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What type of specialist do I need for herniated L4-L5?

I am 73 and just experienced lower back pain so severe I had to call 911.  At the ER they gave me fentanyl and morphine which took the pain away but I am so worried about a re-occurrence.  The MRI shows a 7mm extrusion at L4-L5  affecting the right L5 nerve root.  I need advice on what type of specialist I should look for.  My family doctor suggested going to a pain management specialist for a steroid injection as a temporary solution, followed by a consultation with a neurosurgeon for long term advice.  I have so many question about changes in my exercise routine, how much I can lift, posture advice, whether I should do physical therapy, the likely prognosis to expect, etc.  What is the best specialist to find for a general assessment?



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,711

    Welcome LeeHixon to the forum!

    Like your doctor said, a neurosurgeon. He can look at your MRI and answer your questions. Then you will know what your options will be.

    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

  • Like your doctor said, a neurosurgeon or a orthopedic spine specialist, my surgeons office has a pain management doctor in his office and that makes it very easy.


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  • I would visit a rehabilitation doctor first. Not sure what those are called in English. But someone who specialises in rehab. I visited a neurosurgeon who got me in surgery within a week. Not very happy with the result... I'm doing rehab now and the doctor who is helping me said I should have taken the more conservative route and advises against surgery.

  • charryccharry Posts: 266
    edited 08/31/2020 - 3:14 PM

    when I had a herniated disc first time I was told crouch to lift using strong leg muscles not the back. When getting up always push off on the bed or hold chair handles to get up instead of using the back. 

    To turn don’t twist but instead move your feet to turn your whole body around to turn

    . No BLT!  (bend from waist, no lifting heavy stuff but keep it close to your body to use leg muscles not back. No twisting head or waist)

    Warm water floating in pool was good exercise for me and walking was okay and had to get prescription for physiotherapy passive physiotherapy not active. Gentle stretches. 

    I had to see Neurologist for EMG test for calf and toes numb and tingling sciatica.

    But everything was advised by my GP family Dr. and referrals to PT. Neurosurgeon and Pain Dr, The family Dr also started me on the medications as well. 

    Just sharing my experience what happened to me at first. Moist heat and ice alternating as well and drink a lot of water. Charry

  • Thanks, everyone, for the tips and advice.  

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