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  • Has Anyone Ever Succeeded W/O Surgery?

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    Old 01-06-2014, 11:43 AM   #1
    tradeof1jack's Avatar
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    Has Anyone Ever Succeeded W/O Surgery?

    Hi board --

    As I debate whether or not to have an Art. Disc replacement or a fusion, I get a lot of people telling me NOT to have surgery no matter what.

    Considering the amount of painkillers I'm currently taking (and how quickly the dosages increase) -- the future doesn't look rosy without it either.

    The doctors all simultaneously recommend surgery while recommending 'holding off' as long as I can take it.

    I'm wondering - has anyone in a similar situation (severe back/nerve pain) ever said NO to surgery and found a way to live a full life? (working full time, being active, etc). And not just end up bedridden?

    Would love to hear if so - is there hope?

    (Dessication L5/S1, impingement S1 root, sever right leg pain & atrophy)

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    Old 01-06-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
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    Re: Has Anyone Ever Succeeded W/O Surgery?

    I don't think many "succeed" without surgery if the problem is something that cannot heal without surgery. My husband ruptured L5-S1 about 20 years ago and was in terrific pain for about six weeks, but it gradually healed without any intervention. Back then, they did not give epidural steroid injections and discectomies were done much less often. He has been fine ever since, but he does his exercises he learned in PT faithfully every single day...and is careful to pace himself when doing things that he knows stress his lumbar spine.

    He did give up playing ice hockey to protect his back, but he has been able to continue running.

    Depending on how bad the dessication is, your only alternative is probably surgery or doing nothing...when you have nerve compression, only you can decide to what extent you are willing to gamble with the nerve becoming permanently damaged from the compression. Generally speaking, the longer the wait, the greater the odds of permanent nerve damage. However, there are always exceptions. We do know that a nerve doesn't get any better from being compressed!

    With dessication, the disc will eventually flatten to the point that you are left with bone on bone. I lived with severe leg pain for several years, without taking pain medications, as they didn't really make much difference. It also took three surgeries to find what was causing the majority of my I'm not going to tell you that any procedure is the answer.

    I will say IF you decide to go with a disc replacement, do your homework. Be sure the surgeon has a lot of experience with the specific procedure you will be having. Do not take anything for granted. When the procedure is not successful, there is little that can be done to correct it. Trying to remove an artificial disc is a potentially life-threatening surgery. Try to talk to people who have lived with it for a number of years. Some people are happy initially, but after a year or two start having major problems. Don't let anyone tell you it is an easy procedure.

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    back pain, l5-s1, l5-s1 fusion, nerve pain

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