Considering Lumbar Discectomy Surgery

Hi community,

My husband has been suffering for years from lower back and sciatic pain caused by a bulging disc. He's tried it all: PT, chiro, acupuncture, steroid injections, etc. Yoga helps in preventing flare-ups, but nothing has worked in stopping the pain once it starts. This time has been months of continuous and worsening pain, and now that we have a lively 1-year-old running around, it seems time to consider surgery. Does anyone have experience with lumbar discectomy for a bulging disc? The thought of surgery is daunting, but the thought of it not working or somehow making things worse is unbearable to consider. I'd love to hear thoughts about why or why not to do it, what it was like and any recommendations for surgeons. Not looking for recommendations of alternative therapies at this point, since we really have tried them all and pretty much given up hope of healing without surgery. Thanks!

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I had chronic back pain for 30 years. Then, in my late 50s,  had a microdiscectomy at L4-5 about 6 years ago. Life changing! Only very occasional, manageable pain now.  I had the surgery in the morning and left the hospital in the afternoon. Ate at In n Out a few hours after I left the hospital. A few days of manageable pain.  Been great ever since. 

I've had one that completely healed me and one that did no good... But ultimately has done no harm.  It seems like a great idea to talk to a surgeon, and the surgery itself is very chill, as far as surgeries go. The constant nerve pain is so debilitating and a thoughtful surgeon will give you some good guidance.  I've seen Dr Alamin at Stanford and Dr Shen in Oakland--who referred me to a UCSF surgeon who's name I don't remember but who offered good advice as well. If they tell you it's surgical, it's really worth a try!  

I've had excellent experience working with David Weinstock of NKT (NeuroKinetic Therapy) with my painful back issues (also ongoing knee problems). I've sent a good number of friends to him as well and they have all had helpful experience. If your husband truly needs surgery David can help evaluate that. Can't recommend NKT and David highly enough. Game changer.

I have a friend who was in a similar situation and had actually scheduled surgery.Then in desperation she tried a water excercise class and had a dramatic improvement.She ended up not having the surgery.She does not live nearby but hopefully with Covid improving there are water excersize classes nearby

Hi, my good friend had this done with Dr. Jeff Randall at Pacific Brain and Spine. He went from all day, everyday pain to almost an immediate change. His recovery was fast and uncomplicated. This was maybe about two years ago and we all forget that he had pain for so long- he plays basket ball, picks up our kid, runs around…nothing stops him. Honestly I think he was playing basket ball within 2 months of the surgery. He said he had no regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I’m sorry to hear that your husband is suffering. Chronic pain is so difficult to manage especially with the demands of work and a young family. Six years ago I had a debilitating bout of lower back and sciatic pain. I missed 6 weeks of work as an elementary teacher. I spent the next year trying everything I could to avoid surgery. Acupuncture, meditation, physical therapy, yoga, water exercises, massage, injections, and pharmaceuticals. I eventually had surgery. One night in the hospital, two months of recovery and another year of physical therapy, 5 years later and I still have some pain now and then but it was worth it.