Hello everyone....new to the boards this morning and wanted to extend my hello's to everyone! Well...my story starts out in late August of last year when I ruptured my disc between L3-L4 and it hasn't been pretty since. I have 3 injections...therapy...drugs...you name it. I started feeling alot better and before you knew it I was back to doing things that I normally did before the accident. Well...last week I was doing stretches and something snapped (at least it sounded like it) and I was on the ground in immense pain. Couldn't get up for at least 15 minutes and have been in severe pain ever since. I went back to my pain management doc and he gave me some Oxyfast and wrote me another script for physical therapy. It didn't really do much the last time...the only thing that really worked was the last set of injections I got. I'm just so bummed out.....I got so far away from all of this pain and now I'm right smack dab in the middle of it again. I'm just having a tough day....at work and not wanting to be. Hope everyone else is doing okay....talk to you soon~
Welcome! Hope you find what you need here...great group on this board!!!!
Is your disc really ruptured? Like a tear? Or is it a bulge or herniation?
As someone who dealt with an actual "tear" since 2000, and finally found relief (at least to-date) in 2004, I might be able to help.
For starters, if you have an actual tear, then PT will not help it. PT will help your surrounding muscles and joints keep strong, etc. but won't seal an actual fissure in your disc.
I went through 3 rounds of PT, 4 months of Chiro, 2 rounds of Accupuncture, blahblahblah, before I started REFUSING treatment when they hadn't diagnosed the problem(s) yet. (I add the s, because I have 3 separate & distinct ones, all from the same accident.)
My dr was about to stop after he diagnosed the first (took 10 months). I kept hounding him to death (almost!) every time the problem wasn't found. The last, my SI joint, wasn't diagnosed until my IDET fixed (hopefully!) my annular tear...that was last summer (over 4 years).
Don't give up, keep bugging your drs (& us...we welcome it!), and keep hope. Those of us who took this long don't want anyone else to experience the same thing! You will get open and honest feedback that'll run the gamut of results, which should give you the practical side of the solutions out there. I think the worst we experience allows us to share, but hopefully pass on knowledge to the next round of potential patients!
My annular tear is/was (only time will tell) L3-4, so I really do "feel your pain", to quote a recent Government Official. (Little twisted humor for your Monday...just ask Misery; she & I love "company"! Haha!)
Thanks Rampage....that really helped me out a lot. Well...I have a tear thats about 5ml (I think) and the disc is bulging as well. The fluid is leaking onto my spinal cord and its no fun at all. I just don't want to waste my time with physical therapy if its not going to yield results, you know? I'm wondering about the disc replacement surgery...but I haven't heard much about it...as far as success rates and what not. Have you looked into it much at all?
Welcome to the boards, everyone here is great, even inour not so finest hours i just had a discogram today that showed a tear in the C4-5 that caused pain a tear in the C6-7 that did not cause pain, and a tear in the C5-6 that sent me into tears. So I guess that would be each degree of "tears" I will see what the doc says about that this week.
I am with you ...hold off on the PT if it is not going to fix the problem and see what you can do to make it better.
For an annular tear (which you seem to have), I can think of the following (and I researched them ALL for at least 2 years):
IDET - Non-op, not very painful, heats your disc to melt the "shell" of the disc just enough to seal the tear. 2 weeks out of work, and wear a corset/brace for 2 months after (and can't sit, even at work! I had to get a place specially placed, and it was not high-tech AT ALL.) Many on this board have had problems with this option, but that's what I did last summer (wanted DESPERATELY to keep my disc if I could). INSURANCE RARELY, IF EVER, COVERS IT. Costs around $10k, out-of-pocket. I got help from family, and had a Flexible Spending Account (not alot, but helped a bit to pay it off), then had to put the last bit on my credit card. WOOF!
Fusion - 1) Mechanical (original procedure, I believe), highest failure rate of the fusions. 2) Bone Graft (take bone from your hip), tends to be more painful at the graft location, according to those I "interviewed" during my research. 3) Bone Bank (bone from a cadaver), similar to bone graft but w/out the hip pain. However, have heard of RARE (EXTREMELY RARE) cases where bacteria remains, even after their cleansing process (please don't get scared about this one!!!!!). 4) BMP (latest & greatest, just approved by the FDA last year), places a sponge where the disc was that has an amino acid that tells the blood cells in the disc location to "regrow" bone. Quietcook had this, and we agree this is the BEST of the fusions.
ADR - Artificial Disc Replacement, still in the "testing" phase so you would probably have to find those drs who are on the cutting-edge of this one. Don't think it's approved by the FDA, but not sure. My clinic, the Virginia Spine Institute, is one of those in the forefront of this procedure. Their website should give you additional information (trying to follow the rules, so can't give you the website...sorry about that). They work on the Redskins, and are on the cutting edge of all 3 of these procedures.
FYI - I had 5 (count 'em, 5) MRIs - 1 per year from 2000 to 2004 (the 2004 was AFTER my discogram diagnosed my tear), and NONE of them found my tear!!!! Thought you'd appreciate that bizarre piece of info!
Good luck, and hope this helps. Quietcook should be able to fill in any gaps in my knowledge, or correct any incorrect details...phenomenal source of info (had that "toast" yet, Quietcook? I'm about to "toast" you right now! )
Hi, I heard a pop too when I tore my disk at L4/L5. Didn't have pain til the next day though.
On the disk replacement, my doctor wouldn't do it for the torn disk. He insisted on doing a microdisectomy first to take the disk material off the nerve and clip the protruding disk material. Then let the disk heal. He said if I continue to have problems with the disk, then I could do the artificial disk replacement. I am still having problems 8 mons later. I don't know if they'll do an ADR for a torn disk if no other surgery has ever been tried.
Anyhow, my physical therapist said that here in Seattle, the ADR is now available though she only knows of 6 doctors doing it. My doctor said that group insurance doesn't tend to cover it but private does.
I think he wanted to do a microdisectomy first because it's less invasive and less chance of complications. The ADR is a big surgery.
My disk tear was huge, ripped top to bottom, and it wouldn't heal because I had disk material sitting in the opening holding it open. I don't think these big tears like that really ever heal. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need an ADR or fusion, maybe this year. I was hoping to put it off because the ADR is relatively new and I wanted doctors to get more practice at it before they cut on me!
I hope your disk heals and you don't need surgery. My doctor said most tears heal on their own just fine without surgery.
Hi and Welcome to the Board,
I have to agree with what the others have told you about getting good advice, but also Please realize there are people with Good and Bad opinions who only have your best interest at heart, so Please just take them and try to understand they are only trying to help. Sometimes people get scared away and I would hate to see that happen.
I also had a tear, at S1 & L5 and all the fluid went into the spinal column, I am 6 weeks Post-op this Wednesday, I had a 1 level TLIF Posterior fusion with 2 rods, 4 screws and 2 cages, I also got the sponges inside the cages with BMP and last week I was told I am already 1/2 fused and could loose the brace, however my back had other ideas and I am back to wearing it after 48 hours off of it.
I wouldn't waste anymore money either if PT didn't help you before.
Have you had a Diskogram yet?
My disk went completely flat, like a blown out tire, I was able to live with it since 2000, but then it started running my life, and if not for the use of safety belts in high chairs I would of dropped my Grandson on a ceramic tile floor.
Everytime I moved a tiny bit which seemed like nothing to me, was actually the disks rubbing bone to bone and would slip, landing me in bed on alot of pain meds for 4 days until it released, and began to feel better.
My Doc, is an Orthopedic Surgeon AND a Neurology Surgeon and refused the Disk replacement, saying there is not enough support yet on it, however if it works out for the best, they can always change my fusion over to the replacement if I wanted him too.
So even if you have trouble finding a Surgeon to do a disk Replacement, I'm sure in the near future it will be available to all of us.
You didn't mention ever having a Diskogram, so I don't know what your options are.
But there are alot of people here who do.
The Best of Luck to you,
Let us know what you decide to do, we'll all be here for you.
Thank you so much for everyones reply. I have so much information to go research now and try to find out what options are best for me. I can't express to you enough how much it has meant to come here and feel like a part of a true community. I know we are all one in the same when it comes to our back. I am here for anyone at anytime if they need to talk. Though I'm not too educated yet on back issues...I am a great listener and love to give support. Thanks again for everyones kind words.