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  • L5-S1 hemilaminectomy with microdiscectomy

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    Old 08-08-2003, 09:52 AM   #796
    seeksbliss
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    Hi to everyone! I'm still reading what you write and so glad to hear of the progress most of you are making! My status is unchanged, but I wanted to share something with you that may make a difference in recovery for a few of you. My doctor called me yesterday and said she received a transcript from my surgeon regarding my last visit stating that no improvement has been seen after three months. My regular MD then called to ask me if I realized that people with high sugar levels or glucose intolerance (or diabetics) need to know to cut way back on sugar and eat balanced diets while healing because nerves in diabetic people won't heal as well, if at all. I do have high sugar and am in the early stages of diabetes, but I wish someone would have told me this three months ago. You can do a search on PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY if yo wish to read about it......best of luck to all you!

    ------------------
    1987-2003=L4-5 herniated disc that only flared up once or twice a year causing back & leg pain.
    L4-5 disc ruptured worse & broke in March 2003, which left a piece pressing on nerve root, causing severe dropped foot,leg/ankle numbness & weakness. Numbness disappeared on it's own BEFORE surgery.
    Hemilaminectomy/Microdiscetomy May 1, 2003.
    Dropped foot & ankle weakness not improved since surgery.
    Age 50
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    Boyfriend of 8 years negative for HSV 2.

     
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    Old 08-08-2003, 03:38 PM   #797
    davemcd
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    Hey Gang.

    Just thought I'd check in and say hello. I now realize that my last two posts weren't submitted because I entered the wrong password while replying. I used to have it automatically entered but switched laptops and need to re-figure this one out.

    Laura, I'm sorry to hear about your father and Lisa, it sounds like you are facing some family challenges as well. Sorry to hear the pain killers caused such aggravation.

    Linda, glad to hear you're progressing.

    Laura, I found your note interesting about the way the muscles stick together. I think that I've run into that one because there have been some pretty awkward feelings in my back a few times. When I go to stretch, I can feel the skin pulling on the scar where the incision was made, but the odd time I feel it on the inside and it is not comfortable at all.

    I'm coming along pretty well and can now sit for pretty decent stretches. If I over do it, I still ache the next day but I guess that is to be expected.

    With things going pretty well, I haven't been posting too much.

    Seeksbliss, I found your note about the diabetic effects very interesting. I think I'll try to cut down on my sugar. It's good for all of us anyhow, and it probably will help all of us along the way. I'm glad to hear that your recovery is going well.

    Hi David. I was not given any specific advice with respect to cycling though I would picture it being relatively hard on the back. 2-3 weeks sounds early to me and I would recommend waiting a little longer. As a substitute, there are machines in the gym called 'elliptical trainers' which simulate a jogging motion with no impact. I've just started on them as one means to get a little cardio workout and found them to be pretty darn good. A recumbent exercise bike will also help you to avoid the bending and the impact. You will probably notice that you feel the bumps much moreso than normal when you first get on the bike. I realize that the indoor workouts aren't nearly as fun as the outdoor ones, but they can keep you going if you want to give it a little more time.

    Linda, good hearing from you as well. I hope your next appointment is fruitful.

    Daubie, very sorry to hear about your feet. You will learn that you can spend a lot of money on therapeutic shoes. One thing that really helps are inserts that you can buy relatively inexpensively for extra support. Dr. Scholes is probably the best known brand, but there are others there and for a modest amount of dollars you can gain a lot of extra support. You just pull out the insoles in your current shoes and put the new ones in. There are models designed for both running shoes and dress shoes.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend.

    Ciao for now,

    Dave.
    __________________

    - hockey impact injury to top of head in Dec. 2002
    - physiotherapy & chiropractic visits which did not fix the problem
    - pain shooting down into butt, leg, and calf
    - numbness in foot
    - big pain when coughing, laughing hard, or sneezing. Trouble sleeping at night.
    - ruptured disc between L5 & S1

     
    Old 08-08-2003, 06:22 PM   #798
    daubie
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    Hello to everyone~ TGIF!!! Well, I really wanted to catch up tonite as I haven't posted in 2 days, but I went to my stepson's hockey game after PT, and I am in PAIN! Couldn't get rid of it (foot still) no matter what. Turned the tens up, took a celebrex, stood, sat, stood on my head (yeah right, but that's about the only thing I didn't do!). Anyway, hate to be such a whiner! I think if I didn't have such high hopes it would get better, I'd be alright. I was the one that said I could live with the pain if I had to and was just glad the disc fragment was gone. Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up hope, I just wish it would show SOME improvement. Sometimes I think it's actually worse, but I know it's because of PT. Today my therapist had another guy check out my feet. This guy comes at me with this thing (I told hubby it looked like a chinese torture thing!) and goes down the whole nerve and presses on it to find all the pressure points. He found 3 (damn near came off the bed on one of them!). So, they did ultrasound on them, and then they made me walk down the hall and back in my barefeet. Anyway, they told my to watch my feet in the mirror as I walked. Well, it was VERY noticable that my left foot moves inward with every step I take. So, I guess that occured during the year I waited to have surgery. One more reason to have it earlier I think. Anyway, said to wear my new shoes (which I got last nite) all the time except sleeping and we will continue working on the foot now. My muscle strength and mobility in my calf is close to normal now (which is why doc sent me to pt), but my foot is very weak (not foot drop, just can't pull it out when it goes in) so we will work on that as well as the nerve. The ultrasound felt great today, for about 2 hours and then WHAM! Foot pain galore. These guys are really into helping me get rid of this pain. I guess I always thought therapists were only for muscles. Anyway, enough about me. Let me see if I can catch up before bed (resorted to taking my tylenol pms tonite for the 1st time in 2 weeks so I'm already getting tired).
    ~Linda, can't wait to see what the ortho tells you. I sure pray he gives you better answers and options than the last guy! And by the way, wasn't it you that was going to quit smoking last month? If so, how did you do? I didn't quit yet, but will soon!
    ~Lisa, good to hear from you. Sure glad you're doing so well! Do you have pain associated with your numbness? Glad the water is helping you. I don't have any withdrawels (sp?) from vicodin. Hopefully it wont be for long, right? Hope you make it to frankenmuth, it's a pretty neat place. I too like to go in the winter.
    ~Thom, glad you're liking PT too! Sorry, I forgot to ask about the pelvic twists, but sounds like you're doing fine with them. And glad you got out for a drive a couple times! You'll be back to work before you know it, (then wonder why you wanted to rush it!).
    Sure hope you see some improvement soon with the foot drop! I bet you will once you're in PT for awhile.
    I'm going to stop here. Tomarrow I'll go back and reply to the rest of the posts, but I'm very very sleepy. Good nite everyone... Daubie

    ------------------
    Car Accident 2/2/02
    Herniated disc L5/S1
    Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
    Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
    __________________
    Car Accident 2/2/02
    Herniated disc L5/S1
    Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
    Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
    9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
    1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 01:07 AM   #799
    DSH54
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    Hi everyone,

    Another question from me I'm afraid! - For those of you who've taken up swimming post-op, has it been recommended that you avoid anything specific, such as crawl / breastroke??

    I'm also looking for a bit of reassurance - I'm now four weeks post-op and have avoided sitting until now. When I do try and sit now, I'm getting sciatica-type pains down my leg - similar to before, but thankfully MUCH less severe. Is this in line with your experience, and does it continue to reduce from here??

    Thanks and best wishes,
    David

    ------------------
    Back pain since August 2002
    PT, TENs, Acupuncture, Massage, Epidural etc - no relief
    MicroDiscectomy July 11th 2003- Recovering...
    __________________
    Back pain since August 2002
    PT, TENs, Acupuncture, Massage, Epidural etc - no relief
    MicroDiscectomy July 11th 2003- Recovering...

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 01:48 AM   #800
    Suddzrus
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    Hi Laura! I just read your post about the "sticking" of the back muscles and that sounds very reasonable. I asked my PT about it and he thinks it also is a combination of muscles and scar tissue and he is pretty sure it will become unstuck once i get active again. It has been longer than most people because I have been so inactive after my surgery but the more stuff i do the better it should loosen up that tissue! I have been bending more and more every day, i can almost touch my toes again! and the bump is already going away, It is scary and i don't come up to quickly but bending is the most wonderful sensation if you have not done it for 6 months, even better than sex! Well maybe a close second! well i hope everyone is doing fine nad I hope you all have a good night, i just got back in from san diego nad im beat nad sore, night all.
    __________________
    • Chronic back pain for 6 years
    • Epidurals, PT, occasional relief
    • Hurt back severely during college football
    • Ruptured L5 S1 and nerve damage
    • Hemilaminectomy/Discectomy, medial facectomy on 2-20-03
    • Pain is getting better every week
    • Residual numbness and pain in foot, butt, calf
    • Rehabing at new PT and getting better
    • Still have numbness and occasional pain in leg
    • Eric Davis goes to the same PT as me! I'm in good hands!

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 04:17 AM   #801
    DragRacer's Mom
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    for the best message board on the internet for back pain sufferers, so a search on "the back room" or write down [b]http://invisionfree.com/forums/[/b and then after [b]forums/[/b] write in [b] *************/[/b] this is the web address to the best message board on the internet for people with back problems.

    the _ back _ room

    [This message has been edited by DragRacer's Mom (edited 08-09-2003).]

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 05:23 AM   #802
    daubie
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    Good morning. Well, after a good nite's sleep, I feel MUCH better. Last nite was pretty rough! Oh well, to be expected. Anyway, back to catching up..
    ~Laura, I got NO rain here the other nite, but I saw where it was pretty strong in some areas (like yours!). Beautiful sunny morning today. See, remember in the spring when all it did was rain and it was sooo cold, I told you the weather isn't typically like that! I can't believe it's already mid August. Pretty soon it will really start chilling up in the am and pm. Then,... SNOW! Days are already getting shorter. Thank goodness we get fall before winter. Are you doing a lot of ab crunches in PT? My stomach is very tight now, only 5 weeks. Woohoo! (I needed it!). He gave me 2 more exercises yesterday. I'm not kidding, I'm up to about 20 different things! Oh well, whatever it takes is my motto! Sure hope that tightness in your back gets better soon! Do you have any nerve problems? I'm going to the zoo tonight. My company rented the zoo for 3 hours for our staff and families. That should be strange. I found out this week that my job will be gone in a few months. I've been with the company for 18 years, but we lost our account so after the transition, I'll be jobless. We were on the news Tues nite, because we have a huge office, over 600 employees will be let go. I'm still a little in shock. Hubby sent me a dozen roses to work yesterday, just because I've been sad this week. He really is a great guy. Also, I've been compromising and not staying on the net so much. We do work well together!
    ~Seeks, that news is very interesting! But since I've been on a low carb/sugar diet all year, doesn't help me. But it sure may help others, and you too! Heres hoping you see some major improvement soon!
    ~Dave, sounds like you are well on your way to a full recovery! Good for you!!! Thanks for the info on the inserts, but you know, I've tried many of them, and they drive me crazy! I bought the shoes the therapist recommended. They're not orthodics, just cross trainers with extra cushion. So, they feel just like regular shoes. So far, they feel pretty good, but I didn't really have any problems with my other tennies (as far as comfort, anyway). Anyway, keep up the good work!
    ~David, how's the biking going? Regarding sitting/sciatic pains. I think it's pretty normal, especially since it's nothing like pre-surgery. I had some sciatic pains in by left butt cheek for several weeks post op, just this past week or so I've noticed I don't have them anymore. Can honestly say it is just my foot now (woohoo!!!). So, you're a few weeks behind me. One thing tho' that my therapist told me is, when you get pain from anything like sitting, either to the girlie pushups (lay on your stomach and leave your pelvis on the floor/bed, and push your upper back up with your hands. do 10. If you can't lay down, then stand up, put your hands on your butt, and slowly lean back 10 times. This really helps. And one more thing I was told last year by a co-worker that sounds really stupid but always helped those twinges is, while standing, squeeze your butt cheeks together a few times. Both of these really work for me, so maybe you should give it a try. But don't try to be an acrobat! You don't need to lean back real far. Regarding swimming, I read somewhere on here to NOT do the breast stroke for recovery. Don't know about free style. Glad you're doing so well, keep it up!
    ~Coby, how are ya?? When you say you can almost touch your toes, are you standing and bending over? I thought that was out forever? Glad you came out of your accident without major problems. I'll tell you, that is one of my worst fears. Since my problems all started with a car accident, other drivers scare me!
    Well, hope everyone has a great weekend!!! Here's to a pain free weekend for everyone!
    ~Daubie



    ------------------
    Car Accident 2/2/02
    Herniated disc L5/S1
    Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
    Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
    __________________
    Car Accident 2/2/02
    Herniated disc L5/S1
    Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief, but constant foot pain and numbness continued
    Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
    9/5/03 still have foot pain and numbness but recovered fine from surgery
    1/19/04 I am 7 mos post op. I still have the same foot pain as before surgery. Doc agrees it is probably permanent nerve damage. Started neurontin this week. Still glad I had the surgery though!

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 11:12 AM   #803
    TexMich
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    Hi!

    Sorry people, looks like one of my LONG posts! Ok I heard that! What do you mean they're ALL long! [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/gabby.gif[/img]

    Coby, I felt like there's scar tissue involved too- you know- you're d*mned if ya do - d*mned if ya don't kinda thing going on here - seems a delicate line between too much action & too much in-action & perhaps some of us are more prone to scar tissue developing than others OR maybe it's a combination of it all! I've read the scar tissue develops between 3 - 11 wks. We're all told to take it VERY easy up to 3 wks -& I certainly agree w/that - & then basically never bend/twist/lift inappropriately again. Anyway- I think Doc's still don't know that much about the best approach to post-op. If they do, they seem to be keeping their mouths shut! I mainly heard 'do anything as tolerated after 4 wks except lifting & bending'. Then @ 4 mos I happened to call the Neuro's office & when pressed- they said 'oh no full body stretching til 5 mos'. [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/confused.gif[/img] Concerning bending- since I was told about the muscles sticking theory, I also found myself gently stretching/bending from the waist- trying to gently loosen that area up - but I'm not just not sure if our instincts are working in our favor here. ? I've read in the back pamphlet from the PT's office that bending fwrd puts the greatest angle of danger for the disc nucleous, aligning them twd the thinnest wall of the disc - add more weight to that by lifting something from that position & we're asking for it!! I'll ask the 'real' PT Monday during my visit tho & let ya know what she says! She said in past that thru-out life now - need to bend from hips or squat to pick up things/etc/ - BUT that we shld be ABLE to bend frm waist W/O pain. (just shouldn't do it!) Take care!

    Daubie, Hi! Hope you have fun at the zoo tonite & that the great weather holds out! Your Farmington PT sounds just GREAT! Wow, I sought out a spine specific PT & so far mine's more like a gym - still happy I'm going because they say correct way to do exercises & which ones to do. Maybe they'll be different in the wks to come- but nothing like a personal trainer or anything so far. Anyway- I'm v-happy you found JUST the right place. About PT- no ab crunches yet she said- but holding in the ab 'girdle' tightly w/kegel exercise is similar. Do you sometimes forget -like I do -w/so many different exercises - which ones are "do 3 of these for 10 sec" VS "do 10 of these for 3 sec" ? (Just a theory but I think the 'exercise memory chip' must also (along w/intelligence & spelling skills) be stored in the L5-S1 disc nucleous. At least we have a little bit of it left! Also, to answer your question, I do get still get an occasional pain down my left side calf/less frequently down the front- & thought the side one felt more sciatic than muscular-but does anyone really know for sure? About your job- so sorry. Are you going to take time (long lunch hours?/day off here & there?) while still there to find another job? CLOSER to home so less driving? I know what you mean about being scared to drive - I've noticed some Michigan drivers are a bit aggressive (guess they feel we make 'em here- we can break 'em here! haha) I worked 18 yrs at a job too- so strange when it's suddenly over. How long is Fall here? When's first snow? Boy I'm really jumping around here aren't I? Keep up the positive thinking on those nerves!

    David, Dave gave you good advice. When you experience that sciatic pain while sitting- do you try ice (frozen bag of peas) (altho Daubie seems to prefer frozen broccoli) -or they just eat up their frozen peas a lot there! Also, & I know I shld be on their payroll/marketing team, but VIOXX always worked best for me for inflammation- which is likely what's causing pressure on your sciatic nerve & producing the radiating leg pain currently. Also, when you're in the pool- is it heated? We learned here that the heat -altho initially feeling good- can add to inflammation during the first 3 mos or so. Cool is good for inflammation. E-strengh advil or aleve etc shld help if no Vioxx. You shld have less & less of that pain as you continue to heal!

    Dave, you're still early in post op enough to probably make a bigger/earlier difference in potential muscles/scar tissue probs- this is the time in post-op it occurs I believe. There's just the right balance evidentally between creating EXCESSIVE scar tissue by too much activity (we're going to have SOME scar tissue) VS enough & right type of activity to prevent scar tissue & muscles from ADHERING. I think that's one of the reasons we hear WALK WALK WALK. Walking with a little longer than normal strides & often- must help gently yet effectively. I also wonder if we L5-S1'ers-(Coby's one too)- since our prob disc was BETWEEN two different TYPES of discs- Lumbar AND Sacral - have a tougher time with flexibility issues. But I just realized Daubie's a L5-S1'er & haven't heard her complain of this prob! Pls ask your PT best way to gently handle it & best of luck!

    Seekbliss, thx for chiming in here w/your helpful info! Wishing you progress in your recovery!!

    Thom,Dee,Lisa & Everyone else- hope you have a great wk-end!

    Laura

    ------------------
    Mar 2003:Micro-Discectomy w/Hemilaminectomy L5-S1
    Prior to that 4 mos of Sciatic pain; left side
    Herniated Disc L5/S1
    Bulging Disc L4/L5



    [This message has been edited by TexMich (edited 08-09-2003).]
    __________________
    10/02:Per MRI: Hern.Disc L5/S1 * Bulg.Disc L4/L5
    03/03:Micro-Discectomy w/Hemilaminectomy L5-S1 (left sd)
    08/03:PT @ 5 mos post-op for 6 wks: Results: Back & abdominal strength MUCH better - stretching exercises help only temporarily. Heavy feeling of pressure, restriction thru-out incision area post op. ~scar tissue adhering?
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

    11/03:Working with "Rolfing" expert to release scar tissue - Jury's still out on this procedure

     
    Old 08-09-2003, 03:49 PM   #804
    Tung-Sol
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    Hey all,

    I'm getting behind here, mainly cause I'm not sitting on my butt in the recliner as much now! I think I over did the driving and walking around yesterday as having a bit more of those stinging type pains in the "wrong" place. I did pick up a lumbar support for the car from the Healthy Back Store, it's just right and I can toss the rolled up towel/pillow routine for now.

    I don't know if this is common knowledge, but I'll throw it out there ... my PT is very much into "neutral spine position" and my being aware of what it feel like, not only in my back, put butt, stomach, hips and thighs. She gave me a three foot long stick and had me hold it around back and place it such that it bridged from my tail bone up to the thoracic spine, one hand held it with my the back of my fist right in the peak of the lumbar curve. She said to NOT let the curve vary against my fist, no matter what ... and of course to not support the curve with the fist, just sense the in and out motion and keep it to a minimum. She doesn't want it to vary from my normal standing posture. It was very weird at first because every movement I could feel it wanting to flatten, a big no, no. I've learned to lean forward (just a tiny bit to start) now by bending at the hip, not the waist and the curve is preserved. I have a short piece of bamboo that I carry around and if I reach to brush my teeth, lift the toilet lid, etc. I have that in one hand in my back and it is really teaching me a lot. YMMV.

    Daubie, I don't know what to say about your job, other than what's already been said my Laura. I can't even imagine. Are they going to help with job retraining, office space and councelors or somesuch to help everyone find a new job? More proof that there is no such thing as job security anymore. And employers wonder why employees job jump like they do, it's too bad thing have gotten this way. Even when the economy is good, so many people I know live contract-to-contract. I hope your foot pain responds soon to your PT and the TENS like you leg pain has. Oh, when I was at the back store, I tried every chair in there again and still came away preferring the Aeron, not that it's perfect, but it fits me pretty good. I'm amazed how many of these contraptions have all the ergo-controls down under the chair where you have to bend about 90 degrees sideways to reach anything. I told the guy, if I could actually reach all these levers, I wouldn't be needing a chair like this to begin with, sheesh! At least the Aeron has every control right below your fingers when you drop your arms down to the sides.

    David ... re. swimming - Daubie's right, breaststroke is a big no, no. But, for anyone that does like to swim (I've been swimming year round since I was 8, although I've had a few dry spells here and there) there is a great site by Terry Laughlin called Total Immersion (I hope I can mention that here???), you may want to check out ... although I think most of the free stuff now cost money. Regardless, the biggest mistake swimmers make during freestyle is NOT rolling the body around the spinal axis. Basically, the shoulders and waist should move as a unit, like our log-roll to get out of bed. And when breathing, don't "look up" but keep your head aligned with you shoulder roll to the side like you're going to take a breath with your belly-button, but obviously with your mouth, ahem. Also leaning down on your chest in the water counter-balances your legs around your hips and brings them closer to the surface so you don't have the sinking feeling in your legs and you're streamlined along the surface with minimal impact on your back. Ah, well, here endeth the rant, but I am dying to get back in the pool and hope others here can do some of the same.

    Hi to all, Dee, Linda, Laura, Seeks, Daubie, Lisa, Dave, David, wow lots of folks, I can't keep up.

    As always ... hope all of you are getting better and better, even if just in some small way, everyday.

    Thom

    ------------------
    herniated L4-L5, free frag with footdrop approx. 6-30-03 with a month of lower back pain prior to that
    laminectomy/discectomy 07-14
    I have 5mm herniation of L5-S1 on right side that is asymptomatic, no surgery recommended

    [This message has been edited by Tung-Sol (edited 08-09-2003).]
    __________________
    herniated L4-L5, free frag with footdrop approx. 6-30-03 with a month of lower back pain prior to that
    laminectomy/discectomy 07-14
    I have 5mm herniation of L5-S1 on right side that is asymptomatic, no surgery recommended

     
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