My MRI scan states I have L4/5 disc degeneration with posterior annular tear and broad-based left subarticular/foraminal/extra foraminal disc bulge with L5 nerve root compression against facet joint. There could be an element of focal extrusion.
Does this mean I have a herniated disc.
If so does that mean that the disc nucleus is protuding into epidural space?
How long to heal? If at all
Many words are used for herniated discs including: protrusion, extrusion, sequestered, and bulge. These words just describe the shape of the herniation. Many medical studies have shown that over time the heriation can shrink. Your chances for improvement increase if you don't smoke and you refrain from lifting. So as long as the nerves are working, don't rush off to the surgeon yet.
Head to head comparisons of surgery vs. no surgery show that over a 5 year period of time both types of treatment do equally well. The key word is years, so be patient and find a good physical therapist. Dr. Christina Lasich, MD