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L5-S1 annulat tear, L4-5 bulge

jami253jjami253 Posts: 5
I need some direction. Two yrs ago I had an L5-S1 MED for a large rightsided herniated disc. Surgery went well, and I had no problems for 2 years pain free. 7 weeks ago pushing a wheel chair I hurt my back again. Thoughts of a recurrent herniation, I got another MRI. Results show no recurrent herniation at L5-S1, but a small paracentral annular tear. There is mild degenerative change of the facet joints. At L4-L5 there is a mild diffuse disc bulge. I have back pain, sharp eletric shock pain in right butt or sometimes left butt while walking. I have weakness in my right leg/foot. My neurosurgeon thinks it will heal over time and recommended PT which I have been doing for 3 weeks now, no progress yet. I read that disc tears are very painful and can take upto 18 months to heal. Is that true? I am wondering if I should get another opinion by an orthopedic surgeon? Since the tear is in a disc I had surgery on 2 years ago, should I be concerned? Will it heal, will it leak out and eventually herniate if I am nor careful?


  • jami253 said:
    I read that disc tears are very painful and can take upto 18 months to heal. Is that true? I am wondering if I should get another opinion by an orthopedic surgeon? Since the tear is in a disc I had surgery on 2 years ago, should I be concerned? Will it heal, will it leak out and eventually herniate if I am nor careful?
    I received an diagnosis of a bulging disc and annular tear at L5-S1 18 months ago. At that time I could walk about a mile before I developed significant pain. Also, filling a one liter water bottle at a faucet was uncomfortable. I couldn't put on pants while standing.

    I am doing better now, but I am not cured. I am still rehabilitating, partly because I keep reinjuring myself. I am still unlearning bad habits, and learning good exercises and ways of moving. If I ever have surgery, I want it after I've eliminated the causes of the original injury in my life.

    My latest acquistion in my learning is a book that I received today: "Low Back Disorders - Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation" by Stuart McGill.
  • Annular tears do not go away on their own not ever. However the symptoms might. It really depends on the quallity of ur nerves and good life habits.Good luck
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  • Completed 6 weeks of physical therapy which did nothing and even made my pain worse. Pt suggested ESI might help. Went to see my NS for follow up, he suggested ESI and thinks this is all due to inflamation. I had my 1st epidural steroid injection 1 week ago and it seemed to help, although I really took it easy the days following. The same pain returned on day 5 and 6 after bending over to pick googles up from the pool. How long do these esi take to work? Did it not kick in yet or did it not last that long? Do I need to give it more time before calling my dr to see if I can get another one. I have a follow up with my NS in 6 weeks, maybe that is how long I have to wait...Does it take a long time to get the inflamation to go down?
  • An ESI should take an immediate effect or within a day or so. In mu case I was immediatelly pain free and the days that followed were painful but the pain was significantlly reduced. Its effect can last feom several days up to several months. The thing is that u have to cut on the things that make the pain come back. A good PT should also tell u how to move, sit not to bend for instance etc. U also need to exercise and walk.
    If however ur thinking about another surgery, ur surgeon MUST know which disc is causing the problem and repair it with one of the min invasive approaches such as: laser, nucleoplasty, endoscopic surgery etc. Ask him if he does MIS if not find someone that does.
    Also for the electric pain u can try applying a Tense unit. In my country u get one during a PT. Probably the same for u. I wish u the best of luck.
  • Finally,two weeks after my ESI it worked and the butt pain went away. I can walk 2 miles once again! It's been 3 weeks of no pain, but I felt that same pain come back today and shock me in the butt once again. I didn't do anything wrong to make the pain come back so I am not sure what caused it. I was just clothes shopping with my daughter. The pain just happen once and went away,but I think the steriod injection might be wearing off? Do I wait for the pain to get worse or is it better to get another one as soon as you feel the pain. I know you can only get three in a year, so how do you space them out? I go back to the NS in two weeks so I guess I will see what he says....
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  • Hi there,
    I am writing about my situation on herniated disc l4 l5 s1 which I had it 15yrs ago. I did not do any surgery but lived with pain for 15yrs. I guess maybe when your younger able to handle the pain, but still depends on how severe is herniation.

    I out to live with pain at that time, was not sure about surgery. Well 15yrs with pain ups and down, finally came to severe point not able to stand up and not able to lay down, urinate and go to rest room.

    When to orthopedic doctor and beg him to do surgery right away, my pain was not managable. Most of the doctors usual give you pain medicine, but made it more complicated for me.

    finaly got my surgery after 8 days and feel lesser pain and able to lay down and use the rest room.
    Its a very slow, slow recovery. Taking it easy day by day.

    The inflamation was so severe, it might take me a while for me walk and numbness to go away.
    I kind of regret that I was not able to take care of situation sooner. Just dont wait till last minute and your inflamation is so severe that it will take a longer time to heal.
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