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Old 12-13-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
yoopermom
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How did you treat your bulging disk?

DS18 "toughed it out" through football season and only told us a few weeks ago that he thought he hurt his hamstring. Took him to the sports ortho dr yesterday and after extensive testing (ending with an MRI), they diagnosed a bulging disk between L4/L5 .

The dr is starting with prednisone and physical therapy for three weeks. (We know surgery is a definite possibility eventually...)

I've had spine issues all my life, but I'm really upset for him because he's so young.

If you had a bulging disk, what did you do for it, and did it help?

TIA!

Terri
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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Surgery.

Like your son, I initially herniated the disc in my senior year of high school (doing what, we have no idea). I wound up with a "bad back" for the rest of my life. My back would "go out" a good two or three times year (where I would be unable to move and in terrible pain). Fast forward to two years ago...I'm 33 years old and my back does it's usual lock up, but this time I am in excruciating pain. Unable to move at all. My leg went numb and foot became useless thanks to an attempt to straighten things out through chiro. ONE chiro visit. Thats' all it took to ruin my back completely. The next day I had an MRI...blown disc at L5/S1 and need for immediate surgery 6 days later.

Herniated discs don't heal. The disc material will not "go back in". You can treat the inflammation and pain but it will over time get progressively worse. The good news is that post surgery i am BETTER than I have ever been in my life! My orthopedic surgeon has done surgery on pro football players who had returned to playing afterwards.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #3
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Surgery

I had surgery five and a half years ago to repair my L4/L5, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I went from being in excruciating pain that couldn't be relieved with the strongest narcotics to absolutely pain free.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsvTeacher View Post
Surgery

I had surgery five and a half years ago to repair my L4/L5, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I went from being in excruciating pain that couldn't be relieved with the strongest narcotics to absolutely pain free.
High five! just mad I waited 16 years to do it!
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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My wife has worked in ORs for over 30 years and this is what she tells firends that ask about back surgery:

1. Go to a neuro surgeon. Most orthos don't have the experience. But as mentioned above there are exceptions. Ask around.

2. Keep the surgery as a LAST resort. It is very often unsuccessful.

3. If you get the surgery do what the surgeon says and stay with any PT they prescribe.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #6
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How was your recuperation time on your surgery? He's always going to be super active, and I just want it to be fixed so he can get back to his normal life.

I hate jumping through the insurance hoops.

And he goes to a sports ortho in Green Bay, where they live and breath football (and fb related injuries), so I feel pretty confident .

Terri
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:36 PM   #7
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I have had three episodes of slipped disc. All three times it seemed to come out of nowhere; one time I just stood up from my desk and my back shot down my leg and out my foot!

My orthopedist gave me the option to having a steroid shot immediately or trying a course of pt. I decided to go with trial of PT for several weeks, plus, muscle relaxants and heat application. I was out of work for 5 weeks, during which time I did my PT exercises religiously. Lucky for me, it worked well and i didn't have to have a steroid shot or surgery. Since then, I've had a couple more episodes of slipped disc and a few more bouts of PT, but it always seems to work well. I dont' have to be particular about my back, other than usign good body mechanics for lifting.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:58 PM   #8
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Back surgery has come a LOOOOONG way; and the type of surgery one can have for disc problems has come a long way too.

I had a laminectomy/discectomy almost 8 years ago and for the most part, my back is MUCH better. Every now and then (if I do too much) it will be sore/stiff for a couple of days. I won't say I'm pain free, but I'm also over 40

Regardless of how good an ortho is, I would not choose them to do surgery on my back. A neurosurgeon is generally going to be more appropriate for this kind of surgery. Think about it - a surgery such as this involves nerves, not so much bones. Orthos are bone specialists, neuros are nerve specialists.

I also would NEVER have a fusion of any kind done. Those are the surgeries that generally tend to "fail" after a couple of years.

Work with your ortho to find a neuro they recommend - and ask them the best option for your son. Don't be afraid if surgery is the best option, it's not the scary thing it was 20 years ago.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:03 PM   #9
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I am sorry your son is in so much pain. My DH went through the same thing for years. He used heat therapy, pain management, cortisone shots, injections, PT, chiropractor and acupuncture. He would get temporary relief but the pain always came back. Of everything, acupuncture provided the greatest relief at first. As his back got worse, it didn't work at all. He had a lumbar fusion a few weeks ago. I am hopeful he'll have a success story like Jennasis and HsvTeacher.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HsvTeacher View Post
Surgery

I had surgery five and a half years ago to repair my L4/L5, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I went from being in excruciating pain that couldn't be relieved with the strongest narcotics to absolutely pain free.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennasis View Post
Surgery.

Like your son, I initially herniated the disc in my senior year of high school (doing what, we have no idea). I wound up with a "bad back" for the rest of my life. My back would "go out" a good two or three times year (where I would be unable to move and in terrible pain). Fast forward to two years ago...I'm 33 years old and my back does it's usual lock up, but this time I am in excruciating pain. Unable to move at all. My leg went numb and foot became useless thanks to an attempt to straighten things out through chiro. ONE chiro visit. Thats' all it took to ruin my back completely. The next day I had an MRI...blown disc at L5/S1 and need for immediate surgery 6 days later.

Herniated discs don't heal. The disc material will not "go back in". You can treat the inflammation and pain but it will over time get progressively worse. The good news is that post surgery i am BETTER than I have ever been in my life! My orthopedic surgeon has done surgery on pro football players who had returned to playing afterwards.
I am so glad to read that you are both doing so much better now that you had surgery. My DH just had a lumbar fusion 4 weeks ago. Is this what surgery you had? Would you mind sharing your recovery process? I know it's different for everyone but I don't know anyone else who had this surgery so I don't know if it's normal he is in so much pain. And, I'd love any other information you might feel like sharing (here or in PM). Thank you!
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoopermom
How was your recuperation time on your surgery? He's always going to be super active, and I just want it to be fixed so he can get back to his normal life.

I hate jumping through the insurance hoops.

And he goes to a sports ortho in Green Bay, where they live and breath football (and fb related injuries), so I feel pretty confident .

Terri
My discectomy/laminectomy was performed by a neurosurgeon because I had severe nerve damage. The day before my surgery, I couldn't feel the spiked wheel that they run over a limb to check for numbness. My right leg was also cold to the touch and had gotten significantly smaller.

I had to spend the night in the hospital, and they had me up walking within a few hours of surgery. I walked one mile twice a day starting the day after my surgery and built from there. I started physical therapy at two weeks and continued for three months.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:23 PM   #11
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Oh, and forgot to add that up until I started PT, if I wasn't walking, I was told to stay flat on my back. As bad as it was, I followed by neurosurgeon's orders, and he was pleased with my recovery time.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:28 PM   #12
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Part of why I'm trying to get him to be more proactice is because my DH has been suffering from this for a few YEARS, and has terrible lack of sensation and/or pain from it, and refuses to have surgery . I told DS that he is not to ignore his/let it go like his DF has!

We'll see, and I'm sorry for the rest of you who have suffered through it...

Terri
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsvTeacher View Post
Oh, and forgot to add that up until I started PT, if I wasn't walking, I was told to stay flat on my back. As bad as it was, I followed by neurosurgeon's orders, and he was pleased with my recovery time.
It always fascinates me how different doctors treat the same things (in all seriousness - no snark). My neuro was adamant that I not lie around, that I be up and about as much as possible. I was not to sit for too long is what I remember most about their advice. They gave me limits to lifting, and I was not permitted to drive until the staples were removed, but pretty much everything else was fine! I was told to heed my body's limitations (if it hurt, stop) and I was not prescribed any PT. I was home about 6 hours after the surgery and went back to work in 10 days. Of course, I did not have the nerve damage that you did, so that could be the difference.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiwaygal View Post
Back surgery has come a LOOOOONG way; and the type of surgery one can have for disc problems has come a long way too.

I had a laminectomy/discectomy almost 8 years ago and for the most part, my back is MUCH better. Every now and then (if I do too much) it will be sore/stiff for a couple of days. I won't say I'm pain free, but I'm also over 40

Regardless of how good an ortho is, I would not choose them to do surgery on my back. A neurosurgeon is generally going to be more appropriate for this kind of surgery. Think about it - a surgery such as this involves nerves, not so much bones. Orthos are bone specialists, neuros are nerve specialists.

I also would NEVER have a fusion of any kind done. Those are the surgeries that generally tend to "fail" after a couple of years.

Work with your ortho to find a neuro they recommend - and ask them the best option for your son. Don't be afraid if surgery is the best option, it's not the scary thing it was 20 years ago.
Excellent recommendations.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:25 PM   #15
Jennasis
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My ortho called in a neuro to assist during the surgery.

I was up and walking right after surgery (and 95% pain free). I was 100% better at the 6 month mark. Regained all feeling and use on my leg and foot too.
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