Large Disc Bulge - Tried everything - Is surgery really my next option?

Got my diagnose in November 2019 after very acute sudden back and leg pain. 

The pain was totally crazy, couldn't sleep at night, couldn't walk and during day I could just stay home. 

I have a large Disc Bulge - multiple orthopedic surgeons recommended me immediate surgery but because I had an earlier surgery (on the same disc) 10 years ago they said it will require a bigger surgery and the risk of good recovery is smaller. I asked my last doctor for strong painkillers to see if anything else could help me recover. I tried massage (just more pain) chiropractic (no difference either) and physiotherapy (just made the pain better for the moment but in the night is was worse again. And traction (around 20 sessions with no improvement at all.

After all this I found another doctor, recommending me Epidural Stereoid Injection.  The first week after the injection the pain got much worse, not even my strong painkillers (Tramadol) helped,  but after a week the injection started to work, I could finally live a decent normal life again. My pain got down to a 5 of 10. With a normal painkiller (voltaren) my pain was okay. 

After a couple of weeks my back pain started to come back slowly, I guess the injection stopped working. 
Just 2 weeks after this I was back in the same pain as I was in the beginning, was laying home crying of intense pain. Got back to my strong painkillers again. 

Then I changed my diet. I read a lot about people who's been benefiting from Keto diet with back pain, and decided to give it a chance. 
One week after my diet-change the pain was a lot improved, back to same level as my previous stereoid injection was giving me. 
This was huge positive news for me. 

I could again go to work and do daily activities, but still not good enough for a visit to the gym or social activities with my friends. 
The pain since then has been stable, it doesn't improve or get worse now. (5 of 10 in pain) and I still need painkillers every day 
(It was around 3-4 weeks ago from now that  I changed my diet)

But it's not good enough, I need to get better. 

 If it doesn't get better than this I will need to do surgery very soon, I can't live on painkillers 

 What else can I do? Give me all advice



  • Welcome APXG we’re glad you’re here!

    For me surgery always came down to quality of life, when the pain got to the point that I couldn't stand it anymore and my daily activites were not possible, I knew there was no other choice. You and your surgeon are the only one's that can decide when it's time for surgery, and it's a big decision, but one that has to be made. 

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you visited the Herniated Disc Health Center on Spine-health? It has a number of comprehensive articles and videos that you might find helpful, including common causes of a herniated disc, symptoms, and treatment options. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,165


    Chip had a very good point as far as when and if to have surgery. It all has to do with quality of life, being able to work and not be in pain. If possible, another opinion might give you more options.

    Take care and keep us posted.

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  • APXG - In January I had Radio Frequency Ablation.  The first two weeks after the procedure there was no change in pain levels.  And then on day 14, I woke up with no pain.  I couldn't believe it and spent the next week walking around very carefully for fear that the old familiar pain would return.  So far, so good and I'd say my pain level is now around 1-2.  I don't know how long this will last - I've been told six months to forever.  If the pain returns, my spine specialist said we could do the procedure again.  

    I'm so sorry you're hurting.  Please keep us posted and take care!

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,165


    That is great news, thanks for the update. It is always good to hear when someone says "no pain". Just try not to overdo anything.


  • mjcgmmjcg Posts: 70

    Well, the pain is back... but not as horrible as it was two months ago.  So I'm grateful for that.  I think the stress of dealing with this quarantine and all the unknowns may have aggravated the nerve pain.  I'm trying to not overdo things, but it's so hard when you feel good again - you just want to go into old active habits again.  I hope APXG updates us on his/her progress and decision about surgery.

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,165


    My sciatica nerve pain has gone thru the roof, too. I think a lot of mine is stress, worrying so much so about this virus. Like you, I do the same thing. When I do feel good I take advantage of it and then pay for it the next day. But I would rather pay for it than not do anything.

    Take care,

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