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Young Spinal Patient - Microdiscectomy L4-L5/S1

Started by MomTo2 on 04/19/2010 10:39am

I am very thankful I found this community. Reading some of the posts and hearing details has given me a sense of support already. My daughter is about to turn 16 and has back issues that came about in the fall of 2008.

After months of back pain she received a diagnosis of Spondylosis/Degenerative Disc Disease. Her MRI showed a back of an 80 year old woman, or someone who had been injured greatly. It also showed a pronounced herniation at L4-L5/S1 with a bulging at L3-L4 as well Her condition worsened rapidly and resulted in a microdiscectomy of at L4-L5/S1. It was severe and was accompanied by an annular tear. The anomaly is the fact she is in no way an athlete, nor has ever been in an accident. ***She is in no way, shape, or form overweight. She is very tall, fit and gently exercises to help her back. Her doctor seems to believe it could be a genetic issue.

Originally she presented with back pain, leg pain, and eventually cauda equina syndrome. She was operated on as an emergent case when the feeling in her legs began to lessen. Her surgery went VERY well. Things seemed to be a.o.k.

Unfortunately, she has begun to have lower back pain again. She has identified it as an 8 on a pain scale of 1-10. The pain lasted about two weeks, though has lessened some. She began taking 600mg of Motrin 3x a day. As a mom I worry - obviously. Though her pain comes and goes (like when her issue first began) I worry about a recurrence.

I am interested in hearing from people who have experience something similar. Is this something my daughter will likely live with the rest of her life intermittently? Or could this be a sign? She is just sooooo young to be dealing with all of this.

Do you find this discussion helpful?

4 Responses


I am so sorry your daughter is having to deal with all she has had to!!!! Since her back has been operated on, she may require future operations. Its a degenerative disorder. One ur daughter will more than likely have to fight her whole life. I wish her the best, and that she finds relief!!! Keep me posted on her progress if u would like, take care. 'S'


As she is so young and her problems seems to be genetic, there is no easy solution for her postoperative back pain. It would be interested to see status of her back muscles. I would advise to try isokinetic testing and training.


This is my first time visiting this site and I was shocked to see this post right off the bat. Your daughter and I have similar problems it seems though I haven't had the cauda equina or surgery, yet. I just had my first appt with a neurosurgeon today. I've been having problems with my back since appx age 11. There was no known reason for the onset but since it began around the same time as my patellar tendonitis, it was deemed 'Growing Pains', that I would 'grow out of it', and was dismissed. Being 11, I accepted that 'diagnosis' and went years wondering when I would 'grow out of it'. I tried seeing other drs. I had X-rays. Nothing. PT over and over. Nothing. TENS Unit. Nothing. I'm now 23 going on 24 next month and I just found out in Dec. 2009 what was wrong with me. And of course over all this time it has only gotten worse and the pain has been traveling up my spine little by little so now I have it all the way up to my neck. Your daughter is so fourtunate to have this discovered at 16 atleast.

So now I'm facing the probability of surgery, and I'm terrified. I havent tried shots or anything yet and I dont know if I will try that first or not. I think I may be beyond the range of that being helpful. I have 3 annular tears. Two are 1st degree, and the third is a 4th degree in my L5-S1 and from the discogram I had it is leaking atleast 30% of the way around my disc. I have some bulges/herniations and hypertrophy of the ligamentum flava from years (over half my life) of inflammation. It is chronic- no painfree periods. I was informed of it being genetic as well which makes me worry about my son.

I look forward to contact with you about your daughters' issue and anything new you may learn.



Our 13 year old daughter hurt her back in April 2010. Her coach made her carry a 275lb girl piggyback across a football field, then had Hannah (our daughter) get on her knees-put the girl on her shoulders and told Hannah to stand up. She made it half way, heard a "pop" and stopped.
Her back "burned"that night, next day she called from school crying, they had to help her to office it hurt so bad. Initial MRI showed small central protusion L5/S1-no big deal the doctors said. We did PTherapy, heat, ice, ect-nothing worked. Hannah progressively got worse all summer-we went for a steroid injection-they said she didnt need one-go swimming. Myofacial pain will take longer. We were bumped from one doctor to another-Her pain goes from back, legs start going numb-pain always 7-8. Hannah is a straight A student, plays guitar in praise band at church, and one of the toughest and happiest kids I know. One doctor even questioned whether it was mental!!! I began reading online about herniated discs in kids-how rare and different it was than adults-and I began arguing with doctors with a vengence i believe only a panicked mother could have.The MRI in November showed two lg herniations L4/L5 and L5/S1, effaced into thecal sac, foramen deformed. Schmorl nodes inferior and superior endplates t2-t8, L1-L4, ostophytes growing, facet degeneration, spondylosis...So now they start listening-but she has CHIPS insurance and no adult spine ortho takes kids medicaid. So we enter the ring of insurance nightmare!!!! We finally are seeing someone next monday, who wants to do a microdisectomy. The lack of so-many-doctors-I-cant-count's knowledge of this injury in a kid is alarming and has cost our daughter a year of her life. She cant sit in desks at school, if she goes to church she cant walk next day and pain skyrockets. So we face surgery next week-but her entire spine now is degenerated...I pray everyday, I wake up in the middle of the night and I am crying-crying in a dead sleep for our beautiful daughter who has hurt everyday for almost a year!!!!