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Back operations - the good, the bad and the ugly

Discussion in 'General Health/Fitness & Injuries' started by RTE, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    I might get one. I can't take the pain and nerve problems. I will hear something next week from latest MRI. I finished a three shot steroid program with no relief. I had gotten good results in 2004.

    Let me hear some of your case results.
     
  2. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    What kind of back problems are you having? If it's lower back, I solved that by lifting weights. But it may just aggrevate your problem. If it hurts to lift then it's not solving your problem.

    If it's an upper back/shoulder/neck area nerve problem then I would suggest you see a neurosurgeon and explain the pain. It may be pressure that can be released with an operation. Especially if it includes numbness of the arm or tingling of the fingers.
     
  3. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I use about 220lbs on lower back machine and rowing machines. About 160 on the lat pulldown. No pain.

    But walk thru a store or stand/sit for any period. Pain aglore. I am going to a neurosurgeon have been for years. He tries to avoid operations for my lower back. But now he has begun thinking we might go that way. I have numbness in both feet.

    Any lower back operations out there? What methods were used?
     
    #3 RTE, Apr 10, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
  4. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    Doctor said it looks bad but he left things up to me. He said I will always have some pain on and off. An operation will reduce pain a bit and help leg pains but not the numbness hardly at all. He just wanted to be truthful.

    I decided to wait a bit more. :cool:
     
  5. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    I'd probably wait a bit more too just to be certain, good call.

    What specifically did the doctor say was wrong though?
     
  6. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    Degenerative discs and bulging disc pinching the sciatic nerves. I had known it for over five years or more. The steroids shots didn't ease it, this time. This is first time he offered operating, he is honest not knife happy. If it gets to a point, I can't stand it. I will go with him. He will cut back bone to relieve pressure. the pain is not muscle but more like nerve or bone.

    I was at a party and a guy of 30, who said the operation was the best thing he had done. I said "what did it do for you". He said well I still have numbness and can't stand for a long time or do alot of walking but I have less pain. Gosh, I have pain sitting, standing and walking, and numbness. It sounds like he wasn't cured.

    If pain is not flared up I can lift with no problem. This afternoon, I lifted some tree limbs about 8' long and 8" in diameter moved them to fire, no pain. I use 220 on lower back machine for 8-12 reps 3/3 cadence, no pain.
     
  7. afraser42

    afraser42 Active Member

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    I honestly don't have any advice to give on this, but I wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery. My grandfather is currently going through a lot of back problems right now (is in a brace) and I would not wish such on my worst enemy.
     
  8. RV8

    RV8 Active Member

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    I have been told by a couple people (30 somethings) who had back surgery that they have serious ED after surgery. They HAVE to use Viagara or a variant to get it up. No joking.

    Have you tried Chiropractic? I had pain and numbness in my lower back running down through my right leg and messing with my little me so bad I couldn't sit. Just the half hour drive home from work was unbearable.

    After exams, ultrasounds and what have you, I was finally convinced to visit a chiropractor. So I proceeded to cut a free coupon out of the yellow pages and made an appointment. To make a long story short; I went home after the "adjustment" feeling no different. The doc. gave me a couple pcs. of paper with instructions to follow and as the evening wore on I started to feel some pretty intense soreness in my lower back so I read the instructions, which basically said to ice it (which I did). I layed on the ice bag all night and woke up the next morning a new man. Never had the problem since, that was Nov. 2006.

    Try it, but don't fall for the "maintenance" hype. From what I understand they adjust you IN one week, adjust you back OUT the next, then back IN the 3rd and so on. I never went back to allow the guy to adjust me back out.
     
  9. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    Sounds similar to my problems, though I think mine were not as bad as yours. No problems exercising, but sitting in certain chairs would hurt after 10 minutes (a booth in a restaurant would be horrible).

    What is the "low back machine?" Is your machine the kind you sit in and push back against a pad (almost like the reverse of a crunch machine, pushing back instead of forward)? What else have you done for your lower back over the years? Have you tried some other exercises?

    I've been pain-free for a few years now from a combination of chiropractic and (most important) proper weightlifting and strengthening my lower back. I'm glad I didn't have surgery, I don't think it was so bad that I really needed it. Your situation might be worse, or different, of course. If you want more info on training and stretching let me know, I'd be happy to elaborate. :)

    That's not the case with my chiropractor, but maybe I just got lucky. Whoever told you that needs to find a new doctor. :)
     
  10. RV8

    RV8 Active Member

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    That's cool, I guess I just needed one adjustment, but I know people who buy monthly subscriptions and it sounds a little fishy.

    No one told me, I just kinda figured something was up based on what a bunch of people told me of their experiences.

    I will absofuckinglutely agree with you on the: "most important: Proper weightlifting and strengthening my lower back". statement, that is numero uno to keeping a healthy back.

    I have NEVER been convinced by anyone who has had back surgery that it is a good idea.


    BTW, I fell (back first) 9+' onto a concrete floor and landed on my right hand (ulna fragmented and exited) and tail-bone. The Chiro said I had some serious damage back there and that was before I told him about the fall. No doc. ever informed me of that info..

    http://www.noelkingsley.com/blog/A4ulna.jpg

    After the much needed adjustment and back.com exercises, I have been good.

    I had an army doc. repair my wrist, the guy is a genius and I couldn't have asked for a better surgeon.:tu:
     
  11. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    A chiropractor was the one that identified my degenerative discs, He put 2 x rays up, mine and 83 year old guy. He said mine was far worse. He said he didn't know if he could help. He didn't really. He said what ever you do avoid operations as long as you can.

    A month or so after his attempt, I was getting a Air Force physical and told doctor about x rays, he had me take some and called me back. He said chiropractor was right, I had a bad back and try to avoid operations as long as you can.

    My neurosurgeon has avoided it for over 5 years. But he thinks it is next step. There seems to be agreement, I have bad back.

    Yes that is lower back machine. I have done/do rows, deadlifts( I avoid when back is acting up), pullovers, pulldowns, hyperextensions (which I stopped doing). I did get the MBT shoes which forces you to stay in balance and reduce pain from walking. I think I might get a backjoy device to help you sit without pain.
     
  12. Cramp11

    Cramp11 Active Member

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    Sorry to hear about your back.

    I had back surgery about 4 years ago. They did a discetomy. I had a herniation at the L5-S1 level. 6mm pushing on my S1 nerve. After that I was doing great. Lifted weights on/off and really got back into playing ice hockey (3-4 times per week)

    Last year my left calf went numb and I lost about 70% of the strength in it. I had an MRI and all looked fine. After a month of rehab, I was good to go and got back to life as normal. (hockey hockey and more hockey)

    In Jan 2009, I reinjured. The MRI showed another herniation at the L5-S1 level. This time it's 5mm pushing on my S1 nerve. I did rehab for a month, but even the simplest exercises were making the nerve flare up. My doctor stopped me from going and has referred me to the surgeon I saw last time. I'm still waiting to see him.

    I have not tried lifting weights, but if I walk for more then 10 min, I flare up and spend the rest of the day on the couch wishing someone would shoot me. It's very frustrating. My goal when I was working out was to get to 210lbs. When I hurt myself, I dropped to about 187 and now I'm up to 200lbs. (not a good 200lbs)

    Good luck with whatever you decide. If my solution is to go under the knife again, I won't hesitate to do it. I want my life back.
     
  13. DonCT

    DonCT Active Member

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    It's been awhile since I've been on this board. I dropped off after injuring my back doing squats last June. I was stupid and not wearing a belt. When I started up my hips rolled out on me and I felt a twinge. At first I thought it was simply a muscle strain since I had felt that kind of pain before. I tried home treatment comprised of heat/ice and high dose ibuprofen. After 3 days it wasn't improving so I decided to try a chiro since I had tried a regular doctor for the previous injuries to my back. They did electro-stimulation to help the muscles then manipulation on my pelvis. After 2 weeks of that there was still no improvement. So that's when I went to see my regular doctor.

    Since I was having some tingling/numbness in my right foot they decided to send me for an MRI. It turns out that I had ruptured the L5-S1 disc and a piece was lodged between the disc and spinal cord. It was pushing on the nerves and causing the problems.

    [​IMG]

    I was referred to a neuro and had surgery Sept. 8th. It was a micro-endoscopic procedure where they basically scoped my back. I went to PT for about a month after that and was feeling better...

    Fast forward to today. I'm still having lingering issues with the L5-S1 disc. It's still herniated and putting slight pressure on the nerve root. This is leading to pain down my left leg to the knee. I've now been referred to a pain management physician and am supposed to be getting injections to help. The goal right now is to take care of the herniation pain.

    The neuro said that my discs are really degenerated and I will probably be having more surgery down the road. You can see in that MRI that the L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs are both basically black. That means they're pretty far gone, and I'm only 31! The degeneration begain when I injured it in the military lifing a cable reel.

    So I can definitely identify with your situation. Hopefully they're able to help with your pain and you can continue with your life!
     
  14. vertigo88

    vertigo88 Active Member

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    Hi rtestes,

    since 23 I've had lower back issues. Started when I worked in a medical lab, hard floors, pinched my sciatic nerve. Went to a chiro, have uneven legs, puts strain on hips and also blessed with flat feet so the combo isn't great. I wear sandals even in the house on hard wood or ceramic floors. Took up kayaking...seemed to really help my back. between 23-30 it went out one other time.

    fast foward to 14 months ago, started having lower back issues, they got horrible, slowly lost 70% of the feeling and strength in my left leg. My doc sent me for an MRI, thought it was over kill. Results back said I had a "moderately severe" hernated disc (l5-s1) and said I needed surgery. I'm in canada, it takes ages to see specialists. In the mean time I was on pain killers, hobbling around, could barely sleep and walking some days was really difficult.

    Not sure if I just got used to it, or if since I do the farm thing and I'm stubborn the pain sort of settled. I had a biz trip in vegas so that was a TON of walking. A few weeks after I got out I started working out. SLOWLY! started back stuff with GM...and like just the bar. Within a few months I noticed that I had feeling back in my leg and my back felt pretty decent.

    I did do a lot of reading on back surgery. Seemed that for some back issues it's a fairly minor surgery, remove small areas to allow nerves to heal. By the time I had the referal to meet the surgeon I had full range of motion, no pain (unless I push right on my spine in that area...so I'm aware of the issue and keep that in mind when doing anything physical). For almost a year now I've been squatting, DL, plyometrics, rowing....without issue.

    Given I'm 33, I'm sure it'll come back to haunt me at some point, but in the mean time my theory is that if I keep the muscles in good shape and active maybe I can avoid it.

    Now if everything I did had resulted in less of a "miracle" I would have gone with the surgery. The pain, leg issues, lack of mobility, sleeping pain was making me nuts (I also have autoimmune muscle issues....so spent 2 years before the back thing in various levels of pain head to toe). Like anything else, research the hell out of your options, but at the end of the day, you have to make the best decision for you. Seems that there's a lot of people who have recieved massive relief from surgery.

    Good luck, and I do feel for you, back pain really sucks and makes everything else in a day difficult and draining.
     
  15. Jedi

    Jedi Well-Known Member

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    Rtestes, are you carrying any excess weight on your gut which could be aggravating the pain? or is this an irrelevant question to your particular problems?
     
  16. brandonaw

    brandonaw Active Member

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    Way out of my comfort zone here but would core exercises help strengthen the muscles around the spine and help compensate for the lagging discs?
     
  17. dickev

    dickev Active Member

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    rtestes,
    Seems like you are lucky the people you have seen so far have given you good advice.
    Avoid Chiropractic/ Physiotherapy or any other physical manipulation.
    Hyperflexion (curling up into a ball) for a few minutes sometimes helps, by opening up the posterior disk space.
    Without seeing your imaging, it seems from your description that the problem is degenerative and progressive.
    You have to accept that. There is no 66yr old on earth that does not have obvious vertebral body and facet joint osteophytes on x-rays.
    Bottom line is that you should try to cope with analgesia and rest when the pain flares up.
    Surgery is the last resort, but it sounds like you are at that point.
    Do'nt be unrealistic about surgical results. In a young person with a single disc herniation compressing a single nerve root, surgery can work well, but if your spine is generally degenerative, results are usually pretty poor. The bony overgrowths will always return and disc herniation usually recurs, in combination with scar tissue caused by surgery. But surgery could buy you a few years with less pain.
     

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