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Old 12-13-2012, 04:02 PM   #16
schumigirl
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I am so sorry to hear your son is going through this, it`s so hard to see them in any pain.

My son is 18 and he had back surgery in August.

He damaged his L4/5 disc coming off a Bucking Bronco of all things. He felt the pain down his leg almost immediately and we initially thought it was his hamstring. He was in pain and couldn`t extend his leg more than a couple of inches off the ground if he was in a sitting position. He was limping slightly too and that got steadily worse.

After his physiotherapist sent him for xrays then MRI they saw what was really wrong. We were so worried.

When we saw the Neurosurgeon we had been warned by others they may try and postpone doing surgery in favour of other treatments. However he looked my son straight in the eye and told him the only solution was surgery for him. We knew then it would happen and it was for the best.

I cried for a week straight. Couldn`t believe at 18 he was facing back surgery, so I totally understand your worry.

He was done on the afternoon of August 23rd (worst day ever just waiting) surgery took just over an hour and a half, was up walking that night by 9.30pm, got home the next day around 6pm and was out walking by the 26th. We took him out walking 3-4 times a day trying to extend the walk every time. After about 10 days he was walking a mile easily and we walked 5 miles a day before we knew it. He wasn`t in a great deal of pain anytime and after a few days he was in no pain at all. He was just very tired for a week.

After 3 weeks he started Physio again. That helped a lot. He only did that for 4 weeks before she said he didn`t need to go back. He was healing himself well as he was so young and he knew himself what exercises he had to do.

He started University a month after surgery and we are so thankful how well he has done. He still does stretches,swimming and walks and is slowly introducing sports again. He`s not overly sporty but enjoys the health aspect of activities.

His neurosurgeon said this op has a very high success rate, particularly in someone young and healthy and reiterated this when my son had his 3 month check up a couple of weeks ago. He was delighted how well he has done and was happy to discharge him so no further visits were required.

He is fine now. No pain and his tiny scar is about an inch long and is disappearing rapidly and he can extend his leg fully. Something he couldn`t do till he had surgery.

So I hope your son gets the help that he needs and if that is surgery I`m sure it will go well.

Best wishes to him......and to you
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:07 AM   #17
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Was diagnosed with a bulging disc in my neck and went to physical therapy for 4 weeks. It helped get rid of most of my pain. Would definitely try the physical therapy first and see if that helps.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:07 AM   #18
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Jennasis and I always seem to post on these threads, with our very different stories!

When I was 27 I threw out my back. I went to a chiro and they made it much worse. I ended up being diagnosed with a moderate herniation of L5-S1, with bulging discs at L3-L4 and L4-L5. My leg ached continuously, I had pins and needles, and developed a palsy - I couldn't walk properly because the muscles in my leg that allow you to go up on your toes wouldn't work at all. I lost all the reflexes in my right foot.

I went through two months of physio, three times a week. I did TONS of Mckenzie extension exercises (google it), and worked hard on building up my core. After six weeks I regained the use of my foot, and the pain was pretty much gone by the two-month mark.

It's now 15 years later, and my back has been great since then. Once in a while I get a few twinges but I've never had a full-blown attack in the lumbar region.

I can testify that it is possible to have a complete recovery through conservative treatment. Surgery definitely has its place if the spinal cord is being compressed or if PT doesn't work...but I wouldn't rush into it. While the disc never completely heals, the bulging section can shrink back substantially and as long as it's not impinging on a nerve then your DS will be pain-free.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:14 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=Jennasis;46917443]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. QUOTE]

I don't agree.

About 10-12 years ago I had a herniated disc. Chiropractic treatment didn't help at all, had a myelogram (probably didn't spell that right) and went to physical therapy a few times (but at $75 each time, 3 times per week I stopped) and then did special exercises at home.

It took about 3 months for the pain to go away. It had started in my left leg, the back muscle felt like I had been bending over working in the garden. It continually got worse, I couldn't even turn over in bed without it hurting a lot. But since then I have not had any more back problems.

I'm more active now, and exercise (walk) almost daily so maybe that helps.

If it were to happen again I would do all I could to let it heal naturally before agreeing to surgery.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:38 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=MIGrandma;46922398]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennasis View Post
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. QUOTE]

I don't agree.

About 10-12 years ago I had a herniated disc. Chiropractic treatment didn't help at all, had a myelogram (probably didn't spell that right) and went to physical therapy a few times (but at $75 each time, 3 times per week I stopped) and then did special exercises at home.

It took about 3 months for the pain to go away. It had started in my left leg, the back muscle felt like I had been bending over working in the garden. It continually got worse, I couldn't even turn over in bed without it hurting a lot. But since then I have not had any more back problems.

I'm more active now, and exercise (walk) almost daily so maybe that helps.

If it were to happen again I would do all I could to let it heal naturally before agreeing to surgery.
You can disagree all you want, but the disc material is kind of like putting toothpaste back into a tube of toothpaste. You can treat the inflammation, you can strengthen muscles etc. But once the material moves out of place, it's not going back in. That doesn't necessarily mean you need surgery.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:34 AM   #21
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I'm going to have to agree with Jennasis on this one. A true herniated disc won't heal. It is broken. My surgeon basically described it as being popped like a balloon. You can treat the symptoms but it will never be the same disc again. I'm having my C7 herniated disc replaced with a plastic disc next Thursday. He says I'll be up and about for Christmas. While I am not excited about surgery, I can't live on pain pills and muscle relaxers for the rest of my life in order to function.

A bulging disc is a different story. Think of a balloon you are sitting on, it pushes out but doesn't pop. Eventually you can heal a bulging disc or it will herniate.

Good luck to your son, anything involving your back is scary and painful.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marymouse View Post
I'm going to have to agree with Jennasis on this one. A true herniated disc won't heal. It is broken. My surgeon basically described it as being popped like a balloon. You can treat the symptoms but it will never be the same disc again. I'm having my C7 herniated disc replaced with a plastic disc next Thursday. He says I'll be up and about for Christmas. While I am not excited about surgery, I can't live on pain pills and muscle relaxers for the rest of my life in order to function.

A bulging disc is a different story. Think of a balloon you are sitting on, it pushes out but doesn't pop. Eventually you can heal a bulging disc or it will herniate.

Good luck to your son, anything involving your back is scary and painful.
I think you are talking about a ruptured disc vs. a herniated disc. My understanding is that a herniated disc is really just a large bulging disc that is impinging on the nerve. Many times, herniations can shrink over time, and although the material won't move back into the disc, it can be reabsorbed into the body. The disc will always be a 'weak' point, but if you can maintain your core strength and proper body mechanics you can live a long time without back issues. On the other hand, if the herniation gets large enough, though, and over time, the disc material can wear away resulting in a ruptured disc.

I had my C5/C6 and C6/C7 discs replaced with PERK discs filled with artificial bone this past January because of a whiplash injury I had as a teenager. Over the 25 years since the accident, the discs degenerated and I ended up with bone spurs, etc. I tried PT but it really didn't help because the discs were too far gone. During the surgery the doctor said my C5/C6 disc was basically like the shell of a deflated balloon. Good luck with your surgery...I am pretty much completely pain-free now, and don't regret it at all! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions .
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:59 PM   #23
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Op, my back is a mess between bulging disks, dessicated disks, and spondylosis. My neurosurgeon has told me this about back surgery:

1. Sometimes it works -30%
2. Sometimes it gets worse-30%
3. Sometimes it changes nothing-30%
His recommendation is that unless I become incapacitated or I'm getting close to it, don't have the surgery. Also, a previous neuro had said that I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 50. I'm 54 and have not had an episode in 3 years and it had been 15 years before that.
My advice would be if and when your son is in pain, have him rest. In my case, the worst position is semi reclining because it puts pressure on the most sensitive area, e.g., the lumbar vertebrae.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #24
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Thank you EVERYONE for your replies. I wasn't at the apt, so will have to call the nurse and clarify if it's bulging/herniated/ruptured or ??.

I have terrible scoliosis and kyphosis, so believe me, I know that surgery is not the be all/end all, but I don't want him to ignore it and have it get worse.

I've got him into pt for the next few weeks, so we'll see if that helps.

Now to convince him to take the prednisone (he's heard horror stories, and isn't sure if he should...). I keep telling him it's only a week's worth, but...

Thanks again!

Terri
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