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Should I consider surgery?

Hi Everyone,

Around 2 months ago I was doing bent over rows (with apparently terrible form) and felt something 'tear' in my lower back. For a few days I was barely able to lean forward while standing straight up. A few days went by and the pain went away so I figured I could get back into lifting slowly. Things went fine for about a week but then I started to develop what I have come to learn is 'Sciatic' pain. It slowly built up to the point where getting in/out of my car is horrid. Some days aren't so bad but others I find myself writhing in pain for at least a minute before I can even start my car. I am unable to lift my left leg straight up while standing due to the sharp pain. I went to a Chiropractor and had around 6 adjustment sessions and things just kept getting worse. I then decided to go get an MRI and met with a spine specialist who determined that I have 1 bulging and 1 herniated disc in my lumber area (sorry I forgot which exact ones but the herniated one is about 5mm). He prescribed some oral corticosteroids that definetly helped with the pain but its definetly not gone and the pills are done. While I feel that the pain is sometimes getting better, sitting is still causing very bad flare ups from time to time. I have been doing very light stretching and some fast paced walking that seems to help but am still unable to lift my leg straight up or do hamstring stretches, which still result in very sharp pains.

Based on my story, does it sound like I might be able to ride things out and let this thing heal naturally or do you think I should start considering more invasive options like surgery?




  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    edited 09/24/2014 - 7:04 PM
    Nobody on the forum is qualified or permitted to advise on surgery, it has to be a decision made between you and your doctor who knows your exact medical condition.. There are many posts on the forum from members being worse off after treatment from a chiropractor.


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • ask the surgeon about allowing any chiropractic adjustments to be made. An adjustment can make a herniation worse.
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  • What's the spine specialist suggesting next? Considering the steroids worked so well he might want to do a series of Epidural Steroid injections to try to reduce the inflammation further. A lot of people have great success with ESI's. They usually want to exhaust all of the concervative measures first before thinking about surgery depending on how severe the compression is. Have you tried physical therapy yet?

    I just want to echo the advise above. Now that you know you have a herniated disc please avoid chiropractors. They're not spine specialists & can cause damage! I'm sorry you wasted your money. Sadly there's no quick fix for this sort of thing.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I have been getting chiropractic adjustments for nearly 40 years. In the past year, they just did not seem to work well anymore. I sought care from osteopathic manipulation doctor. After painful back spasms flared up, my family doctor ordered an MRI of the lower spine and referred me to a neurosurgeon. She specifically studied the MRI and told me it was okay to seek periodic relief from a chiropractor or osteopathic doctor.
    I think every person's case is unique so you should ask your doctor what is best.
    Lumbar fusion TLIF L4-5 Jan 12, 2015
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