pressing against my sciatic nerve. I had some pain shooting up my back and down my leg. It went away but it was never fully the same.

Flash forward two years later. I did some heavy lifting and my lower back started to get aggravated again. I brushed it off and continued on my way, however it got worse as the months dragged on. I decided to see a orthopedic doctor and he told me it was normal for a disc to start to get worn down and that as long as its not major not to worry about. I came back three weeks later and decided to get an MRI to at least see what was going. Turns out I have a herniated disc on the my right side that is pushing on my nerve. Again the doctor said hold off unless the pain is massive. A few weeks later I scheduled an appointment with both a neurosurgeon and orthopedic surgeon. The pain sucks but it's not horrendous at this point and can be controlled with some ibuprofen and stretches (from pt) however I have noticed my feet have been losing sensation and I don't have a lot of control over them. I also noticed that my legs will periodically hurt now and then which wasn't really the case before.

I also want to add that I have CMTX which a genetic disorder that mimics a lot of disc herniation symptoms. I was told this is why foot was dropping but I wanted to make sure and get some additional tests to see what was really going on down there. The doc told me a discectomy or microdiscectomy are options but they don't always relieve pain the back but they work well for pain in the legs and reducing permanent nerve damage. I have a lot of pain in the tail bone area and in my hip/butt area. I was wondering if surgery would eliminate those pains and potentially give me back some of my foot drop/function. I have read the horror stories on here and other sites and I have also read the success stories. I imagine the horror stories tend to be lopsided as most success stories are not going to show up on the internet. When things are good why bother writing about it?

On a side note I was looking for a new bad and noticed a worker was limping a bit. I asked if it was a back issue and he said he had a discectomy ten years ago and has been pain free ever since. He now has a bulging disc in the next area above but he said it was normal and didn't really bother him much. When I hear stories like this I wonder if surgery is the best option. I always have some sort of pain (within the last six months) and I am worried that I might be losing my ability to walk/ run if I don't do something soon. I do not take surgery lightly (I used to work at a hospital and have seen firsthand what the recovery is like) however I feel like I am running out of options. Thoughts or opinions? I am 27 currently and was 25 when I hurt myself.


  • Since you have the two conditions I would get as much advise from doctors as possible. In your situation I would see a pain management doctor and see if cortisone injections are an option.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Before we jump into anything, you should read the following:
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Do you need the surgery? There is no way anyone here can give you concrete information one way or another.
    The decision for surgery is between your doctor, you and your family

    Herniated discs by themselves are not a major situation. Many times, those conditions can be cleared up without any aggressive actions. But once a disc is pressing on a nerve root, you want to play closer attention as to what your options are. When a nerve root is being compromised, generally there is a lot of pain and discomfort associated. That condition you dont want to wait too long
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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