L4 L5 Bulging Disc with Annular Tear

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I have been suffering with lumbar back pain on and off for around 16 years, after I fell off a horse while learning to ride in the Army.

Since then I have definitely had periods of no pain, and periods of debilitating pain. In the last 3/4 years it has become constant, most of the time it's a dull ache. Sometimes it's a dull ache with sciatica in my right buttock and down the front of my right leg (quadricep), it doesn't travel below the knee.

I have now been told it's muscular, it's sacroiliitis or I have weak core muscles. I have been tested for Ankylosing Spondylitis (direct family history), I've had hydrotherapy, gym based physio at the local hospital, a lumbar epidural (lasted a day) and I've just been referred back to my GP after another 7 weeks of Physio.

I have seen an Orthopedic surgeon who gave me 3 options:

1. Do nothing.

2. Have yet more physio.

3. Spinal fusion.

As I write this I'm off work sick because my lower back is excruciating. I can barely move, although I am trying to keep active.

I'm lost I don't know what to do. I have diclofenac for the pain, that hasn't worked. This morning I took some over the counter co-codomol (not with the diclofenac!!), which took the edge off slightly.

I'm seeing my GP on Monday as my Physio has written him a letter. I haven't been privy to any of this correspondance but the physio read out what the Orthopedic surgeon wrote and that was that I have a "disc bulge with annular tear". How long for, I don't know...possibly 16 years?!

I'm going to ask for re-referral back to orthopedics, but, so far, nothing has worked for me. Is my only option now an operation to fix this? I know for sure I cannot carry on like this.

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  • Posted

    Hi Andy , sorry to hear of your condition . I will not go into my details as it appears that everyone wants to tell you about thier condition and that is not what you want to hear . In respect to the opeartion I know of several people that have had it and I will myself will not be going down that road.I was told that surgery has now become less adviseable so perhaps the surgeons have finally realised that it is not succesful.

    I wish you look which ever direction you take .


    p.s I have it and I rest excise and take Parocitemol (excuse spelling) I have tried all the nasties including Tramadol and they do not work for me. 

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    • Posted

      I had a lumbar disc problem many years ago and it then started to cause problems off and on. More recently I started taking glucosamine and condroitin and touch wood things have improved no end.
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