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L4 Degeneration L5 Rupture

wlingle78wwlingle78 Posts: 1
Hello, 36 year old with newly diagnosed L5 rupture and L4 degeneration right above. This Monday will be the 13th week since the first symptoms began in my right buttock and leg. Been through three rounds of steroids, three weeks of pt, three weeks of chiropractory, and pain meds such as Percocet and Neurontin without any relief. The pain is manageable enough to get me through a day teaching, but I am concerned of long term effects I may have if I put off surgery and go with only a pain management clinic solution. The nights were once my only respite, but now are affected by pain as well! I was looking for disectomy stories positive or negative and the recovery process. I would like to only be out of my classroom for three weeks if possible. Any thoughts?

Thanks all!


Welcome to Spine-Health

It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. Isolating spinal problems can almost be like the game of Clue. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,
Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?
    - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
    - What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
    - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
    - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
    - What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
    - Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
    - Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
    - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

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What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 02/08/15 23:38


  • If you can get a decent nights sleep, which is critical now more than ever for healing, even if you have to take an Aleve PM or similar AND you're able to get through a days work, I would recommend trying all you can to avoid surgery. Surgery is a last resort IMHO. It's a very painful slow recovery and there are no guarantees that you'll feel better. It's common after surgery to just be exchanging one kind of pain for another. I had my surgery L4/L5 two years ago and went back to work 3 weeks after my surgery. I had a couple bad falls, had trouble working trough the pain (I was in finance and felt it was immoral to be on pain medication when I was responsible for others $$$). I stayed home recouperating after the last fall, that was 2 years ago. My pain started in 1994 and by 2000 I was upset with my doctor for saying he wanted me to stick with anti-inflammatories, PT and other treatments and would not authorize surgery yet. I was tired of my back acting up unexpectedly, the sciatica pain, the rounds of steroids and being flat out for weeks at a time. Looking back now, I'm glad my doctor didn't operate then. I got 13 more years with only intermittent problems. By the time my legs were going numb and the pain took me to the emergency room 3 times a week, I had no choice, and had the surgery. It's not an exact science. Doctors inflate (lie) their success stories. I'll have a good day or two, then I'm down 2 or three days in pain. I'm trying/doing all I can to get back to a normal life. I miss my work. I miss being productive and contributing. Surgery is a last resort. Start interviewing surgeons, get a plan lined up in the event you need it in a hurry but don't go there until the pain is so bad you cant go five minutes without thinking about it. Best to you.
  • I'm actually an advocate of surgery if it's indicated. I've had two micro-discectomies. The first was a complete and total success. I had 4 1/2 years of complete pain free living with a 100% athletic recovery (I own a farm and ride horses for a living). Sometime this past November I reherniated the disc (which I had been warned would likely happen at somepoint). There was no injury that caused it...just degeneration over time. Same for the first surgery...just degenerative disc disease.

    I'm 8 weeks post-op from surgery number 2 and honestly ont doing well. Around the 6 week nmark the sciatic pain and radiculopathy came back. While not as bad as it was just before the surgery, it is MUCH worse than it was for those first 5 weeks AFTER the surgery. I was doing SO WELL! No idea what could have cause the return of the pain. I see the doc this week and I'm praying it didn't reherniate already. I can't do a fusion...I just can't. I'm afraid it will render me unable to ride anymore.

    Even with this set back from my second surgery, I would still recommend a micro-discectomy to anyone suffering badly enough where the pain is affecting your ability to function. I'd have another discectomy if I could, but I'm sure no doctor is willing to do 3. Mine was L5-S1.
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