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View Full Version : Joining the back surgery club


timmbuck2
12-05-2011, 01:49 PM
Finally went to the doc after my back pain and sciatic pain was keeping me from doing, well, just about anything other than lying on the couch. X-rays and my symptoms pointed to a herniated disc, but he ordered an MRI and gave me oral steroids for the inflammation. Within a couple of hours of the first does, I was back to feeling about 90%, and it shocked me as to how much pain I had been in and how miserable I have been the last year....heck the last 2 years. I know some of you have chronic back or other issues and I don't know how you deal with it. I went back to see him after the MRI, and it is never a good sign when he asks "How you feeling?" and I said "Great! I feel good!" and he asks incredulously "Really?!?!" You can see in the MRI that I have a *real* purty L4/L5 herniated disc. He gave me some options, but surgery seems the only way for a long term solution. Luckily, it sounds like a pretty good long term fix, especially now that it is fixed I will be able to get back in the gym as well. So, best wishes for me on Friday! Should be an interesting weekend. :)

Timm

calphi27
12-05-2011, 02:25 PM
We wish you a fast and good recovery. You'll be back in the gym in no time at all.

corsair23
12-05-2011, 05:24 PM
:eek:

Best wishes for a smooth surgery and speedy recovery Timm

RockRunner
12-05-2011, 06:15 PM
Nice little bulge you got growing there:rolleyes: I would think you are getting a Microdiscectomy since your disc looks pretty healthy except for the bulge. Bummer that you got the L4/L5 curse too but they have made great strides repairing it vs. removal and fusion.

Good luck of Friday and if there is one piece of advice I can give, take it easy after your surgery because you will feel like a million bucks after the surgery thinking you can do anything you want. I pushed a little to hard and nearly messed up all the work the Doc had done.


Oh BTW welcome to the not so exclusive club nobody wants to join :thumb:

TIMZTOY
12-05-2011, 06:46 PM
good luck timm. sounds painfull.

wonder if i should get my back checked.

Hulk
12-05-2011, 08:27 PM
Damn, that looks scary. Best of luck, Timm.

timmbuck2
12-05-2011, 09:46 PM
Nice little bulge you got growing there:rolleyes: I would think you are getting a Microdiscectomy since your disc looks pretty healthy except for the bulge. Bummer that you got the L4/L5 curse too but they have made great strides repairing it vs. removal and fusion.

Good luck of Friday and if there is one piece of advice I can give, take it easy after your surgery because you will feel like a million bucks after the surgery thinking you can do anything you want. I pushed a little to hard and nearly messed up all the work the Doc had done.


Oh BTW welcome to the not so exclusive club nobody wants to join :thumb:

Yup, you got it exactly...pretty much just cutting the bulge out of there. Thanks for the advice on after the surgery...I am sure I will be trying to do wayyyy too much too fast. :) Thanks everyone.

T

Inukshuk
12-05-2011, 11:06 PM
Be well! Speedy recovery.

waggoner5
12-06-2011, 07:49 AM
I went through that same scenario Oct 2008 and had the surgery done as well. I was about 90% until lately when I started having some issues again. I consistently over do it though, always lifting more than I should. The first surgery was a breeze, but not looking forward to the next round.

Trapper50cal
12-07-2011, 08:23 PM
Color me jealous...I wish I could have the back surgery...same deal with me, not quite as bad, at L5-S1 just one south of yours. At first they thought it was sacrum/illiac joint but did the MRI and saw it was L5/S1. I did the direct steroid lydacane (sp?) injections to both areas and it reduced the swelling enough to take the pressure off the nerve root group and return the disc to generally the original position. Did they offer to do the injections first and see where that got you? There are risks to taking material off a disc like that, namely that it can re-injure pretty easily. Think of it as a Lower Control Arm bushing where the diameter of the hole in the middle has ovalized, then you are shaving some of the material that bulged out off. Leaving less material to handle the job. Are they going to do any fusing?

timmbuck2
12-07-2011, 08:27 PM
nope no fusing. he said that injections were not very useful on this one, same as the drugs I had been taking orally....it seemed so matter of fact I did not think of a second opinion. He gave me a pretty clean bill of health moving forward, assuming I take better care of myself, and not do anything stupid.

Trapper50cal
12-07-2011, 08:40 PM
yeah, it's pretty severely herniated, not surprised they went straight for surgery as the course of action. As others have said, be careful. It's going to feel like a million bucks but you can't push it. You (and I) have to build up core strength to help that area out.

rmcruisers
12-09-2011, 06:57 PM
Good luch with your surgery Timm.

Ron and Deb

timmbuck2
12-10-2011, 09:33 AM
Went well...but apparently I forgot how to breathe while in recovery so they kept me overnight. Hope to go home soon. Pretty sore but leg pain is gone already!

Red_Chili
12-10-2011, 01:45 PM
Hope all is well with you Timm. Obviously you won't want me to deliver the engine hoist and cart today.

Let me know, I can hardly stuff anything bigger than a postcard in the garage, the missus has just enough space to stay out of the ice and frost and whatnot.

simps80
12-10-2011, 02:52 PM
Hope your recovery is swift and whole.

timmbuck2
02-09-2012, 09:56 AM
Quick update, at 6 weeks post surgery I was given the green light to slowly start my usual activities, and other than an occasional pain flare (usually from coughing or sneezing) and I remarkably pain free and back to most of my usual activities, including things I have not done in a year or more. Even driving is pain free, which was NOT the case...I remember being close to tears last year driving to and from Cruise Moab, and on the trail as a trail leader during CM 2011 was hell...and I had no pain relievers or anything. I am almost back to normal, and getting back in the gym has been awesome, mentally and physically. I am very much excited about being able to wheel again, pain free!! Thanks to those who contacted me with support and kind words. I appreciated them more than you know.

Timm

OilHammer
02-09-2012, 11:29 AM
I've been living with a similar issue for nearly 20 years, and here's what helps me.

Never, I mean NEVER stop going to the gym. If I even miss a week, I begin to feel the slippery slope, and after 2 weeks I'm starting to have real problems. The only way I can get back to working out is to take anti-inflammatories (Alleve, etc). The downside of the antiflammies is they tear your stomach up and you get heartburn that lingers.

Give up running. There's no point in it anyway unless a bear is chasing you. You can get a far better workout in less time by swimming instead.

The more strength you have in your lower back, the better. It seems counter productive, but doing lat pull downs & rows has made a world of difference in my life. You can also do the roman chair (or whatever that is called) but I couldn't start that right away.

If you have a flare up, beer actually works pretty well. There's something about the relaxing of the muscles, and the buzz numbs the pain. Like the pills though, it has a downside, so you are just trading one organ for another. I drink far more beer now than I would like to, but the pills are just unbearable and I can only handle a day or two on them before needing weeks off.

Well, glad to hear that you are doing so well. Maybe someday they will perfect the disk replacement surgery. I have looked at a couple about 3-4 years ago, and they are getting a lot better. I like the replacement idea more than the fusion, but doc says no go until I just can't cope any longer. Well, at this rate, I may avoid it until I'm 50. :)

RockRunner
02-09-2012, 01:56 PM
Great to hear you are doing so well. I echo the advice rutbeer gave you regarding staying active. Took a weekend off a few weeks ago and did absolutely nothing except watch TV and surf the net. Monday morning came and I was in so much pain I had to take Percs all day just to work.

Take it easy starting the workout routine and build up slowly. My best machine is the rowing machine, the one with water in a big round enclosure. The nice thing about it is that you adjust everything during the exercise, how hard you pull, use of your legs or arms etc. you get the idea.

Just get out there and be smart :thumb:

Fishy
08-19-2012, 04:56 PM
Resurrecting an older thread here. I've been dealing with a lower back issue for a while, it's been on and off for about 2 years. Over the last 2 weeks it's gotten to the point where I can hardly walk without unbelievable pain in my lower back (center/left side) that shoots down my butt and the back of my left leg. It's like being struck by lightening. It's not every step or in every position, but when it hits it almost drops me to my knees. Stretching/arching my back brings on the worst pain as does sitting or lying down and trying to lift my legs. I have to change position every minute to keep the pain at bay.

I already called in sick for tomorrow and I'm looking for Doctors not too far from my house. I'm in SE Aurora/Centennial. Does anyone have a recommendation?

timmbuck2
08-24-2012, 07:54 AM
Sounds a lot like the sciatica I was dealing with..see someone soon! The prednisone or injections will at least help you for now! My doc is out here in Golden, kinda far for you...

RockRunner
08-24-2012, 08:54 AM
Stan, I just got 2 sets of shots for my back but trust me . has diminished by about 90 per and and the rope burning aching pain in my joints has now become a dull ache. let me know my doctor is very very good and is I would have my back operate on right no but I have to wait till February Feb worry when I can get L 4 -5 and 6 fused. it's always good to have to doctors th unfortunately some of us here have way too much experience with thi so ask questions and hopefully we can give you the answer

Fishy
08-24-2012, 11:17 PM
I was supposed to go today, my back felt pretty good and I had a few other things that needed done as well. I postponed my appointment and now I'm wishing I didn't. I was thinking that I was improving, and now, not so much. At least I can walk today, but the pain is still there.

Thanks for the advice. I'll take it easy this weekend and make a new appointment on Monday.

RockRunner
08-26-2012, 11:01 PM
You should have gone but then you know that already. The pain will come and go and so will the desire for a doctors visit. I personally can't wait to get mine done, spend most of today in bed after taking some heavy dury pain meds and just dozing in and out of it.

Let us know how it goes and if you need to see another doctor.

Beater
08-27-2012, 06:19 AM
good luck timm. I have yet to meet anyone who wasn't thrilled they had it done.

godspeed.

Fishy
09-18-2012, 11:05 PM
So after 2 weeks of PT and some light meds, I'm able to at least walk normal again. My pain has gone down a lot, but it's still there. I was finally able to get an MRI today. It's pretty clear where the problem is.

It took me forever to get in to see a quality back doctor/neurosurgeon. I was in so much pain a few weeks ago I went to a walk-in doctor at Piney Creek Medical. He told me I had a scar tissue problem and not a disc problem and he wasn't ready to order an MRI. I was still a week away from my appointment with Dr. Prusmack, so I took the meds, went through the PT and waited until a Board Certified doctor was able to make a better determination of what was going on and order an MRI right away.

I'm not a doctor, but it's clear I have a disc that is in terrible shape. Waiting to hear from the doc on what's next. I would have liked to have seen that disc 2 weeks ago when I was in some of the worst pain of my life!


For those of you who've had surgery, how do you feel now? Are you able to run long distance? Mountain bike? Ride in your vehicle for a few hours?

timmbuck2
09-19-2012, 09:57 AM
Did you see my MRI on the first page? :eek:


For those of you who've had surgery, how do you feel now? Are you able to run long distance? Mountain bike? Ride in your vehicle for a few hours?

I gained some weight post surgery, so running has not been as easy, but little to no back pain at all. Also done some riding with no issues. I fly and drive a lot for work, and not really had any issues, other than sleeping on a lot of different beds can aggravate it.....again as I lose a few pounds it should all get even better. I am very happy with my results, they could be better but mainly my own fault.

Fishy
09-21-2012, 11:30 AM
So, they want to operate on Tuesday. He said it's a rather large disc and it would take a really long time to heal with just PT and meds (most of which I can't take anyway because of work)

I'm leaning towards the surgery, just for the relief. We have a trip planned to Telluride 5 days post op. The doc felt I'd be fine on the drive (especially if my wife drove) and we made some stops to get out and walk around. Were you guys able to drive for any length of time after surgery?

The other alternative is dealing with the pain until November which is when the "normal" scheduled surgeries are booking.

We are headed to Walt Disney World in early November for 10 Fun Filled Magical days..... And I don't want to be out of commission for that. The Disney trip cost me a rather large sum, and my kids are over the top excited, so that's the really important one. The doc said I'd be fine for flying to Florida and walking a few miles each day in November if we operate now. Any insight on what you were able to do 6 weeks after surgery? Could you walk 1-2 miles a day for a week straight? Ride some kids rides?