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Should i have L5-S1 discectomy?

DannyDDanny Posts: 1
edited 10/27/2015 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Good afternoon all, I'm new here and been floating around reading for a few weeks now.

It all started in early august, i woke up with a little sciatica (had this for a couple of years now) after a couple of days it got worse and i could barely out my own shoes and socks on. I went to see my GP and they gave me the usual pain killers and anti inflamatories which never really helped.

About 2 weeks later i got up and made the bed, after that i experienced pain in my back and leg like never before, I've also lost the feeling in my lower right leg and had to go to hospital because i couldn't bare it any more. I stayed in for the day being given various painkillers to stop the pain and left later that evening from what i could remember.

The next day i returned to my GP who advised meet get an MRI scan, which i had 2 weeks later, the results of the scan show that i have a prolapsed disk L5-S1. I have been for my surgery consultation and I'm now on an 8-10 week waiting list.

Im now experiencing pain in my lower back unless i move in certain directions, my shin and underneath of my foot and still numb but i have a burning sensation on the top of my foot which i assume is due to the nerve being compressed.

Im quite worried about going for the surgery due to there being possible nerve damage etc.

Any advise would be very much appreciated, on wether i should have the surgery or do you think that it will get better with time?

Oh, im a 31 year old male, I'm an electrician so my job involves me bending, stretching, lifting and driving, I'm currently off work incase i do any more damage in the meantime.

Thanks, and i look forward to reading your opinions.

Welcome to Spine-Health

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So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

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Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
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I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

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Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 10/27/15 14:41 est



  • Everyone is different, but here is my experience...

    For about three years I had bad right sided lower back pain, and for the past year it also went into my leg and foot (pain and numbness). My primary care doc never did imaging, always prescribed pain meds, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy. In July or August the pain was no longer bearable, and PT was not helping and I often had reactions to the anti-inflammatory medication making me unable to take them for the duration needed. FINALLY an MRI was ordered and showed a large L5-S1 herniated disc. I was referred to a neurosurgeon.

    The neurosurgeon was confident that my leg pain would go away, but couldn't guarantee the back pain going away with the discectomy. I went ahead and had surgery early October, and now 3 weeks post op I feel fantastic! My leg pain was gone right away after I woke up from surgery, and my back hurt, but not the pain I was used to, just pain from the incision and surgery. Currently I am still taking it pretty easy not doing anything too physical, but I have no leg pain and no back pain.

    With this being said though, everyone is different, see what your doctors say and if you are considering surgery be sure you get all your questions answered from your surgeon and that you trust him/her.
    L5-S1, Laminectomy / Discectomy, 10/7/2015
  • Was really interested to read this after my own experiences.I had same surgery but left it too late so beware
    Ok so when I was weighing it up these where the factors the consultant put to me
    1. The length of time from outset of symptoms to surgery ,I waited too long and have residual damage so with you,youve got a relitively short time span,
    2.is your back pain or your leg pain worse? If its leg I was advised surgery would help,if its all in the back the result wouldnt be as good.There are side effects to all surgeries,mine was early scar tissue formation.
    Ive known a few people had good results going to a private chiropracter expensive but avoided surgery
  • Studies say that most people with herniations after 2 years have the same result of returning to activities- surgery or not...But... that said there are some things that aren't seen on scan that may affect this.
    I had a large herniation on scan, was given the option to try to heal it... eventually had it taken out. Turns out it was rather enormous 3 cm by 3 cm (you'll see most discs are measured in mm). and part of it had wrapped under a second nerve. Like tube I should have had it sooner and would have avoided some of the permanent damage to my right foot. My result from it was very good and I wish I had not waited.... but that is just my personal story of course!
  • When my disc herniated at L5S1 level I was in such unbearable pain that I went to the hospital. They thought seeing a chiropractor would help. The chiropractor ordered an MRI and when she saw how large the herniation was, immediately told me to stop any exercises that she had recommended and referred me to neurologist, who did my discectomy. That all took a month from start to finish. And it reherniated--the larger the disc, the higher the risk of reherniation. That information would not have changed my mind about surgery because I was in agony. Before my second surgery, I was sent for an MRI and a nerve study and that showed that there was damage in the calf already. So the decision for second surgery was made. Now it's four months post op and I seem to be "stuck" in my recovery but that's another story. Some people get better right away, others don't because of various reasons. This whole situation has impacted my life and that's what everyone undergoing this type of surgery needs to know: things might change and mentally, you have to be prepared. Hope everything turns out well!
  • I had a horrible l5S1 herniation, so after couldn't walk i got a micro disc surgery. Things were great instantly and back to work quickly. But months later didn't take too much to re herniate what was left of the same disc. 8 months of horrible nerve pain and finally agreed to the fusion. Now i sit in recovery life with bad nerve pain every day all day. I pray it gets better. BUT PLEASE if you can do therapy and slowly get stronger and better AVOID SURGERY BECAUSE sometimes it leads to another surgery then another and another. Tough decision but smartest decision is to do all you can to get better without surgery. IF all fails then at least you tried, thats what i did. Scary cuz i likely will lose the career I worked so hard at for years to finally get but
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