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HomeAnswersChiropractordisc bulgeMy mom is having a disc problem. Is it good to have surgery or physiotherapy?

My mom has disc problem. Should we go for surgery or physiotherapy?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At March 4, 2017
Reviewed AtJune 20, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My mother, aged 41, has been suffering from back pain, hip pain which became leg pain and foot numbness for almost three months now. She went to an orthopedician and had an MRI of the lumbar spine, which revealed a problem in the L5-S1 disc. I would really appreciate if you can assist me. Should we go for surgery or physiotherapy? Which will be effective in her case?

Answered by James F. Geiselman


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have reviewed your question and your attached MRI reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity). As the MRI report stated, there is a disc bulge at L5-S1 causing the numbness and leg pain. Has your mom been to a chiropractor before? What was your orthopedic surgeon's recommendation for care? As a chiropractor, I would always recommend trying a conservative form of treatment first before electing for surgery. A lot of patients have relief from disc bulge symptoms after they visit a chiropractor, but it may take several adjustments. I have had several patients who were told they would need back surgery and end up not needing it. As long as your mother is not experiencing any trouble with her bowel and bladder function (this is important because this is a medical emergency), I would recommend chiropractic care first. Back surgery success is statistically only 50 out of 50. In fact, there is a syndrome called failed back surgery syndrome as failed back surgery syndrome as it may lead to so many issues. I recommend that you see a local chiropractor for a proper examination. I believe they will support a trial of care to determine if they can help with her symptoms.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

James F. Geiselman
James F. Geiselman


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