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Herniated L5 disc and exercise

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:43 pm
by cruncher3
I have a ruptured L5 disc. The inner gel from the disc touches the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower back and down both legs. I have had this pain from the herniation in various degrees for over four years. It is getting much worse and the doctor recommended steriod injection for now instead of surgery after viewing the MRI. The injection was 4 1/2 months ago. It helped greatly for about a month. Following the injection I began the exercises recommended in Moyer's book. They have helped but the pain is still 24 hours a day and varies in intensity
I have commited myself to the exercises in the hope that after 6 months or so the pain will be greatly reduced and tolerable. I also have some arthritis and stenosis in or around the L5 disc.
MY QUESTION: Has anyone found that the exercises can result in the the gel moving away from the nerve thereby lessening the pain in the lower back and the sciatic pain in the legs??
I cannot get a straight answer from anyone. It seems to me that unless the gel no longer touches the nerve the pain will continue and surgery is the only option. I fear the exercise program is directed toward BULGING discs which have occured in the immediate past and not for someone like me that experienced the bulging disc 35 years ago & now has the ruptured disc. ANY THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:35 am
by Dean
You are correct. The exercises are for re-hydrating the bulging discs.

If the gel has ruptured and is irritating the nerve, it is (if I understand correctly) a chemical irritation not a form of pressure and should resolve itself over time. The body will actually absorb the foreign matter. Both the gel and any bits of disc material.

Exercise may help with that but no one can say for sure.

You should continue with the exercises (unless advised otherwise by your physician) for the sake of rebuilding your back overall. But don't expect miracles from them in terms of the ruptured nucleus (the gel).

Normally, the steroid injections are done 3 times over several months. It sounds like you were only given one.