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Can you recover from a prolapsed disc without surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all

I wonder if anyone can help me with this one. I have been diagnosed provisionally by an osteopath with a prolapsed disc in my lower back. I had an MRI scan on Monday (very very painful as I cannot lie on my back at all) and am awaiting the results. I read somewhere that you can recover from a prolapse without surgery, is this true?

Also it says the bigger the prolapse the more severe the symptoms. I am in agony. My symptoms were initially bearable, I was on no painkillers and while I was still in pain I was able to go to work and function but I stupidly went to an osteopath (not the one that provisionally diagnosed me with a prolapsed disc) asking him if he could help me.

I told him that I had been to the hospital and they had diagnosed me as having a herniated disc and that I needed physiotherapy, I went along for a few sessions but felt I was getting nowhere, until one session when the physiotherapist pressed his thumbs into my lower back and the pain disappeared instantly, a couple of days later, I started getting sciatic pain in my right leg. This was apparently the point when my herniated disc burst and became a prolapsed disc.

I did not know any of this at this time. So thinking that the physiotherapist didn't know what he was doing I went to this osteopath, telling him what had occurred so far. He told me there was nothing wrong with my discs and that I just had a severe strain in my lower back and proceeded to bend both my legs backwards until my toes touched my bottom.

After this session the pain I was feeling went into orbit and I have been in unbearable agony ever since, I am on morphine to control the pain, I cannot walk, sit, stand, lie down, drive, work, anything. I need to be looked after as I cannot look after myself without help.

Is it possible that this osteopath made the prolapse far worse than it was by the way he treated me? He was very rough and I had a finger nail cut mark in my back that my mother and sister both saw. I could really do with some advice regarding this as I feel that potentially this man has done serious damage to my back.

Also can a prolapse heal naturally as I am terrified of the prospect of surgery and want to avoid it at all costs. I am saying all of this however, aware that I do not yet have the MRI results and they could reveal something completely different but at this point I think it is a prolapsed disc in my lower back that is impinging on the nerves in my right leg.

I would be most grateful if anyone can help me out here as I am in severe pain even with the morphine and other pain killers.

Kind regards and sorry this post was so long!



  • charryccharry Posts: 5,660
    edited 09/06/2015 - 9:21 PM
    Have you seen an orthopedic surgeon or Neurologist yet? Your Dr. needs to refer you to them. Also he needs to find you a pain management Dr. Also I take Lyrica for leg pain and morphine also. There are many places online that say how long if and when a prolapsed disc will heal. Some on they're own and some have to have surgery. I've had a herniated disc with sciatica for 9 months and they said they wouldn't operate but to try conservative measures first. I would ask a Dr. if physio is right for you. I don't think they could've caused the prolapse. Of course I'm not a Dr. Take care. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Diana,

    My husband has very similar situation as you are. He suffered form back pain for quiet a while (almost 2 years). In mid Oct, 2008, his pain got stronger, but was still able to walk, stand, sit and work. Immediately after seeing the osteopath, he was not able to stand nor walk anymore. He had an MRI scan 2 weeks afterwards, based one the explanation of his spinal surgeon he has L4-L5 and L5-S1 prolapsed discs. L4-L5 seems like an old injury and L5-S1 was caused by a certain force recently. In my husband's case that it's clear the osteopath had made his prolapse disc way worse.

    My husband's is very against the idea of the surgery. Although, his spinal surgeon was prepared to operate on him within a week and saying there is a good chance for him to have Cauda equina syndrome if he do not deal with the prolapsed disc immediately.

    It's now 9 weeks since his pain started. He is getting better and better everyday without the surgery. He had changed his life style totally and developed an exercise routine. Now the numbness of his leg and feet are almost gone, but still feels a little bit of the pain the first 30 minutes after he wakes up in the morning.

    We do believe that one can recovered from a prolapsed disc without surgery. As long you get enough nutrition and have a good exercise routine.

    If you are still in pain, please do contact me. I can share a few tips with you about how my husband managed to recovered without the surgery.


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  • Are you still around? I'd be interested if you could give me some tips of what your husband did to help his pain. Thanks Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • u can keep wet cloth around the lower spine and belly -just for half an hour- and u can place another wet cloth to ur back -just for half an hour - this will reduce the stress in the affected part and release pain well
    or if u know u can take spinal bath this also help to reduce stress in spine - that is keep ordinary water in a tub for one or 2 inches and keep ur back on it for half an hour
    or u can contact any naturopathy person he may help u
    i am having this L4-L5 problem, and in very worse condition of numbness spreads my lower part of the body ,though i am keeping allopathic medicines for some days , mostly i am doing this and now again i am able to play cricket and hopefully i will regain my fitness
  • Hi alax

    Am 37 year old and have smaller problem since 9 month when I got little pain in my low back and after consulting my DR I, came to know is disc. This is going with me since 9 month but is not using any pain killer.
    I, understand that ur husband got better with a good exercise routine can u share what exercises he use to do because I, did all with machine and without now started routine exercise walking 3 days a week and do stretch exercise but am not getting batter. Means I, always feel the numbness when I, get up in the morning.
    Please share what type of exercises ur husband do every day.

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  • Hi Alex,

    Are you still around? I have L4-L5 Disk Prolapse problem since 11 month I, understand that your husband got better with a good exercise routine can u share what exercises he use to do.
    Please share what type of exercises your husband does every day.

    alok gusain
  • I had a surgery on my L4/5 and was fine for two years until I had my baby in August and since then I started getting worse each day and now I am on morphine for my pain. My MRI scan showed prolapsed disc again, can anybody help me please, I can't look after my baby I am in do much pain.
  • Do you mean a disc bulge or a herniation with extrusion? There is a difference in the diagnosis'. A bulge is simply a disc that sits outside it's normal margins on the vertebra and may or may not require surgery. A herniation is one that that the disc is a much larger area and can have part of the disc material break away from the disc and possibly impinge the canal or a nerve root. In that case, then seeing a surgeon would be the best option in getting this treated.
    Seeing the surgeon does not necessarily mean surgery, but if there is nerve involvement or a disc fragment, it would be best to see the surgeon for his opinion, rather than relying on the use of pain medication to avoid surgery.
  • IrinchickIIrinchick Posts: 7
    edited 01/16/2014 - 10:34 AM
    I am awaiting to be seen by my surgeon but meanwhile I just wanted to ask if people had similar problems send how they managed their pain. I can hardly move, my husband has been helping me to look after our baby but he has to ho back to work and I am going to struggle on my own, because anything I do is causing me pain and then even morphine doesn't help, only lying flat eases the pain. I am so desperate to get better for my baby.
  • The first time I had prolapsed disc L5-S1 and couldn't move without getting severe pins and needles to the extreme down both legs. I had acupuncture and that cured my problem so everything was all good again. My back was great for 3 years until I was hit by a car and then my back prolapsed again and I have had at least 4 discs prolapse since my back went in 2009 and acupuncture is not working this time but I just continue with whatever I can. ACUPUNCTURE may work for you you can only give it a try and no it doesn't hurt at all.


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