20 answers

Wanting to Avoid Back Surgery for Herniated Disk

I am really needing to know if anyone has information on back surgery, good or bad. I have had an MRI and Discogram that both show I have a 3 to 5 mm herniation at L5/S1. I have done some injections that haven't helped much. My doctor wants me to have an intradiscal injection, but we haven't been able to find anyone that does that. His wife had it done and no longer has any problems. The last specialist I saw wants to put in an X-stop type device in but insurance says it is too new to know how well it works over the long haul (approved in 2005). I have been hurting for 2 1/2 years and am getting a bit scared about all of this. Any info anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi L.-

My husband had herniated discs and had tried the injections as well with no relief. His doctor wanted to perform surgery but before agreeing to it my husband went to a chiropractor and did the spinal decompression procedures. He had weekly appointments for a couple of months but has now been pain free for over a year. Occasionally if he overexerts himself his back will be stiff, but he has not had the extreme pain that he had prior to the procedures.

Good Luck,

2 moms found this helpful

Be careful of the injections as I have several friend who did that and it actually made it worse. I have had a discectomy but it was in the neck region and it worked great. My mom also had the same surgery I had and had no problems. The lower back is different, I'm sure, but I know lots of people who have had successful surgeries. Just make sure you research your doctor. A neurosurgeon did my surgery. Dr. James Bonnen. He's really good. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Find out if your injections were in the nerves or the actual spine/disc. My husband went in for injections twice (injection in the nerves). It did not help much. We then went to a pain specialist (Dr Charnov - Houston TX), he did another set of injections in the disc and my husband had 75% relief! We went back a couple months later and had the proceedure done again, and my husband felt like a new man! These injections do not last forever, yet you can have them done again and again. Find a good pain specialist - it will change your life! Do not wait too long, the older you are the more difficult to treat.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband works at a clinic in Houston that is the best at these types of procedures. People come from all over the world to receive treatment there. No Joke! Call me at ###-###-####, let me know who you are so I won't think you're a telemarketer, and I will give you the clinic information. God works in mysterious ways.

1 mom found this helpful

i will say this about the back surgery on a herniated disc-it was a miracle for me. i hadn't been able to walk without extreme pain for over two years and finally had to give up on just dealing with it. i realize there are alternatives, and i cannot speak with authority on those, but the surgery gave me back my life. i was able to get up in the recovery room and walk (assisted of course). i just cried - it didn't hurt at all! recovery is a bit long and you do need to be cautious for quite awhile, but i'm jogging and going to yoga and not suffering at all! btw-i'm 56 (this week) and haven't felt better. of course there are always risks involved in any surgery, but being free of pain meds every day and moving around pain free were worth it for me. i have a discreet tattoo on the small of my back that means "peace" and my surgeon told me afterward that he thought he was able to leave the mark without altering the meaning. good luck in your decision and i wish you freedom of the pain of this situation soon! take care, C. dawn

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried any other alternatives to injections? Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, acupuncture, etc? I'm a physical therapist and if it were my back I would make sure you have tried all other options before surgery. Of course it depends on your level of disability and how much it is affecting the quality of your life. I have seen many people avoid surgery with stabilization exercises and or McKenzie movement biased therapies. If you have tried them and they were unsuccessful, then definitely do your homework on researching your surgeon's and there success rates. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband had surgery twice for a herniated disc in the course of about 6 months. The second time was his fault as he completely overdid trying to lift something. He's doing very well now, although his back does get tired so he has to limit himself with the kids sometimes. He could not have gone on with his back the way it was. We are very grateful for the doctor God provided for us! I'm not sure how far Boerne is from Austin, but my husband saw Dr. James Smith if you would like another opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm so sorry you are in pain. My husband had a ruptured disc and it got so bad he couldn't run anymore (and he is very athletic). He went to a very good neurosurgeon and had surgery. He was better right away. The recovery wasn't bad at all and he is doing everything he did before the ruptured disc. The surgery was his only option and he is so glad he did it. Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

Check out Foundation Surgical Hospital on the south loop 610 and 59 in Houston. It is a specialty hospital for ortho and spine surgery only and is physician owned. It is a wonderful place with the best doctors and staff around. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I hope this helps you: I met a friend this evening who told me that she takes Black Cherry concentrate--2 tsp a day from the health food store. Somebody told her and she said it was miraculous. Carol Ann tried it because she, too, was facing surgery for herniated discs. If you want more info, I'd be glad to give you her name and you can ask her more about it. She said she is in no pain and has free movement. Carol Ann said she didn't believe something so simple could work so well. It was answered prayer for her. HTH, C.

Hey have you thought about seeing a chiropractor? I know, I was real leary about them at first too! But, ever since I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck and a pinched nerve in my lower back,(for a couple of years now), I just dealt with it and took muscle relaxers and ibuprofen. I was also taking Wellbutrin for a couple of years. But, when it started hurting so bad and my next option was shots in my neck and/or surgery I wanted to try an alterntive. I went to a chiropractor and eventually got rid of my pain and got off all medication! I was amazed! I am a firm believer that you don't always have to have surgery! But, don't get me wrong if you need surgery that may be your only option. But, I would at least get a second and/or third opinion! I got my pain under control and had not been to a doctor for about 6 months. Then this weekend I painted one of our bedrooms and aggravated it! I woke up in so much pain I couldn't get out of bed! We just moved here a few months back! So, I found a chiropractor, saw him today and I already feel so much better! It will take several visits, but we have a plan and I am on the road to recovery! Good Luck and I will pray for you! Let me know how it turns out! P.

Hello, my name is L.. I completely understand your dilema. Our family went thru a similar situation with our son, and wanting to stay away from surgery and medications, believing that God could actually heal our body, we turned to an amazing chiropractor. I would highly suggest just going to talk with him to get another opinion on your situation. His name is Mick Mahan, and his office is Discover Chiropractic. The number is ###-###-####. Feel free to message me with any questions. Good luck.

L., I'm 39 and had "back surgery" 21 years ago and it was wonderful. The procedure is called a "Percutaneous Discectomy". I had a 1/2" incision on the right side of my lower back that required only two stitches. The procedure is performed by going through that small incision and using a laser to make a small hole in the disc so the fluid can drain. The day of surgery, from a standing position, I could only lean forward ONE INCH before experiencing severe pain. Four hours after surgery I leaned down and touched my toes without ANY pain. It was a miracle cure for me. During the 21 years since my surgery I have had a few bouts of trouble with my back, but they were caused by over-exertion, lifting heavy objects incorrectly, etc. I would highly recommend you ask your physician about this procedure -- it changed my life. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

I know your pain!!! This last October 13th, marked 3 years since I had my back surgery. I had a slipped, herniated disc in the L5 area as well. Steriod shots did nothing to help...there was not a thing that I had found to help. Then I was referred to Dr. Mark D. Rahm @ Scott&White in Temple. He was so awesome!!! To be able to see him, you will need your physician to refer you to him. If he thinks he can help, then he wastes no time. If he does NOT think he can help, then he is not going to waste your time just to make a buck. Best of luck!!! L.


Have you tried Physical Therapy? To avoid surgery you need to strengthen the muscles around the herniated disks. A good PT can rehab your back and maybe prolong the inevitable need for surgery. Do not confuse a Physical Therapist with a Chiropractor. You need a Physical Therapist. You will need a prescription for therapy and you'll need to research the outpatient clincics in your area to find the therapist that's right for your specific need.


Hi L.,
My husband had surgery on his L5 back in 1994 and he has been doing great. He would be up all night which meant I could not sleep. He has good days and some bad days. Over all he is very grateful to have had the surgery because the chronic pain was too much for him. I had surgery myself in December 2007. I thank God. I only had a bone spur on my nerve. That really causes a lot of pain. I was taking meds to get up to go to work and as soon as i got home so I could lay down and rest. Pray on it and see which way God leads you. I wish you the best because pain is no fun.

If his wife had it done, ask who she used. My husband kept putting off anytype of surgery til he couldn't walk (his legs went numb) then he had surgery & is doing much better. I suggest doing the surgery, it can only get worse if untreated. Nowadays they're using a piece of bone to replace the disc or a false disc to replace the disc. When my hubby had his surgery, they didn't have any new technology & they removed I think two discs so that also made him shorter. I would definitly look into all the new type of treatments they have out there & see what will work for you but I feel that inevitably, you will probably need surgery. Best of luck & I hope you don't need surgery but just keep in mind that you might have to.

My husband went to a great criopractor and it helped him termendously. I also have a father inlaw and a friend both in there 60-70 age range that have had the surgery. The friend had success. My father in law not so much. I think he waited to long and he has a hard time walking. Find out as much as you can about the recovery and the physical therapy. Good luck and God bless. Hope you get the right treatment and it works.

I recommend a good chiropracter. The one I would personally recommend is Dr Chris Zaino in the Woodlands. The office is called Abundant Life Chiropractic. He believe that God created the body to heal itself and that is completely possible when things are in their proper places.

I was scheduled to have back surgery for a ruptured disc when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Needless to say, I didn't have the surgery, but still had the pain! I stepped up my Pilate's routine and that helped me through the pregnancy, and, I am happy to say, has kept me from the surgeon's table! The "core strength" that Pilate's produces helps take the pressure off the back. Find a certified instructor and make sure she (or he) knows modifications for the type of back injury you have. Hope that helps!

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