Hurt my back in sept. 2010. I have been told I have bulging disc s/1, l/4 &l/5, and now I am having pain and weakness in legs. My lower back has consistent pain and pressure in it and around aug. 2011 I am having pain down my right leg, and sometimes my
The . The right leg pain and weakness is likely due to disk herniation at l4-5 and/or l5-s1. These are the most common disks in the low back to herniate. Your bulging disks probably worsened and now are pinching the nerve(s) going to the leg causing sciatica. Sciatica and disk herniations may improve, stay the same or worsen. The initial treatment is usually physical therapy. Patients who do not respond to physical therapy may be a candidate for steroid injections. Most cases of sciatica improve in 6 weeks to 3 months. The rest of the cases many improve over 4 year period, some may never improve. Surgery is recommended in patients with severe pain, significant motor weakness and bowel and bladder problems. There is many options today for surgery including traditional, minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgery. Traditional surgery is the most invasive surgery. There is significant skin, muscle, ligaments and bone damage. This collateral tissue damage may result in more pain, back muscle weakness, instability and scar tissue leading to future difficulties. Traditionally surgery is being replaced in many centers by minimally invasive surgery. The skin incision is less than 1-inch and the surgery is done through a tube in between back muscles to decrease muscle damage and weakness caused by muscle retraction. Minimally invasive surgery is not the same as â€œmicrosurgeryâ€. â€œmicrosurgeryâ€ only refers to the use of a microscope not the size of the incision or the amount of muscle damage. Endoscopic spine surgery is state-ofâ€”the-art minimally invasive spine surgery. A micro video camera is inserted through a very small incision (the size of a finger nail) to the disk pinching the nerve. The camera projects the images onto a video screen so the surgeon can easily visualize the compression. Tiny instruments are inserted through the camera to decompress the nerve relieving pain and suffering. Advantages of endoscopic spine surgery include no general anesthesia, very small incision, minimal postoperative pain and shorter recovery then traditional surgery.