How did you treat your bulging disk?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by yoopermom, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

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    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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  3. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

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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.
     
  4. HsvTeacher

    HsvTeacher DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  5. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

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    High five! just mad I waited 16 years to do it!
     
  6. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  7. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

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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
     
  8. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

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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.
     
  9. hiwaygal

    hiwaygal <font color=red>Only someone as wonderful as Donna

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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:rotfl:

    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.
     
  10. cluvsdisney

    cluvsdisney DIS Veteran

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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.


    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!
     
  11. HsvTeacher

    HsvTeacher DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  12. HsvTeacher

    HsvTeacher DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  13. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

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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 :confused:. 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
     
  14. hiwaygal

    hiwaygal <font color=red>Only someone as wonderful as Donna

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    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.
     
  15. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

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    Excellent recommendations.
     
  16. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

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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.
     
  17. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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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 :goodvibes
     
  18. stevb

    stevb Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  19. BCDisneyFanatic

    BCDisneyFanatic DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  20. MIGrandma

    MIGrandma Lives in the middle-of-the-mitten.

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  21. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

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