Disc Prolapse

I was diagnosed with disc prolapse by a spinal specialist three months ago, but have been in pain for about 7 months now. I have been suffering from lower back pains on and off since the age of 14 years old. I am now in my mid 30s.

Here is what the specialist said after the mri, three months ago:

There is multilevel spondylosis. At L4/5, the disc height is fairly well preserved, although there is slight reduction in T2 disc signal, compatible with desiccation. There is a posterior and left paracentral disc protrusion measuring approximately 15mm transvere x 5mm AP diameter. There is slight extrusion inferiorly with disc material extending approximately 4-5mm posterior to the L5 vertebral body. The left lateral recess is obliterated by intermediate signal material, isointense with disc material, and there appears to be compression of the descending L5 nerve roots. The descending S1 nerve roots on the side are displaced posteriorly slightly. Mild central stenosis. The intervertebral foramina are widely patent, no exiting L4 nerve root compression. The right descending L5 nerve roots in the lateral recess appear to contact the posterior disc margin also, no compression demonstrated.

At L3/4, the disc height is mildly narrowed and demonstrates sign of disc desiccation. A small posterior central disc protrusion measuring 3mm AP diameter indents the anterior thecal sac and a tiny left paracentral annular tear is also noted. The lateral recesses are mildly narrowed with no evidence of descending L4 nerve root compression here. The intervertebral foramina are mildly narrowed, but no evidence of L3 nerve root compression.

There is some more in the report, but with no significant findings.

As to my personal impression of my condition and pains: In combination with the shooting and sharp pain into the left leg, there is indeed also some light cramps mostly in the lower left leg. I sometimes feel discomfort in the upper leg, but it is mostly felt in the lower leg. The cramps happen more on the outside left of the lower part of the leg. I also sometimes feel a tingling in my leg associated with some numbness, the usually appears after I stand or sit in the same uncomfortable position for longer than a few seconds, that said, there really is no comfortable position.

Two months ago, I purchased an inversion table to decompress my spine, as suggested by a chiropractic as a more conservative way to assist with possibly avoiding a surgery.  I have used it intermittently during the day a few minutes at a time.

For a while, it felt like helping but a couple of weeks ago during the beginning of our tropical/wet season here, I started to develop stronger than ever pain, to the extend that I finally decided to go to hospital and get a morphine shot, as all my other medications did not help (I am on maximum dosage of Voltaren, Paracetamol and Codeine).

The morphine shot only helped short term and therefore I again looked up the internet and tried a few other ideas. Three nights ago, I decided to stop sleeping directly on my relatively firm mattress and instead have started placing a 12 mm plywood sheet on my mattress and covered it with a thick blanket. I changed sleeping positions from my back to my stomach several times throughout the night. The first night there was no serious change noted, but my back was slightly less stiff in the morning.

Two days ago, I read about relaxing the back with a moist heat treatment and decided to try a hot bath. The next day I woke up with no stiffness and almost no pain to speak off and reduced my medication intake to half. Also, since yesterday, I started feeling a change in my condition, instead of the needles and shooting pain ion my lower leg I now only still have a slight discomfort in my lower back and the lower part of my left leg is permanently numb.

I am not sure if this is a good sign, but for the time being I have completely stopped the codeine, paracetamol and only still take one third of my daily dosage of the voltaren (but only as a precaution, as I am still worried about the pain returning.)

In the meantime, I am trying to enjoy the time I have without pain and am wondering what to do next as I was very closed to accepting an appointment with a surgeon to have my disc prolapse removed permanently.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do? Thanks a lot. - Steve

Disc Prolapse to Herniated Disc
1/13/11 Revised 1/8/13


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