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Non surgery stories

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
I want to hear the stories of those who opted for no surgery. What was your diagnosis? How long has it been? Describe the journey (ups and downs). Are you glad you didn't opt for surgery or are you still thinking about it? Are you completely recovered or still have problems? And finally, do you have before and after MRIs? I have yet to see an MRI of a naturally healing rupture and I'd love to see one.


  • I think I might have told you about my husband already...can't remember. Anyway, I'll make it quick. 16 years ago he ruptured L5-S1 on the day before Christmas. He went to several spinal specialists who all told him they would not recommend surgery. So he went to PT and had a few pain pills at the beginning. Epidural injections were not nearly as common then....He was off work a couple weeks, then returned. He was feeling quite a bit better by about 4 months, began regularly walking in May or June. He healed and to this day, does his "back" exercises every single day -- never misses a day!

    He has not had further problems that required medical attention. He avoids activities that he knows are bad for him, uses good body mechanics, keeps his weight normal.

    We do not have a MRI -- sorry.
  • But I'm assuming he did get an MRI. Do you know what type of rupture it was or did they not get into specifics? Also, how old was he when it happened? Does he have any flareups or numbness/tingling around the groin (I heard that's common with L5-S1)?
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  • I am in no surgery club. I am 5 month after herniation, recovered 75% and still improving. I saw 3 surgeouns and none wanted to operate on me due to 1) 2 disks involved and 2) I am improving. As for MRI, I had 2, one after herniation and the other one 4.5 months later - according to radiologyst second MRI shows 'marginable imrovement' only - but I feel so much better.
  • hi i have had kinda both i had a lamindectomy 13 years ago and all was great it was the L5/S1 that got operated on all was good until 3 years ago and it went again, but this time i didnt have another op had physio and drugs took a while 6 months and then 99% good but then it has just recently gone again1 and now have an appointment with a Neuro Surgeon as it has gone bad twice in the last two months so Doctors reckon i should have surgery not sure yet as when it went 3 years ago and it did get better and again its now started feelin loads better already and cutting down the pain killers so at the moment in two minds go with .. will let you all know

    cheers Richie
  • Since it's difficult to guage small increments of less pain, I figured I document my progress. First, I'm male, 45 years old. I have a good-sized, lumbar, migrated protrusion focalized on the left side. L4/L5. First noticed it March 1, 2009. So I'm in week 8. First week wasn't bad. Intense pain didn't kick in until the middle of the second week. Here's my progress from 5 (long) weeks ago to today:

    *Couldn't put my socks on without intense pain. *Now one hand can go lower than my feet so I can get them on easier (still a challenge).

    *Couldn't drive my truck without leaning on my right butt cheek. A couple times driving to work I made it a few miles and had to come home and call in sick. Getting out of the truck and putting feet on ground was intense pain/throbbing down left leg. *Now I can drive normally, carefully get out, stand for about 15 seconds looking at ground (never look up), maybe one sharp throb, then I'm fine.

    *Waking in the morning was horrible. After standing for 10 seconds the pain was overwhelming. Felt like my hip was broken, massive throbbing, razors down the side, calf was exploding, top of foot and big toe hurt. I'd walk dog for 20 minutes very slowly (at 4am!) then stretch for 30 minutes before my shower. *Now I get up at 5am, pop an ibu, walk dog with medium pain, stretch about 5 minutes, and I'm good to go.

    *Was taking a hydrocodone every 2 hours and Motrin every few hours. Switched to 800mg Ibu's once every 8 hours and two hydrocodones per day. *Now I'm down to 1 200mg Ibu every few hours. Tried to do less but I'm not there yet.

    *Had 'intense' pain episodes (lasting 10-20 mins) at least 3 times per day. *Now I have one maybe every 3 days and only with certain activities.

    I figured my progress might be helpful for anyone with a similar injury, maybe shining the light down the tunnel. I'll update this in a few weeks. My big goals are to cross my legs, sleep on my sides again, ride my motorcycle with no intense pain dismounting, and normal sex again. At the end of six months I fully intend on getting another MRI and posting the results.

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  • To answer your questions, my husband was about your age when it ruptured. I believe he was 43 and had a birthday 10 days after it happened. At the beginning he really could not move. He spent Christmas day stretched out on the floor near the tree. I even fed him Christmas dinner on the floor. (Our dogs thought it was quite a wonderful holiday!) Our neighbor is an anesthesiologist, but had been a family practioner. He advised us NOT to go to the ER as it was a holiday. He came over and examined my husband. He wrote a prescription for a pain med and got him an emergency appointment with a spinal specialist he knew. That got my husband through to his appointment a number of days later.

    I remember seeing the MRIs but do not recall any specifics. When he gets home tonight, I'll see if he remembers any details.

    He has had two slight flare-ups in 16 years...both times he stopped running, and let up on other things and it passed quickly. He does not have any symptoms and never did in the genital area. His was all down his thigh.

    When he went back to work, I drove him and carried his briefcase for him into his office. He spent part of the day standing, as it was more comfortable. He had some pain when sitting and he couldn't walk normally. He kind of walked side-ways like a crab. I don't think he could swing his leg through like a normal walking movement. He couldn't put on shoes and socks -- I did that for him for quite awhile.

    To this day, he does his back and core exercises regularly. He exercises six days per week, keeps his weight well within the normal range, uses good body mechanics and is careful when he does an activity that he knows has the potential to cause him problems -- like raking or shoveling snow, for example. He gave up playing hockey and skating as it was really hard on his back. I truly believe if he were not such a disciplined person, he would have had additional problems and would have had surgery by now.
  • I love this tread. I am actually having a flare up today (first in 2 month) and feel a little down. Bad news I do not know what to do - do I lay down a lot, do I walk.... I am looking forward to vicodine and flexeril for the night (first in 2 months).... I could use some cheering up.
  • I'm guessing flareups are going to happen for awhile. I think back to other injuries I had. I really messed my neck up in my 20s. I think back and I probably had a buldge. Wasn't bad at first until I saw a chiro in Orlando. She told me she was going to adjust it and I honestly didn't know what she meant. With no warning she snapped my head. I never went back. For 5-6 years after that I had flare ups for no reason. All healed now. The body is an incredibly slow healer, but it leaves no scar tissue. Amazing when you think about it.

    I just popped 2 ibu's before going to bed. A little sore and I need the sleep. So sleep tight and I'll keep you in my prayers.
  • it 6 am, i am up. i have a toddler who gets up early - back pain or not. Did not sleep much, but the pain is better. i have trouble sleeping recently, even went to a doctor for it few days ago, but did not wanted to try my newly prescribed ambien with the other drugs i took. i also possibly have fibromyalgya, so it is hard to distingwich which pain from which condition. I also have neck/arm issues... i spent yestarday mosly in bed, got up few times to do back extensions, did not take my walk. However, in the evening had to go to school to see my older child performace. so, good news that pain is better even after sitting for 2 hours durung the performance. I also have a goal to sit with cross legs, actually simply sit w/o discomfort and have normal sex. My husband is very patient with me but I know he is not happy....
  • I have been told that crossing your legs is not good for your back, because your back will be out of alignment. You always want to maintain good posture and body mechanics and strength your core muscles (back, stomach, buttocks, thighs).

    Sounds like you are making good progress. Great hear that!
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