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Old 09-12-2014, 11:34 AM   #21
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I had the trifecta.

A dislodged disc, eventual rupture, and torn pieces finding their way into random nerve bundles.

I hurt myself a lot over the years, and that was payback.
Shooting pain. Collapsing on the floor for no apparent reason.
Not being able to sleep, wash my face, brush my teeth, get a cup of tea all by myself.

Doc said immediate surgery. That, or I would have to deal with the possibility of losing my left leg.
He said I did not even have two days to think about it.
I went clear across town to see another specialist. He said the same thing.

I returned to the first hospital I had been to.
The surgeon is known to be a very skilled one in Turkey.
I asked him when I could expect full recovery. He said whenever I felt like after surgery. Very confident guy.
So, I booked a ski trip three weeks after the surgery, and told him about that. He said I would be OK.

He came to the room and made me get up after the surgery (once the meds wore off - I was groggy as hell). I was done, I were to do my own packing, and be off..

Feeling normal again after such pain and "resignation from life" for lack of a better word. That was, well, alien.
I rested for a few days at home, watching movies and stuff, and took off to the mountain when the time came.

Exactly three weeks after the surgery, I was carving the hell out of wind-packed snow on the Kusaklikaya face of the Uludag resort.

Never looked back.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:18 PM   #22
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Long story shortened:

Bought an elliptical machine, took it back after discovering it was too tall for my basement. Tried daily walks instead.

Pain has gotten worse, and I am now taking the meloxicam and twice daily doses of Tylenol. I now also have a visible limp, in spite of trying to hide it. Follow up Dr. appointment was today, and MRI has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Surgery seems to be in the cards, just a matter of timing.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:55 PM   #23
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Tylenol's worthless. Aleve is what you want. Did you get a back brace?

Regardless, good luck. Lower back issues suck.
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Old 09-24-2014, 03:35 AM   #24
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Spinal Stenosis and Degrading Disc Disease over here. As well as bulging and compressed discs (formerly).

Beat it all with weightlifting and stretching. I've taken up powerlifting now. I have zero lower back pain at this point. Who would have ever thought that routinely picking up 400+lbs off the floor would be the key to my recovery.

Best advice I can give it to start isolation and compound weight training and completely stop all forms of excessive walking, jogging, running and impact cardio. Stretch every morning, too.

OP, or anyone interested, feel free to PM me for a basic guide to back/glute/hamstring and core strength. You body needs to be able to carry and support itself and, unfortunately, the lower back & posterior chain are severely neglected by most people. This is the price we pay for walking on two feet.

I normally charge for routines but my MT home slices get the first one free.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #25
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Compressed disk when I was 21 lifting a transmission. At 32 bent over to put a hook up a charger to the Miata battery, went to my knees and could barely walk for a month.

Got 2 shots of Cortisone in the spine...not fun. Better, but have to take anti inflammatory meds once in a while. Need more core strength but I keep finding better things to do with my time.

L4 and L3 I think is where mah disk is bulged.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:46 PM   #26
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MRI was yesterday. Today, simply walking is becoming painful. Whatever is going on, things are getting worse, and very fast. It's all I can do to roll out of bed in the morning, and just getting up out of my chair is painful. Sneezing or coughing nearly brings me to tears. Pain in the butt and leg is constant now.

Something needs to be done, and done fast before I O.D. on OTC painkillers.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:08 PM   #27
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Damn bro, wish I could help you out. What you are describing was me last March. I'm finally mobile, but going to physical therapy twice a week, and still in pain. It's actually hard to tell if the pain is less, or I've just gotten used to it.

Have you been recommended to a physical therapist?
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Old 09-26-2014, 06:59 AM   #28
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No. Dr. told me last time that he didn't think that would help. Not sure why.

This morning, pain has moved down to the ankle instead of back of the thigh. If the doc doesn't call me today, I'll call in. Meanwhile, off to work.
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:20 AM   #29
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Compressed disk courtesy of Sikorski. I returned from a medivac mission in Iraq during which I carried the 300lb love child of a silverback and the Iowa State Fair's award winning hog, and I could barely draw breath. Luckily, there was an Osteopath at the base medical clinic and he performed some black-magic alignment ritual on me. I had been seeing a chiropractor for some time before, but this dude actually straightned me out for quite a while.
Has your doc mentioned flexoril? It didn't do much for me personally, but I know some people that have been helped by it.
Viperormiata is absolutely right about power-lifting. It will hurt like hell at first, but squats and deadlifts with perfect form will do wonders for strengthening up your supporting muscles.
I also use biofreeze sometimes when I get a flair up.
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #30
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Flexeril is for muscle pain. Trust me, this has nothing to do with muscles, it is strictly the nerve being pinched. Stretches, exercises, etc. do nothing for me, except to make it worse. Until the pinching is resolved, nothing else is going to help.

Strengthening the back will be post op to prevent reccurence, I am certain.
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Old 09-28-2014, 05:53 PM   #31
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Flexoril is a nervous system depressant much like xanax. Not much good for anything other than being a sleepy vegetable for me. For being productive I needed different options.
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:34 PM   #32
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But it's usually usually caused by an avalanche of contributing factors, so saying one med does nothing may not be entirely accurate. From whatever insult, the nerve gets pinched, the muscles automatically/autonomously constrict in sympathy, and of course inflammation is always added to the mix for good measure as well. It's been my experience that unless you relax the muscles AND deflate the inflation AND address the physics of the nerve pinch, it's unlikely you'll find relief.

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Old 10-01-2014, 06:22 PM   #33
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Dr. just called. MRI has confirmed it is a herniated disc on the right side. S1 impingement of the right sciatic nerve bundle.

Surgical consult is being set up, and receptionist will let me know tomorrow where to go. Surgery will follow, probably within the week. Doc said that this type of thing is either outpatient or one overnight, and has a very high success rate.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:36 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rleete View Post
Doc said that this type of thing is either outpatient or one overnight, and has a very high success rate.
Things have come a LOOONG way since I had this done at the VA.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:10 PM   #35
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Especially in the private sector. I hear they even use metal tools now.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:19 PM   #36
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Quote:
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Especially in the private sector.
Ha! Obamacare will fix that. VA for everyone!
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:27 PM   #37
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Haha! Take THAT liberals! Enjoy cutting all of your meds in half so the hospital can save $.01.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:54 PM   #38
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I had the surgical consult today. We discussed the MRI, which clearly shows the pinched nerve, the swollen part right after that, and the things that are doing the actual pinching. It is a combination of a herniated disc, what looks to be either a bone spur or a bit of cartilage and a very, very swollen nerve bundle. The NSAIDS are apparently not helping much, so they are switching me over to another drug in the meantime. Gabapentin, which ironically is also used to treat restless leg syndrome. I have been asked to back off the Tylenol a little if possible.

There is no question that nothing short of going in and cutting away the disc herniation is going to help. There is a “mild right-sided neural foraminal stenosis”, which means the right side of the L5 vertebral canal is slightly irregular, but that in itself is not a problem, and he won’t mess with that unless it looks like he has to. He told me that he is glad I didn’t try a chiropractor, as that could have caused major problems. The nerve is definitely “tethered” (meaning it can’t move like it’s supposed to), and that is the cause of the sharp pain spikes. The pinched part is causing the aches.

He stressed that this is a very simple procedure. The risks are, all combined, “less than 1%, max,” and you (meaning me) should not worry about them. He said recovery will be less than a week (but take a week off anyway), and I would feel better immediately. They will make me stay in the hospital overnight, because he uses general anesthesia, and that’s the rule. He said he does not operate under partial/local, but did not explain why. I don’t care, I have no problems under general.

Unfortunately, surgery will be at least 3 weeks out, as he is booked solid. They may be able to squeeze me in on the 27th or 28th. In the meantime, I need some blood tests (clotting, platelet count) and a full physical beforehand. Actual surgery will be less than half an hour. He goes in, snips away the disc, allows the nerve to slip back into it’s proper place, and they staple me up. The only thing he would not guarantee is that there would be no residual numbness afterwards. He said no pain, but being compressed like it is, the nerve itself may have suffered damage. I am to take it as easy as I can until the surgery to avoid causing any more damage if there is any. He stressed that this was merely a disclaimer, and I may (then corrected to “probably”) would have no ill effects, but he wanted me to be prepared. Since I have had no numbness to date, the probability is still extremely low.

He said my biggest concern will be to stick to the post-op routine even though I feel better. Secondary herniation usually occurs with the first couple weeks because patients don’t give their back muscles time to strengthen properly. There will be little to no post-op follow up, but I should look into that whole “strengthen the core” thing. He also said that having a stronger back would probably not have prevented this, and it looks to be more degenerative than injury related. As in, you’re getting older, take it easy on your back.

I will have no limitations or restrictions whatsoever afterwards. Whatever activities I want, providing I give things time to heal.

Nurse practitioner is Ms. Susan Smith Susan O. Smith - Our Team - Neurooncology - Specialties - Neurosurgery - University of Rochester Medical Center
Surgeon is Dr. Webster Pilcher Webster H. Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D. - Patient Care Profile - University of Rochester Medical Center

As you can see, neither one is a slouch, and I suspect Dr. Abbott is pulling some strings for me.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:04 PM   #39
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Good luck.

The degenerative part worries me a bit. Those are the types that often don't have that much success or have re-occurences (as opposed to a 20-something Naval Aviator punching out of an F/A-18). We are getting older. Sigh.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:28 PM   #40
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Good luck. I'm glad you finally found the cause, and that surgery is relatively simple. Keep us posted.
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