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New to S-H w/ Herniation / Bulging and Nerve compression

joe_pilot148jjoe_pilot148 Posts: 25
edited 04/09/2013 - 10:05 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello Spine Health Community..

I recently joined Spine - Health because of the excellent community base, and insight into spine related health concerns. I am 28 years old and currently serving on Active duty with the Unites States Army. I am a helicopter pilot with the Army and have been flying for the past 6 1/2 years. I recently returned from Afghanistan where I was introduced to heavy olympic style lifting i.e. dead lift, squats and power clings. Unfortunately this new hobby, in addition to my career field have caused some havoc on my lumbar spine.

This resulted in a large herniation with stenosis and nerve compression at L3-L4 and a bulging disk at L4-L5 with more nerve compression. I have serious nerve pain in my left hip and shin, especially while sitting. I also have numbness in my right shin and loss of muscle strength in my right calf and big toe. This recent injury has caused me to be grounded, and addressed serious concerns about my future with the military, my future as a pilot and my lifestyle.

This being said, I am doing some soul searching and this website so far has really helped me with the medical aspect of my condition.

I am waiting a appointment with a neurosurgeon and am looking forward to my future treatment and recovery from this bump in the road in my life. I am trying to stay positive and this website has really been key in me doing that. Thanks Everyone, and good luck with your spine issues...


  • Hi Joe, first of all I would like to say thank you for your service to our country. I too am somewhat "grounded' recovering from spinal surgery. Good luck to you with your appointment. Let us know what you find out. God bless.
  • My very first surgery was a 2 level fusion at the levels you are havingissues with. Make sure you go to a top notch neurosurgeon. My 1st neuro was the best in my city. His bedside manner sucked. He was horrible, yelled at the nurses, was short with me in convos. But he did a perfect surgery. My fusion was perfect. The complications I had was the fault of my own body. I had 5 years pain free until the level under the fusion blew. My old neuro has since moved too far away but I have another neuro that has won many awards and knows of all the complications I have suffered. My 2 nd fusion is Thursday. I have all the pain that you have with that bolt of fire that shoots down my butt cheek down my leg, then it starts tingling until it finally goes numb. Which i would rather have numbness than tingling any day. I think be ause of your physical condition, you can have the fusion surgery and beback at a normal life in no time. A lot of people dont believe in fusions because they werent successful but i think that is due to many factors. Health/condition being a big one. The neuro being another.

    Best ofluck to you as you gather info andmake this decision. Thank you for your service for our country and for the dedication you have to wanting to return. God bless you!

    DDD 2 level ALIF L3-L5 in 2007. 4/11/13 posterior fusion w/decompression on L5-S1.
  • joe_pilot148jjoe_pilot148 Posts: 25
    edited 04/11/2013 - 2:12 PM
    Bill and Michelle,

    Thanks for the welcome. Still waiting for the Neurosurgeon, haven't even received an appointment yet. I'm staying positive. Good luck with your surgery Michelle, hope everything goes well. As for me, Fusion is just about my last option, all surgey is for that matter. I'm thinking about doing a Journal for my recovery, I'm trying to see what treatments yield the best results. Good luck with your recovery bill, I hope everything heals up well, and quickly!
  • Bill and Michelle,

    Thanks for the welcome. Still waiting for the Neurosurgeon, haven't even received an appointment yet. I'm staying positive. Good luck with your surgery Michelle, hope everything goes well. As for me, Fusion is just about my last option, all surgey is for that matter. I'm thinking about doing a Journal for my recovery, I'm trying to see what treatments yield the best results. Good luck with your recovery bill, I hope everything heals up well, and quickly!
  • edited 04/11/2013 - 9:54 PM
    "Hey Joe!" hiihii
    This may seem like sleepy-time tea "ramblings" but my INTENTIONS are good.
    I also just joined up, with similar HOPE, while originally browsing this awesome website...Networking, New Info & Hope!

    What caught my attention was that your a pilot and so young. I LOVE anything that flies, except most bugs lol, and your AGE! wow! So young... I've given up hope that I could fly as a private pilot and travel via plane b/c I need to get up, down, or walk every 15mins or so!
    I'm sure you've BEEN through a lot already, but the road ahead requires mental strength. Strength in mind, body & soul to get through the pain...onto, hopefully, better days
    I was orig diagnosed mild cervical scoliosis early teens, then DDD, at 23, surg at 25 (L4/L5 disc removal, vert fusion w/titanium steel cage), now 33 with arthritis, 6 partially herniated discs from top to bottom. "THEY" tell me how buldged or heriated they are a RESULT of how much physical activity I push myself to do. My Mind says to get all this crap done, sometimes the meds make me do "TOO MUCH," my body says "what the heck are you thinking???" and the next day I PAY FOR IT, physically.

    Your back probs reminded me of myself, and how MUCH I love the sky, planes, jumping, etc, but am now side-lined...
    Change of life-style was the HARDEST to ACCEPT, and STILL IS.
    I'm a tough woman, standing tall (inside!)...

    Someone who inspired me SO VERY MUCH is Joe Jennings, orig from NJ, now in Cali.
    He's an Aerial Cinnematographer (sp?). His pictures of the sky help me feel like I'm REALLY up there& bring me pure JOY! Beautiful art, natural... I discovered his Dvd called "Good Stuff" INSANE footage! dropping couches out of planes & much more - I found his office phone number & called him up. He was SO nice, very "DOWN TO EARTH!" lol
    I asked "do you know of anyone who's hurt themselves skydiving and has gotten back INTO the sport after somehow healing back probs?"

    There was ONE lead on a girl, but trail ran cold, as the woman moved to Hawaii. Dr's will NOT give me "permission" to jump again, and I will not hide my medical condition from a DZ facility...too scared about deploy of chute jerking my body... Someone recently suggested writing a detailed letter to the USPA. Yet to do...but 1st MUST get to bottom of my constant pain.

    Anyway, Joe Jennings, we have kept in touch for about 8yrs now! He's so inspiring, has made me cry tears of joy through his good words, inspiration, and even watching tv, coming across a tv commercial he worked on...Seeing a car dropped out of the sky...how did they film that? Prob Joe! lol anyway I am NOT promoting or spamming, just relating to our LOVE OF the sky, our being side-lined, and TRYING to get HEALED and back to some sort of a better quality of life...

    For me it's "just" entertainment, but this is YOUR CAREER on the line, right!

    My biggest obstacle was the L4/L5 fusion w/ titanium steel cage when I was 25. Took me 1yr to recover completely. The CORSET was kinda a mix of awesome Wonder Woman-ness with my paint job on it WITH a mix of MAJOR aNnoyanCe & uncomfortablility! lol - At least I can look back an laugh at a FEW things instead of holding grudges, like how the dr's never told me I had to come back to get my stitches out, so the stitches GREW INTO MY SKIN, THEN had to be PULLED out of PARTIALLY HEALED SKIN! what a "rail-road" scar. wtf.

    I've had pills shoved down my throat for prob more than half my life. Tolerance to meds, STILL looking for the correct dose and of which meds. I feel like I COULD be a pharmacist by now with all the info I've acquired...ackk!

    I just want a BETTER quality OF LIFE!
    Past 10 yrs have been what...quite unproductive I relunctanctly say.
    I've got my professional band, and play, IN PAIN, 2hr rehearsals weekly & 1 BIG show monthly with approx 40 other pro musicians. That's the ONLY time I get to ALMOST TOTALLY "escape" my pain. That 1x month show=2hrs sitting tho. ack

    STILL in a LOT of hell with arthritis, burning painful joints, siaticia (sp?), a newly diag hip popping thing, and more...

    TRYING to stay POSITIVE, but it's so hard to find a decent dr...

    ERRY dr says "your SO YOUNG to have these problems...." yeah, I immediately think, "I'm WELL AWARE, Capt. Obvious!" hehe

    I've traded in my PREVIOUS life of:
    horse back riding
    ice hockey
    street puck
    ice skating
    hardcore "b*tch tennis"
    (was NEVER severely hurt doing these activities!)

    Traded all this in for a life of...
    PUSHING myself to walk my dog at LEAST 1x day up to 3 short walks/day
    Playing my sax for a positive outlet at home & with my Music Center band-mates ANDDDDD
    waiting for our pool to open in the Summer??? wtf???

    HOPEFULLY when the warmer weather rolls around, I will be feeling a BIT better & be able to go kayaking again=EZ lazy creek

    Let's keep our eyes to the skies while "side-lined" or "grounded"...
    "Blue SKIES" to you!
    Sending you FAITH because FAITH is STRONGER than HOPE!
    -down2 Earth, Saxophone Christine-
    An ex-skydiver, who feels the only thing she has left is the talent God gave her to play the hell out of her saxophone, bringing Joy & smiles to others, and in turn, bringing happiness to herself...
    (If only I could get a paycheck for doing this I'd be set lol)

    website removed, solicitation not permitted.Please read the Forum rules
    Post Edited by The Spine-Health Moderator Team
  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 04/12/2013 - 3:51 AM
    Hey Joe, Sorry you also had a run in with this spine issue, With some luck it's not very serious and fusion can be avoided, The least invasive if disc is pressing on a nerve is micro d surgery simply removing a small bit off the disc which many people recover from prety fast,

    I have same symptoms you mention and mostly from surgery as I opted for the artificial disc replacement in 2004 clinical trial l4l5 and it's been down hill from there,

    Maybe the worse case will be for you is micro d and you be back up in the air within no time, Hey when you get back up in the air can you do me a favor and drop a buss on this guys head who owes me money ?
    He is tall dumb and ugly you can't miss him ! Let me know ,

    Best wishes,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Sky Scorpio, wow your personality sounds a lot like me. I totally know what you mean, it must be crushing not going out and living your life without limitations. I also enjoyed skydiving, well sort of I jumped in the Army for about 4 years, lots of gear and some really hard landings. I totally know what you mean about staying positive, I have been trying to battle with that. I decided to stay away from pain killers I haven't taken any drugs other than anti inflamatory and an occasional Valium to get sleep. Other than that, I'm pain killer free. This is in part because I want to feel my body, I need to know what works and what doesn't work for my treatment.

    I have been told that the vibrations of the aircraft may have caused my condition. Yes, I have multiple combat deployments flying helicopters and before that I used to run and sit in vehicles with body armor and jump out of airplanes, many others do it to. I don't believe what "they" say, actually I hurt my body mostly when I am not flying, I think the vibrations in my case may be therapeutic. I'd like to think that these problems have been a result of m neglecting my body over the years and improper posture and lifting technique and with some proper TLC I can get back to flying. Honestly, the only thing grounding me right now is my calf, toe and gluet strength, which is scaring the hell out of me.

    As far as looking at my career. I recently landed my dream job, wont say what it is but I have been working my tail off to get there. Now I am broken, I haven't given up but I have started planning for contingencies just in case the Army boots me. It's not giving up, it's just like jumping with a reserve chute, if one fails you have a back up. I swear, if this problem persists I am going to med school to help people. Because this issue has really addressed my concerns over the health care system in the U.S. I'm now under the impression a significant amount of doctors go to med school for the wrong reasons.

    On a lighter note, Thanks for your story I truly appreciate your time and your words to cheer me up, Alex, lol if I get back up you will need to send me that guys address ;) You should see what a Black Hawk can do to a house. Alex, have you been to a neurosurgeon about the nerve issues? How long have you been with no calf? You guys are awesome, see you on the boards!
  • I been to many doctors after the artificial disc replacement, Another doctor felt by doing fusion on the same level might help the nerve to heal if nerve was damaged at the nerve root by stoping movement, Well it stoped movement alright and made me even worse now having the nerve pain going down the left leg along with being stiff like a 2x4.

    I worked construction my whole life and after surgery there was no way I could do anything dealing with such pain,
    Most days can hardly walk, Injection for years now and meds spinal cord stimulated was implanted for pain control in 2012 but stoped charging it up as it don't help either,

    They call it failed back surgery syndrome, When they can't fix it or they screw it up they even give a nice name for it,
    Failed back surgery syndrome= we have no frickin idea what is wrong with you ! The sciatica often is caused after a back surgery in the hip and si joint and causes periformis syndrome muscle chocks off the sciatic nerve,

    Only now after about 8 years as I been saying this all along now they agree it's possible, Periformis injections been helping which is now leading to my original complaint after back surgery, But not all spine specialists treat the hip and si joint and periformis so seeing another ortho to get a ct of the hip,

    And if it turns out it is in my hip and they refused to listen to me because after all I am just a dumb construction worker what could I possibly know about where my pain is,? If they can fix it then I will put my foot up every doctors ass all the way to there l4l5 level where they will have to remove my foot with surgery lol ,

    They can go to there partner doctors and explain how they have someone's foot stuck in there ass, Let them play there litle games on each other, No dr John I don't think it's the foot causing your pain I think you need neck fusion, Ye that's the ticket !

    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • yeah I have run into a ton of narrow minded doctors that think their way is the best... I have realized you gotta correct your own treatment plan.
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