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  #1  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 02:12 AM
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AspenUSMC AspenUSMC is offline
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Default Preventing Back Surgery

Hey there, All

I'm recovering from a herneated disk in my lumbar spine, and my physical therapist has been stressing core strengthening and (eventually) pilates work to get me strong enough to avoid surgery.

I'm very encouraged by the language used to describe the FitPrime workouts, and I'm hoping that very soon I'll be able to use some of them.

Has anyone had a herneated disk and gone without surgery? What kind of exercise did you ease back into after therapy?

I'll be given the go-ahead for vigorous no-impact workouts next month, and I want to be ready! I'm so tired of being a lump!
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  #2  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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Tarheels Tarheels is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Hi, Aspen, I don't have any experience with back problems, but I just wanted to send you healing vibes.
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  #3  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 09:03 AM
mec mec is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

HI Aspen, I have a herniated disc in my neck. I got it in January 2004 and have not had surgery. I had physical therapy for 6 weeks and then was given the ok by my orthopedist and physical therapist to go back to my regular workouts--firm/fitprime and tae kwon doe. The only instructions I got from the physical therapist were to continue with the shoulder and neck stretches she taught me. I was very nervous at first, and went slow on the weights, but I haven't had any problems.

Good luck on your recovery!
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  #4  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 03:11 PM
hope2bfit hope2bfit is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Hi Aspen. I've had 3 back surgeries in a 2 year period. I struggled with herniated lumbar disks (L4 & L5) for 3 years before I had to have surgery. During that time, I tried everything from PT to injections etc. Nothing seemed to work for long. I would get what my neurosurgeon referred to as flareups caused by everyday movement. I still get them every now and then. They are so bad that you can't do anything. The first surgery I had was on L4. It had got so big that it completely wrapped around the nerve root and ruptured. I cannot put into words the pain I felt. My doc told me after I was back in my room that he couldn't believe how big it had gotten. He had to cut the disk and then pry the nerves off before he could continue with the surgery. Needless to say, I have numbness, weakness and some pain in my left leg to this day because of it. To make matters worse, the same disk (L4) ruptured again 10 weeks after I had my first surgery. I don't know why. I started to have some severe pain but I thought I was having a bad day. I didn't think anything unusual given I had recently had surgery. Well on my first day back to work (I was put on light duty in the office because I couldn't physically do my regular job) I was in the locker room at break time, I stood up and had the take my breath away kind of pain that I had only felt once before but will never forget. I fell to the floor. I started to lose feeling from below my waist and the whole left leg and foot. I'm starting to freak out as I was only 29 at the time. I had to be taken to the hospital by rescue squad. I couldn't sit, stand, crawl or walk. I tried to stand up with assistance (I'm hard headed) but the pain was so intense that I passed out. I was admitted and had my second surgery on L4 a few days later. So that is 2 surgeries on L4 in a 10 -11 week period. I had another surgery on L5 a year later. I was at work again. I sat down in the cafeteria and ruptured a disk. I haven't had any fusions. I'm hoping to have a disk replacement but I don't think I meet the qualifications for it as of yet. Because it is recently approved by the FDA, only certain cases are allowed. It might be available for me down the road. I hope. I have degenerative disk disease really bad in the lumbar area, spinal stenosis in L4 & L5 and nerve root pain, weakness from the ruptures and surgery as well as arthritis. I'm on oxycontin and percocet for chronic pain as well as a tens unit. I do pilates everyday. I have the machine as I like the support it gives me. I ordered all 12 workouts but I have to go by how I'm feeling. Alot of times, my pain and weakness/numbness will come on hours after my activity but by then it's too late. The pain meds help will any pain I may have at the time of the activity. My advice is to be careful. The statistic is if you have 1 back surgery , you are more likely that you will have another. However, IMO, it depends upon your condition. If you have chronic pain weakness etc that isn't getting better and you can't function, I'd have the surgery. (I have no choice with all of mine) Keep in mind, any surgery is a gamble. Besides the risks involved in the surgery itself, you may not be any better off afterwards. I am better off because I can move however I am left wth chronic pain, numbness and weakness in my left leg and foot and chronic back pain. I believe alot of my problems today is because my doc waited so long to intervene. My insurance also required a 6 weeks wait ( for the 3rd surgery) even though I knew it was ruptured and I had had 2 prior surgeries. When a disk ruptures, it can leave residual nerve damage. By all means, listen to your docs but if given the option of treatment, research it and figure out what is best for you. Your the one that has to live with it. Good luck!
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  #5  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Donell Donell is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Hi Donna and Aspen,

Donna,

So sorry to hear all the pain you have been thru; you left me a message,
I never did have the surgery. I didn't bail out; I took my daughter to dr for
ear probs and came home with the flu. One can't have surgery, if you have
had the flu 3 days prior to surgery. OR Nurse says it can stay in your system
for 2wks and i was congested. I have an herniated disc, but the gel/fluid
is gone between L4-L5...they want to take my L5 out and replace it with a
fake one....S1 is messed up...total 8hr surgery, few other glitches.

I have been in a lot of pain, sciatica down both legs....did the chiropractic route, helped but didn't solve the problem. Have tried pilates, stability ball,....tons of motrin. Navy didn't offer me anything stronger.....

Apsen, as Donna said, it is an individual situation...I have had pain for almost
20yrs. It all started for me..at 23 when i was at work...moved a chair
and got stuck....half way coming up. (think of sticking your butt out real
far...like Carol Burnett playing Mrs. Whowiggins.....i know i'm not spelling it
right.
Do all you can to avoid surgery, but sometimes you can't....I am at the can't
anymore situation. Dr told me...if i don't have it eventually; i will lose all
sensation in my groin area. Sometimes when i walk...i feel like my hip is
going to go out. Pain varies...all according to what i do or don't do.

MRI is key to finding out the true picture of what is going on.

Drinking water helps...keeps joints lubricated and more range of flexibility
helps...less pain, listening to your body, do what you can and be respectful
if you can't, motrin is my best friend. Doing the wheel in yoga on the stability ball gave me a lot of relief/pain wise. Avoid high impact.....and
losing weight helps..less weight on your spine!

Take Care,
~Donell
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  #6  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 06:33 PM
NeonJungle NeonJungle is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Hi, Amy!!! Good to see you over here, and best of luck to you! My mom had a herniated disc in her neck, and by taking care of herself, it resolved and she didn't ahve to have surgery.
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  #7  
Unread March 5th, 2005, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Donna,

Oh have MERCY!

Mine situation is isolated to the L5-S1. It is a 7mm bulge. I have not ruptured. I, too, have numbness from hip to toe in the right leg and foot.

The pain, on the day I finally herneated out of shape, was JUST like what you described. I couldn't do anything but lie flat on my back. The trip from the car to the ER was so excruciating. I have never experienced anything that painful (childbirth never even came CLOSE to that pain).

But...I am almost pain-free right now. My physical therapist is going to allow me to begin pilates next month if I continue to improve. I see a neurologist (sp?) this next week to consult. If he give the go-ahead, I will continue with PT rather than further investigation on surgery.
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  #8  
Unread March 6th, 2005, 09:38 AM
hope2bfit hope2bfit is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

I think you'll really enjoy pilates. Concentrate on the breathing and you'll notice a difference. I don't have any children so I can't compare the pain to that of childbirth. At least with pregnancy, you know what you're getting into and what a blessing it is in the end.... I'm working out again with the firm classics and am eagerly awaiting the new BBH productions as everyone else is. It was a long time before I could do anything and actually my doc hasn't officially released me. I'm doing it on my own based on how I feel. My back is getting stronger as well as my core. It has been a tremendous help with some pain relief. I'm actually trying to get to the point where I don't need pain meds. I haven't brought it up with my docs because they tell me to not even try to get off the meds as my condition will get worse as I get older. I refuse to give up at the age of 35. I tried water aerobics and I loved it. It felt great on my back but it made my leg pain worse afterwards due to the constant resistance so I had to give that up for now. If you're like me, you might have some bad days every now and then. Try not to let it get you down. Good luck with your recovery.
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  #9  
Unread March 12th, 2005, 05:51 AM
jeanniem jeanniem is offline
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

I have 2 bulging discs I got from heavy weight training 12 years ago. I had pain from my hip to my toes in the right leg. I do FP's, Firm, and TLPs which all help a ton - so does yoga and pilates. The things that helped me the most was definitely strengthing my core. Back when it happened I had to take about 2 months off and start back slowly. It occasionally still bothers me, but not nearly as much as it did when it happened.

I hope you're feeling better!!!!!!!
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  #10  
Unread March 12th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Preventing Back Surgery

Donna, your surgery history is a lot like mine. I've had three lower back surgeries at the L4-5 level in a three year period. Mine was due to two car accidents within a year of each. I would have been after my first surgery, but the second car accident reruptured the disc. Both accidents were identical, three cars involved and I was hit from behind.

The second surgery was a failed surgery. I was bedridden for a year before going back to my first surgeon. After having an MRI done, he confirmed that I needed another surgery asap. This one was a fusion and I've been doing pretty darn good for the most part.

I would definitely go with the PT. I did this for almost 9 months. Although I did need surgery in the long run, I have never doubted my decision.

I wish you the best of luck.
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