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Large Prolapse L4/5 - What to do?

Started by Nicola Hill on 02/24/2017 7:04am

Hi All

I have had hip/leg pain for the last year, something I always thought was down to a problem with my hip. I was eventually referred for an MRI which showed a large disc prolapse at L4/5. I was obviously taken aback by this as I, and my doctor, were convinced that the problem was my hip. Being shocked I couldn't get my head around now being offered a back operation so I decided to have physiotherapy to see if that would help.
I am now even more confused than I was before. The physio thinks that my pain is a hip problem and any back pain is coming from stiffness rather than the prolapse. After 3 sessions (I know it's early days and will persevere) the pain is just as bad, not necessarily in my hip joint but down the front of my thigh and in my back. The physio says this is to be expected as she is aggravating everything.
So, the reason for posting on this site is to see if anyone can offer any advice or guidance. Like I said, I'm very confused and don't know whether to agree with the physiotherapist and forget about the prolapse or go back to the consultant where the only choice is surgery. I guess my biggest fear is having the surgery and still being in pain.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this :-)


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2 Responses


Hi, Nicola--thanks for posting your question! Since you had an MRI that confirmed the location and severity of disc damage in your spine, we encourage you to still acknowledge your diagnosis of a prolapsed L4-5 disc.

Physical therapy is a great nonsurgical treatment for disc-related problems, so that's excellent that you're already using that treatment (though it might take some more sessions to see the benefits). We have a good article all about it if you'd like to learn more ( Physical Therapy for Herniated Discs ).

You mentioned that surgery was the only choice your doctor presented you with, but you may have other options. Many non-surgical treatments are available for bulging and herniated discs, and you may consider seeking a second opinion to determine if your specific situation may benefit from them.

We found a few articles that might be helpful for you as you weigh your options:
( Lumbar Herniated Disc )
( Alternative Treatments for Herniated Disc )
( Drugs, Medications, and Spinal Injections for Herniated Discs )
( Second Opinion on Spine Surgery: Rude or Smart? )

Keep us posted on how things are going--best of luck to you, Nicola!


Hi Nicola,I'm Shane and I feel your pain and worries... 6 months ago I was diagnosed with a right l4/l5 prolapse with disk disruption,right motor sensory l5 radic. 2weeks after doing this bending over to wash my feet ruptured my disk Leaveing me with intense nerve pain from my back to toes on my right leg to the point I was walking on my tip toes for 5/12 months waiting for surgery,this Left me very confused about my future as sounded so serious and something that should not be happening at my young age 42, concrete placeing being apart of rebuilding our earthquake damaged city has done this.3 weeks ago I had the surgery and feeling not much better except can walk flat footed now but still early they say 3 to 6 months before I will feel a better difference,operation ended up being a l4/l5 discectomy with tranforminal lumber interbody fusion.