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bulging discs

I am new here...I have had in the past a decompression surgery on L4-5 and then a fusion on L4-5. Now I am having extreme back pain going down my leg into my foot. Had an MRI and it showed 2 bulging discs L2-3 and L3-4 but also showed a lot of bilateral facet arthropathy in the bulging disc areas and L5-S1. I am in pain all the time..cant sleep for more than a couple hours due to the pain. I am seeing my orthopaedic surgeon on Monday thank goodness but wondering if anyone has ever had a surgery for the bilateral facet arthropathy? most of my pain seems to be in that area more so than where the bulging discs are. Guess I am just looking for some answers and if anyone has been in my situation.


  • Welcome to Spine Health. :-)

    How long ago were your decompression and fusion done?

    Good luck with your appointment on Monday with this surgeon. I hope that there will be a way to help you without needed any more surgery.

    Do let us know how you get on and what treatment is recommended to help you.
  • You may not need surgery, facet arthritis is relatively common and your surgeon may recommend a RFA procedure instead of going ahead with surgery. The RFA burns the nerve fibers in the facet joints, and offers pain relief for several months, and in some patients as much as a year at a time. It can be done over and over, as well.
    But to answer question, yes that type of surgery can be done, but I think it also includes a fusion, not sure.
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  • I am posting a link to some information about treating facet joint disorders that I hope you will find interesting:


  • My previous surgeries were done about 10+ years ago. I have extreme pain down my legs into my feet and nothing seems to help....I take Vicodin as needed but it really doesn't do much good---will post Monday after seeing the Orthopaedic surgeon....not that I want another surgery but if it will take some of this pain away then I am all for it!! Thanks for all the responses!!
  • Well my surgeon didn't recommend surgery but to have 2 epidural spinal injections instead. I have had one which my back hurt terribly all that night and next day..then went back to my "normal" back pain--but the leg pain and foot pain disappeared--YAY!! I guess that's half the battle. My question is ----> if the injections don't work on my back pain what would be the next treatment? He doesn't seem to think the bulging discs are bad enough for surgery---I am so frustrated---in pain all the time and don't know what to do--feeling helpless and discouraged.
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