L4 -L5 prolapse

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Five years ago I suffered a pop in back and ended up at doctors today after being told by surgeon three days ago there’s no cure and I’ve gotta stop working as carpenter. Quote him your spine discs are not good quite a few show they are  herniated. Doctor registering me as disabled. She sent if documents for permant sick leave till I receive disability. 

Emotionally I’m a wreck I’ve been crying everyday after meeting with surgeon. 

60 years old and my working career is over just like that. 

I’d spent a small fortune on seeing consultants doctors and was lead to believe this could be cured with surgery. 

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    That’s really tough Amos. I’m sorry.

    Did they why you weren’t a candidate for surgery?

    Have you had a second opinion?

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    • Posted

      I was under the impression I was a candidate for surgery. It was only when I insisted on speaking to surgeon directly did he tell me there’s not a operation that can help me. He had discussed my scans with his team and other colleagues. 

      I even sent copies of my scans back to uk for second opinion which they agreed with doctors and surgeons here in Norway. 

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  • Posted

    how much pain are you in at the moment with them?    If a lot then I would definitely get a second opinion.  Look on line for spinal consultants that have good reviews and results.  Assume you've had MRI done already?   I seem to remember my spinal surgeon saying if several go they can put rod support in after they have taken away the herniated bits so would be good support.   whether that means you could continue with such a manual job I don't know as when you get older things do often take longer to heal.   Could you teach carpentry instead if worse comes to the worst?  or get an apprentice to do the heavy/hard bits so you can do the easier work ?

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    • Posted


      I’ve been in pain five years now. I had two discs replaced in neck  C5 - C6 and C6 - C7. 

      I’m all I’ve had four X-rays five mri scans and consultations with doctors surgeons. Even sending all my results back to the uk. Where I was informed they agree with the Norwegians surgeons doctors findings. 

      This back problem has been exhausted even my wife a nurse asked every doctor surgeon she comes into contact at hospital. 

      I even went to an osteopath in uk to see if he could help take away the pain. 

      I’ve been to physio chiropractor here. Nothing is taking the pain away. Painkillers I’m on some real strong ones that knock me for six, take one in morning I’m dizzy all day take one just before bed I lay there and room spins. 

      Yes they help a little I’m now sleeping four hours which is good after just cat naps. 

      I hope prey no one else goes through pain. I can tolerate a lot normally but lately I wish for one day pain free. 

      What keeps me going is positive attitude. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Amos

    I’m sorry. That does sound really tough. 

    I guess that they are concerned that more surgery will just cause more scarring and potentially more damage to the nerves. 

    Which meds are you on? Opiates or something like Lyrica?

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    • Posted

      Surgeons concerned about the nerves being damaged. 

      Medication I’m currently just taking nobligan. They have a very high morphin content. Three pills a day I also take a paracetamol with each as they help to get others into system quicker. 

      I’ve got pills for stopping ulcer to accrue in stomach through taking too many pain killers. 

      Any back problem is not good for anyone who suffers. I’d rather have ragging youth ache. At least that can be removed. 

      If I had a choice of having surgery again to the neck I’d say yes as it’s cured pain in left arm. Downside is the stiff neck it’s left with me. So operation in lower back we put our faith in the surgeon and go with what they say. Will nerves be damaged to point where it effects quality of life more or less with or without operation? That’s a question that won’t be answered in my case. I’d love to have a choice. 

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  • Posted

    Just a note on the meds. You are taking Tramadol. It’s very commonly prescribed. It has two effects, it’s not actually an opiate, it just acts like one. It is has an SNRI component, basically an antidepressant. I took these for about 6 weeks last year. When I tapered off them it was awful, I got horrible depression and anxiety. This does not happen to everyone. I am just warning you. 

    How much are you taking per day?

    Its not uncommon with chronic neuropathic pain to be put on Gabapentin (old) or Pregabalin (newer). These are are anticonvulsants but have been found to help with chronic nerve pain.

    Re the op, I guess you could get another opinion but I had a second op (a dynamic stabilisation) after a microdiscectomy did not work (or at least it did then I did to much activity and it didn’t). I am 6 months out from this second op, and right now, I really wish I had not had it, It has caused secondary problems with my SI joint and one of my facet joints. Everyone is different, but all I want to express is that surgery can make life worse. I was give an 85-90% chance of success by my very experienced and respected surgeon, right now I am in he wrong 10% for sure...

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    • Posted

      I’m in 450mg a day. 

      I’ve had two opinions on my back and the scans and both agreeing with their findings. 

      Yes I believe that’s why their not operating on me. I’ve read lots on internet made numerous calls visited many consultants. Spoke to many via forums with simalar problems. So as I start to accept I will be like this I think i could end with no mobility if I had an operation. 

      It’s not good having operation and feel it’s not worked. I wish you well Michael keep positive. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Amos

    450mg is a big dose of Tramadol/Nobligan. I think the most I was on was 200mg a day and it took me about 4 weeks to taper off it.

    I would talk to your doctor about Lyrica. I have not taken it but I have heard people say that it has helped with chronic neuropathic pain better opiates or opioids (opiate-like drugs). The problem with opiates/opioids is that the longer you use them the less effect they have as your number of pain receptors increase to compensate for the fact that they are mostly blocked by drugs, so you have to take more and you become dependent. Not taking the drugs causes lots more pain than you had before.

    Lyrica works ina different way. It actually depressed the intensity of signals in your nerves so can reduce the misfiring that causes neuropathic pain. 

    Do speak to your doctor about it. You don’t want to be on Tramadol long term.

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    • Posted


      My wive is a nurse and she’s told me the negatives about being on pills for a long time. 

      Anyone who has back problems doesn’t care about effects of what the pill dies as long as the pain is taken away. 

      My pain level is high I never complain about it. I just get on with things. But now five years on i can’t stand it any longer. Sit stand lay down there no escape. That with having to give up my passion for carpentry is soul destroying. 60 years old yesterday today I feel 95, I’m looking online everyday for a cure not relief. I email anyone and everyone hoping one day I’ll get a positive response. 

      In the meantime I just push on. I know I’ve been told not to do any physical work. But I’m old stubborn and can’t just give up. I’ve got projects at home to finish. I done an hours work standing using machine to cut timbers. Yes painful and today I’m suffering from it, but it’s a satisfying feeling that I’ve done something. 44 years working hard is hard to give up just like that, and being honest I’ve been told to change occupation, who’s going to employ me? Building trade born breed raised and know nothing else. 

      Thanks for advice Michael I will speak to doctor about what your saying. 



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    • Posted

      have you tried acupuncture?     For a huge amount of people the results are really positive.  I used to go a few years ago when my back and neck were bad with sciatica and one time I remember I entered the room in absolute agony, hardly being able to get on the bed and 15 mins later after having needles put in various places in my back I had no pain whatsoever when I stood up, it was amazing! 

      I find the ones who target the area itself the best.  I had one that put needles into the hands, feet etc and that had no effect whatsoever

      sometimes it takes a few sessions before seeing a difference, it really depends on the injury.

      Also been for a cranial massage and again that was so good for my neck and back muscles as they  help align the body.   it's always best to research on line for recommendations  for any practitioner.   but I really would recommend accupunture sessions. 


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    • Posted

      Yes along with massage hot and cold treatments herbal. 

      The scan I was shown shows the disc protruding into the spinal colum @ L4 - L5   As the surgeon says the nerves there are trapped. Thry could operate but it comes with very high risks of further damage to the nerves. I’ve had opinion from surgeon in uk. Costing a fortune privately done. 

      There’s a time when you’ve gotta day enough. And I’m now at that point.

      I do believe it was my doctor I had who’s out be in this position as he done nothing positive accept sending me for scans for three years. 

      It’s only when I changed doctor did I get positive feed back. 

      I think the lesson learned is don’t accept whst they say ask questions and be assertive and tell them one scan one consultation is enough to get the answers you need. I wish I’d done that in first place. 

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  • Posted

    Hi John

    I wonder what is going on with the position of the disc that surgery is so scary. When my L5S1 went it was fully sequestered with gunk spilled out right into the gap where the nerve goes.  they had to clean up all around the S1 nerve which they did without any trouble - just a normal microdiscectomy. 

    Have you had oral or injected steroids recently? They ought to help with the nerve inflammation in the short term.

    Is the disc bulging, herniated or sequestered?

    Have you had surgery in that area already?

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