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Old 04-05-2011, 05:18 PM   #21
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My condition has slowly gotten better each day, and today I went ahead with the steroid injection, just about 5 or 6 hours ago. It seems to already be working, I am able to stand, sit, or walk without pain.

I'm still scared to make any sudden movements, and I think my running days will be severely diminished if not done. Strangely, even before the injection and when I was unable to sit or stand for very long, I was able to ride my bike without pain. On Saturday I rode for an hour without any problem.

The radiologist who did it and one of the nurses both said they have had these done as well, which was somewhat reassuring. He looked at my MRI and said my condition was about a 3 on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the worst. He also said he does this frequently for the Saints and Hornets players, and some of them are in much worse shape.

In the few hours that have passed since I was at the hospital, I think this has been a success. I'm supposed to start PT soon.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:40 PM   #22
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I had a C5/6/7 anterior diskectomy and anterior fusion done about 3 years ago for a tight spinal stenosis and developing myelopathy, as well as radicular symptoms - pins and needles in my hands and loss of sensation. I do a great deal of dictation at w*rk and over time gaps appeared in my dictation - I was releasing the dictation switch without realizing it.

It took at least 2 years to recover fully from the myelopathy ( compressive damage to the spinal cord) and I would have gone gradually downhill if I had not had the surgery. Memories of the aftermath of the surgery are painful but at least it got me to stop smoking.

There is somewhat of a difference between cervical and lumbar spine disc disease - at the neck the discs and bony spurs can compress both the spinal cord and the nerve roots, whereas it is mostly nerve compression in the lumbar spine.

Chiropractic manipulation of the neck - I would be careful - I have read a few bad/sad stories.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:24 PM   #23
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before my father passed away, he was an orthopedic anesthesiologist. I have a degenerative disc at c5-c6 in my neck and am a perfect candidate for cervical fusion. My father's advice? Don't let a surgeon touch you if there are any non-surgical means for controlling your pain. I eventually went the 2x injection route of a steroid. Took a while for it to kick in, but eventually it did and the upper back spasms that were previously unbearable pretty much disappeared. I then tried a series of different cervical pillows to remove the morning stiffness from my neck. After a year or so of trying (and a few hundred dollars later) i did the simplest of things - i started sleeping on my side with a regular pillow. All but about 10% or so of the pain disappeared! I can live with what's left for the rest of my life with a smile.
great advice. Your dad was in the "inner circle". I had lower back pain. When it acted up, was "super painfull". Pain shot
down my leg.

Anyways, i did back exercises. Helped. But one day i started exercising with weight machines. At the fitness center. Ones that have "pins" you move to increase the weight.

Not sure which weight machine did the trick, but my back pain is much better. Have not had a "spasm" in years now.

Also, the "op", did not mention their age, weight, and physical condition, which would have a big impact on back pain, and the types of exercises that would be available.

Good luck.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:36 PM   #24
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I had an L5-S1 minimally invasive Microdiscectomy for a herniated disc over a year ago. It totally fixed my problem. I was in a lot of pain prior. The surgery was a piece of cake - I was walking the next day. The only negative was that I was not allowed to drive for 6 weeks afterwards. But I am very happy I did the surgery.
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:33 PM   #25
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This type of thread is one of the most usefull things on ER.org. People's first hand experiences can help us think of things we might not have even thought of when having to deal with some physical problem or another. At least things I would not have thought of.

Ha
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:31 AM   #26
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DH (59) had L4/L5 surgery for sliding discs with disk replacement and spinal stenosis 3,5 years ago. He did lots of walking, daily careful physical training and biking thereafter. But doctors did not recommend to continue the weight training he had done before.

All was well till last autumn, when the pain came back.

Investigations showed that the stenosis is back and discs are sliding now above and below those that were jointed.
Doctors (2nd opinion, too) did not offer many alternatives. It was like "do your training and come back for another surgery if pain gets too hard or if paralysis develops".

DH's new physiotherapist has a small studio with some weight machines and developed a little program for DH. DH goes 2-3 times/week. Since then relatively pain free, much better than in autumn.

But now one of his knees produces pain after 30 min walks. Could be arthrosis. DH is pretty much tired of seeing doctors for all his different health issues. But being able to walk and bike is somehow the key for a lot we wanted to do in ER starting next year.
We will find solutions or alternatives...
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:05 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
My condition has slowly gotten better each day, and today I went ahead with the steroid injection, just about 5 or 6 hours ago. It seems to already be working, I am able to stand, sit, or walk without pain.

I'm still scared to make any sudden movements, and I think my running days will be severely diminished if not done. Strangely, even before the injection and when I was unable to sit or stand for very long, I was able to ride my bike without pain. On Saturday I rode for an hour without any problem.

The radiologist who did it and one of the nurses both said they have had these done as well, which was somewhat reassuring. He looked at my MRI and said my condition was about a 3 on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the worst. He also said he does this frequently for the Saints and Hornets players, and some of them are in much worse shape.

In the few hours that have passed since I was at the hospital, I think this has been a success. I'm supposed to start PT soon.
I'm very pleased to hear of your improvement and interested to hear about the bike riding. Whenever my back is bad I find that riding my bike helps enormously. DW can't understand how someone who has had lower back surgery finds that bike riding improves things, but it definitely does.

Forget running for the forseeable future. These days I can run, play tennis etc, but I wear a back brace when I do those activities. (I don't wear my back brace when I ride my bike, do yoga etc)
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:02 PM   #28
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Rode my bike to work today, stayed for 2.5 hours until some pain came back and my body told me to take a break! So still not cured, but it seems better than before seeing the doc yesterday. After lunch, I'll ride back to work again for a little while.

One of the pilots in my squadron told me he had the same thing happen to him several years ago. The flight surgeon wanted him to fuse his 2 lowest vertebrae together, but it went away on its own after several months. I had no idea that so many people have had sciatic nerve issues. Seems like the medical community could wrap their arms around this better, but I suspect the parochialism between MDs, DOs, PTs, and chiropracters is a reason why the experts can't agree on a way to fix things.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:34 PM   #29
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"So still not cured..." I think you're on the right course to recovery. The injection helped, and subsequent one may increase the benefit. Staying physically active, within limitations, will also aid your recovery.
But in the end you likely won't get to 100% "cured," although you will be functional and reasonably pain-free (or, tolerable pain during flare-ups).
I recall reading that most medical studies verify key is to maintain an exercise regimen. And if all esle fails, you still have the surgery-as-a-last-resort option.
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #30
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This person's advice, although unconventional, rings true:
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:38 PM   #31
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I'm very pleased to hear of your improvement and interested to hear about the bike riding. Whenever my back is bad I find that riding my bike helps enormously. DW can't understand how someone who has had lower back surgery finds that bike riding improves things, but it definitely does.
I have heard the story about biking before and the explanation seems to be that when your lumbar spine bends forward, the spine axis shifts to the front of the spine and the back of the disk space and the neuroforamina (openings between the vertebral bodies through which the nerve roots exit the spine) at the back, open up and relieve the pressure on the nerve roots.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:05 PM   #32
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I have heard the story about biking before and the explanation seems to be that when your lumbar spine bends forward, the spine axis shifts to the front of the spine and the back of the disk space and the neuroforamina (openings between the vertebral bodies through which the nerve roots exit the spine) at the back, open up and relieve the pressure on the nerve roots.
yes, that sounds right

Thanks for the explanation
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:19 PM   #33
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DH (59) had L4/L5 surgery for sliding discs with disk replacement and spinal stenosis 3,5 years ago. He did lots of walking, daily careful physical training and biking thereafter. But doctors did not recommend to continue the weight training he had done before.

All was well till last autumn, when the pain came back.

Investigations showed that the stenosis is back and discs are sliding now above and below those that were jointed.
Doctors (2nd opinion, too) did not offer many alternatives. It was like "do your training and come back for another surgery if pain gets too hard or if paralysis develops".

DH's new physiotherapist has a small studio with some weight machines and developed a little program for DH. DH goes 2-3 times/week. Since then relatively pain free, much better than in autumn.

But now one of his knees produces pain after 30 min walks. Could be arthrosis. DH is pretty much tired of seeing doctors for all his different health issues. But being able to walk and bike is somehow the key for a lot we wanted to do in ER starting next year.
We will find solutions or alternatives...
Interesting on "select" weight bearing exercise helps. Helped in my case. (see previous response). If something as simple as exercising with weights works, it's a much better alternative than surgery.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:46 PM   #34
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Sounds logical to me. I would think the key is to put minimal weight on the spine. For example, bench press is ok, while squats with heavy weights are probably out. Even dumbell bicep curls are probably not recommended, as your spine bears the constant load, but you could instead do preacher curls. Exercises in which you pull a cable down, actually might have the opposite effect, stretching out the back.

I start PT on Monday, and this is all good info for me to bring to the appointment.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #35
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My condition has slowly gotten better each day, and today I went ahead with the steroid injection, just about 5 or 6 hours ago. It seems to already be working, I am able to stand, sit, or walk without pain.
In the few hours that have passed since I was at the hospital, I think this has been a success. I'm supposed to start PT soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Sounds logical to me. I would think the key is to put minimal weight on the spine.
I start PT on Monday, and this is all good info for me to bring to the appointment.
I'm glad you're getting quality treatment. I'll bet the PT gives you plenty of squat & lunge practice, too...
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:46 PM   #36
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Everything has gotten better each day. Until today. I went to church, and I think the uncomfortable pews got the best of me. I'll try and rest more today than I have been. hopefully it's just a bump in the road to recovery.

Overall, PT has been going well, I went for the past 2 weeks and it really helps. Tomorrow I am supposed to see the neurosurgeon again, followed by physical therapy in the afternoon. If it's up to me, it will be the last time to see the neurosurgeon.

I now will need a waiver to fly again for the Navy (not really a big deal, as most aviators are on some kind of medical waiver). I am supposed to have 60 days of being pain-free to get a waiver. I'm not quite ready to start that clock yet.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:07 AM   #37
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Everything has gotten better each day. Until today. I went to church, and I think the uncomfortable pews got the best of me. I'll try and rest more today than I have been. hopefully it's just a bump in the road to recovery.
Overall, PT has been going well, I went for the past 2 weeks and it really helps. Tomorrow I am supposed to see the neurosurgeon again, followed by physical therapy in the afternoon. If it's up to me, it will be the last time to see the neurosurgeon.
Whew. Glad to hear things are going better. You can make a lot of progress on PT.

I wouldn't be so concerned about the flying as I would be about the catapults and the arresting wires. But that's why I volunteered for sub pay...
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:30 AM   #38
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Actually, exercise is key for many things - on my second ACL reconstruction surgery recovery and when I don't do the home PT exercises....it hurts.

As for the back, my stepmother had spinal stenosis and then went to a specific orthopedic hospital in North Carolina for surgery - they put a rod in her back - she has bounced back amazingly, no more pain, all is much better. She can't bend to tie her shoes and needs the car to be high to get in and out, but other than that, she's good. Prognosis before surgery was wheelchair and crappy quality of life - oh, and she's an NPR - knows lots about all this healthcare stuff.

In any case, I agree with ha - this thread is one of the best as there are many options to choose from before going under the knife. Very good to know as surgery is a serious thing - always. The surgeon could screw up, the anesthesiologist could screw up, you could catch some bacterial or viral disease not related to your main health issue - yikes! And I worked and do work in hospitals.....
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:58 AM   #39
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Deserat, congrats to your stepmothers success with surgery. How long has it been now?

I hope that her long term result is better than DH. Now 3 years after surgery he is back in pain when walking for more than a mile. He does his PT, but still...
I understand that it is very depressing for him. We have looked forward to ER with excitement. However, with that pain some of our plans turn out to be not much fun for him.
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:19 PM   #40
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Deserat, congrats to your stepmothers success with surgery. How long has it been now?

I hope that her long term result is better than DH. Now 3 years after surgery he is back in pain when walking for more than a mile. He does his PT, but still...
I understand that it is very depressing for him. We have looked forward to ER with excitement. However, with that pain some of our plans turn out to be not much fun for him.
Two years - her PT afterwards took quite a bit of time, but she's good now....as you say, we'll see what happens.

She's 66 and she and my father (70) are slowing down a bit...although both still work - they both teach at universities and she does clinical work once a week - sigh, the whole idea of early retirement to them is anathema - my Dad said his mind would go to mush....
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