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Disc Herniation


I am a 37 year old male in the United Kingdom

I have had leg pain for quite a while and have had an MRI scan, the finding as follows.

At L5/S1 level there is a substantial left subarticular focal disc herniation with left S1 nerve root pressure

The distal cord appears normal. No significant bone abnormality is and there is normal vertebral body alignment

The neuoforamena appear adequate of both sides at all levels and there is no evidence of spinal stenosis

My GP thinks that the word "substantial" means that only surgery will solve the issue, is this correct? As usual I am getting the NHS runaround and it is impossible to get close to someone who actually knows what they are talking about with regard to this specific problem and I keep getting sent for physiotherapy.

Also it is occassionally very painfull so I am hardly doing any exercise, putting on weight and feeling generally dreadfull as a result, it feels like a downward spiral. Is there any type of exercise that I should avoid? In general my sports are volleyball, golf and skiing. I have a feeling all should be avoided until this gets solved.

Any ideas would help as this is really getting me down.
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576452 tn?1219696690
If you have had pain for over a year I would agree that surgery is the best chance for improving your leg pain.  Most patients do not improve significantly after 6 months of non-surgical treatment.  Keep your activites simple so you do not flair it up.  
I do these cases as an outpatient microdiscectomy with a 1.5 inch incision.  Most patients are back to full function by 3-4 months!
Good luck
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