Is surgery better in treating a slipped disk?

Full story: Chicago Tribune

A major study intended to determine if sciatica, a burning sensation in the leg caused by a slipped disk, can best be treated by surgery or nonsurgical medical treatment has found that patients receiving either ...
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groundshero

United States

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#1
Nov 22, 2006
 
Go to a chiropractor!
cktirumalai

Washington, DC

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#2
Nov 22, 2006
 
I am all for anything which offers a genuine alternative to invasive surgery, which could bring complications. More generally, exercise can be a natural pain-killer.
aLifeUncommon

United States

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#3
Nov 22, 2006
 
As an NP working in pain management, I would NOT recommend a chiropractor.
There are several alternative forms of treatment that should be tried and adhered to long before surgery is ever implied unless of course the complication requires immediate surgical intervention.

When it comes to lumbar and cervical illnesses, please seek alternative care before surgery.
Dish

United States

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#4
Feb 10, 2007
 
My wife recently (5 days ago) gave birth to our second child, she is now suffering from extreme pain in her lower back and right leg (sciatic nerve). This has left her unable to walk without assistance and in pain even whne lying down. She had an MRI done yesterday and the results were a slipped disk. Her OB has referred her to a Orthopedic Surgeon, and that appointment will be in two days. My reasons for posting a comment are in interest of gaining some insight as to options for treatment, knowledge of past cases / studies, and personal experience. Thanks in advance

“Compromise yourself for no one”

Since: Dec 06

Cajun Country

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#5
Feb 10, 2007
 
Dish wrote:
My wife recently (5 days ago) gave birth to our second child, she is now suffering from extreme pain in her lower back and right leg (sciatic nerve). This has left her unable to walk without assistance and in pain even whne lying down. She had an MRI done yesterday and the results were a slipped disk. Her OB has referred her to a Orthopedic Surgeon, and that appointment will be in two days. My reasons for posting a comment are in interest of gaining some insight as to options for treatment, knowledge of past cases / studies, and personal experience. Thanks in advance
It's fine to see the ortho but if he/she suggests surgery, PLEASE seek a second opinion.
There are other options that will help with the pain she is experiencing. Medications as well as epidural steroid injections. These are much much less invasive and can provide longer lasting pain relief. Once she is able to recover from childbirth and begin exercising for core strength training, she'll be much better off. Ask the ortho to refer her to a pain management physician. Preferably an anesthesiologist over a physiatrist.
Good luck.

“Striving to be better daily”

Since: Jan 07

Zephyrhills, Fl

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#6
Feb 14, 2007
 
Dish wrote:
My wife recently (5 days ago) gave birth to our second child, she is now suffering from extreme pain in her lower back and right leg (sciatic nerve). This has left her unable to walk without assistance and in pain even whne lying down. She had an MRI done yesterday and the results were a slipped disk. Her OB has referred her to a Orthopedic Surgeon, and that appointment will be in two days. My reasons for posting a comment are in interest of gaining some insight as to options for treatment, knowledge of past cases / studies, and personal experience. Thanks in advance
While I agree with all that "Alifeuncommon said" I cannot qoute her and have your statement show too. So here goes.

Like ALUC said, if the ortho recommends surgery, run! She has had no mitigating care at all. You should have no less than 6 months of conservitive care and actually being a new mom she should have more than that.

Conservitive care should be done at a pain management facility by either a physiatrist or an anesthesiologist and should be taylored to her because if you are nursing she cannot have some of the meds that a normal patient would get. If she is not nursing and if you as her hubby can take some time off, she should have: Steroid injections, Physical therapy, pain meds, and muscle relaxers.

Common knowledge says "lots of rest" but real study data now shows that rest makes bad backs worse than they were to begin with. It actually trains the nerves to become overstimulated to pain when they are at rest all the time. So laying around and resting is not good for someone with back trouble, unless of course it is spinal cord problems and then that is a completely different issue than a lumbar disc or lumbar facet nerve.

For tons of spine help look here: www.spineuniverse.com

Good Luck and please keep us posted as to how she does,
Brian
Dmitri

Nicosia, Cyprus

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#7
Mar 26, 2007
 
Dish wrote:
My wife recently (5 days ago) gave birth to our second child, she is now suffering from extreme pain in her lower back and right leg (sciatic nerve). This has left her unable to walk without assistance and in pain even whne lying down. She had an MRI done yesterday and the results were a slipped disk. Her OB has referred her to a Orthopedic Surgeon, and that appointment will be in two days. My reasons for posting a comment are in interest of gaining some insight as to options for treatment, knowledge of past cases / studies, and personal experience. Thanks in advance
Hi! Congratulations on your baby birth!

Just two short comments. On pregnancy (physiological condition) the weight gain is quite considerable and FAST. Plus a considerable ligaments' strain on birth itself - these two factors combined with stress DEFINITELY make the lower back muscles functionally weak so they "delegate" their responsibility further down the chain of command - to liggs. SO they start functioning out of their normal limits as concerns suppot mode. Slipped disc might have existed long before current pregnancy. So a good advice would be an ice pack and certain exercise to relive the oedema in the area and restore mobility as soon as possible.
Thanks.
Dmitri
Cyprus
topo_abeleda

Philippines

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#8
Jun 6, 2007
 
I have slipped disks at L4-L5 and L5-S1, I was given an epidural and rehab for a month, the epidural lasted about a year of no pain although some people were shocked that it lasted that long as it usually lasts six months.
To Dish, I agree w/ the others that you should have your wife rest prior to any rehab/treatment and consider other types of therapy until she recovers (about 1 year).
To all sufferers, I believe that treatment is personalized, one cure works for a particular person. However, I would like to share my own simple no expense therapy.
When I have bouts of pain or feel that its starting (usually I cant walk) I use monkey bars for chin pull-ups. My weight is pulling me to the ground providing for natural traction, this relieves pressure from my back and resolves the pain issue.
Unless there are other factors, I believe this won't add injury as your body should be able to handle your own weight.
I would appreciate any other treatments out there.
Also found an article regarding non-invasive repair of disks in the US. The company is Oratec although it is quite expensive.
Thanks.
Topo Abeleda
Philippines
carolina

AOL

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#9
Jun 23, 2007
 
Hello, I am 28 years old and have been sufering from lower back pain the past 2 years, I exercise about 4 times per week for since I was 15 years old, I did an MRI and nothing wrong came out, went to se an ortho an he took exrays and said there is nothing wrong that must be muscle,I have been in pain for the past 2 weeks and even missed work twice, I find hard to believe is just muscle pain however the pain is in my lower back and does not go down to my legs...at least not yet. any advice would greatly appreciated.
cheryl

Concord, NC

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#10
Jun 23, 2007
 
I have had pain such as what you are describing. You might try a different way to sleep. When I slept on a recliner it helped a lot. I had relief sleeping on a couch too. Since those were not great sleeping arrangements, I tried a few different kinds of mattresses until I found one that has allowed me to escape back pain completely. I even tried various shoes thinking that may be my problem. It seemed to help some but not much. Also, some wise advice, go to a Neurologist or Neurosurgeon if you can't get rid of your pain. They see so many patients that they will not operate just for $$$. They will find out what is wrong. It is their specialty. Ortho is for broken bones and the spine is too complex for them.
Qazi Naseer- Pakistani

UK

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#11
Jun 25, 2007
 
Hello, I am 31 years old and have been suffering from back pain last 3 month because of picking heavy object at home.Other hand i have sitting job. during stading and walking its terrible pain started while sitting comfortable. Doctor gave me some pain killer and vitamins tabs but all in vain.I aslo exercised at doctor advised.I did an MRI and finally doctor advised for Operation. I am feeling hesitation. I need your opinion Pls. Following is my MRI report.....(1. Info Report: Low back pain, radiating to left leg with numbness of left leg 2... L1/2 through L4/5: unremarkable 3... L5/S1: Severe central and left para central disc fragment extrusion extending upto pedicular level of S1 causing severe compression of cauda equina and moderate severe compression of S1 nerve roots. The neural formamina are patent and the exiting nerve roots are normal. 4....Impression: At L5/S1 level, severe spinal canal stenosis as a result of severe disc fragment extrusion causing severe compression of cauda equina.
Thanks

Since: Jun 07

Georgia

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#12
Jun 27, 2007
 
Qazi Naseer- Pakistani, I am not a doctor but I did play one in a movie.

I had the surgery May 15th for a disc herniation at L5:S1 that extruded into my sciatic on the right side. I saw a NEUROSURGEON for the procedure and would suggest you do the same if given the choice.

The surgery went fine and I didn't suffer any complications. I wore a V-Lock brace for 4 weeks and laid in bed for the first 7 days just to make sure I didn't re-injure the area.

I am free from the sciatic pain except for the first thing in the morning, I get a pinch in my right glute area but my Doc says it's normal and will continue to improve with time.

Prior to surgery, I underwent traction for 2 months and had 2 eipdural injections but nothing was working. I had 2 herniations in the same area and they were pinching my sciatic like a pair of pliers so there was no alternative for me.

If you do elect to have the surgery, take your recovery seriously and don't push yourself. I'm pretty active and had to fight to keep myself out of the gym for the first 4 weeks but I started doing some light exercise and cardio but everything seems to be going OK. IN response to the residual pain, my doc has perscribed a neurological medication but I haven't picked it up yet.
Ramkumar

Asia/Pacific Region

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#13
Jun 28, 2007
 
Hi Folks,

Please excuse for the long post.

I have been having a low back pain for almost 2 years. it all started in Nov 2005, when one fine morning i lifted a cricket bat, i felt tremors in my back and i collapsed. i could not get up for the next 30 minutes, then carried in an ambulance. diagnosed for l3-l4 disb bulge, given traction, Short wave all sorts of physiotherapy, complete bed rest for 1 month and i recovered miraculously, started driving my car, etc. Then again in July 2006, i went to a virtual reality theatre, where they showed a train going through a mountain and tilted the chair accordingly, the chair was locked and i had to suffer this for 5 minutes. when i came out, i collapsed again and again went for a MRI, diagnosed for the same l3-l4 disc bulge, and a disc degenration at l5-s1. since the, i have been living with severe severe pain. the pain can be related to a knife cutting pain. since then i had taken almost 200 sessions of physiotherapy(traction, tens, swd, ift, etc), 10 sessions of chiropractic, an epidural injection and a facet joint injection. Currently i live in Singapore and I went back to India for another checkup and arguably, the No.1 orthopaedician there, ruled me out of surgery. After coming back to Singapore, i went for an Ayurvedic massage yesterday, and now i am getting a shock like feeling , a very alarming one, feels like paralysing me on a whole.

I am really worried now whether i will be paralysed....

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Thanks
Ram
Ramkumar

Asia/Pacific Region

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#14
Jun 28, 2007
 
Hi Folks,
Please excuse for the long post.
I have been having a low back pain for almost 2 years. it all started in Nov 2005, when one fine morning i lifted a cricket bat, i felt tremors in my back and i collapsed. i could not get up for the next 30 minutes, then carried in an ambulance. diagnosed for l3-l4 disb bulge, given traction, Short wave all sorts of physiotherapy, complete bed rest for 1 month and i recovered miraculously, started driving my car, etc. Then again in July 2006, i went to a virtual reality theatre, where they showed a train going through a mountain and tilted the chair accordingly, the chair was locked and i had to suffer this for 5 minutes. when i came out, i collapsed again and again went for a MRI, diagnosed for the same l3-l4 disc bulge, and a disc degenration at l5-s1. since the, i have been living with severe severe pain. the pain can be related to a knife cutting pain. since then i had taken almost 200 sessions of physiotherapy(traction, tens, swd, ift, etc), 10 sessions of chiropractic, an epidural injection and a facet joint injection. Currently i live in Singapore and I went back to India for another checkup and arguably, the No.1 orthopaedician there, ruled me out of surgery. After coming back to Singapore, i went for an Ayurvedic massage yesterday, and now i am getting a shock like feeling , a very alarming one, feels like paralysing me on a whole.
I am really worried now whether i will be paralysed....
Any advice would be highly appreciated.
Thanks
Ram
Qazi Naseer

UK

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#15
Aug 6, 2007
 
Dear
I had surgery one month before. I suffered three month with terrible sciatic pain before because of two disc L5 and S1, Main pain was in left leg and in hip.I saw to a neurosugeion, he also advised for surgry.He told me there is no other choice, delay could creat more problems. Spine surgeon was experienced and he did surgry fine. I did not have any complications. I stayd five days in hopital and had fifteen days leave from work. Now there is no such a pain which i was facing. I am taking only vitamins tabs daily twice time.
Driven wrote:
Qazi Naseer- Pakistani, I am not a doctor but I did play one in a movie.
I had the surgery May 15th for a disc herniation at L5:S1 that extruded into my sciatic on the right side. I saw a NEUROSURGEON for the procedure and would suggest you do the same if given the choice.
The surgery went fine and I didn't suffer any complications. I wore a V-Lock brace for 4 weeks and laid in bed for the first 7 days just to make sure I didn't re-injure the area.
I am free from the sciatic pain except for the first thing in the morning, I get a pinch in my right glute area but my Doc says it's normal and will continue to improve with time.
Prior to surgery, I underwent traction for 2 months and had 2 eipdural injections but nothing was working. I had 2 herniations in the same area and they were pinching my sciatic like a pair of pliers so there was no alternative for me.
If you do elect to have the surgery, take your recovery seriously and don't push yourself. I'm pretty active and had to fight to keep myself out of the gym for the first 4 weeks but I started doing some light exercise and cardio but everything seems to be going OK. IN response to the residual pain, my doc has perscribed a neurological medication but I haven't picked it up yet.
7 year sufferer

United States

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#16
Sep 21, 2007
 
I feel for you all. I have a slipped disk and multiple herniated disks and the slipped disk caused canal stenosis, in which my research says paralysis can result. I seen neurosurgeon and was told not to worry or get surgery till I can't urinate. Injections is not supposed to be done on stenosis sufferers, nor is chiropractic. My advise feels like knives it is probably stenosis its pushing on your spinal cord.In my experience half the doctors seem not to care since it isn't them. Good luck!

“Compromise yourself for no one”

Since: Dec 06

Cajun Country

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#17
Sep 22, 2007
 
7 year sufferer wrote:
I feel for you all. I have a slipped disk and multiple herniated disks and the slipped disk caused canal stenosis, in which my research says paralysis can result. I seen neurosurgeon and was told not to worry or get surgery till I can't urinate. Injections is not supposed to be done on stenosis sufferers, nor is chiropractic. My advise feels like knives it is probably stenosis its pushing on your spinal cord.In my experience half the doctors seem not to care since it isn't them. Good luck!
It's not a matter of not caring. It's about your health.
I have a herniated disc that compresses my spinal cord resulting in stenosis. I am a nurse in pain management.

Injections CAN be done, there's just no guarantee they will even help. But it can be done at the level below your herniation so that the medicine advances upward.

Surgery on the vertebral column is a huge deal. Stop looking at it so lightly.
HeartBreakKid

Lahaina, HI

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#18
Sep 26, 2007
 
Hello im been suffered for almost a year now it happen last December 2006 when i was just 14 years old.I was lifting weights when it happen my whole spine went into shock pain going down my leg.I think it was caused by me doing some comunity service when i was lifting heavy items at the food bank.The reason i got comunity service was because i attack this kid at school in august 2006.I had this teen court i had to go to and they said i had 15 hours of comunity service and a letter of a apology to the victim.Every thing was doing find till i miss one day and i never came or called back.I still didnt do the comunity service and i didnt write the letter.A few months pass i got a letter saying i have to go to family court now and i think the judge said i had 20 or 23 hours of comunity service.I did the comunity service wrote the letter and thats how it happened.Im still living with the pain today in 2007.
Gogo girl

Europe

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#19
Oct 4, 2007
 
Hello,
I had an anterior spinal fusion (L5 S1) early this year and I was doing so well. All of a sudden I'm experiencing pain again; almost feels like I'm back where I started. Anyone have any experience in this? That 6-8 months after surgery you all of a sudden have a major set-back? does anyone know if, once you've had a slipped disc, you are "prone" to a second one?
Thanks. Hope for feedback as this is getting really frustrating

“Compromise yourself for no one”

Since: Dec 06

Cajun Country

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#20
Oct 4, 2007
 
Gogo girl wrote:
Hello,
I had an anterior spinal fusion (L5 S1) early this year and I was doing so well. All of a sudden I'm experiencing pain again; almost feels like I'm back where I started. Anyone have any experience in this? That 6-8 months after surgery you all of a sudden have a major set-back? does anyone know if, once you've had a slipped disc, you are "prone" to a second one?
Thanks. Hope for feedback as this is getting really frustrating
It's possible that the disc above your previous herniation is having problems as it now takes the brunt of movment.
You should have another MRI with contrast dye.

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