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  • rkassam
    Post count: 8

    I’m am a 36 year-old male who was been recently diagnosed with two large herniated discs at L5 – S1 and L4 – L5. My doctor recommended a dissectomy to treat leg pain and numbness. I have no back pain.

    The doctor told me that my disc height looks good for both discs. He told me they are desiccated, and hence why they are dark compared to the other discs in my MRI.

    My question is do these black discs mean I will have back problems in the future? Is there anything I can do to slow down further degeneration of these discs such as physiotherapy or nutrition?

    Thank you.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8468

    The fact that you have disc herniations at two levels already indicates degenerative discs. The back wall of the disc (posterior annulus) has to tear thru and thru to allow a disc herniation to occur (see lumbar HNP on website). By definition, a tear in the back wall of the disc is “degenerative” although some tears can occur through trauma (fall or impact).

    You cannot turn back the clock after the disc becomes degenerative. This does not mean that you are destined for future trouble. I have a significant degenerative disc at L5-S1 and I can still stand for 18 hours in surgery without symptoms. You need to think in terms of management. After you undergo surgery, a rehabilitation program with core strengthening and ergonomics (avoidance of certain positions that put more strain on the disc) should be undertaken.

    Dr. Corenman

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