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Surgery or Not-16 years of herniated disc pain

jamira79jjamira79 Posts: 1
edited 11/23/2015 - 8:55 AM in Lower Back Pain
I really need some insight on this. I am 36 years old and was in a horrible car accident when I was 19. I am lucky to be alive. From that day on I had always been plagued with excruciating back pain, 'throwing out my back' at least once a year for the first 10 years or so, and now it happens at least 4 times a year. I have sneezed and been out of work for weeks. I pulled a shirt out of a drawer, picked up a bread plate, turned my head the wrong way, all of these things have at some point caused me to be out for weeks at a time. I had always had x-rays and CT scans and such, and finally just had an MRI and was told that I have 2 herniated discs in my lower back. I have never had the steroid injections to try to shrink them nor PT or Chiropractic care. I have also been a high volume server for 21 years. I am to the point that the pain is so severe 3 to 4 times a year that sometimes I can not walk for a week or 2 and then I can't sit or lay down another week or 2. I have had numerous back doctors refer me to PT, only to never be able to afford the treatments, always being given exercises to do at home to strengthen my back. The pain never last more than a month and I always go right back to work lifting heavy trays, running up and down stairs, etc...
I have read article after article that has stated that 90% or so of these disc heal themselves by the body reabsorbing the discs, but after 21 years of me not taking care of myself the way I should (being a server doesn't generally pay health insurance so out of pocket expenses at hundreds of dollars at a time was not an option for many years) is there any chance of my discs healing themselves at this time with any sort of non invasive treatments? I know that PT, massage, and acupuncture are basically more of pain management treatments, but will a chiropractor 'cure' or 'heal' this? My doctor now is amazing and so very informative. Not a 'I just want to take your money' sorta guy, has told me that one of my discs is so torn and out of place that removal just may be my only options. He knows that I have not done PT or steroid shots, but has prescribed my the pills instead and they do absolutely nothing for me. He does not recommend a chiropractor but so many others (friends, forums) do. I am afraid of surgery but I don't want a 'band-aid' I want a cure to heal this.
I am 5'9", weigh only 132lbs, a very petite and active female. I only wear the best footwear for support, I do bending and lifting the proper way, I do exercises for stretching my back and limbs, I am not lazy, I have lumbar seats custom in my car for my back, etc... Is there any way this can heal on its own or am I destined for surgery. At this point I would rather have the surgery alleviate the pain even if for 5 or 6 years before it no longer works and have to do it again...

There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site. Therefore everything you read is based on the personal experiences and/or research done by the individual member. Comments should never be taken as pure medical facts. You need to discuss this with your doctor. They are the only ones that can provide you with detailed information about you, the patient.

Liz, Spine-health Moderator


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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