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Having severe pain in back, leg. MRI showed L5/S1 disc severely dessicated. Do I need surgery?

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Spine Surgeon
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 322 Questions
I have had horrible back pain where I cant sleep, walking and sitting are horrible, and my left quad area has become numb. At the same time when I walk there is shooting pain down my leg where I cant walk. I had an MRI done and it revelaed a Normal lumbar lordosis is maintained. L5/S1 disc is severly dessicated with both anterior and posterior bulges indenting the thecal sac and the exit foramina. Mild bulge at L4/L5 is also present but no exit formaminal impingement is seen at this level. the visualized cord signal is normal. Conus is as L1 level. The posterior elememnts and facet joints are normal and the pre and paravertebral soft tissue are normal. The Impression is degenerative disc disease. I have been seeing a Physiotherapist and doing heat, electrod, ultrasound, massage, cold and traction. It is getting better and I have been in treatment for almost 3 weeks. Do I need surgery? Can I go back to the gym at some point and do weight training again, and when? I have only seen the physiotherapist and not a physician so I am concerned. Please advise
Posted Tue, 7 May 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Rahul D Chaudhari 55 minutes later
Welcome to XXXXXXX
I understand you have L5-S1 disc prolapse with compromising space for the nerves. However if you are getting better with physiotherapy then you should continue the treatment. In next few weeks you will get better and will be able to do most of your routine activities. Please continue the physiotherapy for 2-3 weeks depending upon the relief.
Once the pain is minimal and tolerable then you can start gym. But be cautious of the weight lifting because during the weight lifting lot of pressure created in the disc for fraction of second. I would advise to build the muscle before going for weight lifting.
I dont think you need surgery at present. It is usually considered if you have persistent disabling pain or significant weakness in the lower extremity. Thanks.
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