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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi...I am a 22 year old equestrian athlete. When I was 17 I started having excruciating nerve pain down my right leg. Despite the pain I continued my normal day to day life...horse back riding, working and going to school. I went and saw an orthopedic surgeon who ordered an MRI. I had 3 herniated discs and was diagnosed with DDD. In February of 2005 I went to see a neurosurgeon who told me that I my L4-L5 nerve root was being constricted by a huge herniation. I had a microdiscectomy at L4-L5. The pain finally went away after 6 months. By the 8th month, I had the nerve pain started down my left leg this time. I waited about a year before I went to see any dr. I finally went to a spine surgeon who told me I had and extra vertebrae (L6) and was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis with a huge herniation at L6-S1. A month later I underwent a fusion of L6-S1. Nerve pain subsided. However the low back pain persisted. About 6 months later, The nerve pain came back on the right side. MRI said huge herniation at L5-L6 with a tear in the disc. Decided to undergo yet a 3rd surgery and had a disc replacement with Prodisk at L5-L6. In between all of these surgeries I have had epidurals, sacroiliac injections and nerve blocks. Nothing has helped. I live at a constant 9.5/10 of pain every single day. Living on painkillers and muscle relaxers. I still work, go to school and maintain my health. I am in shape at 5'10 and 123lbs. I have scheduled my 4th surgery to have the hardware removed because that is the last option right now. Has anyone had success with the hardware removal? I can't live everyday for the rest of my life in this much pain.


  • so sorry you have had this trouble. i dont know how youve been able to continue your schedule with such pain. i have not had hardware removed so cant comment on that.
    my biggest concern is that there have been through so many surgeries and here he is going in for a 4th time.
    are you using the same spinal surgeon? if so it might be good to have another opinion. the more surgeries you get the more the spine has been disturbed... if you were older the surgeon might be recommending fusion, please get another opinion.
    my initial thought and i know you wont like it, is to take a break. youve got to rest your body. the sitting position of horseback riding will further damage discs. sitting creates more pressure on the spine than standing.
    when i was younger i was an excellent skier. 2 accidents gave me leg weakness and pain. i was devistated. i started doing sculptures of skiers. for a whole year i didn't and couldnt ski. the next season after a year of rest i got back on the skis and gradually returned to form. for 30 more years i was able to ski. rest isnt easy but it might allow you to ride more in the future.
    i will be hoping things improve....pete
  • the fact that you have an L6 is a good indication that you would have had back pain .as you should not have an L6 normal spins stop at L5 the S1 ..but like me and many others you have been born with an L6 i was told by a surgeon that any one with an L6 will have back ache even without surgery ..there is a strong possibility that you will also have an extra pair of ribs too!{not joking} i too have this but only found out when i reached 40 and started having shoulder and arm/hands pain it took over 2 years then they found that i had thoracic outlet syndrome.as for your back ache post surgery ..i am sorry that you to tell you but most of us do have awful back ache long after surgery in most its a life long thing {that's why sites like this one exist!} pain management is the way forward i wsh you all the best as its not easy .
  • thanks for the responses. I understand the rest...and I have taken about a year off from riding and it only continues to get worse. My primary care dr thinks i'm addicted to painkillers even though i detox myself for weeks at a time just so i don't get addicted. I went to university of miami for a second (or third rather) opinion and they said the same and there is only a 50/50 chance of getting better. If nothing works, last option is a spinal cord stimulator or a hazed life on painkillers. i'm applying to vet school and cannot see being a medical professional on painkillers. something has to give!
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