Ruptured disc

Discussions relating to Lower Back Pain.

Ruptured disc

Postby Lulu » Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:09 am

Hi! I ruptpured my disk lifting a patient. It has been 6 months and my doctor says that if I don't have surgery, I may be left with permanent pain and weakness because the nerve develops scar tissue if it is constantly inflamed. Has anyone had neurological symptoms that went away after 6 months without surgery?

Postby Steven » Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:45 pm

Hi Lulu,

Are you sure it's a ruptured disc and not a herniated disc? There is a difference. Read Dean's articles on herniated discs, disc disease and pinched nerves. They will answer all of your questions including the surgery one.

Bottom line is your doctor is correct that left untreated (by that I mean unresolved) your nerve can develop permanent damage. You need to relieve the pressure on that nerve as soon as you can.

But surgery is not your only option. If fact, it is rare that surgery is required at all.

By the way, disc disease takes years to develop. You didn't just damage your disc one day lifting a patient. Yes, you injured your back. That's a given. But the disc was already bulging when that occured. It's more likely that you pulled a ligament.

There's a very huge chance that your disc problem is not the real cause of your nerve pain. I would get a second opinion, preferable from a doctor who is not aware of your current doctor's diagnosis. (They tend to back each other up, even when the first doctor is wrong. Reluctant to make waves I suppose.)

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ruptured disc

Postby lulu » Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:57 pm

Dear Steven,
Thanks for writing. No, I had an MRI and it showed that it ruptured. That is what the doctor said. It has been six months and my pain is better, but I still have the pulsing tingling and weakness of the leg. It is better than a month ago, but still there. I am a total coward about having surgery, but don't want permanent nerve problems. Yikes. I don't know what to do. But, thank you so much for writing.

Postby Steven » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:09 pm

Hi Lulu,

Sorry that it is, in fact, a ruptured disc. That is much more serious than just a bulging disc. As I'm sure you know, it means that some of the nucleus of the disc has actually leaked into the spinal canal where it can irritate the nerves there.

I still don't think it means that surgery is your only option. A ruptured disc can still heal and will respond to physical therapy and exercise type treatments.

The last thing I want to do as a layman is to second guess your doctor by long distance over the internet. That would be totally irresponsible and I definately don't want to mislead you into making the wrong decision. Everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt and weighed against professional advice.

From what I've read, the only time surgery is required is when you are experiencing a rapid increase in neurological symptoms or when the numbness and tingling affects the "saddle area" of your buttocks and thighs. (Tlhe surfaces that would normally touch a saddle while riding a horse.)

Since you seem to be getting better, rather than worse, I wouldn't think surgery would be necessary. I hope you'll get a second opinion first and try the rebuilding exercises before you do anything drastic.

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ruptured disc

Postby Lulu » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:33 am

Dear Steven,
You are so sweet to respond to my email. Thank you so much. My doctor made me do exercises to see if my weakness is worse and he made me so much worse. The tingling and pain and twitching was worse after my visit with him. He keeps saying that if one waits past 6 months there will be permanent nerve damage. But I know people who have tried other things for a year or so and then had surgery and they were fine. Other people who have had surgery had a lot of scar tissue which made them worse in the long run. What a gamble. Anyway, thank you so much for your input and don't worry, it is all just info that I am gathering. My final decision won't be based on any one person's advice, so please feel free to just communicate what you know. It is an honest opinion and one can't always be sure about the opinion of a doctor who will be paid huge sums of money to operate.
Thanks. A second doctor's opinion would be good.

Postby Bill » Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:36 pm

Hi Lulu,

Just reading your posts and I agree with Steven, a second opinion would definately be a good idea.

Also wanted to mention that you shouldn't equate the exercises that the doctor had you do in a testing situation to how you would respond to the very gentle exercises that Dean has you do in his books.

The doctor was trying to determine the extent of your injury and probably was pushing you farther than necessary. Whereas with the rebuilding program you are in control and you start out with very low impact movements that are almost not like exercising at all.

Definately worth a try, I think you will be pleasently surprised with the results.
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Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Trina » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:08 pm

Hi everybody,

I was just going to say the same think but Bill beat me to it. Apparently we're both online at the same time. So, "Hi Bill."

Anyway, now that I don't have anything new to add, I quess I'll just mention that I had leg pains from a pinched nerve that bothered me off and on for several years until I found this site and went through the rebuilding program. Wasn't from a ruptured disc fortunately, but still similar sciatica symptoms. So I definately recommend getting the book if you haven't already, Lulu. It worked for me.

Hope you get to feeling beter,
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:38 am
Location: Billings, MT

Re: Ruptured disc

Postby Guest » Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:56 am

hi there

i had the same problem as you but lay bedbound for most of the six months i have 4 kids which i delivered naturally and have NEVER felt pain like that in my life i too got the 6mths time limit and had to have the surgery i am post op. now 7months and still in pain in my buttock and leg, i dont think there is a straight answerto this problem it all depends on the damage to the nerve and they can only see this properly to go in with surgery..............but if i was in that sort of pain again i would drag myself to the hospital this time and not leave it so long as i overstepped the 6 months i now have permenat damage good luck and keep youre chin up, as youre not alone in here


Bonnie scotland

Postby sherry1 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:04 am

Hi Lulu

I ruptured my disc at L4 an 6 months down the line slipped on the stairs an when i went to the specialist he says my disc has healed itself.
But i do have other lower back problems. I have just had my facet joints injected but they have done nothing for me.
My pain is still as acute as before so the next step they are talking about is a fusion.
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