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New to forum: herniated disc L4-L5, facet arthropathy S1-L5

merbellammerbella Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am new to this forum and would like to hear similar experiences and cures (if any). I have a herniated disc L4-L5, facet arthropathy S1-L5 and radiculopathy in the L5. I've been in pain every day for 14 months. I've tried physical therapy, skelaxin, nsaids, Lyrica, trigger point and steroid injections, chiropractor and accupuncture. Chiroprator and accupuncture visits have helped the most but I am having trouble paying for the bi-weekly visits. I saw an orthopedic surgeon in July but he said my disc and arthropathy were mild and surgery was not needed. Applying heat makes it worse, and when I get injections in the lower back, the nerve pain in my legs from the L5 gets MUCH worse. Does the herniated disc push on the arthropathy and that makes things worse? During physical therapy, relieving the herniated disc would make the arthropathy worse. I guess I'm wondering if surgery would help or if I just have to "deal" with this for the rest of my life. Thanks for any input.


  • probably the herniated disc is taking up space that would otherwise be used by the l5 nerve root. this results in nerve compression. if it is not physically pressing against the nerve, there can also be a chemical reaction if anything is leaking from the disc, that irritates the nerve and results in radiculopathy.

    the arthropathy can also cause pain, so either or both of these conditions could be pain generators.

    i'm afraid no one here can offer you a "cure." but you can read others' experiences and there are informative articles on the website written by spinal specialists.

    you might want to get another opinion from a different spinal specialist...either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon. if you have tried conservative treatments for a period of time and none of them help, it may be time for surgery. depending on how badly the nerve is compressed, you do not want to leave it that way forever.

    here's an article on facet joints:

  • I was going to a chiropractor for traction table sessions. I did not let him do any adjustments on me.
    I was going 3 times per week and it was getting expensive.
    Instead, I bought a traction table for home use.
    It's the Saunders lumbar traction unit.
    (got a great deal on eBay)
    I use it 3X a week and it paid for itself.

    Am very happy with it.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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