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L4-L5/L5-S1 bulging disc discomfort.

Hello! I'm new here and hoping to get some answers. In Sept of 2013 I had an MRI on my lower back due to some left leg tingling I'd been having. The report said I had mild extrusion to L4-L5 and L5-S1. After quitting my nursing job (very heavy lifting) and doing PT, I was able to rid myself of the discomfort. However, 2 months ago I started working out. Somewhere along the way I aggravated my back again. Now for the past 2 weeks I've been having the leg and foot tingling again. I'd eased up on working out, sticking to just walking and light weight lifting. I've been icing and seeing a chiropractor. However, I'm still tingling and having some pain. I suffer from anxiety as it is, so this is not helping. I'm terrified of surgery, I want to keep that out of the equation. However, I'm very worried that I've somehow made the bulging disc worse. My chiropractor says that if I stick with my adjustments I can eventually push it back in to where it is supposed to be ( I'm not sure if this is true or not). I also have moderate scoliosis. I'm sure that probably doesn't help matters.
Another thing that frightens me is, my tingling has always been on the left side. Yet, today I'm having it on the right! Has anyone else experienced this? Is it "normal"?
Thank you in advance to all who reply.


  • Hi

    I also had this mentality thinking some pt and exercises will help some herniation or disk buldges. Look into specific techniques for your affected area. And when possible attempt to get a follow up MRI to confirm this once feeling better. There are many exercises I found on YouTube that were of help. But do understand it is a rather long process that requires proper care if surgery is to be avoided from all the reading I've done on the few that benefit from it.
    L4-L5 ....issues.

    3/14 microdisecmy l4 l5 then re-herniaited
    7/14 fusion L4 L5
    Possible dura tear
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/08/2014 - 4:21 AM
    A 'protrusion" is usually a herniation. I don't normally recommend seeing a chiropractor when it comes to herniations or nerve compression concerns. They can inadvertantly make the condition worse by doing adjustments.
    When a person is experiencing signs of nerve involvement, allowing adjustments can result in further damage, especially when there is a herniation involved.
    Herniations can be very, very small, or very, very large and it would be wise to consult with a board certified spine surgeon for evaluation and treatment options. Seeing a surgeon does not mean that surgery is required, but they can give you a proper diagnosis, and start you in the right direction for treatments and injections along with other therapies that might be needed and refer to you the proper places to get them.


  • Thanks for commenting. If a protrusion is a herniation, what is an extrusion? That's what I have. A "mild" one. I've thought about trying to get back into PT to help because it really did the trick last time.
    The chiropractor just started decompression therapy on me last week and it seems to be helping. Has anyone tried this before?
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/11/2014 - 9:35 AM
    from the disc . I would be very , very careful about allowing decompression of your disc using a machine or spinal manipulation if you have a herniated extruded disc. It can cause further injury and usually the treatment is not covered by insurance.
  • I'm very confused because I have a copy of my MRI and it says the disc is bulging mildly, so how is it broke off it there's just a bulge? It also says extrusion though. I believe it says "mild disc bulge with extrusion".
  • It is bulging (irritating nerve) and extrusion means a little of the disc material has leaked into the dura. Disc=jelly donut so jelly has squirted out a bit. I know because I had a laminectomy for this exact issue, sigh.
    L4-5 and L5-S1 laminectomy 2001
    now bulge @ L3-4, spondylolisthesis grade 1 @ L4-L5, new herniation @ L5-S1
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/11/2014 - 9:37 AM
    A herniated disc is a condition in which the annulus fibrosus (outer portion) of the vertebral disc is torn, enabling the nucleus (inner portion) to herniate or extrude through the fibers. The herniated material can compress the nerves around the disc and create pain that can radiate through the back and sometimes down the arms (if the herniation is in the cervical spine) and legs (if the herniation is in the lumbar spine).

    The dura is the covering of the spinal cord proper.......it contains the spinal nerves within it. It is also known as the thecal sac. Extruded disc material doesn't enter the dura, it can enter the canal where the thecal sac or dura resides.
  • As the other poster explained, if you think of the inside of the disc as a jelly doughnut, with the outside being the fibrous wall of the donut, the jelly inside is what is coming through the wall of the doughnut....that doesn't mean that all of the jelly has come out, but some amount has.
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