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Back Pain Support Group. Help.

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by 21, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    So it turns out I have a herniated disk in my back. For the first time in my adult life, I'm not working out, not lifting weights, and I'm starting to walk like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein.

    The bad disc is pressing into the nerve column, causing all kinds of hell's bells in my hip and leg.

    The doctor (who I trust completely) suggests trying an epidural steroid injection, which will be temporary at best, maybe a week or a year, and if the problem persists, doing surgery--a small incision, shave off the fucked up disc, and get rid of the problem permanently. Or just doing the surgery now and getting it over with.

    Anyone have any experience with the shot or the surgery? I'm sort of leaning to just having the surgery, Boom thinks it's better to take the conservative route and see what happens. He's probably right. Interested (and somewhat desperate) for other thought/opinions/experiences. Thanks.
  2. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    Listen to Boom. Explore all options before surgery of any kind.
  3. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    My mother had the same thing. We were at the neurologist on Christmas Eve for the epidural. It did not have the desired effect. I heard more complaining about the effects of that shot than the initial pain itself.

  4. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    21, I haven't had that level of back trouble, but I have learned a good bit about it through the experiences of my family. My wife has had surgery on her back twice, on two different discs. Both were successful. My mother had a similar procedure a couple of years ago and it did not work.

    There is no guarantee. I'm sure your doctor can give you some idea regarding percentages. I would definitely get a second opinion before you make a decision. This is something that can cause you pain the rest of your life if not dealt with properly. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how debilitating back pain can be, and part of the reason these problems get worse over time is the fact that the pain keep you from getting the level of exercise that you are used to. If the surrounding area gets weaker, your pain is only going to get worse.

    I will say that in my wife's case, she could feel the difference immediately after both surgeries. She was sore from the surgery itself, but the pain she had beforehand was already gone.

    I would ask your doctor why a temporary solution is recommended. I'm not sure how many times you can go back and get a shot like that. My mother has tried that as well and it usually wears off long before she can get another shot.

    Whatever you choose, best of luck.
  5. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    You want me to crack your back for you?
  6. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    There's also some risk involved with the epidural and some possible side effects from the injection, so I'd lean toward the surgery myself, but only after getting a 2nd opinion.

    Would you be under general anesthesia or twilight?
  7. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    What's the recovery like from the surgery? If it were me, and the recovery is six weeks of bed rest or something where you can't really be very active for a month or two, I'd opt for the temporary solution and get through the summer.

    Better to be laid up when it gets cold and you don't want to go running or swimming outside than sitting at your window looking at the all the cool kids popping the waterplug and whatnot.

  8. GuessWho

    GuessWho Active Member


    Where on the spine is the herniated disc?

    I had two of them in the lower part of my neck. The symptom started out as a pain in my shoulder, which at first I blamed on the strap of the fairly heavy computer bag I lugged around for years. But the pain from the pinched nerves worked its way down my arm and eventually into my wrist after several months.

    Through the doc, we tried various treatments, none of which were especially successful. Finally bit the bullet and had surgery. That was, oh, about 12 years ago, and I've had no problems since. I still have a slight numbing sensation in a thumb, but that's no biggie.

    Was told I was relatively lucky because my bad discs were up pretty high on my spine, and the higher the better as far as recuperating from this stuff because it supports less weight. But I was also told that even in the lower spine, the success rate is pretty good. And like I said, that was about 12 years ago so I'm sure the techniques have improved since then.

    At any rate, the very best of luck. I know what a pain these things can be. If you have any questions, shoot me a PM.
  9. cougargirl

    cougargirl Active Member

    We really need DocTalk to chime in on this thread.

    Back problems run in the Familia Cougar - Cougarmom threw out her back nearly 30 years ago and has had disc problems ever since, but has gone without surgery or chiropractics. A lot of it has to do with strengthening the core and going without heavy lifting or running.

    Surgery - microdisc surgery seems to be the biggest one, in which the fragments of the disc are removed - is almost always a last resort.
  10. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Keith Olbermann giggles at your predicament.
  11. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the feedback...I really appreciate it.

    DocTalk has already given me great advice, particularly regarding how much Advil the human body can withstand. 8)

    The herniation is at L-4/5, my doctor is a lumbar surgeon who does these little nip/tucks all day. He knows I'm extremely physical, and the epidural won't solve the problem permanently, so he'd do the surgery because he believes it's probably inevitable.

    The surgery itself is outpatient....two weeks of no bending/twisting, an additional two weeks without intense exercise, then you're good to go. It's tempting, but I'll probably defer to Boom's more conservative approach.

    I just don't want to be one of those people who has to give up fun things because of a bad back.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    If the surgery is inevitable, just go ahead and do it. A permanent fix is always better than a temporary fix. If you go the temporary route, you'll be living with the "when will it end" in the back of your head.
    Of course, if DocTalk says something different listen to him. Ahead of all of us. He knows a little more.

    My back was screwed up in a car wreck when I was a kid. My mom got all kinds of coin, I got a bad back. Back pain sucks.
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