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Posted: 5/26/2009 1:00:52 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 1:01:56 PM EST by Sixstring]
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:03:26 PM EST
How did it happen? How was it diagnosed? "Ruptured Disk" is a misdiagnosis with some frequency.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:03:44 PM EST
Two herniated; neither fully ruptured from what I understand. Causes issues at times as they progressively get worse. Once every year or so something flares up and can barely move. Been that way since I got out in 89. ((shrugs))

Someday it'll let go and they'll (the VA) actually have to do something about it.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:04:38 PM EST
I have something wrong with my back. Don't know exactly what it is but I know that I did it lifting a tractor weight a couple years back.
Every once in a while I re-injure the same thing and it puts me down for several days.

I say let it heal and do some back strengthening exercises.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:06:38 PM EST
All I know is back issue truly suck and I wish the very best for you!
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:07:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
How did it happen? How was it diagnosed? "Ruptured Disk" is a misdiagnosis with some frequency.

Work injury(lifting). Diagnosed via MRI.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:07:33 PM EST
I have one. It means you have arthritic/ degenerative disks. This is ALWAYS the case.

I have trouble standing for more than 4 hours, welcome to why I've been unemployed the last year (that and I'm in college full time).

Exercise helps a LOT. Look up the McKenzie treatment, it does help. Cortizone injections have helped me tremendously, also.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:15:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 1:18:45 PM EST by WolfFox]
YEP! I ruptured two disc back in 88 and three surgeries later I have a 5 disc cage and three fused disc. Still in a lot of pain and will be the rest of my life.

ETA: I had a DR. clean out around the disc in 88 and it relived the pain. He told me I would probably have to have a fusion in about 12 years and sure enough I have to have two fusions since.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:16:08 PM EST
I had the same disk ruptured. Never knew a human could survive such pain. I crawled on my hands and knees for two months doing the shots in my spine and tons of drugs. I finally had an ALIF surgery because going through the front they don't have to cross cut through the back mussels .I now am pain free, can touch my toes and shooting IDPA matches again. The hard part was getting of the pain meds.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:18:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 1:19:37 PM EST by ihatespngbob]
Surgery with fusion and L5-S1 and a bunch of other stuff done in that area. I was 22 years old. I had a good 5 years pain free after surgery and now I am worse than ever. I am 29 now. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. My disc fragments blew into my scar tissue and caused scarring into the nerve roots. Mine got messed up during child birth.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:24:17 PM EST
Do you have the MRI report? It should state how large the herniation is and what/if it is impinging on. This makes a huge difference. McKenzie is great, but it does not work for all situations. Generally, anything over 7mm will require surgery to at least remove the herniation. Less than 7 mm and still attached (not floating), you may have multiple options.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:24:25 PM EST
Oh man. I'm starting to wish I didn't ask...
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:27:38 PM EST
I'll get back to you later tonight. This is my business...spinal implants. Hopefully you don't need any surgery, but we'll get into that later as well. And the studies are clear...re-operations are HIGHLY UNLIKELY to be successful if the first one was not.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:43:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 1:47:10 PM EST by MarianLibrarian]
I had an herniated L5/S1 and had surgery, a microdiscectomy, 1.5 years ago. I had severe sciatic pain and was losing feeling and tone in my foot and tried to avoid surgery for over a year. I had 3 epidural cortisone injections and months of physical therapy with little or no relief. The surgery immediately relieved the pain and I've been good to go since then. I've ridden several roller coasters, walked several 5Ks and been back to exercising with minimal problems. I'd say I'm 95% back to normal. I do have the occasional aches/pains, but it is NOTHING in comparison to what life was like pre-surgery.

I did shop around quite a bit for a surgeon. One of my best friends is a physical therapist and I got a recommendation from her and and my pain management doc before I started even looking. The surgeon I visited first is not the one that I chose.

I wish you the best of luck!

ETA: Recovery time was about six weeks, the surgery was out-patient and I have a small scar (about 2 inches in length) on the small of my back.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:51:56 PM EST
I had L5-S1 rupture too. Similar problems, sciatic nerve pain, couldn't sit or all the hip muscles would spasm like crazy etc.

I decided to wait it out and manage with advil + vicodin. It would get a bit worse then a bit better off and on for 4 months and I was considering surgery but at month 5 it suddenly improved and now almost a year later I hardly have any symptoms just slight burning around the ankle sometimes. Do what you feel you need to do but back surgery is a big deal and even the so called "micro" discectomy involves cutting a huge chunk of bone out of one of your vertebrae (and not replacing it I might add)
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:53:35 PM EST
welcome to the club!

I had no surgery, but I had the epidural injection into the disk. 3 days after the injection it was like it never happened. Today 5 years later I get a little stiff with weather changes but no pain at all.

everybody goes through this differently, but this is how it worked for me.

good luck!
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 1:58:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 1:58:59 PM EST by Twitchy]
Man o Man I feel your pain. Last year I got t-boned on my motorcycle. Ended up with L3,4,5 S1 fractures and torn discs for added fun. I ended up going with epidurals for treatments verse the surgery. (for the discs) The epidurals helped to eliminate about 70% of the pain, but the nerve problems you are having are probably from being pinched. That is what causes my pain anyway. I've talked to many guys with the same type of injuries and get mixed results from the various treatments. Good luck

Edit to add that I have the same nerve/pain down my left leg too. Yeah! We can start the broke dick Arf club!
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:07:13 PM EST
Guess I can chime in on this one also. I have bulged and herniated disc in L3-5, C3-C7 and T-7-9. Mine was work related also. Been off work since 02.
Have had several physical rehabs, traction, and under going injections and nothing has helped and its getting worse. I have never had an injury before this. Had to have knee surgery 2 yrs after my injury. I have nerve damage in C-5, C-6 and L-4, L-5. My left and right arms go numb and feel like they are swollen. My legs to my feet hurt all the time and from my knee's down to my feet burn like they are on fire. My next hope is a neurosurgeon/spine specialist facility. So I understand how you feel. Drugs and lots of rest only help me right now.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:08:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 2:09:47 PM EST by Gyrene8490]
I've had 3 back surgeries. On the second one the doctor put four screws and two metal rods in my back. As it turned out, he put two of the screws through the vertebrae and into my spinal cord. He then left them there for two years as I was working and telling him that I was having problems with my legs that I hadn't had before. I finally found another doctor who told me what the problem was and removed the screws; but the damage to my spinal cord was already done.

I can tell you from experience that the pain I had in my back from the ruptured disks (the pain you're saying you have now) is what I would now consider to be about a medium level pain for me. There are whole levels and levels of pain above that pain that I would never have guessed existed; but I've been through them. I have been in pain every single day for almost seven years now. I haven't slept for more than 3 hours at a time in almost seven years now (I sleep 2-3 hours at a time, 2-3 times throughout the day).

I really don't have any good advice, I'm sorry. You can't really tell if a doctor is good or not. I just wanted to let you that you should try everything you can before having surgery. If you do have to have surgery, try to do the best research you can do on your doctor. I sincerely hope it goes well for you.

Good luck.

(I have another disk in the center of my back that is ruptured. It gives me lots of problems; but after what happened the last time I'll be damned if I'll let them open me up to try to fix that one.)
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:09:15 PM EST
I want to extend my sympathies to all of you with back pain.

I've had a lot in the past...but I don't think it is anything like some of you are experiencing. So far, I've refused surgery. From my research, it can make you better....or worse....and no one knows which beforehand.

Have you considered spinal traction? I don't know if it will work for you...but it did for my neck. I did traction on my neck and have nearly totally rejuvenated it. My chiropractor tried it a few times and it seemed to help. So I bought one of the devices myself and did it for 10 minutes in the morning and evening. Plus a lot of exercise. In a few months I was much better. I've seen the xrays and MRIs and the disk spaces are now larger and the cervical curve is now almost normal.

Lumber traction is harder because the body mass is so great. But there are spinal traction machines at doctor and chiropractors office that you might investigate.

Best wishes...
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:15:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By Sixstring:
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.




WOW!! I had this EXACT thing happen to me in the Army in 2003. No it doesn't get better with time. The nerves only get used to pain but it NEVER goes away. I have had 6, yes SIX Ortho surgeons tell me it is not repairable without causing more damage over time. I had a recent MRI and they found out the 2 discs above the L5-S1 are bulging. This why I have pain in my upper body also.

Good Luck.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:16:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 2:19:18 PM EST by Cincinnatus]
Originally Posted By Sixstring:
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.


Yes.

I had the same thing.
I had a relatively non-invasive "micro-discectomy".

Hurt like hell for a day, and then I was up and at it.

It fixed me, and I have not had a problem since (6 years).

Find good docs, and fix it.
The surgeon fixes the damage.
Chiropractor will adjust the structure to avoid future damage.
Physical therapy strengthens the muscles that will allow the structure to remain in proper position.

But first get the operation.
It rules.





Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:27:53 PM EST
I've been fighting Sciatic pain for a couple of years now. There are days when the slightest movement sends shooting pains down my legs. I have a constant feeling of numbness on even the good days.

I've done the PT, I'm currently getting the steroid injections, but they don't seem to be working too well. I'm figuring that surgery is the next option, but getting the Army to do it once you've retired is pretty difficult. They would rather have me living on Vicodin and Flexeril. I'm really worried about my job, because there may soon be a day when I can't do all that's required.

I was supposed to be in Texas this week, a vacation with the wife, but it flared up again. So she's just doing her training that she's there for, and then pretty much staying in the hotel.

Take care of your backs, I didn't really start having problems until I was 40, but I think the damage was done earlier.

For fun, here is a case study for the Docs and Med folks. Diagnose away.




Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:33:00 PM EST
Dude! what did you eat? A bunch on finishing nails?!
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:42:08 PM EST
Yep, the old L5-S1 disc, been there and done that. If you look at the xray or other imaging, you can see why the area causes so many problems (in my opinion). Mine finally gave way after too many years of heavy squatting in the gym. I took two of the allowed three steroid injections (within a year) and the inflamation finally went away. I haven't experienced any problems since then, but I had to make some changes in lifestyle, especially training with the iron. I would go with injections first, but I can only speak from my personal experience.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:43:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 2:47:30 PM EST by K2QB3]
I'm going on 20 years now since my herniated thoracic disc, it's a long road, I know lumbar discs are somewhat different, actually only about 1 out a million people suffer a chronically symptomatic thoracic herniation in their youth so I'm an odd case.

No surgery for me, they have a procedure now but the docs basically say I'm dealing with secondary effects now rather than the disc injury itself, believe me 20 years of living in pain and one problem leading to another takes a toll in ways you wouldn't expect. Trauma-induced fibromyalgia they like to call it.

I've done every non-invasive treatment there is I think, and some work better than others at keeping your life livable.

For a lumbar disc, first thing, go buy an inversion table. Be careful using it at first, it's got to be balanced/adjusted right, but it'll put traction on that disc and that'll help a bunch. It doesn't help my situation so much because it's up higher and supported by the ribcage but for where yours is it'll be fantastic.

If you find yourself getting associated muscle pain (and you will, either from the nerve pain causing it or from always holding yourself carefully to avoid the nerve pain) go see a massage therapist regularly, otherwise you'll end up with trigger points that are extremely difficult to get rid of. See if you can get a referral to a good chiropractor, preferably from one of your spine docs, to keep everything where it's supposed to be now that the disc isn't, make sure he sees the MRI before he lays a hand on you.

Exercise will help at some point but don't go thinking you can just walk it off, muscle tone really doesn't do anything for what's causing your nerve pain.

I've got a guy here who's an MD, a trained chiropractor and acupuncturist, who does inert trigger point injections,adjustments, traction, diet, exercise, the whole enchalada, and he's changed my life recently, but I doubt that the primary treatment, the injections, would apply to you anytime soon, although you might give cortizone a shot right away, image-guided, should help immediately with your pain.

If none of that helps the micrdiscectomy procedures have much better outcomes than the older procedures did, get a couple qualified opinions on whether it's right for you before you do it.

So right away, inversion table, look into an injection, and take your anti-inflammatories as prescribed. Do ice-heat-stretch-repeat cycles too, will cut down on the inflammation and speed healing. Hope you heal up good, do everything you can to get well now and you'll be in less pain for decades to come.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 2:54:22 PM EST
Originally Posted By Sixstring:

Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
How did it happen? How was it diagnosed? "Ruptured Disk" is a misdiagnosis with some frequency.

Work injury(lifting). Diagnosed via MRI.



Depends on the size of the herniation if you're going to need surgery or not. Physical Therapy helps, specifically the McKenzie method as somebody suggested. If it's any help, many back injuries (herniations included) heal on their own, provided you stop doing what caused it to begin with. Good luck!

There's a saying that goes: 80% of back injuries heal on their own, 10% are hopeless cases and will need some sort of surgery, the remaining 10% are just faking it.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 3:13:46 PM EST
I had a rupture in the same place and had the same pain down the leg into the foot. I went to a neurosurgeon who performed a microdiscectomy. It was out patient surgery and I was out of work les than a week. The improvement in the technique is amazing.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 5:05:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By soonerjlc:
I had a rupture in the same place and had the same pain down the leg into the foot. I went to a neurosurgeon who performed a microdiscectomy. It was out patient surgery and I was out of work les than a week. The improvement in the technique is amazing.



Amen!

If there is no degenerative problems, and the rupture is based on a prior injury, the microdiscectomy will fix you.

Within 8 months of my operation, I was in Fallujah.
While there, I conducted hundreds of patrols, assorted combat operations, and got the shit kicked out of me by blasts and impacts.
My back was good to go (my ear drums -not so much).
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 5:15:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/26/2009 5:20:00 PM EST by kraftwerk]
I had the same thing 2 years ago. I ignored the symptoms and was at the gym, picked up a curling bar and felt something I've never felt before. Shooting pains down my leg. It got worse and worse so I had an MRI eventually and I had 3 ruptured discs, degenerative disc disease and other stuff. I'm 28.

Started on ibuprofen but it didn't help much. After a few months it started to help a lot. Did some physical therapy, but it didn't help much either at first. Infrared, electrostimulation and acupuncture did help though. I did the exercises at home for a while and it began to help more. Basically just lying on my back for 10 mins, then lying on my front, then pushing up and extending my back more and more.

PT said an inversion table probably wouldn't do anything because the disc is already "burst". I tried it anyway and it made the pain worse. Also I have high blood pressure so it's not safe to use inversion.

I feel a lot better the last 6 months or so, it seemed to heal itself, just very very slowly.

ETA: forgot to say I had steroid epidurals which took the edge of it.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 5:17:16 PM EST
Get the surgery. I did and it's worth the four weeks off of work. (Lamanectomy) 6-8 weeks for a fusion.
Link Posted: 5/26/2009 8:12:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By Pangea:
Get the surgery. I did and it's worth the four weeks off of work. (Lamanectomy) 6-8 weeks for a fusion.


I had the same one . Skip the fusion go with the lamanectomy.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 2:25:32 AM EST
tag for good advice?
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 2:43:49 AM EST
I've got two Herniated discs. When this first starts up you can take Advil. I belive six tablets equal perscrition strength. Do this in the morning and in the evening and make sure you have eaten something before hand . As the pain gets better you can cut back to 4 at a time and then 2.
It's been about 10 years now and once in a big while it flairs up and I take acouple of Advil or Exciderin asprin and I'm good.
Also if I am doing something like crawling under the cars to change oil I take acouple before I start and maybe acouple before I go to bed.
Two years ago the Advil wasn't helping and My Doctor percribed a Muscle relaxer to take with the Advil. It helps but I have only needed the relaxer a few times. The relaxer I have to take before I go to bed as it knock me out.
Be patient it will take you along time to heal ( 2 maybe 3 months ). Ingore the people that tell you to go for Surgery and keep that as a last option.
The Body is amazing in it's ability to heal. Give it time.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 2:50:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Twitchy:
Dude! what did you eat? A bunch on finishing nails?!

Surgical clips.

They seem to be holding me together.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:03:56 AM EST
My L5-S1 disc totally disentegrated and the vertebrae were touching. I suffered over a period of 5 years taking pain meds, epidurals, etc. and I finally gave in and had fusion. Best damned decision I ever made in my life!! Problem solved... that is, until about 1-2 years later the consequence of having fusion raised its ugly head!

You see... they never tell you that, when you get fusion at that level, it puts tremendous strain on the SI (sacro-iliac) joints (located around the top part of your butt in the middle) and they become inflamed and painful. So... I'm back to having epidurals of the two SI joints but the pain from there is nothing compared to the L5-S1 pain.

I would still do the fusion if I had to do it all over again. It was the right decision for me. I'd rather deal with 3-level pain than 8-9 level pain.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:30:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/27/2009 3:31:38 AM EST by WolfFox]
I had to photochop this because I'm at work and don't have my x-rays and this is not exactly to scale, but this will give you some idea of what they did to my back. This is after the third surgery. I had a 4 disc cage with two fusions done in 2000, then I ruptured another disc in 07. Because they now use smaller diameter rods and screws then what they used in 2000, they had to remove all the hardware and put in new stuff in order to go up another disc and fuse it. So now I have three fused disc. S1-L5-L4-L3-L2-L1
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:36:29 AM EST
Well,I may as well get in on the misery list.....maybe someone will have some ideas or similar experiences...
I'm (nearly) 64 years old and was first diagnosed with arthritis at age 27,so I'm sure that is a consideration.Abut a month ago I started having pain in the lower left back that went down the leg to my knee.Sometimes the pain was severe and there was no way to get any relief.I went to the chiropractor and he "adjusted" my back and sent me on my way,saying it often takes 2 or 3 treatments.....long story short,I've been 3 times and still no relief. On 3 visit he put my back in place 3 times and each time it would pop out.He said he had never come across that before and didn't have any advice other than to go to the hospital.(I'm going next week for X-rays)
I did get my regular Doctor to prescibe some Percocet and that is only slightly effective....pain is virtually constant.Sometimes my knee hurts worse than my back and now i have a "tingling" sesation in my left leg that comes and goes.Otherwise my left leg is numb.Oh,yeah....I have a lot of pain in my left testicle.....except that i don't HAVE a left testicle....lost that when I was 16.
any advice out there??? how about some plain ''ol SYMPATHY!!!!
Dana
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:43:42 AM EST
I have an herniated L5/S1 also. Got it from twisting in the nose wheel well of an airplane.

I took some time off from work, did the PT thing and its better than it was. Still hurts from time to time, especially if I do some heavy lifting.

Good luck with yours.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:45:34 AM EST
I am having a similar issue right now. I have sharp pain just above my ass near my spine and the pain shoots all the way down my leg to my foot. I also sit at a desk for work which is really uncomfortable. I have not heath insurance because I cannot afford it yet I make to much to get any help. I hope you get better man, I can sympathize.

Any idea how you make this get better? They don't make any over the counter stuff that cuts down on the pain, and surgery isn't an option.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:58:46 AM EST
I just returned to work from a herniation between L4/L5/S1.

The Dr sent me for an MRI and bypassed all therapy and injection options. Herniation was too big and was laying directly on the nerves. Pain radiated down my left buttock and through my left leg. The only way I could get comfortable was to lay in the floor with my feet up on the couch. If I tried to sit down, my left leg immediately felt like it was on fire.

They did a discectomy and it was a night and day difference. They pulled a total of 9 disc fragments out. They did the surgery at 6pm and I was back up and walking by 8am the next day. Went home by 2pm.

I took the hydrocodone for about 4 days at the Dr's orders. To keep the pain from creeping up on me. I also had about 3 months of physical therapy before returning to work.


Link Posted: 5/27/2009 3:59:53 AM EST
...stretch your hamstrings.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 4:02:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By Sixstring:
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.


I assume you know it is ruptured because you had an MRI, right?

BTDT, I chose the surgery [ Microdiskectemy]. In and out in 5 hours, 100% in 4 weeks, pain was gone immediately. That's was a year and a half ago, no problems yet.

I strongly urge you to see a Neurosurgeon instead of a 'back' doctor, and learn what your options are.

Good luck.

4String
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 4:14:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/27/2009 8:33:03 AM EST by WolfFox]
My last two surgeries was done by a Neurosurgeon.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 4:16:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By klutz347:
I have an herniated L5/S1 also. Got it from twisting in the nose wheel well of an airplane.

I took some time off from work, did the PT thing and its better than it was. Still hurts from time to time, especially if I do some heavy lifting.

Good luck with yours.


I ruptured my two disc back in 88 by sneezing.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 6:33:27 AM EST
Originally Posted By 134thSIGNAL:
Originally Posted By Sixstring:
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.




WOW!! I had this EXACT thing happen to me in the Army in 2003. No it doesn't get better with time. The nerves only get used to pain but it NEVER goes away. I have had 6, yes SIX Ortho surgeons tell me it is not repairable without causing more damage over time. I had a recent MRI and they found out the 2 discs above the L5-S1 are bulging. This why I have pain in my upper body also.

Good Luck.


Ok, sometimes it does get better with time. I fell out of a UH-60 in December of 2003 and herniated l4-l5 and l5-s1. After cortizone injections and a ton of physical therapy, it got better on its own over the course of about 14 months. I do still have the occasional radicular numbness down my right leg, but from what the MD's say, that is nerve damage from the injury itself and not due to the discs.

On the flip side, on October 15th of last year I was in another accident, this one completely detached the c6-c7 disc and shredded the c5-c6 disc with major cord involvement. The c-6 verterae actually shifted its position so that the upper portion was starting to slice through my spinal cord/spinal nerves. I had the entire c6 vertebra removed and replaced with 2 core plugs from the iliac region of my pelvis, then they bolted the new bone to c5 and c7. After the surgery they decided to wake me up by giving me a morphine derivative, which I am highly allergic to. Anyway, after the surgery I felt great, have full range of motion, and am down to maybe 15% of the pain I was in before the surgery (I had the surgery on December 15th.).



Sooo, there is hope for a decent recovery whatever route you and your treatment take, the best advice I can give is to WORK in physical therapy. MAKE your body heal. oh yeah, the sooner you get off the narcs the better you will do in the long run. It's too hard to find out what you can and cannot do with pain killers. Listen to your body, learn your limits and build yourself up. core strength is huge, and you will need this regardless of what treatment route you take.
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 6:35:37 AM EST
I have a torn disc.
Welcome to a lifetime of pain.

You get used to it
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 6:40:17 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/27/2009 6:45:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By Sixstring:
So I've got a ruptured disk between the L5 & S1 vertebrae. The pain goes from my left buttock all down my left leg. I also have numbing issues in my foot. The pain makes it difficult to stand/walk. Sitting is also uncomfortable. Right now I'm taking a little time off work and using some pain medication. From what I understand you can heal with time. The other option is surgery. I've heard good things and bad things about back surgery. I would like to avoid it if at all possible.

Any of you ever had a ruptured disk? Did you heal or did you go with surgery?

Thanks ahead of time for any info you can share.


I went through this a few years ago. If your doctor says that it will most likely heal in time without surgery, GIVE TIME A CHANCE! It may take six months to a year. The pain should subside and the numbness should subside as well.

In my case, I head a "fractured" disk in the same location. Absolutely no Achilles reflex on the right leg. I could not to a toe lift with the right leg. Shooting pains in the back at random, and if I slept more than a few hours I would wake up with horrible pain. Numbness along the outside of my right leg below the knee. Could not get into or out of the car without pain. I was living on 600-800mg of ibuprofen 3x/daily always taken with food.

The doc (specialist, I believe a neurologist, not my GP, the GP was useless and they had missed the fractured disk on x-rays for four weeks) told me that he felt I would improve over time, but that if it was unbearable they could try surgery.

I picked the "time" option along with rehab, which at least made me more comfortable at times if nothing else.

I still have to be careful with my back and will wake up with a stiff back some mornings, but the pain/numbness is gone. My right achilles reflex is back. I can do a toe lift with the right leg again. (Wasn't a matter of pain before - it just wouldn't work!!)

Good luck man.
Link Posted: 6/2/2009 1:28:11 PM EST
*Update 6/2/09*

I reported the injury too late apparently...

Declined for workers compensation.

Link Posted: 6/2/2009 1:29:17 PM EST
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