Kaiser back surgery for herniated disc

Hello, I’d like to talk with someone who has had back surgery for a herniated disc at Kaiser. I’ve tried everything and am still struggling. Unfortunately, the steroid shots didn’t work at all, either. I’m still very hesitant to get surgery but would love to hear your experiences. 

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Speaking as someone who had years of chronic pain, it’s awful, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it. I would be very cautious and do a lot of research before deciding on surgery. Spinal surgeries for disc repair have a very, very high failure rate (like 50% or possibly even higher). Furthermore, there’s little correlation between disc abnormalities and pain—people can have severe abnormalities and zero pain, or severe pain and zero abnormalities (meaning, your disc rupture may not even be causing your pain). These facts are well established in medical literature. And surgery obviously  has enormous other costs and risks. I was incapacitated from back pain for years, have very nasty-looking MRIs, and almost had surgery—so, so, so glad I didn’t. PLEASE take fifteen minutes to watch this 20/20 episode on Dr. John Sarno, this is what made the difference for me—my PT was terrified for me and warning about permanent nerve damage, etc, due to the size and location of my herniation, but now I can exercise, lift my child, run, sleep pain-free. Sounds like snake oil, I know, but really, I got my life back. You might also check out pain re-programming—I don’t have experience with this but some people swear by it. GOOD LUCK! —John Sarno on 20/20: https://youtu.be/8jQtmSZetJM

Just thought I'd throw this out there---when I herniated my L4L5 disc my neurosurgeon prescribed Pilates. This may not work for your, but I have been so happy I avoided surgery. It was a very slow process, working with a practitioner who had Physical Therapy and Pilates training. When I was able to graduate to regular Pilates, I built a wrap-around core of strength and protection that supports the spine. I am a big fan of Pilates!

I had a microdiscectomy with Kaiser Oakland neurosurgery in my early 30s (about 10 years ago) and had a very good outcome and have been pain free since. I was having very significant pain and radiculopathy from a herniated disc at L5/S1 but did have relief with a steroid injection. A frank conversation with your providers about expectations, including your neurosurgeon if they are in the mix, is always a good idea. Physical therapy is also often first line treatment. I now routinely do Lagree, which is like Pilates, to ensure I keep my core strong and support my spine.

I haven’t read it yet, but maybe check out the book “Crooked” by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin detailing the myriad approaches to back issues/pain and their success rates, problems etc.  

This surgery does NOT have a 50% failure rate!  It fixed my pain over the course of 8 weeks and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  It’s worth trying everything else first, but sometimes you just have to get your disc (or in my case, newly grown blood vessel) off your nerve.