Patient Stories: How Lumbar Herniated Disc Affected Ron's Life Before Diagnosis

Video Transcript

Herniated disc, to me, was a painful situation. But a lot depends on the herniation.

It’s only because I’ve done a lot of research that I now understand, but the term “herniation,” “bulging disc,” “slipped disc,” are one in the same, it just depends on the severity of it.

I had a herniated disc once that I lived with for 4 or 5 years without a problem because it was a little painful but it really didn’t bother me so much. But once it presses on a nerve, and that gives you that sciatic condition, that is when, you know, you know it’s painful.

I remember, 1982, driving from Connecticut, we would go to Niagra Falls; in the car for more than 20 minutes, I had to get out. Because the pain was shooting up and down my leg; my right foot, which I was driving with, I could hardly feel. No feeling in that leg.

That was scary. That was definitely a result of the herniated disc pressing on a nerve root.

So, that is where the differentiation is, I think, between a herniated disc: If it’s not hitting a nerve root, you can deal with it; if it’s hitting a nerve root, go for surgery.

On my other surgeries I was a little more stubborn. I had the problem and I didn’t want to go for that third surgery. I had some EMG tests which Identified how much nerve damage there was. I waited too long for the surgery; as a result I have a number of dead nerves from my right leg. My right foot is partially drop foot. I stumble a lot, and I trip a lot, and that’s because I waited too long. If you damage a nerve, nerves don’t come back or regrow. Once they’re dead, they’re dead.

That was another thing that I did learn from herniated disc: If it’s nerves-related, get it fixed.