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anybody wait it out?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
herniated disc L3/L4 at one year. Studies indicate most in same place in a couple of years with or without microdiscectomy. Anybody just lose the nerve pain with time?


  • I don't know about the nerve pain waning or disappearing, but I understand that the herniated disc can break apart and be absorbed into the body. I just passed the 1 year mark on re-herniating L5-S1, I held out hope that this would happen... No such luck for me, the pain is worse now so I have opted for surgery.

    Would be curious to hear if this has happened for anyone, either the nerve pain waning or the disc breaking apart and being absorbed into the body.
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • My nerve pain was severe from herniations on L4-S1. I did have signs of neurological defects and the muscle spasms were horrendous. I had decompression surgery 5 months after my problems started, and this was 2007. Today I nerve damage in my leg and chronic back pain after having those 2 levels fused last summer.
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  • My husband ruptured a lumbar disc on Christmas Eve (I think it was L-5) about 15 years ago. He went to several spinal specialists who all said they could operate but recommended that he treat it conservatively. He was off work about 2-3 weeks, then went back to work (desk job). At the beginning he made some accommodations such as stretching out on the floor of his office during lunch hour, working some of the day standing rather than sitting, etc. He did his exercises that he learned at PT faithfully. He was a runner, but gave that up for awhile.

    By early summer, he was back to running a couple miles and resumed his usual routine. To this day, he does his back exercises every single day...NEVER skips a day, and keeps his core muscles strong. He still runs, and uses an elliptical trainer during the snowy winter to stay in shape. He is very conscious of good body mechanics and avoids those activities that he knows will be bad for him. He uses common sense when he has to do things like raking or shoveling, and always comes inside and stretches out on the floor. He is particular about where he sits, usually picking a "straight" chair over an upholstered couch, or chair.

    I am happy to say he has only had one flare up since, and he was able to control it by backing off on the running and resting for a few days. He is not bothered with any nerve or sciatic pain...so, it can happen.

    The key in doing this is patience. You have to be able to deal with the pain while the body heals. Not everyone can do this.

    As discman stated, research indicates that the results are almost identical five years out from a ruptured disc among those who had surgery and those who did not.

  • I'm glad your husband got through his pain by working through it. I have also recovered several times through physical therapy, yoga and my beloved bellydancing classes (until my third pregnancy) But each time I had a new bout, it took longer to heal. My first back problem was back in 1997 after I fell on ice snowboarding. Then a few years later jumping on a trampoline with the kids.I didn;t have an MRI and both times I got better within 2-3 months, but each time after that it took longer and longer to heal. I'm positive my back to back c-sections and bedrest did me in this time. I got desperate when I could no longer lift my babies from their cribs. Desperation can kill patience.

  • did someone teach her to hang from the money bar or did she think this up on her own? I often said with my cervical DDD that if someone would just stretch my spine (traction)...I think I'd get better...that's a thought.
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  • hanging from monkey bars or the those inverted gravity things - are they safe after fusions? I would check with doctors before I tried that.

    Back to the OP, I did everything I was told to do - walking, stretching, etc. I waited and waited and now I have permanent nerve damage. If I could go back, I would not have waited and waited.

    Good luck,

  • Hi discman :H Welcome to Spine Health. I have asked myself this question a thousand times...can it just go away? I certainly had to smile at these threads- they way I feel right now I wouldn't be hanging either from a chiro's traction bed or a monkey bar...I may never get up. Made me smile though.
  • I was advised by a physical medicine doc to just wait, my problem would improve on its own. By the time I finally say a surgeon, the surgeon told me my chance of a successful surgery were somewhat diminished by the fact that the nerve had been irritated for so long. In the end, the laminecotmy and fusion failed to relieve my pain.
  • Hello, Discman --

    I completely recovered from my first L5-S1 disc herniation in about 9 months -- one epidural injection and 8 months of neurontin with 3 months of PT. Managed pain by using OTC anti-inflammatory meds. and exercising everyday.

    But then I "re-injured" (in quotes b/c I was walking and almost slipped due to ice) myself 4 months later and never recovered fully using conservative methods. 6 months later (or 10 months post recovery), I "reinjured" my back again.

    I just had a microdiscectomy on 1/2/09. My leg pain is completely gone but now I'm recovering from surgery -- which is difficult even though it was considered "minimally invasive." I'll keep you posted.

    Good luck making your decision!
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