Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

22 Years Old with 2 herniations, Degenerative Disc Disease.. What are my best options? Please Help!


I am a 22 year old male and have been suffering from severe sciatic leg pain and lower back pain since 2012. It all started when I was diagnosed with a disc herniation, at L4-L5, in May of 2012. I had severe sciatic pain primarily in my left leg therefore my doctor referred me to a physiotherapist, prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and told at my age, 20 years old at the time, my herniation should heal within 3 months and surgical cases are rare, he said 90% heal with physiotherapy and 10% of cases require surgery.
So a herniation at 20 years old, without having had any sort of accident, trauma of any sort, nothing..

Just after my second or third physiotherapy treatment, my physiotherapist quickly realized that my herniation was very severe and would require surgery. Indeed she was correct, after examination, my family doctor referred me to a orthopaedic surgeon at the Montreal General Hospital. My surgeon examined me, sent me for an MRI and confirmed I had a severe herniation at L4-L5. Viewing the MRI, the disc was half pushed out of place and had also fallen down and leaning on my L5 vertebrae. My surgeon said I would need a discectomy, told me all risks, 90% chance success rate ect. and later underwent the surgery in July 2012.
Normally the surgery was to be 1 hour long, and I could possibly leave the same day. In fact it turned out to be a 4 hour surgery because my disk was in fact a ruptured disk, in my surgeon's words "in 500 pieces" and I ended up having to stay 3 nights at the hospital, but none the less was 'a successful surgery'.
My sciatic leg pain that I once described to vary between 8 and 10 (0 being no pain, and 10 the most extreme pain), I was now at a 1 to 3, being there may have been some minor nerve damage cause by the ruptured disk. My lower back pain, not affected by this surgery but at a level of 2-3.
Less than a month after surgery, I successfully weaned off my pain medication, Oxycodone, but still taking the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex and going to physiotherapy sessions - including doing my at home exercises.

Just 3 months after my full recovery, my back pain, mainly lower lumbar pain, had significantly increased to a level of 6, and my leg sciatic pain, in both legs now, had increased a small amount, at a more constant level of 4.
After seeing my doctor a couple times, physio several times, I was back on narcotic pain medication.
This pain increased slowly even with exercises, physio.. I was still working full time being that I did have an office desk job.

Now a year and a half after my July 2012 surgery, my pain had reached an intolerable level of 10! This pain now mainly in my lower back, and more of a discomfortable sciatic nerve type pain in my my legs along with numbness in my feet, mainly my left foot. Now unable to work and put on short term disability since the first week of January disability.
In the last 6 months I have regularly seen my doctor, with new medication 'plans', increases, referral to an Osteopath, and a referral to my same orthopaedic surgeon.
An MRI was requested right away by my surgeon that then diagnosed my with: Disk Herniation at L5-S1, Disk Degeneration Disease at both discs; L4-L5 and L5-S1, and spinal stenosis.
My surgeon said, I could get a disectomy at L5-S1, this would help with my leg pain/discomfort but would not resolve my severe lower back pain. He said there are two other surgical options, one being a Fusion, in which he did not recommend at all being mostly because of my age, the low success rate - saying it would only bring my pain level down to a 'maybe' 5 and the risks related to when I would be older, with almost certain possibility of complications.

The final solution would be a Disc Replacement surgery. In which right away he said it would not be done with him, but his colleague in which he works closely with specializes in disk replacements. Again, but now with another doctor in the room, the surgeon stated the risks and possible complications. Being the 1 in 100 cases risk of 'reverse ejaculation', reverses in to the bladder therefore making it no longer possible to have children, the 1 in 1000 risk of death - being that the surgery in close to important veins/arteries.

Upon receiving all this information, I was and still am unsure, disappointed by the high risk, low success rate for my particular case, but at the same time do accept that this is me and my body. What I will not accept is giving up on myself, this is why I am opening my eyes to any and all treatments, remedies, therapies, surgeries and hope to make some decisions to be able to move forward, positively! I hope that anyone reading this can share their story, opinions, experiences and help each other.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights that are available as tabs on the main Spine-Health menu bar

    Spine-Health Main Menu Tabs

    Conditions Detailed medical libraries of articles and videos that address almost every spinal condition.
    Treatment List of treatments to the conditions identified by Spine-Health.
    Wellness Section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.
    Spine-Health Forums These are the forums you will be using
    Find A Doctor This provides with a method to search for doctors in various locations.
    Doctor Advice Health Center The Resource tab, has many important features. You can browse various doctor advice on given spinal situations, you can browse clinical trials and view a comprehensive glossary..
    Health Videos Index to all Spine-Health Videos

    As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family[/u] who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 27,00 international members and growing daily.


    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts[u] do not violate any of the rules.[/u]

    - All new members must read our FAQ in order to understand the layout of the forums, how to navigate through the forums, helpful terms, how to make effective threads and posts, plus a link index to many of the important medical forums and key medical articles on Spine-Health Forum FAQ

    I am positive any member, new or old will find this Chroinc Pain - Step by Step thread very valuable.

    Here are some links that all new members need to review to create effective threads and more

    Read before you post
    Tips for Newcomers
    Understanding the rules

    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    You can also find Spine-Health on these Social Networks

    Facebook www.facebook.com/spinehealth
    Pinterest http://pinterest.com/spinehealth/boards/
    Twitter https://twitter.com/SpineHealth

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the private message facility to[u] contact any one of the Spine-Health Moderators







    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SteveTSSteveT Posts: 178
    edited 01/26/2014 - 5:31 AM
    Have you had any injections by a pain mgmt doc?

    I am 24 and had an anterior and posterior fusion at L4/L5 and L5/S1 3 months ago. I had annular tears and DDD at both levels causing back and leg pain. I tried conservative treatment for about 10 months and nothing worked. Having the surgery was the best decision I made. My back pain is gone and 75% of the day I have no leg pain, the rest my pain is a 1 or 2 and that's normally my fault from standing too long.

    The fusion I had carried the same risk of reverse ejaculation since they went in through the abdomen, but it was only a 2% risk according to my vascular and spine surgeons and I accepted that. Going into the fusion, he told me there was a 70% chance of reducing 70% of my pain, but my experience has far exceeded those expectations. Because the rest of my spine is healthy, he is hoping I won't have problems with adjacent levels for at least 10-15 years.

    My spine surgeon is a top minimally invasive spine surgeon and didn't recommend an artificial disc replacement at all. One, insurance wouldn't approve it for more than 1 level, and two, in his experience, the success rate was very low and more research needs to be done.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
    edited 01/26/2014 - 6:20 PM
    It was 20 yrs after my injuries that I had surgery. Chiropractic helped for 12 yrs. Then started epidurals for several yrs and then surgery. My first surgery ALIF was Feb of 2011. I was pain free for about a yr and a half. Pain started coming back and it truns out that at some point I broke the fusion that had started. I had my second surgery 6 weeks ago. I feel great but time will tell.

    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Thanks Annie and Steve for posting.
    Steven, no I have not yet had any injections, I am planning on trying cortezone shorts but from what I'm told its only a temporary fix, but any reduction in pain im all for. Is that what you meant?
    Right now I'm planning on having my second disectomy, L5-S1, by my same surgeon, top orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Reindl.
    The fusion I'm really not sure about. I have have options, fusion and disc replacement, and it would be for 2 discs, they said disc replacement might be better but i'm really not sure right now.
    My plan right now is to undergo the disectomy, then do some intensive Osteo, Physio and possibly cortezone shots.
Sign In or Register to comment.