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L4/5 disk tear and lingering radiculopathy

Dreamsong_29DDreamsong_29 Posts: 4
edited 07/24/2015 - 8:21 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hello, I am new here. I am 43 years old, female, and have had LBP, sciatica and RLS since I was a child. I stopped trying to find answers by my 20s....test after test showed nothing significant. A could of PTs have said that my right hip is rotated way forward and that could be a cause.

For about 15 years, I've had bulging disks at L4/5 and L5/S1. Last September I became unable to work due to leg and back pain on the left and an MRI showed a radial annular tear at L4/5. The doctor said all he could offer me was a steroid shot, and I declined.

Instead I used natural medicine for pain and sedation, stayed in bed for two weeks, then gradually returned to activity over the next six months. I can walk now (without screaming) and drive my car for work. The biggest problem is when I lie down.

Since the disk tear healed/closed, I have not been able to lie on my left or right side. Lying on my right side causes almost immediate intense nerve pain running down my right leg, especially in the knee and foot. Lying on my left side causes immediate intense pain in my right hip.

So I can only sleep on my back now, which is very uncomfortable because, not only does it hurt my lower back, but it hurts my neck. I had an anterior cervical diskectomy with fusion (fusion failed), 4 screws and plate installed at C5/6 in 2001. There is arthritis and kyphosis there and the back of my neck does not like constant pressure.

The other reason is the RLS. It is so excruciating to lie still that I have to use a good deal of sedation in order to fall asleep. Not a fan of pills or pill dependency. I cannot tolerate narcotic pain meds (GI problems).

I am getting an EMG next week on my legs. I had one when I was 15 and I know it is going to be painful. But hopefully will tell if there is nerve damage from the disk pulp spilling out.

Whether nerve damage or no, something has happened which makes it impossible to sleep on either side. Does anyone have experience with torn disks? Did it get better? Or does it seem that this is permanent damage? Should I ask for another MRI to see if L4/5 is ruptured? If it would fix it, ai would rather have a laminectomy than live like this.

Thanks for any replies.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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