Can you make a herniated disc worse?

I am awaiting surgery for my L4 L5 herniated disc. Question....will bending, walking, gardening, etc. Make it worse? I hear that some people get nerve damage if they wait too long for surgery.


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  • Hi how did u manage to get surgery as what did u say I have L4 L5 and T something for the same thing they told me make it worse or stay the same just wondering as u know the pain as I am in agony so please give me some advice xx That's great u are getting surgery really happy for you it will be a life changer for u xxx

  • My PCP said I was beyond injections and my MRI show severe herniated disc. The first surgeon I went to who had no confidence in also said surgery. And I've talked to a number of people with the same problem and they said surgery gave them instant relief so that's where I'm going. Hope you can get someone to say the same for you

  • Yes- any pressure on the spine has the capacity to make it worse.

    Twisting , overextending or tugging and pulling will all be bad.

    On the other hand - if you are getting rods or fusion - it may not matter. Just a lot more pain.

    Mind yourself.

  • That's so great u are getting surgery be so much better pain wise and ur life be loads better great news that u even got it so well done xx

  • A herniated disc is most likely pushed out a little bit, if you continue to work the problem can get extremely worse. The disc itself can actually come completely out, when this happens you will lose control of muscles and end up having other bodily organs not function correctly. My situation resulted in almost complete paralyzation from the waste down. Do not mess around with this have the probability of becoming worse off. Get something done ASAP.

  • Oh Air4ce

    Thats awful what happened to you your psin must have been off the scale.

    I have herniated discs have had for a right few years now at one stage my consultant said operation was necessary then when i went to have a consultation with the doctor she advised me against it saying i would be in more pain with scar tissue. That was roughly 5years ago so I'm further down the line with back pain worse obviously..agony bending over slightly..housework not easy.

    Ive since had another MRI and have been told they will give me injections regularly but am still waiting on that starting as waiting list is long.

    Kinda scared me your life story as i carry on regardless of pain as much as possible i have a fairly high pain threshold but i do myself no favours i know.

    But when needs must there aint nothing else for me.

    Hope your doing much better and improved greatly.

    Maureen Longstaff Lordbless

  • Lilmo1...thanks for sharing, well I live in the U.S. and joined the military at the age of 18. Remained/retired after 20 years in service. My job in the Air Force was to move cargo and troops on military cargo aircraft. Loading cargo, lifting boxes, load planning, and controlling ground activity was a normal day. Herniated and bulging discs were created from moving heavy cargo created this mess. The problem is that I waited too many years to have the surgery. I was hurt in 1996 and had surgery in 2009, way too much time to wait. This is why the problem became bigger than what should have taken place. Anyway, just remember that injections create temporary relief of pain. The longer a person waits for surgery, the chances of having more problems become relevant, I am living proof of serious complications. Thanks for your blessings and I hope somehow you are relieved of your pain.

  • Hearniated disc are considered neurodegenerative disease which means it wont get better and may get worse if you cant maintain its current state. I have a cervical herniated disc myself and the only cure to it is an operation but it doesnt fully help you recover plus there are more risks involved compared to the lumbo-sacral area. In order to not let it get worse I made some simple changes such as using a back pack to work to balance the weight, i constantly watch my posture and avoid bending froward for long periods. i bought a therapeutic pillow that helps cushion properly the angle of my neck. Walking is a good exercise and Swimming helps a great deal too.

  • I had the same disc herniation and had surgery. I was told by the pain consultant to be very careful as it could get worse - don't even strain too much on the loo! However, the surgeon didn't agree and said the risk of it getting worse was no more than the risk of a new herniation. I suspect no one really knows for sure. Best to be on the safe side and make sure to get urgent help for any signs of cauda equina - more of the jelly type middle can push out but the whole disc can't as it's solid and stuck to the bone.

    Mine was big and pushing on both root nerves, it was even bigger than expected when they operated. I did have a reduction in pain and am able to sit more comfortably, however I am left with chronic pain and muscle stiffness. I go to the gym and eat well but still get flare ups and take regular pain relief. Nothing will take the pain away completely but surgery was the right thing to do and I'm back to work sitting at a desk.

  • Hi I had l5/s1 herniation. Had an MRI which confirmed a moderate herniation. Got an injection which did not do much and went to see a surgeon who ordered another MRI which showed it had got considerably worse and I was operated on a week later. So I would say it can definitely get much worse and I would be very careful as you do not want to end up with cauda equina.

  • Hi I am seriously speaking to doctor on thurs have much awaited appointment as damaged back at work 3 years ago and the pain is far more severe and much more painful than it ever was I have huge bone like lump out lower back with doctor said was a constant spasm and nothing else was said I can not even explain the constant pain it never end solpadol does take edge off but not the actual burning horrible pain this can not be right xxx glad u all hot dorted got back to work etc will see if I can get help too thanks guys for info xxx

  • Juileshill, yes, all you mentioned should be avoided to prevent further damage and pain . I suffer from narrowing of the L4-5 and the pain is debilitating. I have recently had the nerves burned and it is life changing .

  • What do you mean about nerves burned. Is it a microdiscectomy type of operation

  • Julieschill, nerve burning is aka RADIOFREQUENCY DENERVATION. ( utilizing high frequency alternating current passed through a needle to generate heat and create a small thermal lesion ("burn") on the nerve. With successful radio frequency, complex surgery can be delayed or avoided. With time, nerves regenerate ( regrow), and procedure can be repeated. They use a fluoroscope ( special x-ray) to guide doctor as he inserts hollow needle through skin and into region of pain. I live in USA and procedure was done by Pain Management. Before burning the nerves, they did epidural shots of ( I think) steroids & pain meds to be sure it would work . Had to have 2 successful " tests" before they would do nerve burning. Hope this explanation helps πŸ˜€

  • I never had an xray screen when i had it carried out the Professor asked me to tell him when i felt my normal pain after he touched the nerve with the probe thats why i said its not pleasent but worth going through it as it releived my sciatica permanently. Hr did same on my face for AO but it was too severe as he inserted the probe 3 times into my face and ended up burning off the wrong nerve i was left slightly numb but was ok but still have the AO phantom tooth pain its like continuous toothache everyday.. horrendou.

  • Yes, thank you. Talk to my surgeon today I get my operation in two days.

  • Its called Radiofrequency i also had it carried out 6years ago. Its a very specialized treatment and cannot be repeated for over 2 years. Its amazing for severe sciatic if you read my post you'll understand.

  • Lilmo1, I recently had radiofrequency on L4&5. My doc said usually lasts 6 months to 18 months. If I had any trouble to call him. First he did left side then on July 11 did right side. In July 21, I started feeling pain again in that area. He indicated to me when it came back, no problem, just do it again ???? So, surprised by your statement that could not be done again for 2 years ?????

  • Redhots it was the Doctor who was specialized in this field told me himself maybe because i had carried out on sciatica dont know really as i never queried it with him.

    Also im gubsmacked to read on here that prolapsed discs DONT heal themselves but worsen ove time and do so because of carrying on as usual and not easing work load up. Mine has got more painful from last year. Reason i say gubsmacked is again my consultant told be the piece protruding can break off lessening the is that nonsence and if so why would she tell me that?

  • I too had nerves burnt its called Radiofrequency it was becsuse i was getting severe and continuously for 3 months sciatica and bed bound i could only get to bathroom and back as pain came 15mins later snd remained for hours so i couldnt leave my bedroom.

    The Radiofrequency was first thing to cure all that ive never had sciatica again thanks be to God.

    It isnt pleasent to have but bearable and well woryh the result. I had it also done for AO which ive had for years yhats Atypical Ondontalgia a nerve pain which surfaces as toothache but its the nerve in the gums nothing wrong with teeth after getting 2 removed which were perfectly healthy dentist said she refused to remove anymore ad it just jumps into next tooth tween that and prolapsed discs now right hip starting to let itself be heard as i had a repair done to left hip 6years ago as i fell and broke it so all my weight had to be used by my good one as repair wasnt to be weight bearing for 3 months i knew it would do down the line had MRI for it and showed wear and tear and a sort of arthritis they didnt say which. No meds help any of it tried loads. Oh forgot to mention im bipolar also. Great mix but sure im still breathing and i love my Lord.

  • Brilliant lilmo still breathing go you xxx this does sound interesting this process not sure if could get it will ask have appointment tomorrow morning at 9:30 have wrote a lot down as I forget everything when go see her usually then think duh forgot this and that so have a note for tomorrow. Medication makes me tad forgetful. And Julies did u get info from lilmo then phoned surgeon and got it booked for 2 days time this is amazing news hope it makes u as happy as lilmo and much luck for it take these two days to rest up before u go in xxx much love and luck xxx

  • Ahhh Helpforpain

    Im so delighted you've got it sorted and im so pleased i was able to help someone with that information most people I've spoke to have never heard of it. Its not a walk in the park but if who administers on you uses the screen to follow on it may not be what i had to go through but I'd do it again without a seconded thought on my back but not on my face that was just too horrendous and to be told after asked i could have it again as wrong nerve was burned off that if he hit the nerve to the eyes it can leave you blind now to me that is not worth the risk. I'll suffer on with the AO have had it many years now anyway though chewing gum which i hate but helps and using tube Orajel on it gives me help. Hope all goes well for you keep me informed please im interested.

  • Hi I had to go back to doctor again I am having to now give up working I have been put on sick I think it is I'm not sure which sickness benefits I will be entitled too or anything I have never had a benefit in my working life so not sure until I speak to them do any of u know what the sick benefit is actually called online says employment and support,Pip and DLA so do not have a clue. I won't take surgery but I have now having to face the fact after 3 years of pushing thro pain to work my back has given in completely!! I can hardly move at moment without pain so have to face it I've overdone it worked 2 jobs and now caused more damage. My doctor been saying to me for over a year now I think it's time u faced it u can't work while u are like this so took her advice today finally. I feel bit sad because of this I'm so used to being jumping about doing a lot and now feel so unbelievably fragile don't know what else to say about this sorry bit doom and gloom. Has anyone else felt like this but powerless and what benefit to even apply for ?? Doctor said I can't work for the foreseeable future so have to face it!! Hope u are all okay and having lovely day xxx

  • Lilmo1, I totally agree with you on the burning of nerves on back, has given be hope again !!! Thanks for your input. !

  • Redhots7

    Glad i can give a bit of encouragement to you. Its a fantasic treatment but i dont think its offered enough to people i got it by fluke i was sent with AO in my teeth and the doctor though he was a Mr very qualified so much so that he is the only one who can administer it in the whole of Northern Ireland but i would make sure the procedure is going to be also shown on a screen mine wasn't meaning i was the screen and had to call out when the nerve was touched with the probe not pleasent teeth gritting time then he placed the probe and was kept there while it burnt of the nerve concerned. I dont image if theres a screen you wouldn't have to have your nerve prodded beforehand as the probe is shown on screen and he can see where to use it. I think my man being the only one who does this was in big demand as was going onto another hospital after me..i think he was in a hurry so no screen was set up. Same thing when i had it carried out on my face for AO it was horrendous and wrong nerve burnt so still suffering that pain daily. Wouldnt repeat ut less a screen was going to be used you know what its like at the dentist when they hit a nervewell multiply it by 100 no exaggeration either.

    Let me know how you get on please do.

  • Lilmo1, I have no words to express how very sorry I am for your pain. You should not have to endure this everyday. There has to be something that can be done ? πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»

  • Nope had many different use. Had thst Radiofrequency which wasn't sucessfully administered..School of Dentistry at last appt said Ampitripyline is the very top pain med that works. I ask my GP can i try it under supervision with her as I'm on Lithium for Bipolar and its a no no with that was allowed to go up gradually to 35mg as anymore it becomes antidepressant which wouldn't do but even at that dosage was no good not even a slight ease.

    So i just have to live with it have done these past 10yrs. Its like having toothache but when i sleep i dont have it when i eat i dont have it but every other minute i do but i cant sleep and eat 24/7.

    The tube of Oragel and chewing gum are all i have as a defence.

    Its woeful honestly. If a screen would be used in Radiofrequency i would give it another go but not without one. When i got into my sons car that day as he took me he said Mum what have they done on you look at the colour of you when i brgan to tell him the details of it all he began going as white as me he said Mum no more im going to be sick so you can imagine how painful that was. He probed through my cheek 3 times touching the nerve each time i said after the third time yes that's it thats the pain i feel with it i couldn't stick the pain any longer and ive had 4 kids. Im a really good sufferer.

    Now the back ones not as severe i would have it again if there was even no screen as theres no comparison in the two.

    Keep in touch

  • Lilmo1, my burn was done using screen. They did one side at a time. They did left side, total relief, they did right side on July 11, July 21, Pain came back and I still have. Talked to nurse and she said they did L3-4-5 & S1. She said to give it another week and call them back. 😒😒😒 I have had the old me back, pain free in Lumbar area ( still have Fibromyalgia pain)and I want it back !!!! I live in USA where this treatment option is available and can find doctors easily!!! Have you started research (maybe thru Google) for doctors or pain clinics that do radiofrequency denervation ?? Keep searching, there has to be someone ! Could you travel ? Best Wishes!

  • Hi all x lilmo I'm sorry for your pain isn't pleasant as u say and hope u get something or someone to help as it sounds horrific xx well I got advice on the benefit applied today so see what happens hopefully get it sorted asap as not working will be very hard financially but more to life than money. And having this break will see me having to rest back probably get into pain and injury clinic get correct pain meds and treatment options to see what can be done to try and help. I'm giving it 6months/year then hopefully maybe be a lot more better managing pain and getting help to take it away or even slightly away etc and can go back to work. I hope we are all in better situations by then I really hope things work out for us all xx take care have lovely weekend all xxx

  • Im going to ask my GP about another go on my tooth pain but i will only take it again if there is a screen there and not like my last time when there wasn't one i honestly couldn't go tgrough it that way again it was mighty severe and im a good sufferer.

    Im going to find out how much it costs to go private for it.

    Less any of you know at all.

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