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Seeing some light at the end of the long and dark tunnel

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
3.5 months of extreme pain with L5/S1, I am happy to report that my life is coming back with the help of McKenzie;s and swimming. When I saw the doc about 4 weeks ago, I was a prime surgery candidate and a reputable Surgeon told me I was wasting time with conservative treatments as I was losing strength in my toes. I just got back from his office about 1.5 hours ago and he checked the strength again.....the pain is in the right leg and the toes of the painful leg came out stronger than the left. I am so relieved and happy, there is still some pain but it's not taking over my life and everytime it hurts about 1 min of McKenzie's are enough to keep me going. Just thought of sharing this with my supportive friends at Spine health.


  • I was able to go to a restaurant after so many months, felt human again!
  • hope things continue to go well for u
  • Well done you, that was good advice and a sensible call in that chasing ineffective treatments may be more to do with our hopes than reality, any improvement should be celebrated and you are right to be cautious. I like the notion of you doing what you are able and this as you are finding will help in the longer term, emotionally, physically and psychologically.

    The emphasis is to keep that momentum going and see if you can integrate that success in other avenues of your life, small steps toward that overall goal. You have worked hard, as I tried to swim without the success I had hoped. I have no sensation in my toes and as you keep trying to improve.

    Take care…


  • JOhn, I hope you get better soon. Swimming has come to my rescue a couple of times in this life already. I think I was a fish in my past life :), about your toes, keep trying dont give up, biggest healer is mother nature, this too shall pass!!
  • Raj,

    Be careful as while you are starting to see hope and it is a wonderful think to get mobility back that if the nerve is pressed for too long while you may recover you may also loose power long term.

    I would discuss it with your doctor.

  • Hi Jsirabella, thanks for the advice. Can you please elaborate more on this. The doctor checked me yesterday and thought i had more strength in the toes than 4 weeks ago. You think it will take a u-turn?
  • I am not a doctor but I play one on TV (joke out of the way). But my cousin actually a surgeon who now teaches surgeons at Geisenge (sp?) located in PA. I did go and see him as he explained to me that (I believe he said) 50% or more of your power/strength comes from your nerve signal as much as your muscle.

    When I first told him about my issue he told me to come here right away, see the neurosurgon and get this corrected as he also said no reason for you to live with it and more importantly if the nerve is pressed/aggravated for too long it will eventually loose its strength(signal) over time and that does not come back quickly if it comes back at all.

    I went to him and unfortunately when they looked at my MRI there was alot of debate as to whether this was the reason I was having issues as my herniation is quite mild. It is there but very small. Therefore they felt rushing to surgery would be premature and wanted two additional MRIs done of the rest of my spine. Both of those came up with nothing so the neurosurgeon at that point said if the epidurals you are having do not give you the relief you are looking for than lets talk about removing the disease. He explained they do 300 of them a year with a high success rate.

    I am getting close to my cross road as I wanted to try all possible non-invasive techniques before going this path of surgery. I have my next appointment with my spine ortho and regular ortho this and next week. I know the spine ortho and pain management doc will just say more PT and that you are getting there and just give it more time. The spine ortho though I am quite interested as the hip should be off the table now and want to see if he recommends surgery.

    In the end while I am getting better and can now walk more and sleep better and take almost no meds...I just can not keep my business and support my family in my current condition. I need to atleast be 80% of my former self. My business depends on me to do some long traveling like to Japan and walking, walking and walking at times. I can not live for another year on 15 minutes of walking max. I could loose alot. I have to get better and while these small steps are great but at this rate I feel it could take more than an additional year.

    Why I know so much about power is my background...I was an avid cyclist and everything was measured in power/weight ratio. Currently I believe I do have a good amount of power but not even half of what I did have and the problem is not the ability to generate power but the nerve going nuts on the bike to check it. I believe though I have loss alot. I noticed this way before the doctors cause I knew what I was capable of while the docs were using a stength system which seemed to be based upon a 65 year old woman (no offense to the 65 year old woman intended). Yes I am a 5/5 still but this scale is not realistic IMHO.

    So I am afraid if I wait too long there will be permanent loss of power. My neurosurgeon says no need to worry yet and I check myself regularly by doing the simple walk on heels and toe and numbness test. I believe docs just think in terms of can you walk? any pain? No on both than you are fine. That may not cut it for me at 44.

    In your case I would be worried if I lost sensation in any part of my body. That is one of the first test of the doc when they run the instrument under your foot and your legs. If you are loosing the signal, I would get another couple opinions maybe from a neurosurgeon and a different ortho.

    This is just my opinion...

  • raj,
    I am so delighted to read your post. It is so lovely to hear a bit of positive news. Keep up the good work and the positive attitude. I believe we have an amazing capacity to heal ourselves, but we have to see the light first. I am glad you have. And if you do have a minor relapse just remember the feeling of strength you have now.

    Fantastic news!!
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