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Old 01-16-2014, 06:42 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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Default Bad back problems, looking for your insights

Obviously I know that taking medical advice off the web is fraught with danger but I will just ask for insights and tips if you have been through the problem.

I have had a bad back for decades. I normally can keep it under control but over this holiday I blew it out bad. The X-rays and MRI's basically say I have 3 ruptured disks on the base of the spine so It is quite painful and I have minimal control over my left leg.

My family doc sends me to a specialist but it will be a week before I can get in. In the mean time they load me up on pain pills, muscle relaxers and a bit of physical therapy. The general thought is surgery is in order but that is up to the specialist. My doc says the surgery is a cut and clean operation but she said it was a thirds type on the results. One third gets better, one third gets worse and one third has no change which is not good odds. She did comment that I did a really good job of making the problem obvious. She said normally back problems are subtle, but mine is "burst and blatant".

So, I am querying the forum. Any tips, tricks, suggestions for those of us with bad backs? Anyone do the surgery and how did it work for you?

I have to get through the next week before I can even see the specialist so I am looking for tips and ideas on how to make it work.

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:50 PM
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I know where your coming from. I was in a bad car accident early 1992, im always in pain from it also have pain in my legs because of it. The pain is severe and ive learned to live without taking painkillers. I still have two cracked discs and it hurts badly at times but hurts all the time. I found two things that work for me that help alleviate pain.

1) Exercise--or work.

2) WHEN I need to take a pill--its Naproxin. That helps me in about 5 minutes.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:56 PM
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Stay away from chiropractors and find out who is the top neurosurgeon in your area. I had a lumbar laminectomy on L4 and L5 eight years ago and again six months later because the first procedure wasn't sufficiently aggressive. Surgery works while physical therapy for damaged discs does not. The surgery is painless and recovery is relatively easy. Get it done because it will not heal itself. No need to suffer.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:59 PM
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^^^^^^
What he said. Get to the very best neurosurgeon you can find and get it repaired. Had my #4 & 5 done at Mayo Clinic in 1978 and still going strong.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:20 PM
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Add me to the list of recommendations to find a good neurosurgeon. I had laminectomies done to the bottom two discs a few years back, and it was the best thing I have done for myself. Both times I hobbled into the hospital in the morning, and walked out later that day.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:31 PM
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Default As said in posts #3 & #4

Seek the help of the best, THEN seek the advice of next-best. Always verify the results of the first diagnosis with a second opinion.

Now truisms:

Your back will never be as good as new. Even if pain free, it will from now on be weaker & stiffer.

Your back is a series of segments that all flex together to provide the total range of motion. You have lost a portion of that freedom of movement, especially if s section is fused. That puts extra flex & strain on the segment above & below the stiff or injured spot.

From today on, you are weaker, slower, & stiffer than you were before. In all things, REMEMBER straight!

Straight up (keep bending at a minimum) stoop rather than bend.

Straight ahead (no body twist) turn on your feet, don't twist your body.

& the slower part, SLOW down enough to think before moving.

NO MORE leap before you think
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:38 PM
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I had a lot of back pain in the past. 22 years ago I joined a health club an started exercising my back and abbs. If I do not do this for a few weeks, my back will start to hurt again.

That being said, I do not have any damaged parts and keeping the support muscles strong works for me.

I would not recommend a lot of exercise until the ruptured disks are repaired. At that time seek the advise of physical therapist to give you recommended exercises. Start slow and do not try to do too much at first. I increased the load slowly over several months and then years to get to where I am today. As I have gotten older, I have reduced the load and increased the reps and that seems to help me.

Good luck going forward.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:58 PM
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Good luck with it as a bad back not only hurts, others may think you're looking for an out at work maybe. I've had problems with my lower back for several years now and have done the physical therapy several times, had the back injections and two surgeries now with hardware added this last one last summer.
I followed all doctor orders to the T this time and just finished PT this week after it had healed. I'm doing pretty darn well but maybe am babying it some too and learning how to lift properly and not overdoing it either. I retired too this year so as not to do it in again as my job was physical.
Sorry but you'll never probably be 100% ever again but being better and in less pain is something to strive for. I was using a cane before this last surgery and now can walk fine up to reasonable distances. I'm hoping to get back into some hunting again later this year.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:59 PM
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Default My sympathy

Wrecked mine while in service then really wrecked it when they did CPR on me.
Result-chemical injections to burn off nerves
Finally they put a titanium plate on front of upper spine- went in front to do that-very little they can do with lower spine
now with heart disease I can only take hydrocodone-no more shots or surgery because of heart/blood meds-
I ride a Harley Tri Glide now-just stop every hour or so-
Good luck-
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:04 PM
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First prayer for your healing.

Agree with finding a great neurosurgeon. They have made great strides over the years and your best bet is a physician that knows what he (or she) is doing.

It may take extra time and be a little frustrating, but a botched back surgery is no good for you.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:33 PM
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I had the L4-L5 disk rupture about 9 months ago. My regular Dr. gave me a course of Hydrocodone couples with Prednisone. That combination controlled the pain very effectively. Then he gave me a referral to a neurosurgeon and ordered an MRI for the neuro to look at. Before I could get all of that done the back acted up again and only the Hydrocodone/Prednisone could control the pain.

The PA at the neuro office showed me the MRI and explained what was going on. She said that FOR ME there were two things that could be done. The first was steroid injections into the L4-L5 area and the second was surgery to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves caused by the disk rupture. Think about them and come back in a month unless you have problems.

There were no problems so when I went back in for the follow up one of my questions was: What is the difference two years later between having and not having the surgery? The answer was very little if any because the purpose OF THE SURGERY THEY WERE CONSIDERING FOR ME was only to relieve the immediate pain. Needless to say I chose to not have the surgery at least for now. She also said not to lift anything over 10 pounds with one arm, 20 pounds using both arms and don't do any twisting or bending. When I asked about physical therapy she said that it wasn't usually helpful in patients that had my problems.

Now, nine months later, I am still improving but it is very slow. I needed a cane for about 3 months but now get along without it. The back is stiff and it is difficult to bend over to pick up brass. I can carry the target frames out to the 100 yard line now but I will be the last one back every time.

Good luck with your back and I hope that you will be able to live with it in a relatively pain free state.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:57 PM
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Default Bad back

Snag any vioxx your friends or family might have. Its the bomb.
Get up and move as I've tried to just out wait the pain. Its always gonna hurt, but at least you are moving. Pain killers, especially vicodin and that genre wont really reduce pain, you just won't care. I know I'm going to regret putting this in writing, but try a little pot with one of your friends or family. You might be surprised.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:15 PM
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First--Do you have to work ? Go back to work ?
Lay on the bed with feet up 30 degrees up. Take only over the counter meds. Please don't take pain pills- you will not get off them -I'm not going to go there. Heat pad for 20 min. wait 20 min. then ice 20 min and keep doing that - Remember-ever time you get up -you are going to make it worse. If the wife is around-have her get the ice. Only get up to go to the bathroom. HOT hot tub will make you feel better.but not yet. I don't want you to get hurt-getting in and out. Your back has 300 muscles and right now they are all inflamed. It take days to calm them down - If you get 100 muscles to not flare up and then you get up and walk around-you will flare them up again.
I had back surg. and need surg again. This time they want to put bars in. I'm not doing it -- to many things can go wrong. Going to a Back Dr. that does only back surg. is better then a neurosurgeon. I had mine done in NYC by Dr Oleary-he did Elisabeth Taylor. I think he is the best. He is still around. Go to 3 or 4 Drs. and get all the input you can. Right now--rest
Try to remember this -ONLY have Surg. if you can't sleep from the pain.
Do not have a neurosurgeon do the surg. !!!!!!!!!! A back Dr. ----orthopedist--- that does only back surg. You can ask any of the Dr. -how many back surg. have you done or do a week. they will say one or two. Ask a Back Dr.orthopedist- he will tell you 10 to 20 a week.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:35 PM
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25 years with a bad back. You end up just having to live with it. Even after surgery you will still have a bad back, it's not a fix all but it may relieve some pressure. I watch mine all the time but I can do almost anything if I am careful I take 3 lortabs a .day for pain, been doing that for 5 yrs now, I walk the dogs 4 times a day ...rain or shine. You just got to keep active or it only gets worse. Don't know your wt but if you are over weight dump it. You will never feel good carrying around a sack of spuds because your stomach muscles are the ones that hold up your back. As soon as pot becomes legal here i will get on that and off the pills. All the best.........walk walk walk.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:39 PM
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After decades of back problems, had 1 ruptured disk between 4 & 5 and cracked tailbone 7 years ago. Literally crawled around the house for 2 weeks, could not walk. Learned to drink plenty of water, after the meds plugged up the system. Almost as painful as the back. Given several alternatives, tried rest than physical therapy. Was on physical therapy for 1.5 years. Lucked out with excellent physical therapist, although learned I went back to work too early, and had to start over with rest, knees up and supported. It is still painful but got some function back. It sounds like you also got your sciatic nerve pinched, which causes the leg drop. This is common and also had it for some time. Am still scared of surgery and must support myself when slightly bending. Lots of water can help, especially what discs ya got left.

Really hard to adjust to not being able to do what others expect, but pain is not easily forgotten.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:49 PM
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I've had lower back, discs, hip, and leg (disc pressuring sciatic nerve) problems for several years. I'm scheduled to have my second steroid epidural shot next Monday. The first shot helped and hopefully the second and third along with exercise and weight loss will help.

Luckily, I'm retired because I've been barely able to walk to the mail box since last spring. I'm better now and hopefully can go to the range after my shot next Monday. Haven't been in nearly 3 months.

I don't have any advice other than follow the doc's orders. I've seen 2 back doctors and have goon through 2 rounds
of therapy since June. The shot has helped more than anything so far. Pain pills, muscle relaxers, and oral steroids didn't
do one bit of good.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:50 PM
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I concur with the above posters, find a good spine guy, there is one here in Austin I can vouch for , he did a L4-5-S1 fusion on me. Its been 18 months now, what a life changer. I went from crippled, almost unable to walk, to back to a normal life. See if you can find one who does the minimally invasive procedure. I only have two scars of about 3 in on each side of my spine. Then get the best Physical therapist you can find. Do exactly what they say, if you don't you will only cheat your self, and maybe hurt your self more. I was given the option of a cleanup, and was told that there would be a good chance I would require more surg. later so I choose the more aggressive path. The Doctor I used here in Austin is Dr. Thomas Loftus, he is only 3 hrs from you. He might be right for you., Feel free to P M me if you want , I would be happy to help if I can.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:58 PM
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I popped a disc out about 35 years ago a chiropractor pushed it in. On every visit. I was out of work for a month. I was still in pain while back at work. When the pain got bad I took nylon straps under my arms looped and hoisted my body up with the over head crane till my feet were just off the ground. I hung for a few minutes just enough to stretch my discs out to reset them.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:18 PM
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1. Find that one special neurosurgeon as already mentioned.

2. In the interim, buy an Inversion Table (google it. available at places like Academy Sports or Wal-Mart for about $100). It will allow you to invert yourself almost upside down. Will decompress your spine in just a few minutes and give you relief. Best $100 I ever spent.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:26 PM
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In '73 the surgery worked but it took a few days before I could get up and move around at all. Hurt it again in '75 and the surgery was instant relief but still a day before I could get up. Hurt it again in '89 and was up walking the halls 4 hours after the surgery. The last few days it has been a constant band of pain across the lower back which is sort of an on and off thing over the years since '89. Right now, nothing including hydrocodone or naproxen is touching the pain.

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Old 01-16-2014, 11:37 PM
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Well, I guess I am the one contrarian.

In 1968 I got rear-ended by a guy so drunk he could not see the hood ornament. Really messed up my neck. Vertabrae got turned almost cross-wise. Lost use of left arm for while, really almost a basket case.

Went to neurosurgeon and they said they would cut me just below the T-shirt line and if I wanted to look ahead that would be it. I said let's wait and see. Lots of pain.

In sheer desperation went to chiropractor, every day for about three weeks, then three days a week then once a week....FINALLY he got the discs turned back right and have had little to no problems since.

I visit the chiro about once per month now just for general tune up.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:41 PM
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Getting back to taking pain meds.. Don;t do them as someone said ---they don't take away pain -they just give you a -i don't care. You can ask your Family Dr. for Valium 5 -10 or 15. Once you start pain meds you will like them so much that it's so hard to get off. Then your pain comes back when your try to stop them. Valium will get you sleepy and also give you that -I don't care. It took me 10 years to get off Meds. I was on cod.#4 then oxcod. 80 mg x4 a day,then the patch. Getting off was a nightmare. Still today i don't feel right. I lost the love of life because of those dam pills. Drs. gives them out to easy.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:43 PM
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allow me to say a couple of things about my physical issues. had l4,l5,s1 fused in 1987. couldn't lift up my feet prior to surgery. was 1 yr. before I was released from dr. in june of 1988. won the iowa state 16yd. championship in 1988. fast forward to 2008, had right hip totally replaced. june 2012, three discs in neck fused. don't remember which three,but went through the front. august 2012, three discs just above the first three fused. am this weekend at las vegas gunshow. walking on crutches due to the amount of walking,but I am here and seeing the show. back surgery has great risks and rewards. get the best surgeon you can find, don't take the first dr. opinion as gospel. find a pain management dr. they can do more than give you drugs for pain. good luck to you.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:46 PM
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I have not read all the comments, but I can say this - someone (a nurse) many years ago said to me that to cure your back, cure your front. About 2 years ago I went on a low carb life-style and dropped 55-60 lb (240 - 180) - for being 66yrs old, my back is better than I can remember - sure, it can get sore now and then, but I'm never flat on my back (!) in agony.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:55 PM
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Depending on how bad the damage is,movement and exercise
can help.Strengthening the core muscles and just walking can improve things,but ease into it gently.Ive been fighting this for 7-8 years.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:16 AM
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If I read this right, you only have a 33% chance of success and an equal chance of making it worse. Doesn't seem like a good bet to me. Get another opinion. I agree with Litauer about the chiropractor. I tried that route. They just give you temporary relief and keep you coming back as long as possible. My bottom two disks are supposedly fused together, probably from heavy weightlifting as a teen. I will not let anyone cut into my back. I tried the injection of a steroid cocktail into the spine. It helped for a while but the pain always came back and had to be done again. I couldn't be taking pain pills and do my job so I tried physical therapy which actually helped a lot. Now I just try to walk everyday and do some stretching. I've learned to live with pain and I'm not going to be crippled by a doctor or addicted to pain pills. Good luck to you which ever you decide to do. Make your mind up yourself because you are going to have to live with it.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:31 AM
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Been there, living it.

I've had two low back surgeries and countless rounds of various types of therapies as well. I even tried a therapy for people with Diabetes where they placed electrical pads on my legs and ran 400milliamps through me for 20 minutes per visit.

After my first surgery I was left with drop foot on my left side. Only noticeable enough to make people think I had twisted ankle. Years later I had to have a second surgery on same level. This time I was not very lucky. I have total foot drop now. I have maybe 30% usage of my left leg. The exterior of my left leg is numb and the last three toes on that foot are numb to the point it feels like they're asleep, but they never wake up. In 2012 I was walking (with a cane) and my leg gave out as I was taking a step, I feel straight to the ground and broke the Tibial Platue on my left knee. I know use a Rollator (walker with four wheels and seat to sit on) to get around. Using the Rollator I can go about 60 feet before my arms and legs get too tired and I have to sit.

I can't go anywhere by myself because I need someone to load the Rollator in the back of my SUV and get it out when we arrive at the destination. I have been deemed "Disabled" by the government so I receive SSDI benefits as my source of income.

Get a great surgeon and have the surgery as fast as possible, do not wait do not pass go, get to a surgeon tomorrow. The longer you wait the more likely you will suffer permanent damage and loss of function in that leg. Nerves which are being pinched by the herniated or bulging disc will die and you will lose function and muscle.

I wish everyday I had not suffered the injury and loss of function, strength and muscle mass (leg looks like a bone with skin). I used to use a cane to walk and I hated it, now I use a Rollator and wish I could use a cane. The next step is a wheelchair and I'm not wanting that at all.

I wish you the best and hope you recover as much as you can. PMs welcome if you have more questions.

David
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:33 AM
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Lots of people bash chiropractors but they work wonders for certain things. If you have a slipped disk they can fix you up in a jif. However, once you rupture a disk you are out of luck with a chiro. Surgery or living with it are pretty much your two options.

I had shooting pain down my left butt cheek and was hobbling around my in-laws house at Christmas when there neighbor approached me and asked what was wrong. I told him and he said come with me to my office - turns out he was a chiropractor. He took an xray and showed me the disk out of whack in my neck. He manipulated the disk back into place and gave me some exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding it. Did my exercises and within 3 days I was pain free and haven't had a problem since.


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Well, I guess I am the one contrarian.

In 1968 I got rear-ended by a guy so drunk he could not see the hood ornament. Really messed up my neck. Vertabrae got turned almost cross-wise. Lost use of left arm for while, really almost a basket case.

Went to neurosurgeon and they said they would cut me just below the T-shirt line and if I wanted to look ahead that would be it. I said let's wait and see. Lots of pain.

In sheer desperation went to chiropractor, every day for about three weeks, then three days a week then once a week....FINALLY he got the discs turned back right and have had little to no problems since.

I visit the chiro about once per month now just for general tune up.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:36 AM
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Now my two cents. I've had two back surgeries. Both successful. I used a ton of pain meds. I'm not hooked on them because I don't want to be hooked on them. One poster talked of the weight loss. Heed his words. Exercise. Do something! Last surgery my left leg burned as it had a match on it. Woke up good four hours later and pain was gone. As stated you must take care in what you do from now on. A good nuro guy can do wonders. I have had injections before and got no relief from any of the six. Wish you luck on getting your pain under control. I never hurt so bad in my life!!!
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:40 AM
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I have had back problems for 40 years, I hurt it the first time when I was 19 years old, and kept re hurt it over the years. I have been through all the treatments except oxycodone and surgery. I have pain almost all the time, have learned to live with the pain. I do take Tylenol when the pain get to bad. I have to take it easy. I can't carry heavy objects. and I can't bend over very far.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:43 AM
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Default I just hope.....

I just hope you (and all of the sufferers here) get some relief. I don't need surgery (yet) but the pain is one of several I remember that just about made this grown man cry.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:46 AM
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My mom (RN) relayed a "joke" a doctor told her: "You know what they call the first back surgery? Your first back surgery. It's never just one." Try to avoid surgery if at all possible.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:48 AM
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I have some experience with back pain. In 1990 I blew out my L5 disc and had an old style lumbar laminectomy. I was in such unbelievable pain that by the time I had the surgery, which thanks to my HMO was over three months, I was eating percodans like skittles and was seriously considering suicide. Over the past twenty three years I have had a chronically sore back that I have been able to keep under control with Naprosyn and back exercises. During the past year I have been visiting a chiropractor who uses a Class IV photon laser for pain management. My back had been acting up and was very stiff so I decided to try the laser. My results were nothing short of a miracle. After four treatments I regained about 80% mobility in my lower back. This is a completely non-invasive procedure and is FDA approved.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:51 AM
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Dr. told me many years ago. The only thing you should pick up is a pen. I know what your going through. That leg pain is worse then the back pain. I use to look at my leg because i though it was a fire is was so bad... That is one way to know if you really need back surg. Leg pain. If the leg pain goes away you may be ok and get better. Can i ask you -was is your weight ? How tall are you ?
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:00 AM
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I underwent a L4-L5 discectomy and laminectomy three years ago. When I awoke in the recovery room I was amazed: the pain that had been such a part of my daily life for so long was gone! It was almost as if a light switch had been turned off.

In the last year before my surgery, I underwent nerve blocks; saw a physical therapist; saw a chiropractor; and exercised...all in a fruitless effort to forestall the inevitable. I wish I had just gone ahead with the surgery sooner...

It sounds like you too will have to have surgery. Good luck to you...and remember to follow your doctor's instructions to the letter!

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Old 01-17-2014, 08:48 AM
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Back in 2003, due to 2 vertebrae locking up, I suffered a partially ruptured disk and it hurt. Put me out for almost a week, but thanks to regular visits to a chiropractor, daily stretching and keeping active, I am pain free. Best part is no drugs, and no surgery.
Now, I know it's not the same as a fully ruptured disk but, for me, I avoid medical doctors, drugs and surgery like the plague. In my world, doctors only know how to prescribe drugs that treat symptoms but will never actually cure the problem, but that is another story for another time.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjdupuis View Post
My mom (RN) relayed a "joke" a doctor told her: "You know what they call the first back surgery? Your first back surgery. It's never just one." Try to avoid surgery if at all possible.
That is so true. I had an old Scottish doctor that has been with the family for 50 years and he told me 95 % of all bad backs are self induced by people opening their mouths. The fatter you get the more your back hurts, so you slow down and stop exercising and walking, then you get fatter. Endless cycle that is hard to break. I've had two doctors tell me I need a new hip because of my arthritis. I just look at them and said I walked into your office didn't I.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:01 AM
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Default Back fix?

As a former Ortho RN, now medically retired with herniated c-4,5,6 discs & neuropathy in both hands/arms, I opted not to do the surgery they wanted 100,000 $ for in 2010. I'd say the 1/3 rule is pretty accurate, at the beginning. Later people often injure areas above or below the repair, & will get arthritis around the repair. There is always a risk of issues with anesthesia, infections etc. If your discs are SO blown out you may not have a choice. I can't/won't say yay or nay, but DO get multiple opinions, get "THE BEST" surgeon you can, & what I've noticed is the person having the surgery is as important as the surgeon. The Md's & therapists can't do it for you, there is no magic cure. Most of it is up to how hard you are willing to work, change activities (if needed), diet, excersise , stretching, etc. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! and make an educated decision, then be prepared to work your butt off during rehab & sticking to the lifestyle changes & diet/excersise after. good luck.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:06 AM
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Ive just learned to live with it because of the people I've known that have had subsequent surgeries and are still in pain.One Dr. told me that once a patient starts feeling better they often go right back to their old behaviors and reinjure themselves.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:07 AM
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I see a lot of folks with lumbago due to various pathologies. Unfortunately I cannot give you specific advice over the Internet.

I can, however, give you some good general advice about back and neck pain

1. Just because you see pathology on the MRI does not mean that is what is causing your pain. Much of that is incidental. If you pulled 1,000 people your age off of the street without any pain and imaged them from stem to stern you would find much of the same pathology.

2. Not all pains that shoot / radiate are neurological in etiology. Myofascial pain (pain emanating from muscles and tendons) are notorious for this.

I wish you a speedy recovery.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by arjay View Post
Ive just learned to live with it because of the people I've known that have had subsequent surgeries and are still in pain.One Dr. told me that once a patient starts feeling better they often go right back to their old behaviors and reinjure themselves.
So true- Right after i answered pete about his back- i hurt my back last night. I was telling him not to take pain meds. I was going to take some. i'm glad i didn't. I was in the hot tub all night and feel 100% better. I only had pain for 8 hours so what Pete is going through--is a nightmare !!!
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:37 AM
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I used to be one of those people who heard it was bad to have back surgery. Let me say this, I am very very glad I had mine. The pain is gone totally. No drugs, no chiropractor, no upside down hanging chair thingy, just normal everyday non-pain. Yes I lost function but that was because the bulge and shifted discs pinched off some nerves and damaged them beyond repair.

Many many years ago back surgery was spinal fusion, now days they have more and better options that don't leave you with the prospect of future surgeries.

If the bulged disc is putting pressure on nerves you will have burning and tingling sensations from your buttocks down your leg and into your foot. If you have those feelings you have a nerve being pinched and eventually the damage is permanent and you lose function. Nerves don't regenerate (at least they haven't found an answer yet) and when you damage a nerve it is forever.

Don't be afraid of surgery, don't live with pain
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:57 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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Question to me from SW357. I am 6' 5" and 280.

I want to thank you all for the comments. While I knew that back problems were common, I had no idea how many folks were fighting the same problem as I.

As a progress report today was the first time I could crawl out of bed on my own. Major accomplishment! I know I can't do the bed rest routine because everything tightens up like a rock real quick so I have to get up move around, stretch (PT exercises) and generally just try and do something. I will also add that I am trying not to use the pain drugs. The first 2 prescriptions did not do much of anything but the one I have now really will take the edge off it quick. Kind of scary so I decided to use it sparingly after talking to my Doc. I would rather have a bit of pain telling me I was stupid then feel nothing and really hurt myself.

To the questions about feeling, right now, I have little feeling in my left leg. It is just sort of there and dead weight. The doc called and we chatted about it and unfortunately it is normal for this type of problem.

Several of you have had the same L4/L5/S1 problems that I am having. She mentioned those names and I think I caught them, but honestly I went into geology so I would never have to deal with biology. It just goes right through the head. I know I really should be writing this all down and plan to start when I go to the next doc visit.

I would read that the general consensus is that a good neurologist/surgeon is the way to go. I have been checking up the doc my doc recommended and he seems to have a good reputation. Here in Houston there is a lot of competition so we tend to get some good ones catering to clients out here.

I am still on for my first visit to the doc next week late. I figure I should be able to walk more easily by then so it will be a question on how to proceed. My bet is we will go the injections in the disks like was mentioned above. That appears to be the normal first move with serious burst disks.

Thanks again and I will keep you all informed of the progress.
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:02 PM
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Well, Not too much I can chime in about back pain...I've got more than one T shirt.... Actually a drawer full..

I'm pretty much wired together back there now. On an X-ray is looks like a coat hanger is holding me together....BUT....I can walk without pain down my legs. And that's not counting the surgery in my neck, it's fused now too. (That's why I took an I.O.D from the PD, and receive some of my rocking chair money from the city each month) (That's nice because a I.O.D money is tax free..)

So anyway..What the medical people can do now a days is magic. Even the Mylograms are tolerable now....Neurosurgeon...YES,, when they get in there to do their work, you want a Neurosurgeon, to keep all the nerves in the right place..There will be scar tissue forming afterwards, and you don't want the scar tissue to "Grasp" around those nerves...Orthopedic surgeon..YES...that's the bone Dr. That's the one that will being most of the repair work on the back bones and discs...You want him there too WITH the Neurosurgeon when it comes time to work on you.

A good place to check out surgeons is with the University athletic department.....They work on the foot ball players to keep them going....

I'm not King Kong any more, and neither are the others here that have their back worked on. No,I can't lift a refrigerator by myself any more, that's why there are young kids to do the heavy lifting now.... I don't even try now.

I cannot emphasize enough what S & W 357 mentioned about staying off the pain pills...They might be good for the first 5 hours after having a root canal, but other than that...Please don't rely on them.


Now, one thing that wasn't mentioned, besides take 4 oz of good whiskey 1/2 before bed time...

GET A GOOD MATRESS...Be Goldilocks, try them until you get the one that's not too hard, nor too soft. More than likely, you're a side sleeper....So find a place that you can buy a mattress, try it out for 60 or 90 days, or even longer...If it don't work out, then you can exchange it...Some stores allow that..... (I did. I was allowed up to a year to try it out, if I didn't like it I could exchange it...PROVIDING I DIDN'T WET THE BED AND SOIL THE MATTRESS

No more sitting in sofa chairs...They're out...You slouch in them. Straight chairs with a pad are nice.....I like my glide rocker!!!!


I could go on and on, but others above have said much of what I would have too, so...


Good luck, and Best Wishes,


WuzzFuzz

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Old 01-17-2014, 11:04 PM
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In 95' I had an L4-L5 Laminectomy. Prior to the surgery, I had constant pain including "shooter" that was like electricity going from my back down my legs. I was treated with massive steroids and codeine tabs The disc had burst and was pressing on the spinal cord. I had 2 surgeries, the first was a scope that dissolved the disc material and sucked it out). It worked, but it was found the disc had ruptured rather than bulged. The second was an invasive 4" incision that removed both the disc and the ruptured disc nucleus plus fused the L4-L5.

The nerve pain was instantly gone. I've been been pretty much pain free for 18 years now. 2 or 3 times a year I have back problems for a week or two. I've learned that weight loss (I was 5'10"- 225lbs) down now to around 200 and swimming (the buoyancy is heaven), heat (sauna, hot-tub, sweatsuit, etc) and exercise focusing on the abs does more than any pain reliever.

When the back does act up (usually in the cold weather or major weather changes) Advil, bourbon, heat (see above) and walking usually do the trick

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Old 01-17-2014, 11:28 PM
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Just had my 3rd series of injections yesterday. I'm not a surgical candidate so I've had to try everything else - physical therapy, acupuncture, meds, chiropractor, deep tissue massage. Massage has been more effective. She has better understanding of anyone so far on how it's all connected. Abs are actually a mess trying to overcompensate for lower back. Not cheap and not covered by ins but at this point I don't care. Therapy was awful as they tried to do too much and made things worse. I'm hoping for three months of comfort from the shot which will give me some time to lose weight and exercise more. Just started Baclofen for the spasms which has worked well and while has some scary *** side effects, probably the only reason I can be physically active. Doesn't knock you out either.
Good luck with your situation!
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:23 AM
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I had steroid shots every three months for several years trying to put off the surgery. if you are diabetic or prediabetic they make that problem go insane. I was on double insulin for two weeks after every shot. the diabetes got worse and the shots were no longer an option. the leg pain was gone afterward along with most of the lower back pain, of course the surgical site was painful until the healing was over. nobody can tell someone else what will happen if surgery is necessary just because of what happened to them. sometimes the pain overrides everything else and you just say lets do it and hope for the best.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:47 AM
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I'm reluctant to tell my story because I don't like to whine about my
health problems or listen to very much whining from others about their
various aches and pains either. I'll skip some details, a little over a
year ago I had Laminectomy surgery on L3, 4 and 5 lumbar vertebrae.
Bodyweight is not part of my problem as I am 5' 6" tall and now weigh
about 135 lbs. My problems were brought on by many years of heavy
weightlifting and at my best I weighed 180 lbs. I swore that I would
never have surgery but my pain got so bad I told the doctor's
assistant to move up my surgery date if there was a cancellation.
After five days in the hospital I came home with a walker and high
hopes of being able to function normally in a few months. Shortly
after returning home I realized that I brought something else home
from the hospital. A MRSA type staph infection. So three weeks after
my spine surgery I had surgery again to deal with the infection and
save my life. Spent six weeks on IV antibiotics and two more weeks
on orals. Now over a year later I am little if any better off than
before surgery. I have severe burning pain around the wound site,
maybe from scar tissue, and a curve to the left in my body that seems
to be permanent. My limit for walking seems to be about fifteen
minutes before pain forces me to sit down. Realize that HA, hospital
acquired, infections are killing 100,000 people a year in the US. I
wonder where is the public outcry over this? All the attention given
to "gun violence" and impaired driver accidents but not much for the
"Super Bugs" that are resistant to common antibiotics. Everyone's
back problems are different but you asked for advise so realize that
when you have a deep open wound as in surgery you are extremely
vunerable to infection. The hospitals try but infections are common.
Also keep a close watch on your incision and if it shows signs of
infection, extra reddning or stabbing pain, don't ignore it. If you are
ever so unlucky as to be one of the many who acquire infections from
a hospital time is of the essence.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:29 AM
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Asking questions is a great start. Ask as many questions as you can.

My spine surgery was in January 2008 and while the specialist all agree was successful in saving the use of my arms a hands, it only made the pain worse.

My surgeon told me that the pain that brought in to see him may or may not be aided by the surgery, but I would eventually lose use of my arms if the nerve pressure in my upper spine wasn't relieved.

I now have more issues with numbness and shooting/fiery pains in places that I didn't have before the surgery.

Ask for and search out as much info as possible. Get second and third opinions. Explore your options before making any decisions.
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