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Herniated disc at L4 and L5

hi I have been having back pain for 3 months after going back and forward to the docs and physio they sent me for an MRI, the MRI confirmed I had a disc herniation at L4 and L5, I saw the speacialist last week and he has decided to operate, he made the decision after doing a strength test on my right leg and realising ‘something was wrong’  he said he believes the nerve is being damaged by the disc and has booked me in for an urgent operation, my question is why are they so worried? And what should I expect from the surgery? 

Thanks in advance 



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,695


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,416
    edited 12/21/2018 - 7:41 PM

    ...has booked me in for an urgent operation, my question is why are they so worried?
    Could just be they need to hit their revenue target for year-end 2018. Only your doctor can answer why you would need an “urgent” operation. Personally I would get a second opinion from a different neurosurgeon, but that’s just me.
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  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,236
    edited 07/09/2019 - 10:39 AM

    You didn't mention what kind of surgery, fusion or not, there is a big difference between the two. Hope this helps, take care and feel better soon

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,416
    edited 12/21/2018 - 8:14 PM

    I was told I have nerve root impingement but don’t need surgery by three different surgeons. It’s been almost three years since the lifting injury and I haven’t gotten better despite all conservative treatments. 

    It’s my L1-L2 disc. That’s a nasty one to have a problem with. Seems no surgeons want to do microdisectomies at that level.


  • They said they were going to take the herniated disc out thus-stopping it hitting the nerve? I guess I’ll find out more at pre op! Little bit skeptical about having the surgery, I’m 30 years old and although I have had ongoing back problems (I dig holes for a living) I don’t want it to become a regular occurrence to have operations. My back is sore but the leg pain is worse no tablets will touch it or at least none they have put me on.
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  • Good luck with your surgery, do your research before so you know what to expect and ask your doctors questions, do not rush your recovery. Going back to a physical job afterwards is not impossible, I was a auto mechanic, you will have to be aware of your back problems and change the way you do some things but it can be done. Because you are so young please think before you do, if you know you shouldn't do it don't. Hope you feel better soon. 

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • I would ask your surgeon how you’re going to manage to dig holes again for a living post-op.

    For example, I know someone who had a physical job, prior to back problems. Herniated a disc, and then shortly after went back to work herniated the disc just above the one that herniated previously.

    My own doctor told me I’d need a less physical job after I hurt my back but I’m still on light duty three years later.

  • Thanks @challenger The doctor said I should make a full recovery after 6 weeks! I do emergency work so it’s not uncommon to dig for 20hours some days! And unfortunately I’m not one to let someone else do it for me! I really hope a full recovery can be made as it’s all I have ever known! And obviously have a family to support! I’m not too sure what the surgery entails but they said it’s bread and butter surgery with little risk and that it will only be an overnight stay in hospital. They have warned me of that risk @L4_L5 and said that can happen sometimes but they have pretty much said they feel I have to have it because of my nerve problems in leg! 

  • Calz88, that really does make sense to get it done right away if it is affecting your leg it's probably impinging on the sciatic nerve. I'm not a professional of course but I waited too long to get surgery done and now have permanent nerve damage. It does bother me that they didn't explain what they will do but you can ask lots of questions at your preop. There is lots of great information on this site about the difference areas of the spine, what they affect and surgical treatments. Educate yourself so you can be your own advocate. It sounds like you are young and strong and should recover well but good advice to not rush your recovery and make sure your back muscles are good and strong before you attempt a physical job like you have. Praying it all goes well and keep us posted. 

  • Thanks Joanne, I had my pre op on Friday 28th December, I’m fit to have op so now a matter of waiting! A question I was going to ask is within the last 2-3 days I’m having pain higher in my back (in between my shoulder blades) is this normal with a herniated disc at l4-l5? I have had to stop driving as that seems to aggravate my leg tingling! Hoping for a date soon

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