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Herniated Disc... Your experience


Jun 18, 2008
I've been away from the board for a while, to make a long story short....

I've had low back pain for the last few years, nothing major just tightness and bothersome really. Last just felt like a pulled a glute or hammy, went to Dr, got an MRI and was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5/S1. I back ed way off, dropped the doses, brought my body wgt down and just trained on machines, etc to stay in shape. No row, squats, deads, OF presses etc.

2 weeks ago I woke up and my entire right leg was partially numb with my 2 outside toes on my right foot completely numb. Went back to the Dr and immediately recommended surgery based on my previous MRI. I was a bit thrown off by him recommedning surgery so fast so I had saw another Dr for a 2nd option. First Dr was a Orthopedic Surgeon, 2nd Dr is a Neurosurgeon and actullay the Dr. responsible to spine/ back issues for the Detroit Tigers, Pistons and Redwings. He took a new MRI and I was suprised. New diagnosis...

Large Bilateral Disc Protrusion at L5/S1 with mass effect on the S1 nerve
Mild Central Disc Protrusion at L4/L5 with Annular tear present

So, this Dr also recommended surgery... a microdiscectomy at L5/S1. He said as long as I am not training the L4/L5 tear should heal on it's own during the recovery process from the surgery for the L5/S1. We talked a lot about sports, athletes and bodybuilding. He's logic is this. I can go for epidural injections, try some PT, maybe see a Chiro, etc and I would have a 50/50 chance of improving and it would probably be anywhere from 3-6 months before I could do any decent weight training. Being 50/50 and it the non-surgical treatment didn't work, I would be forced into surgery which would add another 3-4 months to the overall recovery. Not to mention I would also be taking a chance of making the herniated discs worse via PT. So he's say I could et surgery now, recovery would be 6-8 weeks at most and then I would be back in the gym with a mild to moderate training routine.

I'll be honest. I'm about 90% sure I'm going with the surgery. I've done a lot of research I feel with confident it's the best bet. I would also add a hormone/ peptide program to my recovery which would would help with recovery.

Just throwing this out there to see if anyone else has been in this situation, had surgery, living with a herniated disc etc.
Do the surgery man. I am heading for bilateral knee replacements and can relate to what you are going through to a certain extent. I can't train the way I want now and realize that I won't be able to after my knee surgeries either, but at least the pain won't be there.
Sometimes we have to slow down to move forward.
Good luck.
Sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Just got cleared on an MRI for NO herniated discs myself, turned out to be scapular bursitis. No advice on the surgery, but for the recovery take extra time readapting and dont try to catch back up too quick. I have set myself way back by making this mistake. Accept you will fall way behind and make a slow but steady recovery and you will be better than you are after some time! Best of luck

All I can tell ya bro is I been there and done that. 1st week of April everything was fine. Training was great!!! 2nd week of April I woke up one day and my back hurt like a son of a bitch. That was a Tuesday and by Friday I could not walk. I did everything to get out of surgery. I'll be 39 Nov. 1. I had the surgery after a consult with an ortho, a neuro and 3 chiros, all telling me I need surgery. Even after the surgery my quality of life was shit all summer. I was afraid to work out. Last week was my first time back after several months off. All I did was minor training just to stay above water. I went with the neruo surgeon out of the area. He did a good job but all he did was remove the disc. No hard wear was put in and noting was fused. He told me no more dead lifts or squats. So even though I am back I am still really careful with what I am doing. Anytime you want to talk about this let me know. I'm here for you bro. Right now I'm glad I had the surgery done but I can't say if I will say the same thing a few years from now. I'm just taking things a day at a time. It's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Like I said. I'm here for you. Pax.

I just finished my second back surgery on August 19th. I had a laminectomy on L-4,5 in 2000. This time I had a microdiscectomy on the same disc. I will be back trianing come Monday. You will be out of the gym 6-8 weeks but will take about 4-6 to be able to lift 100%. It's not that bad of a surgery, I stayed overnight at the hospital, but only because I live alone. I was up walking that night. The injury occurred last November and I went through a series of 5 cortisone injections. They worked at first, but eventually wore off. I had a neurosurgeon that's a diplomate on the national board of neurosurgery do my surgery. I had to wait an extra three months to see him and had to pay an extra $1000 that my insurance wouldn't cover because he is out of network, but it was well worth it. Don't worry about a thing, and don't delay getting it done. If you need any other advice feel free to pm me. Good luck bro.
Whats up man! Sorry to hear about your injury but its any injury I know all to well. I herniated Both L4/L5 and L5/S1 and Had Bilateral Sciatica when I was 21 years old. Im currently 23 but never underwent surgery as two doctors reccommended I should. I went the Epidural route got 2 Injections about 4 months apart and Underwent extensive PT. For awhile it was ok but, the sciatica kept creeping back so I took matter into my own hands and did a whole lot of stabilization and core exercises some that I created. Also, during this time I got in contact with an ART therapist with a master Cert, Which I believe was the Best and most beneficial thing I ever did for my back.
After about 3-4months of constant stretching ( Mckenzy stretches would really recommend Looking into These) 2-4 times and day to take pressure off the hips and lowerback to prevent the tightness in glutes and hams, Concentrating on core and stabilization exercises, and Meeting with my ART Therapist 1-2 times a Week. I now live a normal life again no sciatica, no restrictions on being seated for extensive durations of times, I can squat, do overhead presses, pretty much everything I used to do. You just have to be really consistent with yourself and you will move past the pain man.
Had the laminectomy and microdiscetomy about 3 years ago...My only regret is that I didnt do it sooner...I dicked around with all the injections, therapy and everything else for a year or so and my quality of life sucked for that year...I felt like a 90 year old man...
First 3-4 days post-op were hell...I had major spasms going on from them having to move around all the erector spinae muscle down there...and just sore as shit, like I got hit by a bus...after that though I healed up incredible fast and Im better than ever...if you need anything else shoot me a PM. Good luck
Thanks for the feedback guys. I may reach out to some of you as time goes on.

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