Q. Is there an absolute necessity to do surgery for a protrusion in my lower back?

Answered by
Dr. Manav Gupta
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 02, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have a protrusion in my lower back, and my local doctor suggests surgery. I am a sports person, and I have previously recovered from such issues with physiotherapy and exercise. Is there an absolute necessity to go for surgery? When I stand upright, I have pain in the left hamstring, like something is radiating.



Welcome to

Is there any history of numbness or tingling sensation in your legs and feet? Do you have any other symptoms suggesting neurological deficit, as per your doctor? Look, you can give a trial of conservative treatment, but there is a high chance of recurrence of the same. Discectomy, as suggested by your doctor, is one of the treatments (surgical). There are other things you can try as well before going to surgery. Revert with the information so that I can advise you further. Regards.

Thank you doctor,

I do not have any previous history. Only now, I am having some radiating (tingling) pain in my hamstring when I stand. I do not have any neurological deficit. I can do any function even now. I am doing stretching every day now, although my doctor suggests avoiding disturbing anything for two months and taking a rest.



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Thanks for the information. The spinal canal diameter on your MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) at one level is around 9.4 mm, which is slightly on the borderline area. It is when we decide to advise surgery to the patient. I suggest you follow the protocol as advised by your doctor for six to eight weeks with isometric back strengthening exercises and gluteal bridges (once you are pain-free). Proper rehabilitation is essential. Rehabilitation or exercise is the most neglected part (from the patient perspective). Then you can go for an epidural steroid injection in your spinal cord, which will help you stay pain-free for six to eight months. In that time, you can build or do good rehabilitation to manage it. It is one of the treatments that can help you avoid surgery. Regarding epidural injection, I can further advise you regarding what medications or technique is better. Also, if you straight away feel like going for surgery, you can feel free to discuss the modality that has been advised by your doctor and what other options are there like disc replacement. Regards.

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