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I've been living with back pain flare ups for the past 4 years.  I've done steriod injections, stem cell injection, intensive PT, pretty much tried everything.  When a flare up occurs it is quite debilitating and interferes heavily with quality of life.  My pain does not travel down my leg, and is very isolated to a specific spot on my low back, just offset left of center.  My flare ups occur generally about 4 times per year and last about 4-6 weeks each.  That means I'm basically in pain 1/2 the year.  It is to the point where activities I really enjoy such as hiking, weight lifting, swimming, and other active types of things are just not do-able.  However, when I'm not in flare up mode I can generally do these things without restriction.

I've recently spoken to two surgeons.  One of which has recommended a ADR. This recommendation came from an orthopedic surgeon.  I went to see a neurologist for a 2nd opinion who said they would not recommend this and pain relief from DDD may not occur (note: both surgeon's reviewed a very recent MRI Note: A herniated bulge is preset due to the squeezing from the disc.).

I'd really like to hear from someone who perhaps has a similar prognosis, what they did, and what the outcome was.  Would you do anything differently?  Do I live with the pain half the year, or do I risk it and go with surgery to replace the degenerated disc?  I know it is ultimately up to me, but getting input from any person who has had a similar experience sure would be nice!  Thanks so much all!!


  • Update: I had an SI injection yesterday. It provided no relief - so that pretty much rules that out.  Sounding like ADR is the next step.
  • The secret to lumbar issues, is to moderate all unnecessary strain, but exercise and movement as advised by a medical professional.

    Walking (not necessarily hiking) is good practice to keep the back from seizing up and recommended by many therapists and surgeons.

    Some people on this forum have found swimming very helpful to them, for me, it's a no go area, due to nerve damage.  I am ok in a hydrotherapy pool, walking and exercises but a standard pool is too cold and causes untold problems, so have been told to avoid.  We are all different so it is difficult for anybody to give you advice on your condition.   The only information I can see is DDD L5/S1 and mention of a disc bulge.  Are you prescribed medication for the pain? Have you had an injury in the past?  All this will help other members share their similar experiences.

    Weight lifting may not be on a therapists list, if you have a disc bulge, so rather surprised to see that listed.  Weightlifting may expose your damaged disc to further pressure and damage, which could push disc material nearer your nerve.  From my experience of those pain levels, I would suggest prevention is definitely a better option than cure!!

    If you click on my username, you will see my original posting and then added updates on treatments and surgeries.




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,212
    hello bradycanderson!
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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