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L4-5 Herniated disc, feeling helpless/rant

HerimiaHHerimia Posts: 2
edited 12/18/2014 - 1:20 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hey guys, I've been following the forum but this will be my first post.

I'm a 20 year old guy with a herniated disc in my lower back, it's been just under 2 years. When it first happened it fixed itself after 6-8 weeks rest. I was going good, 10 months ago I had a flare up and it hasn't got better. I've seen the top specialists, many doctors and Physios. I have mild disc degeneration and stenosis. Then there's the sciatic pain that's almost always present.

People get cancer they fix it, people have hip replacements, knee reconstructions, heart transplants. This injury affects millions, it's a nasty injury. Why can't I be fixed. It's not a vital organ. No one will operate on me nor do I want surgery. My back is xxxx and I'm 20, xxxx. What will I be like when I'm 50?

I've been swimming, I've taken anti inflammatory and pain killers. I used to run and exercise a lot. It's been a while. Why cant they fix this? It's not a vital organ. I read about sportsman getting over these injuries, why can't I? I'm not overweight, I have a strong core. I don't have an underlying structural issue. I've had two MRI's. Are stem cells the real deal or more fiction.

Thanks :) any support is welcome. But I'd like to hear about specific exercises or treatments that worked for you. Thanks.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Nobody on the forum is medically qualified to suggest specific exercises, this link may help.

    Welcome Message

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • What was the surgeon easoning for not doing surgery? Both a disc herniation and spinal stenosis can be corrected surgically, but surgery should be the last option. Have you seen a Pain Management Specialist for other treatments? Have you tried Physical Therapy? Do you have obvious nerve compression on your MRI? Unless yours isn't that bad, I can't see why surgery wouldn't be an option. Did they recommend trying any other conservative treatments first? Do you have a current plan? You can always seek another opinion from a spine surgeon.
    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
  • As far as things to try, some require a referral from a Dr. You can try physical therapy, Epidural injections ( those are performed by a pain management Dr), I wouldn't run, but walking is good, try ice then heat for inflammation and muscle tightness/spasms. Continue anti-inflammatories on a regular basis, message therapy, acupuncture, stay away from chiropractic adjustments. A lot of this is just to help with the pain. Do you have back pain and leg pain? Is the pain severe? Keep your core strong. You don't want to lie around so keep moving, but don't do anything too strenuous. A lot of Dr's don't want to operate on young people if it can be avoided, but you should at least have a treatment plan. Who's handling your case right now? You can keep a pain journal so you know what activities make the pain better or worse, plus you can explain exactly what kind of pain you have, and the severity of it. This can help when you're speaking with the Dr. It will also help you to avoid certain activities that make the pain worse. Do you have a copy of your MRI reports? If not, I would get a copy so you can research what is says and you'll be better prepared to ask questions. We can't help you decipher it, but you can google a lot of what's on there. Pay attention to words like mild, moderate and severe. If your herniation and stenosis are mild, that may be why they don't want to operate. Before I started PT I would YouTube exercises for disc herniations or core strengthening etc. Just be careful because you don't want to make things worse.

    I apologize if I've asked too many questions, but it'll help other's respond as well.
    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
  • in fact, most don't and given some time, may resolve on their own. Jumping into surgery too fast can result in more problems down the road for the patient and more pain that can become chronic.
    The spine and it's nerves, vessels, cord, and structures make a "fix" more complicated than removing a tumor or an appendix that is bad.....so avoiding surgery if possible and not doing unnecessary surgery is the best option.
    There are other things that can be done to ease the pain if the herniation is causing it, so you really need to consult with a board certified spine surgeon to discuss your images and a treatment plan .
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