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Can a herniated disc heal and then resurface several months later?

kitemankkiteman Posts: 2
edited 08/15/2014 - 11:46 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am a golfer and back in March I was playing and bent over to pick up a ball from the hole when I had a sharp excruciating pain shoot down the lower part of my back on the left side, so low in the back it almost felt it was in the rear instead. I could barely stand up although fully erect felt the best. I barely was able to drive home sitting hurt so much. It got slowly better but never good enough to swing a club; after 4-6 weeks I saw a chiropractor and although he didn't know the source of the problem, he did a few movements on me and over the next few days the problem went completely away.

Fast forward 4 months and I was again playing golf this past week (I play several times a week, this wasn't the 2nd time I had played since the first incident). I bent over to pick up a club and the same pain occurred, only this time much less intense. Up until then I had not experienced this pain since March. But I did know at this time it was the same area and pain as before. Over the last few days I have been able to bend over and get out of the car easier, although those two movements are the most painful. But it is still uncomfortable but not excruciating, however bad enough that it keeps me off of the course.

Needless to say I did some research and it sure seems like it's a slightly herniated disc. Is it common and/or possible that the chiropractor slipped the disc back into place back in March, and that it has slipped back out of place recently from a similar movement? Like I said the pain isn't intense so I don't think surgery is something I should look into yet, I'm more concerned about how frequently this could resurface and put me on the golf sidelines in the future. Thanks for your help.


  • Thanks but I still couldn't find the answer to my question, which is can herniated discs heal and then herniate in exactly the same place months later, and if so then is this a bad thing or just a normal course for a herniated disc?
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/18/2014 - 5:43 AM
    on their own, over time.......and then another injury can occur and cause them to reherniate. Herniations by themselves, without compressing the nerve can also not cause symptoms, and then a sudden movement the wrong way can cause them to become symptomatic again.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    The links give information that says a disc can re herniate......
    A recurrent disc herniation may occur directly after back surgery or many years later, although they are most common in the first three months after surgery. If the disc does herniate again, generally a revision microdiscectomy will be just as successful as the first operation. However, after a recurrence, the patient is at higher risk of further recurrences (15% to 20% chance).

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Im pretty sure a disc that is herniated cannot heal itself, per my pain doc, because there is no blood vessels in the discs. However I did read an article regarding having an MRI laying down vs. having one sitting up. The upright MRI is superior because when youre sitting there is 30% more pressure on the discs than lying down. It has been shown that upright MRI's can reveal hidden herniations, bulges, and even spondylolisthesis that an MRI lying down showed as normal.

    Google upright MRI and you'll see lots of interesting articles.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/21/2014 - 9:33 AM
    a disc. A herniation can not "heal" per se, but it can resolve on it's own. Usually within two years if it is not a significant herniation or what is called extruded or segemented disc ( piece of the disc material broken off).
    Some MRI companies market sitting or standing MRI as being more accurate, however, that is not proven over various studies than laying down MRI's. The resolution suffers in the standing and sitting MRI's due the magnet strength and not being able to be as close the body structures as laying down.
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