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New to the site, not new to LBP

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Lower Back Pain

Lets see, 33, Finished my time in the Marines with minor issues related to DDD (decreased disc height at L5/S1, and L5/L4). syptoms at the time were, minimal LBP, but severe leg pain after prolonged standing with out activity. Funny I could run a half marathon with out hurting too bad, but couldn't stand in formation for 30 min. Over the past 10 years that has translated into somewhat more severe LBP, and lately severe leg pain, numbness loss of use primarily the right leg. So onto what the NS had to say, MRI shows severe degeneration at L/3 to S1, (its funny how good, L2/L3 looks along with everything up from there). There are two herniations at L3/L4 and L4/L5, one is displacing the right nerve the other the left. Limited physical activity and bed rest has lessened the leg pain issues, to an extent. Lower back pain is a constant 4, to maybe a 6 by the end of the day if I take it very easy. I am done with the large aamounts of pain meds they have put me on, it got to the point where yes the pain was diminished , but so was my interest in the things I love in life, Wife, Kids, outdoor activities.

So on to my questions..... I know someone can help answer with their experiences

1. NS is recomending imediate discectomy to remove the material that is causing the problems with the legs. He claims this will do nothing for the LBP, But will prevent further nerve damage. Has anyone had any relief in LBP with this procedure ?

2. NS also states that in 5 years I will be required to have a multi level fusion (atleast 2 levels) to deal with the poor condition of the discs. I am not totally thrilled with the idea of tieing that much of my spine together with hardware. I met a person that had a total disc replacment done at Stenum Hospital in Germany, He was a canidate for spinal fusion and decided to go this route and is overly happy with the result. ( this individual was not a specimen of ideal physical health, somewhat overweight, not physically active, poor muscle tone in spineand abdomen would be an understatment). I have contacted the Hospital and they reviewed my case and provided the costs involved in a two level replacment.

I guess what I am trying to determine here is , can I get any relief from LBP with the min invasive surgery in question 1?

This type of surgery will not prevent me from having the total disc replacment in the future, and is covered by my insurance.

A multi level spinal fusion makes a mess for total disc replacment, it can be done, but thats more trauma to an already unhappy part of my body.

I am almost sold on if I have to go the other route to just figure a way to come up with the costs involved and go to germany

Anyones thoughts would be appreciated.



  • No thoughts from me Jon, I am new to LBP, and also to this site. I hope you do get the info you are looking for from someone more experienced than me, and I wish you the best.
  • Hi

    Not sure what I can add to help you but here is my story - very similar to yours.

    Years of slight LBP, regular visits to chiropractor but no real diagnosis.
    2004 started getting pain down left leg from groin to knee but no further. Visited GP who said it was probably groin strain, went to physio at GP clinic. This went on and on and eventually
    2005 I was referred to ortho. Diagnosis then was tendonitis in left groin. Still having LBP but as I am slightly hyper mobile, all stretches and leg movements were fine. Had cortisone injection that helped but wore off. Ortho passed me to another surgeon for further tests. He gave another cortisone injection, but after MRI could see DDD and annular tear. But back pain wasn't as bad as leg pain, so was sent for ultra sound on groin.
    2006 It was now 2006 and after another referral for 3rd opinion I had an enlarged lymph node removed. But still the leg pain. Then my back gave way after a weekend walk and I ended up in major spasm.
    2007 - I'd now had more MRI's and an epidural pain relief, but nothing works. I opt for a 4th opinion with a recognised UK spinal surgeon. More MRI, discogram and rehab.

    2008 - Spinal surgeon has advised that I try to live with the DDD, annular tear and referred leg pain. I am on tramadol/naproxen and still have pain levels around 7 each day. The other option is replacing 2 discs and having a 3 level fusion. I am really trying to do as advised but it is SO HARD. Yesterday was a rotten day and I was very emotional. Today is better. THru rehab and exercise I am now working 5 hours a day, but my life is extremly compromised. I am leaning more towards surgery and see the consultant in August. Hopefully he will have an answer,

    So, no answers, I'm sorry - just a story and the thought that you are not alone in the hard decison of surgery.

    Good luck to you
  • Welcome.......Well, I'm not too medically inclined, but I know some procedures do just help with the LP and not the LBP. And, while they say it will help to prevent further nerve damage, if I knew or thought I would still need a multi-level fusion in a few years, if there was a chance I would be a candidate for the ADR, I would jump at the chance myself.

    I watched a video of a one-level ADR being done last year and I'm not too skiddish, I've had a lot of medical procedures done, and been thru alot, but one thing I really don't like is to watch blood being drawn from my arm. But watching this ADR surgical procedure did not bother me at all, it was so interesting, just amazing! It was done at Beth Israel Hospital in New York. I've heard ADR's are just so much better, especially when it comes to movement, and that it's just basically an easier overall surgery to deal with, depending on the situation, of course.

    Now, please Jon and everyone, don't get me wrong, as most of you know, I'm certainly not an Expert, this is just my opinion. After watching that video, I always thought if I ever had the chance and was a candidate for the ADR, that would be my choice, but I'm sure it depends on each person's situation, we are all different.

    Whatever you do, I wish you the best, I really know what LBP is, be sure to keep us informed.

    Take care,
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! i see this is your first post. we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. check out the "Good News" forum for some positive input concerning surgeries. good luck and please keep us informed of your progress. Jenny :)
  • I decided to go ahead and do it , tired of one leg lagging behind me, and the leg pain. I'll work on the ADR once things fall apart more. :D the question still remains did anyone on here have a discectomy and get any relief from LBP? sometimes it's hard to me to distinguish between LBP and leg pain then it is high up the leg.

  • Hi Jon, I am new to the forum also. A few similarities: family man, early/mid 30's, physical fitness has been a big part of my life. I was in excellent condition when I collapsed my L5/S1 disc in 2001 lifting and twisting a large tabletop. I rushed into a microdiscectomy surgery b/c the pain was so bad in my legs. The surgery left me 90% pain free for 3 years. I continued to workout and keep my core/legs strong until a couple of years ago when work/family duties pushed exercise to the bottom of the list. BIG mistake. I reinjured my back over two years ago and have had daily LBP ever since. I had unsuccesful surgery to remove disc debris/scar tissue in 2007, and other doctors have not been able to id what the prob is exactly, "It's a mess in there"
    My advice to you Jon, is after your discectomy, get the very best PT you can afford and follow their instructions to a T. Pay particular attention to keeping scar tissue at bay. This begins shortly after the surgery, and many DRs/PTs do not pay much attention to it. After the discectomy, you will be left with a sorry excuse for a disc. This area will need to be maintained in vigilant fashion. Keep yourself in top condition and always have back health and safety on your mind. It is a lifestyle change that you and your family cannot afford to relax on. If you let down your guard, you may end up like me, with a wife and 4 little ones, and the inability to care for them the way I used to.
    God Bless,
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