L4/L5 Central Disk Herniation What Should I Do?

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Well 3 weeks after my MRI scan ive been told I have a Herniation on L4/L5 which explains the pins and needles in my leg. Ive been wearing a back brace which has helped massivley.

BUT now ive got the option if nerve pain killers for the rest of my life or keyhole surgery which comes with the normal worries. What happens if its infected, a nerve is cut.

So any advice would be great.

Thanks

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi James,

    You have pretty much the same as me! Pain down my leg too! I haven't got a back brace yet my bulge/herniation is quite big! I am 20 years old and hardly any medication works for me! So I am hopefully going ahead with the surgery as it will cure it, whereas pain relief won't! 

    Also if you're on nerve pain killers for the rest of your life...what happens if/when your body becomes immune to it! Then you are stuck but obviously it is up to you! Have you spoken to a surgeon! The risks are very low though! smile 

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  • Posted

    Hi James, I was faced with the same, a massive herniation at L4/5 just over two months ago. I had experienced a great deal of discomfort, muscle spasms in the glutes, iliopsoas muscles and awful pain radiating down my right leg. Every morning both feet were curled up with the pain and stiffness. I had the surgery but beforehand I made sure that the surgeon was good and had no pending law suits against him. The next day I went home and I accompanied my father to walk the dog that evening. I did not need the heavy duty painkillers I was given, just some paracetamol and a few muscle relaxants the first week. It is now 7 weeks on and am back at work a few hours a day. I can walk, swim, sit without pain or stiffness and my life has been transformed. I am extremely grateful that I had the surgery and am doing my best to ensure I keep on getting better. I was in a very similar state of mind to you but I then discovered via Facebook a number of friends who had had the surgery or also knew of other people who had had success stories. We hear too many negative things as people who get better quickly just get on with their lives and do not say much about it, but I wish I could have read success stories on here too! 
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    • Posted

      Well this helps alot i need to look into this alot more I think. I dont want to have pins and needles each morning anymore its annoying the hell out of me.
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    • Posted

      I wish I had had it a year ago. But I was trying to avoid surgery. As I said before, you need to feel good about the surgeon. I got 4 seperate opinions before I accepted that the operation was necessary. There are more people with success stories I found than those with failure stories. Hope you decide what is right for your situation! 
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    • Posted

      Just spoke to them and they have suggested a specialist nerve tablet which can give me some normality and if that doesnt work im on the lst for keyhole. So fingers crossed
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  • Posted

    Hey Nicola

    Ive got to speal to the doctors later next week and see what they say. Just a little worried about the outcome and heard alot of bad things. But I guess thats just normal to worry.

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    • Posted

      Hi James

      Sometime back I started a discussion on similar issue. I suffered l5 s1 prolapse  three minths back. Since then I cant stand on my left toe and there is sensory loss on back of my thigh. I tried lot of therapies but I got no relief. I m afraid of surgery. I cant give u my opinion as I am not the successful candidate but people advise to take conservative treatment like exercises and chiropractic treatment.  All the best..

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    • Posted

      If you go on spine-health forums it's another website there is a lot on there! But the risks are very low indeed! It is best to talk to a doctor etc they will help you!! smile 
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  • Posted

    James

    Sounds like you are in pretty much identical situation to myself right now.

    I was offered a choice to go see Orthopedic or Neuro surgeons.  I chose neuro as I don't have any bony involvement according to my MRI.

    All the damage seems to be purely soft tissue, nerve and disc,  so felt that Neurosurgeons would be better/more understanding of my position. 

    Pretty much a total acceptance that surgery followed up by physio, is really the only option open to me now to repair the sizeable prolapse I have. 

    I'm on slow release fentanyl patches now for pain control and although I still find some things painful or uncomfortable,  the patches have made my life so much better. I'm actually living again!

    Just awaiting my appointment to see the consultant now to discuss microdiscectomy surgery.

    Hope you find answers soon too. 

    Stu

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  • Posted

    When the surgeon says "keyhole" surgery, what does he mean exactly - old-fashioned discectomy, micro-discectomy (both are open surgery, cut through muscles and leave long incisions) or an endoscopic disctectomy (c.1 cm insertion point + sticking plaster only). There is a real difference, especially in recovery time afterwards.
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  • Posted

    Hi James, 

    I too have a prolapsed disc at L4/5.

    Prior to this I was an extremely fit 43yr old.

    Last year after 2 failed (and very painful nerve blocks) I had a microdiscectomy.

    The pins and needles in my left buttock, leg and foot immediately disappeared and I went skiing (in my back brace) 2 months later.

    Unfortunately, there has been a further prolapse in May of this year resulting in excruciating pain in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet but the intermittent shooting pains up and down the spine are horrific making even walking difficult. I have again had a failed nerve block so am awaiting surgery in 3wks time. There are risks but they are small - go for it!

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