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  1. #1
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    Herniated Disk Surgery

    This one is for fellow "seasoned" fanatics out there (45 and older!)

    I'm going in for back surgery in a couple weeks. I've got a disk (L5/S1) that has bulged out and causing my sciatic nerve to "be angry" from my back, to my hip and all the way down my leg to the knee. This has been going on since January.

    Tried anti-inflammatory drugs, deep tissue massages, physical therapy, steroids, steroid injections in the back - everything but chiropractic, and given that I have disk material bulging out and pressing on the nerve (I've seen it courtesy of an MRI) I think it would be ineffective and a waste of money. I know thoughts on chiropractic run passionate and deep on both sides - I'd rather not have a debate on that.

    The purpose of this thread is to reach out to those who have had this or a similar surgery - was it effective? Did you have any issues after the surgery? Without using any names, I am seeing an Orthopaedic surgeon in WDM.

    I am all in on this, so it is going to happen. Just would appreciate some thoughts of folks who have done it too.

    thanks


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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    I have a bulging disc(T7-8), and stress fractures on the tips of my L5 where they make contact with the sacrum. I live with the pain, but someday I'll probably have to go under the knife. Good luck and I hope you have success! I know several people who've had neck surgery -- with mixed results -- but no one is worse off than they were before, and some have improved a lot.


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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    I had it done at the end of 2011. I was 29 at the time of the surgery, but it was the exact same disk that ruptured. It looks like we had both gone through the same procedures to no avail. It has made a huge difference. Basically, all of the pain symptoms have subsided, but I still feel occasional pain in my leg. Especially on the outside of my knee. The biggest difference that I’ve noticed post surgery is that doing manual labor really wears my back out now. It stiffens up and gets sore pretty easily.

    Your experience may be different for the simple fact that my initial symptoms began in November and I wasn’t able to seek proper treatment until the following July because I was in Afghanistan. I really didn’t help my case by going through nearly an entire deployment after the symptoms began. Hopefully, you’ll have even better results than I.



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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Oh, and the recovery process sucks. Everything becomes a chore. I hope that you have someone around to towel you off, dress you, tie your shoes, ect. It's not fun.



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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    I had a herniated disk surgery 15 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. My pain was never in my back and always my left leg. I tried everything that you mentioned and none of it helped. Since the surgery and recovery I've had no back issues and no pain. My back does get sore when I stand anywhere for a long period(tailgating, concerts, etc) but that probably has nothing to do with the herniated disc.

    3 bad things I remember about the surgery.

    #1 For some reason I couldn't not make myself pee. I tried REALLY hard. I found out quickly that catheter's really hurt a lot going in.

    #2 The first time I tried to get out of the hospital bed was brutal. Trying not to use your back to sit and stand up is tough.

    #3 The ride home in a Toyota Corolla was pretty brutal.

    After a few days recovery was pretty easy.



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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    I'm not a fan o surgery and I have had serious back problems with bulging discs, ruptured discs and one that didn't appear to be there anymore, for about 25 years. The one savior was a traction device that I considered a miracle cure.


    That being said, I had a friend who just had your exact surgery and he couldn't be happier. Took him longer than he thought to recover, but once he did, he said it was like a new life had just opened up for him. Surgeries have changed a lot since I was first diagnosed, and talking with doctors at that point, the surgeries were a lot more involved 20 years ago. So, I probably would give it a shot now.

    That being said, there is a reason you are having this problem. The surgery will fix the immediate issue, but you still have to do things to keep your back stronger and in shape, so the discs don't bulge again. Don't forget that part. I still do all of the exercises I was giving during my post traction therapy to keep things in order. There were a few years that I didn't and I quickly remembered why keeping my core in shape was a huge deal. The surgery will be a quick fix, but will not be a permanent solution unless you take care.



  7. #7
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by dmclone View Post
    I had a herniated disk surgery 15 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. My pain was never in my back and always my left leg. I tried everything that you mentioned and none of it helped. Since the surgery and recovery I've had no back issues and no pain. My back does get sore when I stand anywhere for a long period(tailgating, concerts, etc) but that probably has nothing to do with the herniated disc.

    3 bad things I remember about the surgery.

    #1 For some reason I couldn't not make myself pee. I tried REALLY hard. I found out quickly that catheter's really hurt a lot going in.

    #2 The first time I tried to get out of the hospital bed was brutal. Trying not to use your back to sit and stand up is tough.

    #3 The ride home in a Toyota Corolla was pretty brutal.

    After a few days recovery was pretty easy.
    Thanks!

    Last year I had a different surgery and woke up afterwards to find I was attached to a catheter. I was not expecting that. Took a while to get used to, but thought it would be real handy tailgating and watching games


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  8. #8
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by Clonefan94 View Post
    I'm not a fan o surgery and I have had serious back problems with bulging discs, ruptured discs and one that didn't appear to be there anymore, for about 25 years. The one savior was a traction device that I considered a miracle cure.


    That being said, I had a friend who just had your exact surgery and he couldn't be happier. Took him longer than he thought to recover, but once he did, he said it was like a new life had just opened up for him. Surgeries have changed a lot since I was first diagnosed, and talking with doctors at that point, the surgeries were a lot more involved 20 years ago. So, I probably would give it a shot now.

    That being said, there is a reason you are having this problem. The surgery will fix the immediate issue, but you still have to do things to keep your back stronger and in shape, so the discs don't bulge again. Don't forget that part. I still do all of the exercises I was giving during my post traction therapy to keep things in order. There were a few years that I didn't and I quickly remembered why keeping my core in shape was a huge deal. The surgery will be a quick fix, but will not be a permanent solution unless you take care.

    Thanks!

    I was told that I did nothing wrong to cause this. It is a result of age and genetics. Prior to this I was in good shape - running 6 miles 2 or 3 times a week and lots of bicycle riding.


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  9. #9
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewo View Post
    I had it done at the end of 2011. I was 29 at the time of the surgery, but it was the exact same disk that ruptured. It looks like we had both gone through the same procedures to no avail. It has made a huge difference. Basically, all of the pain symptoms have subsided, but I still feel occasional pain in my leg. Especially on the outside of my knee. The biggest difference that I’ve noticed post surgery is that doing manual labor really wears my back out now. It stiffens up and gets sore pretty easily.

    Your experience may be different for the simple fact that my initial symptoms began in November and I wasn’t able to seek proper treatment until the following July because I was in Afghanistan. I really didn’t help my case by going through nearly an entire deployment after the symptoms began. Hopefully, you’ll have even better results than I.
    Had this surgery as well and this sums up my expereince perfectly.



  10. #10
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by CyCrazy View Post
    Had this surgery as well and this sums up my expereince perfectly.
    To both Stewo and CyCrazy: this is what worries me - partial relief. I'm a runner and a cyclist and I want to resume once I recover. I'm missing RAGBRAI for the first time in 11 years because of this. It bums me out that you guys have it come back occasionally.


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  11. #11
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsCy View Post
    Thanks!

    I was told that I did nothing wrong to cause this. It is a result of age and genetics. Prior to this I was in good shape - running 6 miles 2 or 3 times a week and lots of bicycle riding.
    Yeah, that's the thing, it is genetics, the exercises they give you post surgery though, will be useful for the rest of your life. Keeping your core in good shape is the key to a less painful back. All I meant was that not to expect the surgery to be the end all be all of it. It is possible, you could still have problems in the future if you don't stay ahead of the game.

    Then again, every back seems different. I have a Mother-In-Law who's a nurse, who is constantly telling me what I am doing is wrong, "Sit ups are terrible for your back!" Well, that may be the case, but the only 2 times in the last 3 years I have blown out my back and been bed ridden, were when I was sick for a week and didn't workout. Seems it takes about a week for me to not work my core and it al goes to hell.

    Even things as simple as stretching every morning is a huge relief on my back.



  12. #12
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsCy View Post
    To both Stewo and CyCrazy: this is what worries me - partial relief. I'm a runner and a cyclist and I want to resume once I recover. I'm missing RAGBRAI for the first time in 11 years because of this. It bums me out that you guys have it come back occasionally.
    You'll be fine. I've been running since the surgery without issue. The only difference is being able to really stretch out that leg (I assume it's your left?). It's really uncomfortable, for me at least.

    Oh, and don't get caught up in the fact that some pain sneeks back in every once in awhile. For me, it's really short lived (10-15 minutes max) and is more of a noticable pain, not debilitating like it is for you right now.


    Last edited by Stewo; 06-05-2013 at 11:48 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewo View Post
    You'll be fine. I've been running since the surgery without issue. The only difference is being able to really stretch out that leg (I assume it's your left?). It's really uncomfortable, for me at least.

    Yup - the left. It's funny how that's the most common leg that's affected. Seems like a recall is in order!


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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    Quote Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsCy View Post
    Yup - the left. It's funny how that's the most common leg that's affected. Seems like a recall is in order!
    Ha! Fortunatly for me, it happened on active duty and therefore I can, and have, filled for VA disability. Not exactly a recall, but a nice little monetary reward until I die.



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    Re: Herniated Disk Surgery

    I had a ruptured disk in 1997 (age 27 at the time). Recovery was pretty fast, though as others have said, you wear down somewhat quickly. Best thing is to keep in shape, especially in your stomach. I feel close to 100% right now. Chiropractor did nothing for me before surgery. Didn't try it after.



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