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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I am 37 yr old male. I had back pain shooting through right rear and (rarely) into calf for 5 or 6 years but my doctor and I thought it was muscle pinching the sciatic nerve. A month ago I bent over for newspaper, and saw stars. New type of pain at a whole new level. Shooting into right leg and foot, then pins and needles, finally numbness in my right foot with continued back and right calf pain.

An MRI showed that the disk between the L4 and L5 had fragmented, most of it had come out from between the vertebrae, and the fragments were impinging on the nerves. Neurosurgeon said I needed surgery to remove the fragments. I had the surgery two weeks from the day I bent over for the newspaper. My surgery was 3 weeks ago now.

Immediately following surgery my pain level was dramatically better. But upon getting up and walking a little, still some pain shooting into right leg. And this is the weird part - my arms started falling asleep - never happened to me before the surgery, but now it is common!

Doctor said he doesn't know if leg pain is permanent, wait for swelling to go down, the inflammation may be pushing on the nerves. Well three weeks later, my leg pain and foot numbness are a little worse every day. And today was something completely new - just from sitting in a new type of chair for 1.5 hours, my left rear butt became painful (left psiatic nerve), and my left foot also went numb! Never, ever had any pain on my left side before the surgery. As far as I can tell, it is getting a little worse day by day.

I have some questions maybe you can help with:

1. Do nerves heal? My neurosurgeon will not give me a straight answer. After the swelling is gone, I still have pain. Is this absolutely permanent or is it possible for the nerves to heal?

2. Should I consider doing any physical therapy now or in the future? I think my Neurosurgeon is old school. He says no physical therapy ever, just rest.

3. What are the longer term ramifications of him leaving the remaining part of the disc in between the vertebrae. Will that likely work its way out from between the vertebrae and cause problems?

4. Is it common when a disk comes out, to leave the two vertabrae with no disk in between them? It seems to me that the disk served the function to allow flexing motion and shock impacts. Have bone-on-bone, am I going to have problems?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice or shared experiences you may offer.

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