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Disc compressing nerve

Hi all,

I have had lower back pain since 1985 when I first experienced spasm and zygoapophaseal facet strain. I have seen countless osteopaths and chiropracters. Every 2 years my back plays up. An MRI scan recently showed I have a prolapsed disc at the L4/5 level compressing the L5 nerve on the right side giving me nasty leg and right buttock pain, tingling in right leg and numbness. I recently had two nerve root block injections into spine. The pain subsided for 14 days but has now returned so I am going for a another lot of jabs soon to provide a booster. I fear if the pain returns soon after the booster jabs I will have no alternative but to go through with back surgery to get the disc shaved off slightly to free up the nerve. But surgery is risky and there is a 1 per cent chance of nerve damage or worse still paralysis according to specialists I have seen. Does anyone know if there are exercises I can do to help stop the disc pressing on the nerve? Is surgery risk worth taking? Are there other options to treat the prolapsed disc?


  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 08/08/2014 - 12:24 AM
    You can speak with your Dr about starting Physical Therapy. The problem with nerve compression, is that there is risk of nerve damage of you don't have surgery to relieve the pressure. I would talk to your Dr about those potential risks also. Surgery is usually a last resort, but some procedures are less invasive than others. My fist Discectomy was very successful in eliminating my nerve pain. By the time I had my second surgery, the nerve was already damaged. It comes down to how severe your symptoms are despite conservative treatments, and weighing the benefits versus the risks. If a spine surgeon is confident that surgery will help, that may make the decision easier. Personally, I wouldn't continue seeing a chiropractor given your diagnosis. I've always been instructed not to because it can cause additional issues.

    I hope you get some relief!
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/08/2014 - 3:52 AM
    injections and other non invasive treatments generally don't help , other than temporarily to ease some of the inflammation. The only way to eliminate the compression on the nerve is to remove the thing that is causing the compression.
    It also depends on the severity of the compression. Mild compression may be handled more conservatively than moderate or severe compression.
    As far as surgery goes, there are risks, with any procedure, not just surgery, but in the grand scheme of things in spine surgery, a discectomy is the simplest of the surgeries. That doesn't mean that it is not surgery nor that you shouldn't be concerned and investigate all of your options . Interview two or more surgeons to see if they agree, and find one that you are comfortable with.
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