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Old 10-19-2004, 04:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9
swryan HB User
You folks are scaring me!

I'm new to this so please help if you can. I don't have this terrible pain that is common here. No leg pain but back goes out often. I have DDD with bulging discs at l5-s1 & l3-4. I can still work and still exercise (swimming and cardio machines). Problem is I can no longer run, golf or ski. Bending and sitting has gotten worse the past 2 years. Pain is all in the lower back. I'm only 2 years removed from marathon running and I just don't want to give up on activities yet. Fusion has been suggested by docter but should I consider this or just stop whinning and suck it up.


Old 10-19-2004, 05:49 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: florida
Posts: 157
lynns HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

you dont need to ignore it and suck it up. ddd is a real problem that shouldnt be ignored, also your bulging disc can or cannot be impinging on a nerve. we cant tell you to have surgery only you can make that desicion. but as you marrathons you need to slow down and think about the consiquences if you dont. it can become worse because you chose to ignore the pain and problem.most of us on this board wish we hadnt ignored it and went on and sucked it up. we are living with that and its our faults. dont be another one who will be in pain later on in life and regreating not listening to your body.

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Old 10-19-2004, 07:47 AM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 764
Rhonni HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

It's time for surgery only when the pain and problem cause you to alter the quality of your life. You will know when you've had enough. If you are comfortable with medications and therapeutic approaches, then I would say it's not time for surgery.
If you and others around you find that you are no longer the person you once were, then it's time to re-evaluate how you want to proceed.

Surgery is scary, but I think I can speak for many who say that afterward you can look back and say "gee, why didn't I do it sooner."


Old 10-19-2004, 07:48 AM   #4
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: fl
Posts: 654
cardinal HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

Hi lynn! I have gone over 20 yrs "sucking it up" til I couldn't walk! had to have the discectomy l5. 5 yrs ago. I went to every doctor and chiro but nobody ever suggested an mri!!! Well now my back is a mess, had cervical fusion last yr. I wonder if I had the proper diagnose 20yrs ago when it started if I would be in better shape today? It infuriates me all the wasted time at chiro's, ( made it worse?) the suffering etc.
Always have dreams.

Old 10-19-2004, 08:31 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: florida
Posts: 157
lynns HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

cardinal, im almost 30 and i was told at 13 but doctors oviously didnt know diddly about anything. i also have sucked it up alittle over 20yrs. and because i have i have more problems than i started out with.i have not had surgery yet because of no insurance or medicaid wont pay for it, but know just last week i found a surgeon who is going to do it but we have ti sit down and discuss which surgery to do first. what was wrong with your cervical? mine has a large compression that compresses my complete left side at c6-7 level. also ddd and c3-7, scoliosis at the beginning in thorasic six months ago and now also in my cervical, i have spondy in t10,11-t12, 2 hemiagimas(tumors) in the vertebral body and a sclorotic focus at the t12 level. the doc dont know were to begin so thats were i stand untill the 26th of this month. chryros made it worse for me and massage, electric stimulation, and medication has no affect at all. i also loose movement in parts of my body. yes i do feel if the doctors would have educated themselves along time ago
we sufferes would be having a life instead of loosing it. im sorry that you have dealt with this for so long and i hope you have a mri soon. make them . sometimes it takes you to be mean to get what you need. if you ever need to talk im always and i do mean always on

Old 10-20-2004, 01:12 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 24
Voguegirl HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

Hi swryan

My views probably differ a little from others on this board. I'm one of the lucky ones who, after 8 months of chronic acute pain, now has manageable back pain. I have DDD and a bulging disk at L5-S1. I have been off work since April and am only now beginning to work from home.

My belief is that surgery is to be avoided where at all possible - and I know that for some people it is absolutely necessary. However, my most recent medical advice from the leading ortho in the field in this country, is to walk, walk, walk and then walk some more. Fusion is only 60% successful for DDD and he says that there is a knife happy culture among many surgeons.

He said that I was lucky that I hadn't gone down the surgery route as recommended by a neuro I saw - as the odds were that I would have ended with Failed Back Syndrome. He said that if I was diagnosed with that I would have been left uninsurable and unemployable. His advice is to take pain killers as necessary - particularly before exercising and that a couple of ESIs in the area will probably tide me over the next 12 months and that I should be as good as new within by then.

If you are working and exercising - thank your blessings and keep going as long as you can without medical intervention.

Old 10-20-2004, 04:46 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St Paul, Minn
Posts: 19
CasprNFelix HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

I'd say you are smart for being scared. You already know the limitations you currently face and you obviously realize it could be a whole lot worse. First, you really need to slow down on the marathons at least until your back problems are corrected. If you are just two months from having run a marathon then you still have a lot going for you. As I have found out though, a person can do something a million times with no problem and then the next time they do that same thing they throw their back out but good. So at least for now take it easy, don't stop exercising completely but just be smart about it. You may well face some pain whether you do anything or not but a good doctor can definitely help. I'm not even going to get into the issue of what consitutes a "good doctor" because there is much more than mere education to be considered for each individual.

Surgery, which should be the absolute last resort for anyone, is indeed a serious and definitely a scary prospect. I hurt my back some 30 years ago and I've avoided the surgery route so far. There have been thousands of times when I wondered if it could lessen the level of pain I'm in but the odds of success (50/50) the doctors gave me just wasn't good enough for me.

I hope this helps and I wish you good luck!

Old 10-20-2004, 08:37 AM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9
swryan HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

Thanks for the feed back. It's all too confusing, what to do? I guess I keep going as is, exercise, keep to weight off and be happy I'm able to work and play with the kids. Just see how it goes and try not to be stupid.

Old 10-20-2004, 10:13 AM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 413
mlachowicz HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

Have you attempted any non-surgical proceedures?

Old 10-20-2004, 01:39 PM   #10
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 1,691
lfoster21 HB User
Wink Re: You folks are scaring me!

As you are finding out, there are so many considerations. Different patients and different Drs. will all have thier own opinion. Try to get as educated about your options and when listening to other's, learn from their experiences but remember that every body's body is different.

My experience is this: I waited until I could not stand,sit or walk for more than 10 minutes w/o pains shooting down my legs and rear. My Dr. was one who said he didn't reccomend surgery until you had leg pains and you were no longer living an acceptable lifestyle. (I could not do groc. shopping, laundry, vacuming, driving/sitting more than 20 min.) Dr. told me that he expect an 80% recovery, but I know other Drs. that say 60%. So, I think you should use this time to educate yourself, don't get overloaded with advice (for or against), keep walking (2x/day if possible). If and when you get to a point that you have tried all other therapies (meds., epi's, P/T...) and you can no longer take the pain...then you will be more prepared for surgery. As for me, I am 8wks. post op and feel almost normal. I haven't felt like this in years. I am climbing stairs, walking, swimming, working (P/T) and I feel great about this. But definately do everything else first before surgery. God bless you.


Old 10-20-2004, 04:37 PM   #11
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 346
AlSmith HB User
Re: You folks are scaring me!

If you have to ask the question " should I have surgery?", then you probably are not ready for that yet. Statistics show about 90% of disc injuries will heal with nonsurgical treatment. I assume you are in pretty good shape and that will help you. Swimming is also very good and as VogueGirl stated, walking is one of the best exercises for your back. I don't think this constitutes "sucking it up" either. You cannont just continue with life as normal. Alter what you do to rehab your back and prevent further injury. If you do, chances are very good you will recover fully. I stinks to have to change your life around but think long term, not short. Best of luck!


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