I know this a 'chronic' pain forum, but does anyone w/ herniated discs get better? Oh, am I

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 345
   Posted 6/14/2008 2:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Am I doomed?
I herniated a neck disc about a year ago---  then, a year later (almost to the DAY) this past Mother's Day Weekend---I herniated TWO discs in my lower back!  My neck is slowly healing---but, come ON!  Am I doomed?  This stinks!

Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 6/14/2008 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Laurel ...
Did your doctor say you had "Chronic Pain"?
Doctor told me I'd go through all the stages until I reached "acceptance"
I guess I've reached acceptance, but can't say I much like it.
Pamela Neckpain

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/14/2008 3:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Whether you'll get "better" and what "better" will mean depends a lot on how serious the problem is, and what's causing it. I think once spine problems start they may not be "cured" in many instances, but the symptoms can be managed and maybe even eliminated for some people. I've had bulging disks in my neck for over 20 years, and have managed them with a lot of GOOD physical therapy, and applying what I've learned to my life. That means watching ergonomics, (posture, movement, etc.), using a neck pillow for sleeping, eliminating bad habits like carrying a shouder bag. But the problem itself never goes away, and flares up as soon as I sleep wrong or stretch my neck too much on the computer, etc. On the other hand serious symptoms from my lower back came after a bad fall, and physical therapy, injections and even surgery haven't helped, so I like many people here am faced with what looks like lifelong pain mangement with meds. So it depends.

You have to become knowledgeable by learning a lot about your condition (this board helps, but researching on quality internet sites can help also), finding good docs (a challenge for most of us), and becoming your own best advocate. So you're not necessarily "doomed" but nothing's probably going to improve without a lot of work on your part.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9289
   Posted 6/14/2008 7:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Laurel,

I'm sorry you hurt so much. I guess I'm the stubborn type that wouldn't just "reach acceptance" as long as there's a glimmer of hope. I not a doc nor would I pretend to know what your life will be like in the future, but I agree with PaLady...educate yourself as much as you can.

A couple of ideas...first keep a pain journal. It's like a movie of your daily/hourly life that a doctor can read each time you go in for an appointment. Here's a link to a good copy you can use. http://www.painawareness.org/PainDiary.pdf

Also, I found some encouraging information on WebMD. It's a reputable site full of good medical information. Give this some read time if you can. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/tc/herniated-disc-treatment-overview

Hope this helps,
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/14/2008 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Don't think you're doomed, cursed maybe, but not doomed. Any witches or evil spirits around? Indian burial ground underneath the house or swimming pool?

No seriously, if it is a mild hernia, you can fully recover. Most however are not mild. Then it will all depend on various factors as PAlady says. If the pain should become chronic, then indeed , you'll have to except it. You will eventually grow used to the pain (unless you keep refusing to accept it).

And, as always, be patient and remain calm. Stress is something you can miss. Try to accept the situation as soon as possible (this doesn't rule out of course that you can't fully recover from a mild hernia), but generally, it is beter to try to live with the worst case scenario instead of always hoping for the best. This saves you a lot of pain and desillusions. Doesn't mean you have to become a pessimist either. Try for realism with a good dose of humour.
To stand and be still at the Birkenhead Drill is a mighty bullet to shew.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 345
   Posted 6/15/2008 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of the advice! I have read many articles about back (disc) problems can get a lot better, but usually, it takes 6-12 months of time for problems to actually heal (same with pinched nerves)!

Chutzy--I will check out the WebMD site---thanks!

HAve to run----it is FATHERS Day! :)


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 6/16/2008 3:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Is surgery an option for you?? I had a herniated disc in the L4 L5 region and had surgery when I was 33. I'm 56 now, been through a lot of physical therapy, but am doing quite well with the back these days. My fibromyalgia is what kills me these days, but thank God, my back is in remission for the most part.

Just wondering.

Moderator Chronic Pain
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 345
   Posted 6/17/2008 6:35 AM (GMT -6)   

I am afraid to have surgery!!!! I am not sure I am at that point yet---but, the mere thought of surgery makes me panic------and I don't usually hear good things about surgeries for the back! :( That is my fear----hearing the "well, I had to go back three times for surgery to 'fix' the problem" only to be told there's not much more they can do! Now I go for Pain Mngt." OY!!!! So scared!


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 331
   Posted 6/18/2008 9:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I just had anterior cervical neck fusion on C5-C8.  I feel so much better.  The pain started going down my arm & was unbearable.  I had pain for several years & I knew it was time for surgery.  One thing I was clearly warned about was that nicotine will make any spine surgery unsuccessful!.  My dod told me, if I was going to continue to smoke, just forget the surgery.  So of course I finally realized it was time to quit that too.  Its been over 2 weeks not smoking.  I tried many times before & just couldn't do it, now its like I just forgot that I smoke.  Anyway, the surery has been very successful for me.  I still have "surgery pain", but, I am also looking forward to getting off pain meds.  If the nerves aren't being compressed, then conservative treatments are best.  Good luck. 

Dx with CD 1987, 3 resections, 3 abcess sx, DDD neck/2 hernitated disks w/cervical radculpathy, DDD back & hips, bulging disk, Major depression/anxiety, kidney stones & sx to remove, now 45 yrs old.  Still trying to figure this disease out & of course all the little extra complications that come with this rollarcoaster of a life with CD. Possible cervical neck fusion to be scheduled.
Meds:Humira 40mg every other wk, Imuran .75 daily, welchol 625 x 3 daily, cymbalta 60 mg daily, fish oil, vit e,folic acid,Vit B12,inject monthly, Oscal w/Vit D, vicodin 4-5 daily 7.5

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 495
   Posted 6/19/2008 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hope - Yes, they can get better. But it really depends on whats wrong, to what degree, and what is being done about it. I know a few people who honestly through either chiropractic of physical therapy who have had disc herniations and bulges fix themselves over time. There are specific exercises that can be done to help them. Also sometimes things like traction can help as well. If your doctor hasn't put you through physical therapy and such, you may want to speak to him about it.

I will say though, once you have the destabilization of one part of your spine it makes it easier for other parts of your spine to decide they don't want to work right either. It's sort of like making a castle out of building blocks, every single one you take out effects how the entire thing balances. As one stops doing it's job correctly somewhere else has to handle that burden as well - making it's job harder, and it more likely to break down. Just remember to take it slowly, and easy. No quick turns, not quick bending, no playing bumper cars, if you are hoping for them to heal you have to give them a rest.

These are all questions I hope if you haven't that you talk to your doctor about. I would ask to see a specialist as well, because they are going to be able to give you the best idea of what to hope.
"When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of one thing we can be sure; either God will provide something solid to stand on... or we will be taught to fly.'"

"Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of, You might bend, till you break Cause its all you can take; On your knees you look up Decide you've had enough, You get mad you get strong Wipe your hands shake it off, Then you Stand" From "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
Dx.: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ulcerlative Colitis, Chronic Inflammation of the Colon, Ruptured & Fused L4-L5-S1 w/pinched nerves, Degenerative Disc Disease, Chronic Costochondritis, Back Muscle Spasms, Asthma, Benign Tremmors (hands)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 6/20/2008 11:37 AM (GMT -6)   
I hear you Hope...
I am waiting for them to say "Oops! We made a mistake, you just got this little thing going on, here take a couple of these and you'll be fine by morning! No more pain for you!"
If there are stages, I guess I am in the angry I hate life stage still... but I'm working on it :-)
I have a hard time thinking that I may die as one of the crippled people in a nursing home I used to take care of... THAT is my biggest nightmare/fear I think...
***** Fibromyalgia 2007 ***** Degenerative Disk Disease with Herniation T7, T8, T9 May '08***** Rheumatoid Arthritis June '08 ******

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