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Newbie here with L3-L4 Ruptured Disc & overwhelmed....

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
I've spent a good while roaming the boards here reading a lot of posts and did also go to Chirogeek website.
I have to say I am pretty overwhelmed.

I better start out by saying that I 30 yrs old and have had pinched nerve "issues" in my right hip for approx. 10 yrs. Nothing bad...I'd go to the chiro and he'd fix me up.

Well, this time it was ALL different. on Nov 11/3/08 I went to the chiro with the "usual" pinched nerve in my hip. I woke up 11/5 early a.m. in excrutiating pain in my pelvis/upper legs. I thought I was in labor all over again.

To make this short and bring up you to speed...I have had X-rays done by my Primary Dr which then he referred me to get an MRI. He also put me on the Medrol dose pack and that seemed to help a bit. A few days later I had to get some pain meds from him.

Overall I am doing much better than the "feeling like I was in labor again" days and actually have gotten to where I am not taking in pain meds or maybe just one Vicodin a day.

The MRI I had done was on 11/19 and showed:

L2-L3 small central disc protusion with associated annular fissure. Mild spinal canal stenosis.
L3-L4 very lar extruded disc as described severly narrowing the spinal canal/lateral recesses.
L4-L5 disc buldge with associated annular fissure with moderate L4-L5 neural foraminal narrowing.

I then went on to see a Neurosurgeon on 12/1 and he recommeded a nice hefty back brace (not the turtle one) and to take it easy (no lifting, etc) for the next month to see if my body will "dissolve" the disc fragment. If it does, I will then go on to physical therapy and possible epid. injections if needed.

I also am set to have the EMG done tomorrow morning and go back to the neurosurgeon on 12/15.

Here is my questions/thoughts:

1. After reading here I am pretty discouraged that it seems I will struggle for the rest of my life with this. I am *amazed* at how many people have re-herniated discs over time.
2. On one hand it seems surgery is better to do as conservative therapy doesn't seem to help but then it seems as though surgery isn't good either?!?!? Kinda confusing. My neurosurgeon did tell me that in the end I will be the same weather I do conservative therapy or surgery (seems to match what the Chirogeek site said).
3. I am TERRIFIED of having needles put in my spine (thus why I didn't have pain med while in labor with both kids) and now it seems I will have to get over that....possible more if I have to have surgery.
4. In my mind I don't seem/feel like I am THAT bad off. I can function. The hardest is sitting at my desk all day at work. The pins and needles feeling in my left foot is the most irritating to me. I would say PAIN wise I am not that bad at all. I get flare ups every once and awhile.
5. This one is personal and I hope I can post here....I will keep it nicely worded. :) My neurosurgeon said to "be careful" in regards to "personal relations" with my husband. What can I do to "be careful?" Is one position better than other to be "more careful?" Just thought this would be the best place to ask.

Is there anyone out there that has been in my situation and did your body "dissolve" the fragment? What can I do to keep from re-herniating my disc? I know I have 2 buldging discs I want to keep from getting herniated too!! I am pretty confused at this point.....any thoughts/info is greatly appreciated.



  • WOW..I was amazed at my appointment with the neurologist to do the EMG. I have pretty high pain tolerance but now found my tolerance level to electricity is not good. LOL

    What I want to ask (and hope someone replies) is that I have started to get a "new" feeling/sensation in my right hip.
    After sitting at home on the couch or laying in bed, when I go to get up to a standing position I get a really bad pinched nerve feeling. It is like a "catch" and is VERY uncomfortable. It will go away after a few minutes if I just stand still.
    The weird thing is that I don't get it at work when sitting in my office chair and then standing up?!?!?

    It is nothing like the shooting pains down my legs I had.

    Has anyone experience this?
  • I didn't like the EMG either! I wouldn't go to a chiropractor for treatment. I went once and he twisted my neck and sidn't even tell me he was doing it. I'll never go back. Hope all turns out for you and pain gets under control. 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
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  • I have also had similar problems with my spine.. with L3,L4,L5.. I am 28 year old female and have had two surgerys already. I started with the pain you are having now and then eventually i lost all feeling in my left leg. I could not walk at all, and i had severe pack pain when i tried to move or do anything for that matter. my first surgery was to just remove the ruptured disk and that did wonders i was pain free for about a year.. than i also found out that i have degentertive disk disease and have lost all feeling in my left leg agian only it was worst this time. so i ended up having a fusion on L3,L4,L5.. I do recommened if you choose do have a fusion that you prepare yourself for worst pain than you feel before your the fusion. it does get better but i have had it done for three months now and im still and probably will never be painfree for the rest of my life. so please if you have any questions i would be pleased to answer them the best to my knowledge.. thanks for listening
  • It is all a bit overwhelming when you first start this journey. You must always remember that many of the people who have spinal problems that are resolved successfully do not hang around back boards and talk about their successes. That being said, surgery should always be done as a last resort. In almost all cases, surgery will not restore you to the way you were prior to the onset of your back problems. It is primarily done for pain relief. As you can tell from the stories on this board, it doesn't always turn out well. Some people develop new pain, or the original pain gets worse. Sometimes other problems develop down the road.

    I keep hearing of friends of friends who had back surgery that are very pleased with the results, but personally, I have never met anyway.

    Now for something positive:

    My husband ruptured a lower lumbar disc 16 years ago, on Christmas Eve.(I remember because I served him Christmas dinner on the floor.) He went to a number of specialists who mostly agreed that he was not a candidate for surgery at the time. They, too said five years down the road, he would feel the same, whether he'd had surgery or recovered on his own.`

    He went to physical therapy and very gradually, he got better. It took about 6 months before he started feeling reasonably OK again. Eventually he was able to return to running, which is his exercise of choice.

    Since then he has not had any additional problems. He is careful in how he uses his body. To this day, he does his "back exercises" faithfully (as in NEVER misses a day). If he does something that starts to hurt, like raking leaves, shoveling snow, etc. he paces himself, and then logs some floor time afterwards to unload the discs. He is very picky about the chairs he sits in as it does make a difference to him.

    This process is a long haul and requires a bit more patience than the average ruptured disc sufferer has, I think. It seems like more people elect to have surgery, probably because they think it will be a faster fix.

    If you are already feeling a tad better, you might want to give it a try for a couple months and see how you do. You can always have surgery at that time if it isn't working out.
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