T Nation


Ok I really need some advice. I?m 26yr old and I have a herniated disc, lumbar area - L1 I believe. It?s been there for a couple of years now and hasn?t given me any problems. I?ve done my therapy and kept up with the stretching exersices on a daily basis. Recently though I?ve been in some pain and it is getting worse, usually when I get pain it comes and goes but not as severe as it does now and it just doesn?t go away, no matter what.
What I?m wanting to know is should I do surgery? I really haven?t thought about it since I was doing ok and the dr. had said I would be alright if I took care of myself. I?ve had mixed thoughts from few people but one thought that did hit me was that I was told to do surgery now instead of waiting till I was older cause it will get worse. If any of you could give me some advice and much needed knowledge I?d appreciate that.


T, I also had a herniated disc but for 4 years. The pain down my left leg became unbearable when standing without moving. I tried chiropracty, acupuncture, epidural spine shots, massage, physical therapy, etc. Nothing relieved it. Finally a specialist told me that if I didn’t get it fixed, the constant pressure on my sciatic nerve would lead to “drop foot” and I would lose control of my foot and be required to wear a brace for life. I had a partial discectomy done about 6 years ago whereby they cut out that portion of the disc where it is hitting the nerve. I was up and walking pain free the next day and back riding a horse in 3 weeks. Not even a twinge since then. I even deadlift now which I couldn’t do before. The absolute recovery rate on partial discectomies is not about 98%. I believe it is even done arthroscopically now. Just find a good ortho surgeon with lots of experience. Good luck!

What Avoids said is true. Even if you can “take the pain like a man,” the constant pressure on the nerves could eventually lead to permanent damage and loss of function.

This is what I faced - I had two ruptured disks in my neck. I had shooting pain down my arm, but I just “dealt with it.” Eventually the pain went away and I figured the problem resolved itself. Not so. I began having weakness in my right hand, which was bad since I am right-handed. My neurosurgeon said that because the disks were ruptured pretty bad, it wasn’t likely that they would heal themselves - it was surgery, or “wait and see,” but the wait and see could mean further loss of function. I also debated having the surgery, especially since I no longer had any pain, and I figured why fix something if it didn’t hurt? I had the surgery and I am very glad I did. I regained 100% of my hand function. The worst part about recovery was I had to wear a neck brace for 6 weeks. That was because my surgeon replaced the disks with bone and it took 6 weeks for the vertebrae to fuse together. This was the better option for me since I wanted to remain active. I know with the lower back they can save part of the disk since those disks are larger.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid of the surgery because the results in these types of procedures are generally good. Once the pressure on the nerves is released, many people experience instant relief from pain.

Thanks a ton guys, I really do appreciate the feed back. It’s a subject where I’m still pissing in the kiddy pool.
I’m goingto take your advice and run with it.