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  • mnrn56
    Post count: 2

    I’ve been told by different health care providers, including anesthesiology pain specialists, that there will be some resolution of pain from the S1 bulging disc in 9-12 months regardless of treatment.
    I’m on month 7 of pain and had 1 injection of pain med/corticosteroid about 9 weeks ago with good initial results.
    Is this your experience?
    Also told that I’m not a candidate for surgery as I don’t have weakness or loss of bowel/bladder function.
    I’ve been using Ultram, Ibuprofen, and ASA for pain relief, and usually use Ambien at night to sleep because of the pain.
    I’ve also had people tell me that they have resolution of pain spontaneously.
    The daily pain is draining and frustrating.
    Do people get better without invasive treatment?

    Thank you

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8459

    The indications for surgery for herniated discs are: 1. motor weakness, 2. bowel and bladder involvement and 3. pain that is not tolerated. Most individuals fit into number three. Regarding timing of surgery, there is a study that notes surgery for herniated disc performed after six months has poorer outcome than before six months.

    Individuals can get better without surgery and that number is about 70%. This means that 30% of individuals will not get better. I think that with conservative care, three months is the window. If at the end of three months you cannot tolerate the pain or do not want to tolerate the pain, you should consider surgery.

    Dr. Corenman

    Post count: 2

    Thank you for the prompt response.
    Right now, I’m working with my Primary Care Physician and Physical Therapist to manage the pain. Most days it is tolerable and manageable. It is worse at night and in the morning; and as it is left-sided, I can only sleep on my right side.
    I’m not sure I’m at the level of surgery quite yet as I can still have additional injections. Just wondering from another perspective if people do have improvement without surgery – especially as the studies I’ve read reflect there isn’t much difference in pain management 2-5 years post surgery.
    Thank you.

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