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Old 08-25-2004, 12:19 PM   #1
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Kamden HB User
Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Does anybody here know if waiting too long to have surgery does more damage to your back? I am asking because when I first injured myself, I went to a therapist who claimed I had none of the symptoms of a herniation and proceeded to work on me for 6 solid months. I finally was referred back to my regular doctor by a different doctor ( not the therapist ) who then sent me to a neuro., who then said only surgery would help. I had surgery, but even though the surgery helped, the rest of my back is worse off then before my herniation. I did not have stenosis symptoms before getting the 6 months of therapy, but do have stenosis now.

 
Old 08-28-2004, 11:59 PM   #2
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Just bumping up your post, I don't know the answer, but I see you got no responses.

 
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Old 08-29-2004, 02:21 AM   #3
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beebauser HB User
Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

seems when we get surgery it starts a new host of side effects. I would avoid surgery at all costs. I would try all kinds of treatment first.
hope someone who has more info pops by
good luck
bee

 
Old 08-29-2004, 07:36 AM   #4
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Kamden,
Absoulety, waiting can cause more problems, especially nerve damage. In some cases, the sooner you catch a problem, the better the results will be.
Some people are so scared of surgery that they put it off too long. It's a big decision, so that's understandable.

Sorry to hear about your situation. How long ago did you have your surgery? Maybe the symptoms will improve as you recover. What does your Neuro say?

Good luck,
Julie
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APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
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Old 08-29-2004, 08:26 AM   #5
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Kamden, I don't know the answer but I am concerned with the same thing. It seems that if you can tolerate the pain, doctors want to go the very conservative route. Which is good, but there comes a time when they should tell you that you should have surgery now to get the best outcome. I am into my 3rd year of the conservative approach and am now going to have a microdiscectomy to hopefully get rid of the pain in both of my legs. I am only 33 and am really tired of not being able to live my life and not think about pain. How long ago did you have your surgery and what kind? Hopefully you will eventually heal.

 
Old 08-29-2004, 09:38 AM   #6
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

I waited 3 months from the time I ruptured my disc to the time I had surgery. It was 3 months of agony and not being able dress the lower half of my body without help. All of my motion returned shortly after surgery (discectomy L5/S1). I was doing ok for a few weeks, no nerve pain, and then in PT they were stretching my hamstrings and my nerve pain has been back for good (5 years). I don't know whether my disc was re-ruptured at that time, or if my nerves were just waking up.
Anyway, I feel that my outcome may have been different if I hadn't waited so long to have surgery. I was 47 at the time and very out of shape. By the way, I wish I was still 47, however I've lost 50 lbs, but still out of shape (nerve pain....ouch)
I think everyone is different, and it depends on the severity of your nerve involvement.
Best of luck. Barbara

Last edited by Ribarb47; 08-29-2004 at 04:47 PM.

 
Old 08-29-2004, 04:33 PM   #7
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Thankyou so much for your replies. I had a laminectomy about 3 years ago for a very large herniation. I have to say that I would have surgery again for that too, because it helped immensely, so to the person who has one coming up, I wish you luck and think you will be happy with the results, and not having to live with constant pain. When I first injured myself, it was not from an accident or anything, it was from every day normal wear and tear and working at my job so I didn't know what was the matter and I first went to a chiro., then when I was still in so much pain, I thought he wasn't doing it right, and went to a physical therpist who had helped me after a car accident when i injured my neck years before. He claimed to me that i didn't have the symptoms of a herniated disk and worked on me for months and months, which helped with the pain but I could not stand for even 5 minutes, and I walked with my foot turned out and with a limp even after all this time. It was when I went back to my chiro. that he insisted I go to my regular doctor because he said I should have improved drastically by then. It was when my doctor then sent me to a neuro. and he immediately ordered an MRI amd told me I had a very large herniation and spinal stenosis, that I realized I should have had tests done sooner and the therapist should have recognized all of my symptoms and not been working on me without knowing what was wrong. I then went on to have the epidural injections with no relief, then surgery. Before the herniation, I had no trouble being on my feet, I always wondered if I had not waited 9 months to have surgery, if I would have the stenosis problem now, if that was brought on by my waiting so long. The surgery I had did help quite a bit, and I have no pain down my leg or limp, it is now the stenosis that is the problem. I have lived with back problems for 27 years so this is not something that can be treated with non surgical measures, as I have tried every one there is over all these years, surgery was my last resort, I had no choice. I have read everything I can on the stenosis, and once again, the only treatment that actually works is surgery. I am frustrated, I didn't have this standing problem before, the neuro. told me I had stenosis also after my MRI, so I also know it was not the surgery that caused it, but wonder if my 9 months of waiting while getting blindly treated, did. Thankyou for listening to me, it is nice to visit with others about this and not feel alone. BTW, I was told I have DDD, lumbar stenosis, the herniation and surgery for that, but I am now having problems with another disk as i recognize the symptoms, just not sure which one. I am going to apply for disability, because I don't know what else to do. Sitting here for too long bothers me too. Thanks so much.

 
Old 08-30-2004, 10:12 AM   #8
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standingman HB User
Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

The timing question is complicated and controversial, and obviously depends on very specific aspects of one's condition. Nerve damage is everyone's main concern, and getting and EMG will provide at least some idea about whether that is going on. The best research I have found suggests that nerves can come back even after years if the pressure on them doesn't come _too_ great. The problem is, we have no good ways to measure precisely how much pressure there is. Certainly if one is noticing increasing weakness, muscle atrophy, and so on, that is of real concern.

Standingman

 
Old 08-30-2004, 08:10 PM   #9
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Hope I am not bombarding on your post- I always have time to read everyone's posts but by the time it is my time to write something of length, I'm either in too much pain from sitting or the kids are tearing each other's heads off in the background so I have to run. In reading your ideas about nerve damage, it spooked me. I have been treated for over a year and no one has tested for nerve damage, probably cause the MRIs don't show it. It can still be there even if it doesn't show up on MRIs, right? I definitely have weakness & atrophy even after extensive exercising/PT these past 3months...It was in my right leg pre-surgery and still is and now it has gone to my left...What does this mean? Who usually does this test? My pain guy doesn't do them, not sure why. I had a provacative discogram (that was no disco!) before the microdisectomy and I had pain at all levels but L5 reproduced my daily pain- back and leg...Does anyone ever do a discogram post surgery to ensure that it's the same disc that's causing the probs?
Thanks for sharing everyone (esp. Standing Man, Mel, & Ladybird!) . I have learned soooooooooooooooooooo much from all the back boards. I appreciate hearing everyone's stories as limited as my time is on the computer!
Hoping for the best that everyone is getting a little better each day-
Sambo
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Old 08-30-2004, 10:09 PM   #10
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Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Sambo--You are right that an MRI does not show nerve damage directly. Of course,
if it does show severe compression of the spinal nerves, it certainly suggests the risk of nerve damage. But imagery, in itself, won't show it--nor will a discogram or myelogram.

EMGs aren't perfect. There are false negatives and false positives. But they are the best test for nerve damage. It is also possible to have suffered nerve damage at some point (as I did), but things have been stable since. So it is possible to have weakness and atrophy from earlier nerve damage that may well not get better.
But that doesn't mean there is progressing (meaning, worsening) nerve damage now.

In other words, this is tricky stuff. But I hope you have the specialist to help you sort out your current situation.

Standingman

 
Old 08-31-2004, 12:13 PM   #11
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sambo99 HB User
Cool Re: Can waiting too long for surgery do more damage?

Thank you, Standingman. You have provided me with a wealth of info!
It is all mind boggling, pondering how to fix the pain...It seems with back pain, unfortunately there is no one answer or cure...
Thanks again-
Sambo
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bulged disk L5 S1 microdisectomy May 2004

 
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