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Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?(11 posts)

Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?High Gear
Jun 7, 2003 1:04 PM
My doctor wants me to see a neurologist for a bulging L-4 and L-5. I've ben living with sciatica every day for the last two years. I can't even tie my shoes in the morning. I limber up around 4-5 hours after I awake. Riding is ok but sitting in a chair puts pressure on the nerve. Lately my (past two weeks) I haven't felt like rideing due to the draining pain. Anyone know what a neurologist is? I don't want to waist my time or money talking to someone that can't help me. I'm at the end. My quality of life has slowly been degenerating to not even wanting to riding. I feel I'm ready for that operation were they remove part of the disk.
re: Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?mdooley0
Jun 7, 2003 3:03 PM
A neurologist is who you need to see. I had L5 S1 repaired 2 years ago and have been pain free ever since. I'm riding 200+ miles a week and getting stronger.........
Don't waste any more time, get to a dr and start living again. I suffered over 2 years, everyone said, "you'll be worse". Get with it and don't waste anymore time.......
markdooley@hotmail.com
I'm going to push for the operation.High Gear
Jun 7, 2003 6:05 PM
My doctor is the type that thinks operating is the dead last resort. Matter of fact, he had it done himself and runs every day. I can't do that. Thats ok, maybe I'm not getting it across to him how much this is effecting my life. I'm seeing the neurologist on the 12th. Let ya know. Thanks for the responses. Everyone that has had it done praises it. But all you hear from the physical therapist is horror stories. Anything has to be better than this.
Herniated DIscJaeP
Jun 7, 2003 5:33 PM
Greetings,
I just had a lumbar disectomy for a herniated disc in the L-4 and L-5 region. I had the operation one month ago and it was the best thing I ever did. My sciatica was constant. It was difficult for me to even sleep at night because of the pain in my leg. I don't know how you could live with it for two years! I could only stand it for three months before I decided to have surgery. I was scared about having an operation and I heard all of the back surgery horror stories but I wasn't getting any better.

The operation is an out patient procedure and it should take about 45 minutes. When I was in the recovery room (about 2 hours after surgery) I felt so much better. No more sciatic pain. Five days after the operation I was walking upright and pain free. Heed the advice of your doctor and don't jump on the bike to early. I thought I felt good enough to ride and I felt my sciatica come back. The whole healing process should take about 3 - 6 months.

If your still scared go to your local library and check out books about back pain and get informed.

Hope all goes well!
Here Is My Horror Story!BigLeadOutGuy
Jun 7, 2003 6:31 PM
If its at the point where your quality of life is that bad then get it done. I had some pain in my back for over a year and didnt think much of it till it got progressively worse and worse, it was to the point where I couldnt cough, laugh or sneeze or even ride, the slightest jolt would send a parylizing pain down my spine. As luck would have it I ended up getting hit by a truck and ended up being parylized from the chest down with no feeling whatsoever, after all the cat scans and MRIs and Xrays, they had found I tumor growing on my spinal cord in my neck area as well at a bulging disc in my neck and one in my lumbar area. Needless to say surgery was the only option unless I wanted to be a parapeligic or end up dying. They did a 6 hour surgery on my spinal cord, got the tumor out. The pain was pretty horrendous but immediatly after the surgery I had all my muscle coordination back as well as all the feeling in my body too. I guess my situation was just about worst case scenario but I am happy to say that the surgery went very well, I was in incredible amount of pain for about 2 weeks but was able to walk and use my arms, after about 4 weeks I was even better within 6 weeks I was spinning on the trainer and last week was my 10th weeks out of surgery and I placed 3rd in my first race back after 3 months off the bike. Dont get me wrong tho, i healed faster then fast...I beleive the projected recovery time for my surgery was close to 12 months. there is still a lot of numbness in the area they opened me up and after a long day it hurts, but its a heck of a lot better then being parylized. If you want the gritty detail or have questions about things I will be more then happy to help, just drop me an e-mail...joethesurfpunk@aol.com
Good luck you have my best wishes
Choosing the right doctor is importantkcd
Jun 7, 2003 8:02 PM
If you decide to get a back operation, make sure the Dr. does this type of operation frequently w/high success rate. Check around to find out who's the best in the area.
Choosing the right doctor is importantHigh Gear
Jun 8, 2003 7:52 AM
Well the doctor I'm seeing has a good reputation. My PCP recomended him. My chiropractor has heard good things about him too. His name is DR.Krompinger out of Hartford hospital, Hartford CT. I'm not sure if any of you are from around here. I hope they think I'm bad enough to give me the knife. I get the hint my PCP wants me bed ridden before a opreation is performed. I'm in pain 75% of the day and lately about 30% of the night.
re: Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?gtx
Jun 7, 2003 9:29 PM
If you haven't already, you should read this book.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446392308

I was in your shoes five years ago. Haven't had any pain since (I'm even back riding a hardtail mtb).

Good luck!
Go For Endoscopic Surgeryplasticol123
Jun 7, 2003 10:06 PM
I had endoscopic disquectomy 2 years ago and 99% of my pain is gone, the porcedure was a breeze, was done only under sedation and it was endoscopic, so very fast recovery and short surgery.
I was riding pain free about 2 weeks after surgery, complete recovery may take 3-4 months.
My doctor was a pioneer in flexible scopes for surgery =fast recovery and great improvement.
If you are in the Los Angeles area e-mail me and I will give you his name/number.
Good Look.
Oscar
re: Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?boyd2
Jun 8, 2003 6:10 AM
I was in the exact same boat 5 years ago. After 2 years of pain I had a micro-endoscopic discectomy. No stitches, on my feet (but wobbly) that night. I was walking the next day and light riding in about 4 weeks. 3 years after surgery I have occational pain when I shovel or split wood. Long rides are not a problem and I still run and swim alot.

I was scared to do the surgery, but I could not have been happier with the result.

One thing that will effect your outcome is your physical condition. Overweight, out of shape people do not do as well as fit people in any surgery. I presume that you are somewhat fit and seem to be motivated to get better. That will help you alot. E-mail if you like. johncboyd at yahoo.
re: Anyone with disk problems that have had the operation?ET
Jun 9, 2003 1:30 PM
High Gear, you should also keep in mind that those on this board are more likely to be representative of those with successful surgeries (for otherwise, they wouldn't be here, would they?). There is another group for whom, even if the initial surgery is successful, recurrence occurs a few years down the road, they get another surgery, then need fusion surgery, then find themselves with additional disc problems and even neck problems, and yet more surgeries, and then are disabled or very limited in their physical activity. Some post-ops end up with mysterious new pain (e.g. unbearable big toe pain).

I've had L4-L5 sciatica for 4 years now, and it was really very bad for the first few years. I've also had foot surgeries which didn't go that well, which contributed greatly to my wanting to avoid back surgery. If you have no choice, it certainly is something to consider, but you do have choices to try first:

You can get what's called an epiduroscopy, usually performed by a pain mgmt back doc. It's an outpatient procedure where they enter with a teensy scope (leaving a teensy incision you can barely see) at the top edge of your butt crack and inject anti-inflammatory and painkilling meds down the various nerve roots. They can also scrape away observed scar tissue through the scope. The procedure is so minimally invasive that you can go back to work after one day or so. How beneficial the results are vary, but some patients get tremendous relief (although admittedly sometimes temporary), and then PT/chiro-type stuff is added under the direction of your pain mgmt back doc, which also sometimes helps. The scope procedure (better than a blind epdiural shot, which often misses and can harm) can be repeated a couple of times as needed. I got a 50% permanent reduction in pain from that procedure (I'm holding a year later).

In addition to learning to sit properly (with an arch in the small of your back), you can take up yoga, which may or may not offer substantial relief. It will certainly help with flexibility and back strengthening. A PT/yoga guru told me in a consult to concentrate mainly on backward bends and to get a bolster to lie on on the floor (both under my stomach, e.g. when lying stomach down and reading, and also at different points under my back) when I come home from work (further contributing to extended backbends). A month later, my pain has been cut another 50%. I am considering another epiduroscopy come January if needed. But now I'm glad I waited, and am finally starting to believe that I am the ONE (oops, wrong movie :-)), that I will recover completely in time, or at least reach the point that it won't bother me too much anymore, which often is the same as the result from surgery anyway.

Sure, surgery is tempting, and it is an option. You should know, though, that it is rarely performed in Europe and overperformed in the U.S., and there is controversy about that. I know people personally with each type of outcome--the ones who were completely better soon after surgery, and those who got in trouble. Read up about it and decide. You could try my suggestions first.