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L5/S1 Extrusion; Is 100% back health a possibility?

Rees01RRees01 Posts: 3
edited 11/03/2014 - 2:34 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello all, I am new to this forum. I have had lower back pain for over three years but lately it has been getting much worse. For a couple years I would get low back pain and be able to get a chiropractic adjustment to reduce the pain completely. Recently I have been unable to get the pain to go away with chiropractic adjustments. I had an MRI done about 4 months ago and it showed a left side disc extrusion at L5/S1, a right side disc bulge at L5/S1, mild diffuse disc bulge at L4/L5, retrolisthesis at L5/S1, small Schmorl’s nodes along L2, L3, and S1 endplates.

I decided to try spinal decompression to relieve the pain since chiropractic adjustments weren’t working for me. Unfortunately the treatment only seemed to make the pain increase and caused my mobility to decrease. I even started having pain shoot into my right buttock. I stopped the decompression therapy and am now trying Acupuncture. It seemed to be working at first but now I am not seeing much relief from the pain. I have tried Yoga, core strengthening exercises, McKenzie stretches, Qigong, TENS, heat, ice, meditation and over the counter pain medicines. I have had mixed results with just about everything I have tried but the limited mobility and pain are still here and seem like they are getting worse. Recently the pain has been moving into my right buttock, and some days there is nothing I can do to relieve the pain but wait it out which can take a while.

I am extremely frustrated dealing with this pain. I used to be a very active person and I am finding myself giving up many of my hobbies because they are too painful. I have young children at home and the most frustrating part is not being able to pick my kids up. This injury is having a significant impact on my quality of life. I wonder if anyone is ever able to get back to 100% back health after having debilitating back pain? I don’t like the idea of having to take pain killers for the rest of my life and I really don’t like the idea of back surgery but it looks like that might be the path I am on at this point.


  • Sounds like its time to get treatment from a spine specialist. Go to your g.p or internist and have them refer you to a doctor that specializes in spines.
  • yes, that is always a yes now guys. after taking some time, it starts to heal, but best option is trying the help of a doctor
    Gia Megan
  • Short answer for your primary question is : YES

    Body can heal disc extrusions/bulges, but there are some obstacles. You should try to find obstacles for disc healing and get rid of them. However, if you still pick up your kids, that's a huge obstacle.

    In the meantime you take proper medical advises, try NOT TO DO bending, lifting, flexion. And take proper supplements, a good naturopath would analyse your body chemistry and recommend specific ones for disc healing (eg: Mg, Zn, Vitamin Bs and etc).

    Chiropractor traction is too much and could be make it worse. May be it's worth to try gentle traction based exercise in the water. I have found floating ring which goes under shoulders gives good gentle traction.
  • given some time, and a disc bulge can heal but an extrusion is a bit different. Your question is best answered by a surgeon , who has gone over your imaging test results and can see the actual extrusion, and the rest of the spine structures in your specific case, and then can give you his best recommendations on whether or not , waiting it out or trying to is in your best interests.
  • RunnerHKTRRunnerHKT Posts: 231
    edited 11/09/2014 - 6:37 AM
    a lot of "alternative" therapies. I'm a fan of accupuncture for pain and used it when I had a torn adductor...it didn't heal my adductor but it kind of helped with the pain. It may be time to a surgeon for some treatment plans.
  • Thanks for the responses, especially yours shcj, it's good to see that it may be a possibility to get back to 100% lower back health. I see a pain management specialist in a couple weeks, hopefully she will have some good insight for me.
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 363
    are the 2 things I firmly believe have given me the most relief since I ruptured L5-S1 in March 2014. My physiotherapist works with nerve pressure, and he has worked wonders with me, loosening muscles and nerves that become tight in response to excruciating pain. I go to an aquacise class 3 x a week and that is giving my muscles something to do when it just hurts to much to do anything out of the water. I am staying toned and even building strength in preparation for surgery. I've had 3 surgeon consults and while they have different specialties and thus surgical recommendations, my physiotherapist says it's a good indication that surgery is necessary for me to get relief - and my life back! All the best!
  • to see hat your current plan is at this point, just because I have a disc extrusion as well and it oddly over the past few weeks seems to have improved significantly to the point where I can do a little swimming, a little weight training, and a little bit of faster walking.... I'm scheduled for Surgery in February but I'm starting to wonder....
  • Unfortunately I don't have good news to report. I am still in pain and have limited mobility. I did go and see a pain management specialist and she recommended me to a Physical Therapist. I have been seeing him twice a week for about five weeks now and haven't seen any progress. I also have been taking turmeric to reduce inflammation. I have nailed my issues down to three separate types of pain. I have a dull general lower back pain that is tolerable and manageable. I have an occasional shap burning sciatica type pain that radiates down my right buttock (usually after a medium activity level day). And finally I have a sharp stabbing pain when I bend forward or when I move athletically. This sharp pain is the most annoying pain of all because it limits my mobility which in turn degrades my quality of life significantly. The extrusion is on my left side and the two bulging discs are on my right side which seems to be the side causing me the most issues. I am beginning to think the bulges are worse than the extrusion.

    At this point I am looking forward to any treatment that will cure my lower back. I meet with the pain management specialist in a couple weeks and am looking forward to discussing the next step in treatment. I may try an epidural shot or CSI. I am also considering a new procedure called Regenexx. If neither of those work then a microdisectomy may be the next course of action. It's hard to stay positive. Maybe after I try all the treatments available I can rework my mind into an acceptance mode and go on living a degraded mobile life.

    If I were you I would keep monitoring your progress and if it continues to get better then don't do the surgery. I have had very little success with a number of different treatments so far but if I were to see some success I would stick with that treatment. I would be interested to hear if your surgery works out for you though. Good Luck!
  • Hi Rees01...I came across your post and was wondering what the outcome was in relation to your situation. I am dealing with a similar issue currently. Hope things are well and you were able to get relief and avoid any surgery.
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 363
    curious to know how recovery is going?

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Hello Rn4life !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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