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Back Pain
Old 03-29-2011, 11:16 AM   #1
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Back Pain

I have suffered from lower back pain for many years. However in the past year, it has become almost intolerable. I have a herniated disk and curvature of the spine, and not sure what else.

My sister had the same problem and opted for an operation that did no good, was very painful, and perhaps made her condition worse.

I know they have less invasive operations than she had. I am just so reluctant to have any kind of operation. I had a neurologist suggest I try spinal shot, where they stick a needle in your spine area to try and numb the pain. I am considering this, but wanted to know if there were any others who have similar problem and what have you done about it. Was your treatment successful?
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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My mother had this done YEARLY and it was successful. She tried everything else before this, including surgery, acupunture, chiropractor, numerous medications, etc.

Luckily, the pain has been more manageable the past few years, otherwise I'm sure she would still be receiving the shot.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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I had a series of shots to my spine for a herniated disk. (I do not have curvature of the spine). This was suggested by a doctor that was a pain specialist. It helped me.

I had three sessions of shots. Eight shots each time. They inserted an IV in my hand and pretty much knocked me out before giving me the injections. This was done about 13 years ago.

Good luck....I know what constant pain is like.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
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You might find this guy interesting. He has a lot of info on pain management:
Body in Mind: research into the role of the brain and mind in chronic pain. I follow his blog in my RSS reader.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
 
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I had sciatica, a herniated disc and an arthritic disc. Aftyer hearing many horror stories about the shots I opted for surgery. I had non-invasive laproscopic surgery - 1 disc replaced, spine straightend (which I didn't expect) and fused. Although it took me almost 18 months to return to "normal" the operation was a complete success. See this article: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Information Center
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:58 PM   #6
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Mod,

I had major back surgery 45 years ago when I was 18 years old. The surgery involved extensive removal of bone to allow removal of a tumor in my spinal column. For the last 30 years I have had varying levels of back pain interspersed with acute pain episodes. Over that time I have gradually learned what activities to avoid and what treatments work for me. Despite the pain and the restrictions on activities, I would not consider more surgery unless my back deteriorated to the point where I was in danger of losing control of bowels and bladder or some other serious consequence.

Over the years I have tried (with varying degrees of success): physical therapy, traction, acupuncture, chiropractic, trigger point injections, epidural injections, stretching exercises, tens machine, ice, heat, massage, and other things I probably have forgotten.

MRI's currently show disc deterioration, bone spurs, arthritis, etc.

Based on that experience, my advice is to exhaust ALL other options before submitting to surgery. From everything I know, once you have had surgery and the normal physiology of the spine is altered, you are going to have some level of back pain. Maybe not all of the time but you will "be a member of the club".

I hope you find a treatment that works for you and that you can avoid surgery.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:22 PM   #7
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I would give an upper cervical chiropractor a shot at helping you out. I was pretty much a non-believer but I'm not now. Only thing I can tell you is that it has worked for both DW and I. DW is a candidate for spinal surgery, but her pain and symptons are under control now. Upper Cervical is effective w/o the physical adjustments of other forms.

NUCCA - National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:59 PM   #9
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I had surgery to repair a lumber disc (L4/L5) 20 years ago. Very painful and took 18 months to fully recover, but I had run out of options even though the success rate I had heard was only 10%. I have had few problems since then, I've been very lucky.

I would explore all options before surgery, good luck.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:17 PM   #10
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I have a herniated disk and was also told that surgery should be the last resort. I found an excellent exercise physiologist that put me an an exercise program to strengthen my core. It involved several core strengthening exercises, swimming, and deep tissue massage. I have been virtually pain free for 7 years. It worked for me.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:31 PM   #11
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Had emergency surgery at L3/L4 and L4/L5 levels ~25 years ago from fully ruptured discs. Recovered with minor residual nerve damage in the left leg. Developed post surgery issues after 6 years with with weak/stretched ligaments/tendons/scar tissue in the surgery area. Follow-on surgery would have been worthless.

Found my eventual cure with prolothrapy. It's an injection of a simple saline soltion that acts as an irritant that stimulates thickening/healing of the damaged ligaments/tendons/scar tissue at the problem joint. Here is where I went

Prolotherapy Information | Chronic Pain Treatment | Caring Medical

I have also used it for injured elbows and wrists. I swear by it. Good luck!!
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:04 PM   #12
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Going for an updated MRI on Monday, so we will see what my current status is hopefully.

Surfs_Up. What is a exercise physiologist? Is that just a regular physical therapist or something different?

Yes, I am inclined to want to try everything before even considering surgery. Glad to hear some of you had success with the shots and physical therapy.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:26 PM   #13
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Anyone here ever have Sciatica?
Due to recent events (see above link), I am highly interested in the opinions of others with this experience. I went to a neurosurgeon for the first time today, and he wants me to come back in 6 days for the steroid injection. I am VERY opposed to surgery.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Anyone here ever have Sciatica?
Due to recent events (see above link), I am highly interested in the opinions of others with this experience. I went to a neurosurgeon for the first time today, and he wants me to come back in 6 days for the steroid injection. I am VERY opposed to surgery.
Hawkeye,

My experience with spinal steroid injections was that they afforded substantial temporary pain relief. But be careful, they can make you feel so much better that you try to do too much. Then when the effects wear off you feel worse than before.

I hope it helps you.
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfs_Up View Post
I have a herniated disk and was also told that surgery should be the last resort. I found an excellent exercise physiologist that put me an an exercise program to strengthen my core. It involved several core strengthening exercises, swimming, and deep tissue massage. I have been virtually pain free for 7 years. It worked for me.
It is my belief that keeping the back muscles strengthened and avoiding certain bad habits can prevent or delay back problems.
Avoid too much sitting. Men keep wallets not in the back pocket.
Hatha yoga can be helpful.

Correcting an existing condition? I would move cautiously with my words and your actions.
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby View Post
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 story Gatsby, glad you have avoided the knife and done so well. One of my best friends is about to have his fifth back surgery, and I don't think any of it helped him. On deck is his wife, to start the same useless process once more.

Ha
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:06 PM   #17
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Similiar to a physical therapist I believe. Mine was excellent and many of her clients were professional action sports athletes....snowboarders, surfers, skateboarders, moto. Getting out of a high stress/extensive travel/long hour j*b can also do wonders for low back pain IMO.

Exercise physiology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:20 PM   #18
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Had emergency L-4/L-5 surgery 3 years ago, crazy pain before surgery, now a numb side of my leg. Neurosurgeon was not a big fan of physical therapy after the surgery. His recommendation was to walk 1 1/2 hours per day. Well here I am 3 years later, relatively pain free when I walk as directed and the pain creeps back when I slack off. I am now a true believer that we were meant to walk and not sit in front of a computer. Get up and walk around the house every 15 min or so.

Surgery is not a bad option when you are stuck in the fetal position.

(ps nightly back rubs from DW are also very helpful )
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by SonnyJim View Post
Had emergency L-4/L-5 surgery 3 years ago, crazy pain before surgery, now a numb side of my leg. Neurosurgeon was not a big fan of physical therapy after the surgery. His recommendation was to walk 1 1/2 hours per day. Well here I am 3 years later, relatively pain free when I walk as directed and the pain creeps back when I slack off. I am now a true believer that we were meant to walk and not sit in front of a computer. Get up and walk around the house every 15 min or so.

Surgery is not a bad option when you are stuck in the fetal position.

(ps nightly back rubs from DW are also very helpful )
Your experience is very similar to mine including the advice to walk a lot after surgery rather than physio. I'm pleased to hear that it is working out for you. Keep doing what you are doing now and hopefully it will continue to get better and better like mine did. For the last 6 years at work I had a desk where the working surface would raise up so I could stand while working at my computer. A friend at another Megacorp had a similar desk plus small treadmill so that he could actually walk while he worked at his PC
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:21 AM   #20
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I have had lower back pain that would make me bed ridden for a week or two at a time. Unable to move without that excruciating pain like a dagger.

MD flexoril and Chiropractic stretching of leg muscles and hips always seemed to help.
Even sitting in a contoured car seat with lumbar support helped me some.

Somewhere on the Internet I ran across a back stretch that helped me. When my back gives me the "warning" that it feels unstable I find something extremely stable like a column support in the basement or the sink opening in the kitchen.

Very slowly and very carefully I let my body weight pull me toward a crouching position. It slowly stretches my back. Obviously if it aggravates anything this is not for you and it is very important not to move rapidly or bounce. It also took me a bit to figure out how high on the column I needed to grasp to feel right.

This has keep me spasm free out of my sick bed for 3-5 years now. It does require a certain amount of upper body/ arm strength and is probably unsuitable for certain conditions so use cautiously at your own risk and maybe even talk to your own Doctor/Chiropractor first.
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