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Posted in: Herniated disc.

has anyone had their disc reabsorbed after 1 year without surgery?

Started by bjr on 08/19/2011 2:00pm

I have L5-S1 herniated disc with no pain. Major symptoms have been numbness and tingling for 1 year now. I used to have surges of this but now it's pretty chronic. Biggest problem is when it is confined to my foot and my inability to walk for more than 20 minutes. I have been able to exercise recently( 25 min treadmill, ball stretches) which I was unable to do early on. I have tried it all conservatively but the symptoms have not improved. I'm thinking of another epidural( I had 2 in February). I am a surgical candidate for a microdisectomy, however, I can't get my head around it in light of not having pain and/or being disabled from this. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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I am no expert, but I also had my L5-S1 herniated. I had some pain but not as bad as when I had my L4-L5 disc herniated 2 years ago and ended up needing surgery. I went through a series of epidural injections which seemed to help some, but I was never totally ok. After my MRI, it showed signs of being smaller. My doctor explained to me that the disc doesn't reabsorb. The steroid injection does reduce the swelling of the tissue, but also, it kind of "dissolves" the herniated tissue making it a little mussy if you know what I mean. That is why some people find relief, because the pressure releases off the nerve by giving it some more room. My doctor also told me that with time (and he was talking about years) as a natural aging process, tissues lose water and that makes it shrink a little more but never back to the way a healthy disc will be. Now, I don't know how bad your disc is herniated and that can make a difference. I had my L4-L5 herniated and had similar symptoms as you described. I went that way for over 10 years until it finally "popped" some more and I ended up having surgery. My last disc was bad enough that was on the canal. I wasn't in a great deal of pain, but other things were compromised. My doctor also told me that I was losing muscle tone on one of my legs due this whole issue. With time, this could end up as a worse thing, having a smaller leg and having some other back problems. We decided that the best for me was to have surgery (a microdisectomy) It has been a month since then and I have been improving lots. My permanently numb and tingling foot is almost back to normal and I feel stronger each day. My suggestion to you is that you talk to your doctor and have him/her explain to you the pros and cons of having surgery. I also recommend you to see a neurosurgeon for this. I don't know in which area you are located, but I know a great doctor in the Atlanta area.
I do hope you get better real soon!