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L5/S1 disc herniation, need some advice

cm30ccm30 Posts: 2
I am new to the forums here, just looking for some advice from others who have dealt with sciatica or lower back pain.

Back in 2012, I herniated my L4/L5 disk weight lifting. It was a painful experience, I went through 6 to 8 months of pain while trying conservative treatment such as epidural injections, physical therapy and pain meds. I elected to have a micro disectomy, and immediately after the surgery my leg pain was gone. A few months later my lower back pain ended.

Since then I have been pain free, and almost as active as I was prior to the surgery.

Over the past 2 months I have had an onset of chronic lower back pain, that has now turned into sciatica. It is not nearly as severe as my prior episode, but it is very concerning.

I had an MRI, and it showed a disc herniation in the L5/S1 disk. On a positive note the L4/L5 disc looked very good with no issues. My neurosurgeon recommended 10 weeks of conservative treatment. Physical therapy, lumbar traction and pain medication as needed.

I have been living in fear all week thinking this is going to turn into the painful experience of my last disc herniation. For those that have dealt with this type of problem, any tips or advice? I really don't want to go down this road again.

If the pain worsen over this 10 weeks, would a second micro discetomy be a terrible thing? By terrible, I am thinking more along the lines of future problems.

Thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing any advice you can give!
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  • LizLiz Posts: 9,665
    edited 04/06/2015 - 9:04 AM
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • To calm you, many people on this forum have had multiple micro discectomies. That said, you should only worry about what you and your physician decide is best for you.

    I know the awful, crippling pain of a herniation at L4-L5 and annular tear at L5-S1. I will stand by my words that even the toughest and most pain tolerant of people would be crying if they felt the pain I had. I spent a week in bed and crawled to the bathroom.

    As far as you are concerned with that pain coming back, the best you can do is LISTEN to your body and set your limits where you are comfortable. Weight lifting may have to be off the table.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • SarahLindeau said:
    To calm you, many people on this forum have had multiple micro discectomies. That said, you should only worry about what you and your physician decide is best for you.

    Sarah thank you for the kind words and advice. I appreciate it!I know the awful, crippling pain of a herniation at L4-L5 and annular tear at L5-S1. I will stand by my words that even the toughest and most pain tolerant of people would be crying if they felt the pain I had. I spent a week in bed and crawled to the bathroom. I could only begin to imagine what you went through and I hope you are not still dealing with the pain.

    As far as you are concerned with that pain coming back, the best you can do is LISTEN to your body and set your limits where you are comfortable. Weight lifting may have to be off the table.
    Thank you! I know all too well the crippling pain from an L4-L5 herniation. I went from being a very athletic, always on the move person to almost bed ridden due to the pain. I am thankful I found a very good neurosurgeon, I went from being in constant pain to practically no pain after the microdisectomy. Two months after the surgery I was back to my normal routine, I kept weight lifting though to very low weights and high reps.

    My concern and fear is just how that herniation progressed, it was a downward spiral. Nothing worked and every week I would be in worse pain. I cried often at night because I couldn't believe I was in this much pain, my life had completely changed and I feared surgery. My social life went out the window, I did nothing in my free time but read or watch movies. I could not do anything active, it was depressing, frustrating and life changing.

    On the flip side I could not believe how the surgery worked. I had mild back pain after the surgery but absolutely no leg pain, it was gone almost instantly. They had me do PT for 8 weeks after the surgery and eventually that went away too.

    I don't know what a second microdistecomy would do to the overall stability of my back? Would I be more likely to have another disc herniation if I have a second surgery? Will I be more likely to have a fusion? These are all things that scare me. I am 30 now and just frustrated I am dealing with this once again? I fear it will worsen and I will have to suffer again. There is definitely an emotional side to this!
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