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Herniated Disc L4 L5 by 7mm - pushing on Nerve causing numbness and chronic Pain

I have somehow herniated two discs in my lower back, pushing on the nerve to my left leg. I have lost all feeling in my foot and up the left side of my leg. The pain was so bad 2 weeks ago I went to the ER and had morphine. It was determined I was not an emergency surgery case, so I have been doing Physical Therapy and to date I have had 2 epidural steroid injections and no feeling at all has returned. I am able to make it through the day as long as I stand and walk as much as possible but I have 2 questions I was hoping to have answered by anyone who maybe has been through the same thing?

1. How do you cope at night / early morning? I have been waking with agony in my left hip area around 4am and I have to pace the house and can't put much weight on my left leg.

2. If you had surgery what led you to that decision and how was the recovery period? I am not sure how much longer I can take the sleepless nights and wondering how long I should give it before I consider the surgery.

Thanks so much for any advice.



  • Welcome to the forum. I’d ask your doctor for water therapy. IMO land therapy is ok but water therapy can do wonders for many people with herniations that are considered to be on the small side.

    I personally would exhaust all conservative options.

    I saw some research online that shows a microdisectomy is less successful on herniations 8mm and less.

    Of course not everything is cookie cutter. There was someone on this forum recently who had a very small herniation although surgery was performed because two tiny disc fragments broke off and were wedged up against a nerve. 

    That sounds like a rare case but it does happen.

    If me I’d request water therapy for 6 weeks and if no improvement then if they’re talking surgery (multiple opinions from multiple surgeons) then I think in that situation I’d seriously consider surgery. 

    Good luck and I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. In the coming hours more folks should be by to chime in.

  • Brad

    welcome to spine-health

    You mentioned you went to the ER and have had injections, but you didn't mention what kind of doctor you are seeing at this time, if you are not already you need to be seeing a spine specialist, orthopedic or neurosurgeon, they will be best to handle what is going on.

    As far as your questions go, that can be tough, do you have any pain medications to help? Ice packs and heating pads can be a great help, but they are only temporary.
    The numbness is very concerning, and not something that needs to continue any longer than absolutely necessary, the longer the nerve stays compressed, the longer the recovery time for that nerve, if it stays compressed too long it may never come back so this is something that you should discuss with a specialist.
    Personally I have had several surgeries, but I have always tried everything I could before having any of them, and I think everybody should do the same, as my surgeon said to me, you will know when it is time for surgery, and I did and I think you will too, because nobody but a qualified specialist and yourself should decide when it's time for surgery.
    Take care and keep us posted on your progress.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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