It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Back Problems Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-07-2004, 08:33 PM   #1
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
surgery vs waiting

hey all
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?

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 10-07-2004, 09:53 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 2,943
mel1977 HB User
Re: surgery vs 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???

 
Old 10-07-2004, 09:59 PM   #3
Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 346
AlSmith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

Alan

 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:02 PM   #4
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

I guess this leads to the additional question

how long is "a long time" to be in pain trying to wait to see if it gets better.

i suppose that is relative.

if someone is retired and doesnt have the dangling carrot of active life dangling just outside their reach they could wait

and if someone is young this may seem like forever.

surgery has been seen as a last resort.
and thats what I did, I couldnt take it anymore, got my endoscopic discectomy and felt 100% the same after, as in...bad.

not to be a downer.

I just wanna get some perspective.
so as i hobble around the house with icey hot on my back, I have a deadline.



 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:04 PM   #5
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 2,943
mel1977 HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:20 PM   #6
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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"

Nooooo idea

 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:31 PM   #7
Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 346
AlSmith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

Alan

 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:44 PM   #8
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

thanks alot.

I dont have medical insurance so thats why I am trying to gather as many opinions as possible, because when I make a move its gotta count

if I had 30k right now and had to pick a surgery right now
it would be artificial disc replacement..

for now, I am going to take my limited funds and I am going to get X-RAY's and MRI, and take them to a spine specialist in san diego (once i find one)
and see what he/she says

 
Old 10-07-2004, 10:51 PM   #9
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 2,943
mel1977 HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

 
Old 10-08-2004, 05:22 AM   #10
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 558
zoey1 HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

thekieth,

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

 
Old 10-08-2004, 09:05 AM   #11
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 284
ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

 
Old 10-08-2004, 09:31 AM   #12
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

thats my next step
feeling good enough to drive a couple miles to a public pool and just "walk around"

but after the doctor made me bend backward and pressed on my inflammed back, I gotta give it some time to calm down

thanks so much for the kind words

 
Old 10-08-2004, 09:43 AM   #13
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 361
kaybee HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

That pool can be a lifesaver, can't it? I'm hoping you get some relief soon, Keith.


Kaybee

 
Old 10-08-2004, 10:06 AM   #14
Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 83
thekeith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

I have a HOLE in my knowledge

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..

then how does the above exercise help?

 
Old 10-08-2004, 10:28 AM   #15
Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 346
AlSmith HB User
Re: surgery vs waiting

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.

Alan

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Colon Cancer confirmed - Surgery Questions weezee62 Cancer: Colon 3 04-26-2010 11:40 AM
my waiting period prohibits my life saving surgery... help! dizzydc5 Health Insurance Issues 15 12-01-2009 09:05 AM
Uterine cancer stage 3c after the surgery radiation santee245 Cancer: Uterine 55 03-17-2009 12:36 PM
Surgery or no surgery Nyxie63 Thyroid Disorders 6 06-12-2007 09:21 AM
Help! Jaw Surgery advice needed...... bartez Dental Health 9 08-31-2006 02:11 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is Off
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added




Top 10 Drugs Discussed on this Board.
(Go to DrugTalk.com for complete list)
Ibuprofen
Lyrica
Morphine
Neurontin
Oxycontin
  Percocet
Soma Tylenol
Valium
Vicodin




TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



teteri66 (1120), gmak (131), SweetPeainSF (78), maltluver (71), twohands (64), pebblebeach3 (63), cheryl1213 (51), Moldova (46), ibake&pray (41), workinmom572 (40)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1180), MSJayhawk (1004), Apollo123 (905), Titchou (848), janewhite1 (823), Gabriel (759), ladybud (754), midwest1 (669), sammy64 (668), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:00 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!