sorry if I am posting to much, you know how it is to be "looking for hope" on a back pain message board
anyway, i just wanted to pose this question
This question is about herniated disc's
If 80-90% of herniated disc problems heal by themselves
and in 4 years, people with surgery have the same level as improvement as those without surgery.
and that the word "fusion" in the dictionary has pictures of people having nightmares next to it
and all surgery is considered a "last resort"
then why is the majorty of people on this board having fusion?
I dont mean this is a condenscending manner, really
i say this in all innocence
is it like I am right now?, the pain being so bad, I feel like something is going to literally explode?
is it after 3 years of waiting? and then seeing an MRI with the disc being as slipped as it ever was?
i am laying here in extreme pain with a bag of frozen veggies under my back, a full script of vicodin and a full script of flexeril....shaking with pain, and can hardly breath at time's
and i have HAD endoscopic discectomy 2 x, as in they operated once, gave me 6 months and did it again at the same level because "they might not have got it all"
I didnt feel a bit better after surgery, or even a year after it
even 2 years after it
year 3, for no reason at all i felt better, and now i have re-herniated.
after going to doctor today she agreed that surgery doesnt seem to be a option, since it didnt work before.
i understand there are many kinds, but you know what i am getting at
so is everyone having fusion and the other's waiting?
I would only being having a fusion b/c of the degeneration of my discs. If they were just bulging (as they are, w/o DDD) I would prob go for the microdiscectomy. Once you have a fusion, the discs are removed, so you can't reinjure those discs. Of course, the ones above and below could be in danger, but that is a risk you take. I am opting for surgery b/c I have a poor quality of life right now, and cannot go on like this. I have too much life to live and I can't be on permanent disability b/c I can't do a thing. Make any sense???
Keith, I cannot even imagine your level of frustration. Having had two endoscopic discectomies and having neither work. I am fortunate that I had a microdiscectomy 8 weeks ago and it has literally given me my life back. I can walk farther than 2 blocks now. I wonder if you had the same doc do both of your surgeries. I was scared of the endoscopic discectomies because I heard surgeons can often miss disc material. It sounds like this happened to you.
Most people are here because they are in pain. Most of the people that are feeling better are out living their lives.
As far as surgery vs waiting, surgery is a personal choice. I was at a point I could not imagine waiting 4 years. I had an excellent surgeon that new what my problem was and was confident he could help me. I did alot of research on discectomies and I also had insurance to help pay for it. Even my chiropractor told me I would not ever get better without surgery. It really sounds to me like your surgeon screwed up as bad as things sound. I hope you find some answers and get feeling better.
I wanted to add that I too had a microdiscectomy two years ago, and actually, I had great results. I am back at my own fault b/c i went back to work, and was lifting people again. I had my surgery at 24, now at 26 I may again, only more.
I suppose you could say I was responsible for my new herniation.
I was calling it a flare up, but what does that mean?
I was feeling better and did alot of bending and also drove for 8 hour's WHILE it hurt a little.
yeah, the same doctor did both operations, it was called a "redo"
as in rare cases take more "off",,,,they go in little steps, because as you know, they cant "put it back"
it really is a mystery why i felt better actually, its worth exploring.
I had the experimental local shot of embrel in LA.
didnt feel a difference. went back to San Francisco then felt horrible (I guess THAT was a flare up?)
called the guy and he said "some patients flare up"
It calmed down to basically the same pain I had before the shot.
thats when I gave up and moved to San Diego to live with my mother and basically do nothing and just BE.
and from that day forward, i didnt have as much pain and got better and better.
was it the bed?
was it the lack of stress?
was it the embrel "working"
Keith, you are probably in a similar position to Mel. It sounds to me you reinjured your disc somehow and here you are. I think the doc you talked to is a bit off base in her assessment that surgery isn't an option. You had 2 discectomies, neither of which worked. Another discectomy is probably not the answer but a fusion may help you. Obviously I am not a doctor but I do think you have options. Waiting is a choice, surgery is a choice. Whatever, don't give up hope. There is always hope.
I also have to say your surgeon that did the endoscopic discectomies on you stinks out loud. I wouldn't send a rat to that doctor. You deserve better. You may have to fight for what is right for you but keep on asking questions and learn about your back. Best of luck my friend. The peas are a great idea. I have 3 cold packs I rotate back into the freezer. I hope you get a good nights sleep.
you could come up here to vegas, we have some great spine drs and neurologists (my dr. is an associate of the dr who did Roy Horns surgery). Don't give up, keep looking and get a list of references if you find a doc you may use. I was lucky, since I work in a rehab hospital, I was able to find out what drs are recommended. Dr. Duke, the one who did surgery on Roy was number one, my Dr. was number two, I could have seen Dr. D but I would have had to wait a bit, so I opted to see the one I see now, since they both came highly recommended from co-workers, patients and the drs I worked with. I truly hope you get somewhere, and never settle.
i am so sorry you are going through all of this in your situation, i dealt with neck sholder pain for 20 + years it took a rehmotogoist to help diagnos me and then refered me and afterwards i ended up with a double level fusion
and in month 4 post op, i am much better pain wise then before and no numbness
However the rehomotolgist also diagnosided rh arthius and treated the "flareup" as active imflamation
the getting pain levels & inflmation under control i beleive was the greatest answer i could have had into having my life "back"
the part youre going through of not knowing excatly and costs and Stress im sure add to your frustrations and pain levels
i would look for a county faclity in your area see if u can get to a remotolgist to see if there are also underlying causes, try united way as well many have clinics in the larger areas as well as your own county hospitial district
sugery doesn't always work for some and sometimes do fail but for the times it does work its a major blessing
my hope for you is finding a way to get treatment in your situaiton, relief for the pain, and anwers soon
I don't know where you lived before san Diego, but I found the warm drier climate helped my pain considerably, so maybe the move was good.
I live in Seattle where it's damp all the time and when we went to Hawaii on vacation a few years ago, I couldn't sit long so stood on the plane most of the time. I was barely moving and wanted to cancel the trip I was in so much pain. After one day in hawaii, I was swimming, hiking and had little to no pain. Doctor said I needed to move there! They have less barometric pressure swing and the warmer climate was good for the arthritic disks. I had a bulging disk at the time, but we now think it was torn and has retorn many times over the years. So much for accurate diagnoses.
Have you tried pool walking? Getting the weight off the joints really helps and the exercise strengthens the muscles, reducing pain. Just being in the pool feels good on the body.
this is something I have never been properly explained.
if a disc is bulging and pressing up against nerves causing extreme pain
Then how does walking in a pool, or any kind of PT "help"
I understand conditioning and trunk stabilzation and such is good to keep the tendons tight and the muscles toned to "keep the spine straight and the disc in" and take the "work" off the spine and give it the the legs and trunk and the proper muscles.
but if the disc is ruptured and laying "on" the spinal cord..
Keith, the bulging or ruptured part of your disc is probably not pressing on the spinal cord, it is most likely pressing on a nerve branch that connects to your spinal cord. As for exercise, the way it has been explained to me is that exercise will increase the blood flow to the injured area and aid the body in reabsorbing the disc material. It can happen.
I believe you said your disc injury was in the lumbar region. I think it was L4,L5 or L5,S1. Your spinal cord actually separates into a bundle of nerves that resemble a horses tail. It is called the Caudia Equina which is latin for horses tail. If you read of Caudia Equina syndrome, this means the disc is pressing on the caudia equina and the patient is having bladder or bowel problems or numbness in the genital area. This is cause for an emergency room visit and emergency surgery.
Sorry for the lecture but I think it helps to understand as much as possible about your body and what is going on. I hope you have a restful day.
Being weightless in the water is the key to relieving the pressure and easing some of the pain. I don't understand how PT or even a massage can take away the pain when the disc is pressing on the cord, tho. The treatment is a bit intimidating, I think. Especially if there is a high risk for other herniations due to disc bulging or even re-herniations. Some neuro reports won't talk about the 'high risk' factor because it's subjective. Do you think the physical therapist realizes that? What if he/she doesn't?
Just an added note: I'm not 'dissing' physical therapists in any way, I have to work closely with them on a daily basis but I wonder the same thing, Keith. One physical therapist admitted to me that with dh's situation, it would not have worked.
I herniated a disc at L5-S1 about 30 years ago. I lived with the backaches, muscle spasms, pain would put me down for about two weeks every year. I waited until I had three herniated discs and two cracked vertebrae. When I was taking pain meds every day all day, and muscle relaxers every day all day I decided that this was NOT what life was about. I went to Stanford neurology clinic and had Dr Kim, chief of neurosurgery elvaluate me. He told me it was pain meds and limited movement for the rest of my life or surgery. I am sooo glad I got the multi-level fusion. Pain is pretty much gone, took about 1.5 years to heal up adequately. I can now walk again, walk long distances, climb stairs etc.
I really like going to the University type hospitals. These surgeons only operate when they truly think it will help. They don't get any more money for operating or not operating. They are professors. The do a LOT of surgery. I was totally impressed with my operation and followup care. The secret was walking walking and more walking!
Thekeith, I won't say much because everything I'd say has already been said. But I will "ditto" the comments about excersise and how it helps by bringing the blood flow to the injured area. I am 6 weeks post op, and I was determined to do what the Drs. said, because of the different posts that I had read here. When I started walking out side, my 1st walk was truly .08 miles. I couldn't see how such a short distance could make a difference. (But I kept thinking about the blood flow thing) and I forced myself to walk twice a day. I had to have someone with me or I probably wouldn't have gone as often. I started by having someone take me to Walmart so I could walk inside and on flat ground. I started with that .08 mi. and with a walker and now 4 weeks later I am walking w/o the walker or cane and am up to 2 miles a day. When I wake up, I am in extreme pain and it is hard to get out to walk...but I have learned from experience that after the walk I am not in pain. If I don't walk, I suffer all day long and even the pain meds. can't help. I will keep you in my prayers and hope you get some well deserved rest.