My 20 year old son [B]can not sit [/B]and has to stand in college classes. He is thinking of giving it up. He fell off a building in 2008 and has a bulging disk at L4-L5 with associated constant pain in lower back. The disks look darker in color than the one's above L4. Absolutely no pain down his legs. He has had second epidural this week with no benefit at all. The doctor wants to do what I think is a laminectomy to relieve dull pain. I am worried about the associated complex effects to his back. Any help on how to approach this decision would be helpful. I just have every apprehension about surgery on him. He is totally dependent on me for a decision.
Thank you for all your inputs, it nice to have this forum to talk.
Last edited by dullpaine; 12-21-2010 at 10:47 AM.
Reason: needs exist greeting
I have similar problems in my back and can not sit either, but I am in my 60's and have stenosis as well as bulging discs, so my problem is not operable. If you get a second opinion, and they agree, I would recommend doing anything to relieve this, since your son is too young to have this for the rest of his life.
ACDF C7-T1 bone graft and titanium plate 2008
The Following User Says Thank You to minstrel2 For This Useful Post: dullpaine (12-21-2010)
I see you are in the Seattle area. There are some excellent spine doctors that you should be able to rely on to help alleviate your son's pain.
Be sure he is going to a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon (not a general orthopedist) or a neurosurgeon who devotes most of his time to issues of the back and neck, rather than to the brain. I would agree that you should get at least two opinions, perhaps one from the ortho spine doc, and one from a neurosurgeon in a different practice...and perhaps a third, if there is a discrepancy in diagnosis or how they would treat.
When the disc looks dark or black on a MRI, it is a sign that the disc is degenerating and is not healthy. The surgeon may need to remove a portion of it if it is pressing on a nerve.
A procedure on one level of the spine should be able to be accomplished without causing problems in adjoining segments. If it returns your son to an active lifestyle, it might prove to be the healthier option, as it sounds like he isn't able to do much the way things are now.
Welcome to the board. Please feel free to ask your questions as they come up. I know it is overwhelming at the beginning, but you will learn as you go along.
If your son does have surgery, it is entirely possible that he will feel better immediately. This can be dangerous as the tendency is to do more than the surgeon is allowing at the beginning. There is a healing process that is very important to the over-all integrity of the spine, so that he will not develop problems down the line. You will need to make this clear to him, so he doesn't get carried away and do too much too soon.
It doesn't sound like your son's problems are going to go away on their own...or that time is going to resolve the issues. Do your research and be sure you have found the best surgeon for your son's needs. When you are convinced you have found the right person, then I think you will be comfortable moving ahead.
There is a book entitled [U]Do You Really Need Back Surgery?: A Surgeon's Guide to Neck and Back Pain and How to Choose Your Treatment [/U] by Aaron G. Filler. You can find a used copy online for about $5.00. It is the best book I have found, and I own an entire library by now! It covers almost all topics -- anatomy, various back problems, descriptions of various imaging and tests, treatments, and various surgeries. There is a glossary at the back. If you are the type that enjoys reading and doing a little research, this book will help you talk to the spinal specialists, and understand what they are recommending for your son.
Good luck. You are a wonderful father to be helping your son. I wish you both the best.
The following user gives a hug of support to teteri66: dullpaine (04-15-2011)
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: dullpaine (12-21-2010)
[QUOTE=dullpaine;4645494]My 20 year old son [B]can not sit [/B]and has to stand in college classes. He is thinking of giving it up. He fell off a building in 2008 and has a bulging disk at L4-L5 with associated constant pain in lower back. The disks look darker in color than the one's above L4. Absolutely no pain down his legs. He has had second epidural this week with no benefit at all. The doctor wants to do what I think is a laminectomy to relieve dull pain. I am worried about the associated complex effects to his back. Any help on how to approach this decision would be helpful. I just have every apprehension about surgery on him. He is totally dependent on me for a decision.
Thank you for all your inputs, it nice to have this forum to talk.
Hi, concerned dad. Your son is very young to have to start down this path. May I ask a couple of questions? First of all, has he had an MRI or a ct-scan since 2008? What kind of doctor is he seeing? Is this dr. a spine specialist?
If not, I highly recommend that he see such a doctor ; ie: an Orthopedic Spine Specialist or a neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery. This does NOT mean that he must have surgery. These specialists know best how to read test results and what kind of options he may have.
So much depends on where the herniation is and whether or not any nerves are being pinched. It could be that seeing a pain management doctor may be the right move. They can do injections and other methods to control the pain. Again, much depends on test results. Also, it is good to get more than one opinion, ESPECIALLY if surgery is the recommended treatment because once surgery is done, you can't go back and your sons will need to be careful about lifting, etc. in the future so as not to cause any further damage.
Once he has seen a specialist, do some research on the web and learn what you can about the diagnosis so that you and he will better understand what has taken place and what kind of treatment is best for that injury.
Please do stay in touch and let us know what happens. It is always a pang in my heart when someone so young has these problems.
The Following User Says Thank You to maltluver For This Useful Post: dullpaine (04-21-2011)
To someone I do not even know, thanks! Your comments are clear and very helpful in deciding what course to take next. It is a great pleasure to be able to utilize this important Forum. You have made a 'difference', today.
My son has a recent MRI done from his second neurosurgeon opinion. I do not know anything about the doctor. Does he work on backs or brains, I have no idea. I am just biginning the research and your comments help in guiding me "what" to ask. Thank you.
You will find that there is quite a bit of information online pertaining to a specific doctor. Most doctors or at least many doctors have websites and under the "About Us" or words to that effect it will list their educational background and where they did their residency and fellowship. Sometimes there will be comments from the doctor that are helpful in determining what his special interests are or in what area he is doing research.
You might want to get an opinion from an orthopedic spine specialist if you have only consulted with a neurosurgeon. Sometimes they have a different approach, and, sometimes, in my experience at least, are more approachable.
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: dullpaine (04-15-2011)
Thanks for your comments. My son had the laminectomy and it has been three months with no effects. We see the doctor next week to ask why it was not successful and what to suggest next. He is still standing, dancing and hanging about but can only lay on his back to study, read of use his computer. I will begin to look again into other opinions and study more what to do next.