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Newbie: severe back damage & possible surgery

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Old 05-30-2009, 10:08 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Council Bluffs, IA
Posts: 1
apageor2 HB User
Newbie: severe back damage & possible surgery

Hello all,

I'll do my best to explain everything from the beginning. It started with a car accident (passenger) in 96. Struck from behind, caused damage to my L4-L6, my entire spine actually. It healed, incorrectly, but it healed, years later I went in for a bone density test. Told the technician I was in a car accident and needed to move my legs on the platform. Rather than let me do it, she did it well when she did, my legs got lifted straight up. What that did was rip everything that was healed (incorrectly mind you) four years prior.

I felt this heat sensation go right up my spine when she did it so I knew it was all over and all I could do was lay there for this test. Anyway. That started months of going through another process of tests trying to figure out what was going on. In the end, it came back to the accident in 96. At any rate, I went to two specialists and eventually ended up at a pain doctor. While at this pain doctor I started getting injections of steriods (epidurals and bilaterals) to improve movement which didn't happen. He attempted to try facet injections and an Z injection which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It felt like I was going through labor and I don't have children! It took me a month to recover from that nightmare.

During all this I was going through physical therapy with a treadmill, massage, nerve stimulation since it's nerve damage, and we also used a Pilates. Well, I actually thought that was going to work at one point but the PT didn't, if anything, it got worse, I actually started falling. For example, when my husband came to get me one afternoon, I was in the process of walking and my legs just up and quit. It was doing more stretching than strengthening basically.

Anyway, because of that I requested to see a neurosurgeon I figured six months was long enough. He sent me to a neurosurgeon and I picked my own (second opinion to be smart). In the end, both said no surgery and keep going with therapy. The way my back was going therapy was out of the question as it was so painful I could barely walk. It took me two months to recover from that.

Fast forward to Jan 09, I had an updated MRI requested from a spinal surgeon. On one hand we know I don't have a fissured disc any more but on the other it is showing I have Degenerative Disc Disease. It is also showing that I still have the bulged disc which we knew about from the prior MRI. Now, what can be done to fix it is an even bigger issue as the spinal surgeon is walking on pins and needles with this case.

I meet with a second doctor on June 2 to attempt a nonsurgical therapy but this is a tricky issue because the spinal surgeon has already said he does not want me to go near any treadmill or weights. What we're looking at now is getting me to the point where my back can be built up enough to withstand surgery. At least that's what I'm thinking. There is so much damage from the mid point to the tailbone the surgeon doesn't want to take the risk and do more damage which I understand.

Since I've already gone through the therapy drill already this is the last step we just need to get prepared for it and this is the surgeon's way of getting me ready as he said once it's done, I won't be able to do much other and I need to have strong back muscles which right now I don't. So the question now is what can be done to strengthen them? I'm guessing some type of water therapy.

What I'm dealing with now is the stabbing pain in my upper thighs. At any rate, sorry so long but this is what's going on. So much for being short and sweet huh? LOL!

I look forward to chatting with everyone on the board over time. I hope everyone has a pain free weekend!


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Old 05-31-2009, 06:56 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 563
Linda_in_NJ HB User
Re: Newbie: severe back damage & possible surgery

You sound like me with my legs. I was just diagnosed with spondyliolisthesis, which is the misalignment of a vertbrea. My legs are more often worse then my back. Cannot walk for long and extreme weakness. Plus awful aching from my groin area to my muscles in my upper things. There are many more experienced people on this board who can explain things much better but just wanted to tell my story with my leg problem. The doctor ultimately wants to do surgery which would be a 360 degree fusion at L3-L4. PT and shots did not help me at all. Wait for more responses as the back people are excellent on this board.
Good luck Linda

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