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Herniated Disc at L5-S1. Questions aboutt possible discectomy?

Hey Everyone,
I've been suffering with severe back pains as well as pain, cramping and tingling running down my left leg for the past 5 weeks. It was diagonosed as sciatica but due to a serious loss of sensation in my leg, it was recommended by a doctor that I do an MRI which shows a herniated disc at L5-S1. My doctor said that I should do surgery to remove the substance pressing against my nerve before the nerve root becomes too damaged to be fixed. I've been doing therapy since the day I've gotten pains and it's helped A LOT, however, I still suffer with severe pains and constantly have to take pain killers. I've heard horror stories of unsuccessful surgeries where it actually made the problem worse and unfixable. So, I'm stuck between doing the surgery or sticking with therapy. If there's anyone who has undergone the surgery or has gotten better through therapy, could you please share your story or give me some advice. I'd really appreciate it. 
Thank you.
Btw, I'm a female and I turned 20 last month. 


  • Ellen625EEllen625 New Jersey, USPosts: 756
    I had a large herniation at L5S1 resulting in severe spinal stenosis causing severe sciatica on my right side. By the time I consulted with a surgeon, I had been experiencing these symptoms for about 3 months with no relief. I could not sit, drive or work. I  decided to go with surgery. I had a microdiscectomy on 6/16/16 and, so far, so good!

    I am much older than you so your situation may be different. 

  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 448
    I had a 'severe rupture' at L5-S1, opted for the discectomy as it was the least invasive recommendation I got (I got 2 others).  I had been living with excruciating pain 24/7, could not sit comfortably for very long, could barely walk or do much of anything - for 9 long months.  The discectomy surgery did not instantly relieve my nerve pain, as you sometimes hear/read about; but steadily, slowly over the next few months things improved.  I could walk immediately following my surgery, and did so every day (walking for exercise was my first love :blush:" alt=":blush:" height="20" /> ).  Now, I re-herniated almost a year post-op, so some would call that 'a failed surgery'.  But even as I'm  8+ months and counting, still no word on when I can consult with surgeons again, I am still better off than I was before surgery.  That may change at any given moment, but for now I can truthfully say I'm not sorry I went for it.  It gave me some relief.  If you are getting relief with conservative treatments, that's valuable.  Improvement - even better!  Every person, situation is unique, even if our symptoms are pretty identical.  Surgeon's reputation/skill, patient's age and physical health, post-op rehabilitation, scar tissue - these are all factors in the equation, and some of it you can't do anything about.  If you can, get another surgeon's opinion.  It may help you make the decision.  All the best to you!

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