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Herniation healed, but left with lumbar pain

fed_upffed_up UKPosts: 15
edited 07/16/2017 - 5:51 AM in Lower Back Pain

Hey everyone, I posted on here a few times last year, when I suffered a 10mm L5-S1 disc herniation/sequestration - which finally got diagnosed after weeks of sciatic pain and my GP saying I didn't need an MRI scan - until the pain got so bad I couldn't do anything other than lie flat and started getting numbness, and got sent for an emergency scan!

Anyway by the time I went through all the pre-op checks and was waiting a date for the op - the leg pain went, and a second MRI scan showed the disc fragment was reabsorbing. No more excruciating sciatica that made me want to saw my leg off! Got taken off the operation waiting list, but my neurosurgeon hasn't yet signed me off, and sent me for a third scan recently, which I've got another appointment next month to get the results of. 

A lot of other things showed up on my scans as well as the disc fragment, facet joint arthritis, disc bulge at L4-L5, lumbar spine is straight instead of curved, and on the most recently discussed scan, I've now got a lot less disc space on the disc that splatted everywhere. The neurosurgeon said the lower back pain and stiffness I'm now suffering from should settle as the vertebrae settle into their new positions lower down, but the pain is starting to impede normal activities. It feels like I can't bend or move my lower back at all, it's that stiff and 'locked' into place.  

I think the third scan I've just had done is the final one the neurosurgeon wants done, just to make sure the disc fragment has completely reabsorbed. Is there anything I should ask him about the back pain I'm suffering, or anything he can do? He's already said to me that back surgery can worsen back pain, but should I ask to be referred to physio or something? Basically, I don't want to get signed off as 'disc fragment healed' when I could potentially be facing a lifetime of chronic lumbar pain. 

Any advice gratefully received, and thanks to anyone that made it to the end of my waffling! <span>:smiley:" alt=":smiley:" height="20" /></span>



  • Thanks for sharing your experience olderthandirt, sorry I meant to put opinions and wrote advice instead in my original post.

    I think things work a bit differently in the UK with regards to getting medical reports. If I want to see the actual MRI report the radiographer wrote, or have a copy of my scans, I'd have to apply for those records through the NHS which would probably take a lot longer than just waiting for the appointment with the neurosurgeon. As it is, I've only ever seen the MRI scans on his screen at my appointments, and my GP gave me a brief rundown of the first MRI scan results, when I was referred to the neurosurgeon. But to actually get hold of it I'd need to write to request a copy of it.

    Come to think of it I have an annular tear at L4-L5 too, I remember the consultant pointing out the white HIZ area on my scan. He said that could be responsible for a lot of the back pain I've been getting. Forgot all about that! He also said they'd only operate if I was getting leg pain, or in a medical emergency like CES, not for just back pain. So yes, I guess the other stuff is degenerative and not necessarily fixable, but it'd be good if I could learn how to manage it better. 

    Walk as much as you can, he told me, so that's what I've been doing, hopefully it will help. What have you been doing to help your back pain? 

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