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My herniated disc and what to do next?
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dannymaui posted:
Hey, I have yet to do much reading but will poke around for sure to see other experiences and choice on what to do next.

Current: I have an 8mm posterior herniated disc between L5 and S1.
The bulge is touching the nerve. Extreme 7-8/10 pain down right leg only, for 3 weeks plus now.

Have had 2 sessions of acupuncture, 1 session of naturo-path doctor working on me, 1 lumbar steroidal spinal injection last week that provided no relief to nerve pain. I also have been doing land and pool PT for a while now. Nothing has worked so far to subside the nerve pain mostly S1 nerve pain down outer hamstring an calf and ankle.

Today, I saw a orthopedic surgeon who says I would be a good candidate for micro discectomy.

I have been told it is possible for an 8mm bulge to recede off the nerve and for my pain to go away. No time frame for that though.

Considering the pain and how much this is effecting my daily life and the daily life of my family, what would you do?

Options: 1. for the next 2-4 weeks work with my PT, family masseuses, in network chiropractors, etc etc to try and have the bulge recede on its own and avoid surgery then strengthen core and start light exercise again to hopefully work this out on its own forever and ever.

Option 2. Do the above for 2 weeks, if no change in pain, get surgery.

This is has been so hard to deal but is obviously very common.
Look forward to discussing.

Take the Poll

Would you wait to get surgery to see if it healed on own or just get surgery?
  • Wait 2 weeks then get surgery if no change
  • Wait 4 weeks then get surgery if no change
  • Get surgery asap.
vote
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davedsel2 responded:
Hello and welcome.

I am sorry you are in so much pain and fully understand.

It appears you have seen only one orthopedic surgeon. You need to get at least one more opinion, preferably from either a spinal orthopedic surgeon or a spinal neurosurgeon. Make sure the surgeon is a spinal specialist, not just a general orthopedic or neurosurgeon.

Success rates vary, but in general they are 50% success for pain relief and 80% success for improved functionality. Therefore, spinal surgery is something that requires opinions from at least two spinal surgeons plus doing your research.

Here are some links to good websites:

WebMD Back Pain Health Center: http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/default.htm

Spine Universe: http://www.spineuniverse.com

Spine-Health: http://www.spine-health.com

You may also consider a pain management specialist that is a physiatrist. These doctors go deeper and offer a wide variety of treatments.

Please keep us updated. I pray you can find the answers and relief you need soon.
Please click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

-Dave
 
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bj1208 responded:
Hi and welcome to support group

Its hard to say what to tell you as we are all different and react differently to treatments. How long ago was it you injured your back?

My L5-S1 disc was pressing on both right and left nerve root for 2 yrs before I was told I was a candidate for fusion surgery. Everything was fine for the.surgery but.I did have permanent nerve damage in both legs. Left is worse.

I do take Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin) for the nerve pains. It does help a lot with that but does not do anything for the numbness.

You may want to consider seeing a good pain management specialist to see if there are other treatments
I see a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist and they really have helped me as they do go deeper into pain management based on your needs.

Please keep us.posted what you decide.
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
~~ Joy ~~
 
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trs1960 responded:
So you would put your life as you know it on the line based on an internet poll?

The two that responded luckily for you are two of the best here, but I hate these type of polls. I usually just ignore them, but I want you to think about what you asked and then take the good information you've been given.

I never take car advice to heart off the internet until live verified it. You're talking about you're spine, do you realize how complex the human spine is? I won't touch how everything interacts with the brain and pain modeling.

OK, rant off.

I truly wish you the best.

Please take the advice given by those above me to heart. Seek out the right professionals to help you. That we can help with our empirical knowledge, but we're not doctors and certainly cannot diagnose you to a full prognosis.

Come back and I guarantee we will help all we can as friends with similar issues.

Tim
 
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dannymaui replied to trs1960's response:
Thank you for the replies. It is truly greatly appreciated. No, I would not trust an internet poll to 100% degree to make my next decision. However, no harm in collecting opinionated data to help make the next step.

To update: I am now working on seeing a second surgeon, hopefully a spinal neuro surgeon to see if they will look at my case.
Also, spoke with a patient of the surgeon I saw yesterday who had an 11mm herniated disc between L5-S1 removed 2 years ago. Has ZERO nerve pain since. Same doctor I would potentially see, made me feel better.

I have rested for the last 48 hrs and feel ok with minimal nerve pain and not overdoing it on Vicadin or gabapentin. It's encouraging but it's because I have rested. Been icing the lower back every hour or so and really try to take it easy.

Will continue to rest and pray that the disc will recede on it's own.. I will continue to update.
 
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bj1208 replied to dannymaui's response:
Hi again!!

You indicated you are on Gabapentin?! What is your dosage?

I know when I first was put on this it was 300mg for 1-2 weeks this way I could get over the side effects. Then I was slowly increased to a therapeutic dosage which for me is 3600mg daily.

It you are not taking up to 2400 mg daily then I don't believe you are at a therapeutic dose so would address this with whichever doc prescribed it. It does help greatly with the nerve pains but not the numbness.

Hope this helps~~ Keep us posted~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
~~ Joy ~~
 
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trs1960 replied to dannymaui's response:
Not to interrupt Joy, but I like everything you said in your reply.

Knowledge is power and firsthand knowledge is great.

Best of luck, sorry I was a bit harsh, but polls just drive me nuts. "Option A or option B?" There are so many variables so even if you had ten options it's not a dialogue. That's why Dave and Joy answered the wat they did. I had nothing to add to what they offered so I'm not going to repeat them.

Best of luck and I think the three of us posting have extensive experience with Gabapentin it does help with nerve pain. It is an anti seizure medicine on inception. So many drugs have secondary benefits.

Best wishes,

Tim
 
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dannymaui replied to trs1960's response:
no worries.. my problem now is that it friggin hurts bad and doesnt seem to be getting better.
 
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trs1960 replied to dannymaui's response:
Well you can't just suffer. By law your doc (ortho, nuero or primary) can't let you suffer unnecessarily. As we all know, treating such pain is not a simple issue, but if your in acute pain they need to give you something to keep under control until a decision is made.

Tim
 
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dannymaui replied to trs1960's response:
I'm not much of pill taker, never ad that button. My friends that do, can take a heavy dose, mute the pain and feel ok enough to do nothing but lounge of course. Taking the pills, just makes me sick.
I have some PT pool scheduled, a lomi lomi massage and some chiro this week. Still trying but if n relief soon, I will have to get the discectomy.
 
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trs1960 replied to dannymaui's response:
Whatever it takes, you are in control!
 
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dannymaui replied to trs1960's response:
SO today I write with bad news of extreme pain today and my right leg not really doing so well.
I have been doing treatments and taking it easy for the most part but the drives have been killers. Negating any good I do at PT or with the naturo doctor.
On tuesday I probably over did it with treatments . Weds I saw a new PT who also strongly believes I can heal myself as my physical mobility signs, as limited as they may be at some points, look promising. She had me doing very light exercises.
I got a brace to control fidgety unnecs movements and and have been sing a cane.
WELL today, I woke up at 2am an could barely stand to use the bathroom. Not sure what I did or if its just REALLY pissed at me now. Today has been extremely rough as I felt panic thinking, this is it, I'm done. I'm currently on my back using heat and ice trying to get this thing to recede a bit and at least give me some mobility and signs of hope. I'm almost out of hope... And I dont have the time... sucks so bad. Pain today as 10/10. Gabapentins have helped today but im still a mess on the bedroom floor, trying to just lay stlill and pray pray pray.. grrr...
 
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trs1960 replied to dannymaui's response:
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you have a spinal chord impingement the best advice is in the first response by Dave. Spinal chord is central nervous system, IMHO you need an MD as Dave described.

This is of course just my opinion

Best of luck I will keep you in my prayers and I desire that you find the right resources.

Tim
 
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trs1960 replied to trs1960's response:
Wait, there's more; I went to a DOM (doctor of oriental medicine) for acupuncture. He's also an MD Physiatrist. I figure how can I lose with such a r?sum??

So he gets my records and comes to talk to me with a long face(no horse jokes) He explains to me the wonders of acupuncture and what it does well. Then he looks at me and says, "But you, you're f'n (full F word) broke! I can't help you."

I went for the treatment anyway as I'm always seeking new knowledge.

You know that it is agreed that the Western medicine equivalent is trigger point injections. It has been pontificated that the medicine in trigger points are ineffective. It is the needle that mimics acupuncture and gives relief. It's not proven, but it is contemporary medical dialogue.

T
 
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trs1960 replied to trs1960's response:
So to answer your pole objectively I think we all agree to wait as long as possible without placing your spine at greater risk . So waiting stoically without expert (MD like Dave said) is not necessarily a good idea.

The people that are treating I'm sure really want to help you. Only you are there and only you feel your pain. If you think they can help then it's your decision, but if you have proof that a growth is impinging your spinal chord pick up a book on anatomy or use an online resource such as http://archive.org/stream/anatomyofhumanbo1918gray#page/96/mode/1up or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intervertebral_foramina or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinal_cord_injury


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