Herniated disc back surgery success rate

Discussion in 'Pain Management & Painkillers' started by thunderstruck, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck New Member

    I am a 37 year old male and I have been identified with a severely herniated L4-L5 disc. I think it would have happened when I playfully picked up my wife and swung her around. I immediately felt something weird about my back, but the pain wasn’t horrible, so I neglected it. Things felt normal, I was going to work, continued my gym workouts, and even travelled to France for an official assignment. My feet used to occasionally feel numb, but I thought it was because of my tight shoes. The numbness too did not persist for long. It used to come and go as it pleased. So, I wasn’t too bothered about it.

    2 months back, as I woke up from sleep one fine morning, I could hardly move out of my bed. When I tried, I felt this horrendous pain on my back. I felt gnawing sciatica pain on my back, which extended down to my legs. I could not move an inch and my wife had to rush me to the hospital. My doctor ordered an MRI which confirmed that I had a massive 1cm herniation at L4-L5 and the broken disc bone had moved 1.9cm up. The doctor said that the herniation not only affected my sciatic nerve but was also harming my cauda equina nerves and it could turn into cauda equina syndrome if not taken care properly.

    I was dismal to learn from my GP that major herniations like this require surgery to make it back to normal. I saw 3 doctors to hear something different, but hard luck!!! My neurosurgeon saw my MRI and suggested that I get a discectomy at the earliest. Even my physiotherapist said that she couldn’t help me with such a large herniation. I am really anxious about my condition and have been researching online in a hope of finding an alternative treatment that does not involve surgery.

    After exploring a lot online, I came across various conventional therapies like acupuncture, invasion therapy, therapeutic massage, yoga stretches etc. I must say (at least in my opinion) it has given me results because I do not experience any pain now. But still I can’t do majority of the activities I used to do earlier like running, working out at the gym etc. I feel my condition has improved considerably, but my neurosurgeon feels that at one point or the other, I will definitely need a surgery. He even fears I might get a cauda equina syndrome as there are chances my herniated disc will push itself out onto the nerves. When I told him about my improvement with respect to pain, he says it is just because my nerves have become insensitive to pain. I am awfully worried thinking that I am not doing myself any good and also if I am trying to avoid the inevitable.

    To be really honest, I am scared and feel depressed. The surgery is also a financial burden on me. I thought I could deal with it through the conventional methods but I am not sure now. Please someone advice. I am really desperate now!!!
  2. Ivy

    Ivy New Member

    I underwent a surgery for spinal fusion 4 weeks ago. My symptoms started 2 months back and I dealt with it only for a month before deciding to go for a surgery. I had severe pain, unbearable actually which led to loss of function and sensitivity in the left side of my body. I am a lefty, so it affected me more than usual. I was unable to carry out even the simplest of day to day activities. I had a MRI done and my neurosurgeon told me that my disc was largely herniated to an extent that there were chances of permanent nerve damage, if not operated on time. I did not waste any time and told him to carry out further treatment, the first step of which was surgery. I feel so happy after the surgery as my nerve pain which radiated to my left arm and leg, are no more there. I feel relieved post-surgery as I feel I am going back to being normal again. I started with my physiotherapy sessions a week back and I know there is a long road to tread before I can feel perfectly fine.

    So, if you are in a similar situation as mine, I would suggest not delaying any more with the surgery. I know there are chances that you may need a re-fusion at a later stage, but it is not absolutely necessary. You can avoid it if you follow your physio sessions, do them correctly, maintain a correct posture and adopt a healthy lifestyle. So do not be worried too much about what may happen in future. Think of the present and get yourself treated.Get well soon!
  3. Renzi

    Renzi New Member

    I think you should listen to what your neurosurgeon has to say and go for the surgery ASAP. If you want to try it out by yourself and see if you will heal with time, then you have to be very careful about what you do. DO NOT bend, twist or lift. Also, it is going to be “no gym workouts or strenuous exercises phase. I think you even mentioned that your disc material has moved up. I think this has to be cleaned out and your body will not be able to do this on its own. In my opinion, you should just listen to your doctor and get the surgery done rather than taking such high risks with your nerves! Good luck…
  4. florence

    florence New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to share my experience dealing with an L4-L5 herniation. I had an MRI done a year back, which showed that the herniation had infringed on the L4 nerve root. This was causing severe back pain and sciatica which extended to my knees and feet. My GP referred me to an orthopedic spine surgeon, who asked me to undergo a fusion surgery. I was scared as well and refused to do the surgery. I chose physiotherapy exercises instead to move on with my life, avoiding a surgery. I can’t walk too much, run or workout in the gym, but I must admit that the quality of my life is “good”. I can’t complain. I hope I do not have to do the surgery and can avoid it totally.
  5. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck New Member

    florenceflorence I am really happy to hear about the way you have managed to dodge your surgery and I hope you never need it, EVER!! I am thinking of going to a new neurosurgeon and taking another opinion as I do not trust the one I met recently. Now this would be my 5th neurosurgeon in the last 3 months. The last one I met was so arrogant and he refused to listen to what I had to say. Also, I don’t think his recommendation for surgery was sound enough. I am only 35 and I think my body still has the ability to heal by itself combined with the PT sessions and the conventional methods!! Wish me luck!!!