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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Disc bulge L4/L5 - Is there any permanent solution other than surgery?

    I have been Rt. sided mild protusion of disc since October 2015. Currently, I am on physiotherapy from 5 months until now, which has brought me relief from most of my pain Physiotherapy includes nerve & ms. Stimulation, shortwave and ultrasound therapy, traction, cycling and Camp. Pain starts in back region, non radiating to legs if I miss treatment due to work for 2-3 days. Is there any permanent solution other than surgery?
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  • 5


    Rob Nash

    Exercise Physiologist

    Absolutely. In fact surgery should only be looked at after all conservative treatment has been tried. It is important to know that surgery may not even relieve pain.

    You might find it interesting that disc bulges don't have to cause pain. In fact, quite a large percentage of people actually have disc bulges and don't even know it! This has been shown in several clinical studies.

    The best thing you can do is find a practitioner who understands how to treat chronic pain, their formal qualification is not that important, be it a myo, physio, osteo, chiro. 

    Ultimately, the solution for most disc bulge sufferers is a good quality, safe and progressive exercise rehab program, along with up to date education about why you are in pain.

    This 14 min video might be useful to you. 

  • 1




    Helen Potter


    As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, with extensive experience and highly advanced qualifications, as well as excellent communication skills, I can help you to: Become informed … View Profile



    If you are finding that treatment is only having a short term effect then it is may be worthwhile seeing a Specialist Physiotherapist for a through re-assessment.

    A disc sprain or repeated small stresses may have been the initial cause of your problem but research has shown that there are many other factors influencing your experience of pain now.


    E.g., how you sit and move, if your brain is overprotecting your movement even though the original injury has healed, your deep muscles in the back (which waste within 24 hours of pain) may not have been retrained. In addition, your beliefs and feelings about back pain may be changeable once you have some accurate up to date information.


    See for excellent facts and findings on back pain.

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