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L4-L5 herniation

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:32 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, I am new to the site. I had an open discectomy in 1999 when I was 17 to repair a prolapsed disc at L3-L4. Had significant nerve damage due to the sciatica that took about 5 years to heal. My back would always "go out" but just for a few days or so. Always mild soreness, maybe 2 out of ten.

About 6 months ago, started experiencing a constant sciatic pain again and more intense back pain. This gradually got worse. Did a month of therapy which only aggravated the sciatica. Now the pain is a constant 8. Had the MRI done Monday. Took a look at it and prelim. results showed a herniation at L4-L5. I get the radiologists report today.

My doc said if their was instability at L3-L4, I would most likely have to have fusion. If it is just another herniation, he is recommending microdiscectomy.

I was wondering if anyone had a similar story/past and would be kind enough to offer advice or personal opinions on what I should do.



  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. check out the "Back and Neck Surgery" forum for more input on your procedure! :D good luck and keep us informed! =D> Jenny :)
  • when do you find out if there is instability?
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  • Got an update on Thursday. Looks like there in no instability which is great news. No need for fusion just yet. The bad news, spinal stenosis at L4-L5 along with a herniated disc. The combination of these two has completely pinched off the nerves. Both legs are experiencing the sciatic pain. The doc said to have an epideral for the pain but to also go in for a surgery consultation (microdiscectomy and opening of spinal canal).

    Question for the group out there...Is having these nerves pinched causing nerve damage. The reason I ask is I would like to fight through the pain for 5 more weeks to finish up a summer school class. Then I have a month off that I could do the surgery and recover. If this is causing damage that I will take years for the nerves to heal, then I would rather just do the surgery now.

    Thanks for the input.

  • what about trying one of the nerve pain medications like Lyrica? :? it may give you the relief you need to get through to the summer.. =D> it has worked wonders for me.. :D talk to your doctor about this possibility.. :-C keep us informed! Jenny :)
  • Welcome to SH :H Sorry that you're having these back troubles so young. If the MRI says the nerve is completely pinched off, I wouldn't wait too long to have surgery to decompress it, in my opinion.

    I have permanent nerve damage in one leg because it was impinged for too long. I did have a microdiscectomy to take the pressure off the nerve, but by then it was late in the game and the damage is irreversible. On top of that, I reherniated one month later and developed instability.

    I'm glad that that the instability is not there for you and that you dodged having a fusion. My concern is for the nerve that sounds severely compressed. You should talk to your doctor ASAP and ask how much is your risk for permanent damage. I totally understand about wanting to finish your summer classes up, but I surely don't want you to pay a high price later on by postponing your surgery.

    I'm talking from my personal experience and I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else. I have constant pain in my lower back and legs, as well as persistent muscle spasms in those areas. I use a can all the time because of the weakness and pain in my bad leg in order to avoid falls because my leg will give out unexpectedly.

    Let us know how you do and if you decide on going through with the surgery. Take care :)
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  • Thanks for all the replies out there.

    Met with an Orthopedic surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Physiologist, Pain Management guy, Chiropractor, Internal Medicine Dr stumping everyone.

    The things they know:

    Degeneration of discs L3-S1, all 3 discs are bulging, with some stenosis at L4-L5.

    Symptoms lasting past 2 months:

    Back is completely "out", can't bend over at the waist at all, spine is rigid and stiff, a lot of stiffness and pain in the morning, shooting pain in hips with sciatic pain in legs

    Life has come to a screeching hault, getting desperate, if anyone has any advice or thoughts they would be appreciated.

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