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Knowledge is Power

gethealthyggethealthy Posts: 303
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm happy to report that I'm getting stronger physically and mentally every day. I'm getting the help of a good PT and learning tons from some great books I found on Spine health as well as some others I've found while getting those books.

I realize each case is different and each surgeon is different but by my experience and a lot of those I read the surgeons are falling short of their Post surgery care. I know mine has.

I believe post surgery care is every bit as important as the surgery. Had I not been so stubborn and so actively learning about my post surgery needs I'd be a mess by now.

I was referred to a PT by my surgeon for post care but obviously the surgeon never bothered to tell the PT limits for post ACDF patients and the PT was twisting and pulling on my head which caused a lot of pain. I was stubborn enough to follow thru and learn that twisting and pulling on my head was not what my surgeon wanted post ACDF surgery.

The surgeon should have either put that info on my script or known that the PT he referred to was aware of that limitation.

It would be wonderful if we could go to any PT and know that what they are doing is going to help us. I believe if our surgeons were more involved with post care things would go more smoothly.

Even having the great orthopedic PT I have now reading the books and knowing why I'm doing what she has me doing is very helpful. She can't cover it all and I can't remember it all. Having the books is so helpful.

I learned that the way I was sleeping was adding to a lot of my pain. I'm a side sleeper and didn't know that by getting in the fetal position I was pushing the disc matter to the back of my spine. I have bulging discs so I would wake up hurting. Now I do what the books tell me and I have no pain.

I didn't know just how important it was to develop the different muscles of the neck and shoulder for supporting my neck. I thought I knew which ones to work but learned I didn't.

I didn't know that if my core body was weak my upper traps would try to hold my hold together.

I could go on and on.

As a spiney I know I will have to be better at body mechanics or go in for a lot more surgeries. I may have to any way due to DDD but I stand a much better chance of escaping that.

I know it will take hard work and lots of learning but the alternative is ugly.

I don't know if I can write the list of books I got but I'm going to try. They can take this list off if need be. Most came from spine health so I hope I don't get in trouble. I just so want to help others on this path and give back to those that have given so much to me.

Working with your doctor and your PT is so important but having the knowledge to know what to ask about is what these books have done for me.

Overcoming Back and Neck Pain by Lisa Morrone PT
What to do For a Pain in the neck by Jerome Schofferman MD
The Back Pain Book by Mike Hage MS PT

Hope this helps others as much as it has helped me.

Knowledge is Power!


  • Hi Lynn --

    I couldn't agree with you more. Too many people just take whatever the doctor says and go no further. It is so important to learn everything you can about the specifics of your situation and to learn enough that you know when perhaps you are not getting the best advice.

    Too many PTs are not sufficiently trained to deal with complex spinal patients, IMHO. If I had gone to the PT I finally ended up with years before when I had my first course of physical therapy, years before I ever had surgery, I truly believe the whole surgical thing could have been avoided. But I was under the care of my PCP and since I trusted him, and since he believed he knew as much as any surgeon, I just followed along with what he told me to do. The PT I went to came highly recommended, but in reality had a "one size fits all" mentality and approach to my specific problems.

    The problem with books is that you need to know enough about your specific problems that you can determine which books are best for YOU. Obviously, just like spine websites, there are some great ones, and there are some that are not even factually correct. As consumers, we have to really do research so we can make those determinations.

    I hope your post helps inspire others to take their health into their own hands!

  • Even in making a surgical decision, knowledge is powerful. I am up against a 2nd microdiscectomy and debating giving it a try vs. going for fusion.

    It's a scary decision. I decided that I need a little more time to research and am willing to spend a little extra money to speak to enough specialists to understand everything.

    I'm glad I am doing this b/c I am getting more information to make an informed decision.

    Knowledge is indeed Powerful!
  • Books alone, doctors alone, PT's alone haven't worked for me. Combining them is what I've needed to do. My background in fitness has aided but not as much as I would have hoped for. Recovering from spine surgery is very complicated.

    I avoided the surgery for 20 years with good PT work. Those PT's were honest enough to tell me I now needed the surgery and that they did not specialize in post surgery recovery. I had a heck of a time finding one that truly does specialize in post surgery. She's an orthopedic PT and I love her! I owe her my recovery credit completely!

  • It is scary! I would love to hear what those specialist say. I know each case is different but some similarity seems to ring thru.

    Good luck on your search!
  • to be pro-active about your treatment. I was very fortunate to be referred to a physical therapy group that works closely with the local spine clinic. My physical therapist is excellent and has been key in getting me back to moving and moving more comfortably. We have worked not only at strengthening my core and leg muscles to take care of my back, but at upper body exercises with a band, since I can't lift heavier weights any longer. It is so important to keep the whole body in the best shape we can.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Really, your decision is more complex than deciding between discectomy and fusion. There are now a variety of choices with fusion. Even if you were to decide that fusion was the way to go, there is still a lot left to research. More spinal specialists are now being trained in the minimally invasive fusions, and the ones that combine artificial disc with fusion, etc. Now if a patient is aware of some of these new procedures, it will effect the selection of the surgeon, the hospital, etc.
  • Especially with a fusion, it is so important to learn about alignment, muscle and soft tissue balance, etc. in an attempt to avoid "adjacent disc disease" or the "domino effect" in adjoining segments.

    I just read an interesting article pertaining to posture. Many people jut their head forward from what would be considered " ideal alignment." And it is usually done when sitting at the computer, etc...without us realizing we are doing it.

    A well-known physical therapist, Mariano Rocobado, found in his research that for every 5 centimeters the head moves forward beyond ideal alignment, the resting tension in the lower back increases by 15%!

    That is a huge amount. And those of us with lower back pain never think that partly it could be caused by how we carry our head!!
  • THank you.
    I have realized there are varying types of fusions and trying to research them prior to my next appointments to ask the right questions.

    I'm very worried about the domino effect.
    Oddly when I lie flat for a long time, I feel better. I suspect it's b/c I have less compression weight on the disc. I have even wondered if inversion therapy is an option but I know I am probably past that point.

    I am open to any advice on where to find information. Right now, I am doing a lot of internet searching.

    I really appreciate your help.
  • Thank you for commenting on that. I have a bad habit of jutting my chin forward and am working on it like crazy! Pain is a good teacher LOL it really hurts when I do that now so I'm learning!
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