Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

College Athlete - Discectomy a Good/Bad Idea?

Hello everyone! I'm a newbie here, and I'm really hoping someone has an answer to my question...

A little about me: I've had back pain as long as I can remember. I've played softball my whole life, and I can remember as far back as 13 years old having back pain/stiffness at practice. Up until a year ago, I've had mild and tolerable radiating pain that usually stayed within my hips if I sat for a long time but not much else (I thought this was normal, because I had these symptoms for so long). I'm now a Junior in college and on scholarship.

Beginning of March 2014, I woke up one morning and my back was so stiff I couldn't move. Played a double-header that day, had a great game and didn't think much of my back pain other than it was just stiff and paired with sciatica. That night, I ended up collapsing in the parking lot trying to get out of my car. By the time I got in to get an MRI, my symptoms had subsided (it took ~2 wks of resting and PT), where my Doc said my L4/L5 was the worst he had ever seen in someone with as few symptoms as I had (L5/S1 is herniated as well). I told him I've had pain for years, and he wonders if it's just been a gradual thing that has occurred over a long period of time as opposed to a specific "injury".

Summer 2014 I wasn't able to train or do much of anything because it irritated my back too bad, even with PT. Tried running some with the team in September, ended up putting myself out for 2 wks again, but PT and rest fixed this too. After that, I had manageable symptoms (occasional stiffness and constant mild sciatica that I learned to ignore) until Feb 1st, where I was in the middle of practice and my back out of nowhere stiffened up and felt like someone stabbed me. Pain got worse by the day after this, and I had to use a wheelchair just to get to class. I ended up in the ER Feb 4th after passing out in class because the pain and spasms were terrible. Got a cortisone shot Feb 5th, and while it finally stopped the spasms and the pain went from a 9 to a 2 instantly, the pain has gotten worse since. Now, Feb 19th, I get numbness in my feet sides of my legs and some pain mostly in my right leg (although it switches back and forth between legs occasionally). My right leg often feels dead.

I'm looking at getting a microdiscectomy hopefully sometime in the next few months, since my school is calling it a "school-related incident" and they'll be paying for it. I've been researching all options and I feel like this is my best chance. I've been suffering from back pain for so long, and PT alone hasn't been keeping it away long-term. Even if I never play softball again, I would like to at least be active. I'm only 20 years old and I'm not able to run, bike, or even do yoga sometimes because it irritates my back too bad. However, I'm worried that I've had this so long that if I were to relieve the pressure from my nerves, it would cause more harm than good because everything has been compressed for so many years...

Has anyone has any sort of similar situation? Getting a disc removed when it's been herniated for so long? I don't know if that's an actual thing that can happen. This is all very new to me and I've been Googling a lot of things, and this isn't something I've been able to find information on... I feel very lost because I can't find a case like mine and I just want to be out of pain.

Thank you to whoever takes the time to read this!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Use that above hyperlink to help you get started with Spine-Health and navigate through the system.

    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,806
    Thats for you and doctor to decide, but I do know there have been quite a few major leauge players that returned to play after that type of surgury. Randy Johnson, larry walker and I am sure others if memory serves.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • HI, I am no expert and not qualified to give any medical advise. This is just my "personal experience" You should base any treatments you want only after talking to your doctors. With that said........
    my pain started in my hips when I was about 33 years old. I never put much thought into it as I figured it was maybe a bit of arthritis. It started as a mild/moderate ache that would come and go. 9 years had gone by and the pain gradually got worse over time and I started getting pain radiating through my buttock and down through my calf,ankle & foot which had become chronic I finally, just last year, went to the doctor. Had MRI which showed herniated disks as well as other problems. The L5- S1 disc seemed to be the culprit.
    Long story short. I went through another year of many conservative treatments with no success. I had my Laminectomy/Discectomy 4 days ago and all my symptoms instantly went away.
    Keep in mind I only assume my disc was herniated all that time as I only confirmed it a year ago with MRI. I think , however, that was my problem all along (10 years)
    I think a lot of your recovery success rate is determined by how much nerve damage has been done over time. I had an EMG/ Nerve test ordered by my surgeon prior to my procedure to check just how much damage I had. Mine came back with only mild damage to the S1 nerve root.
    As I said it has only been 4 days post op for me but all my sciatic pain down butt/leg, so far, is gone.
    The Discectomy is primarily to stop the leg pain. If your having pain in your back this surgery will probably not help that, or so I was told.
    This is only my "personal experience" . Everybody is different You should certainly try all available conservative treatments as possible.
    Best of luck to you with whatever you and your doctors decide to do.
Sign In or Register to comment.