I was diagnosed an L4/L5 herniated disc a year ago. The pain cooled off after a couple of months of inactivity and some homepathic injections, but it came back a month ago when I started going to the gym again (although I never put any pressure on my back... weird). The pain came back stronger than ever, so I travelled to New York to see one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the US. Given the new MRI, I have degenerative disc disease and a herniated disc in L4/L5, plus a couple of issues in L5/S1. He recommended Epidural Steroid Injections before considering surgery (which he said would be a micro-discectomy, and if that doesn't work, an Artificial Disc Replacement). Given that the injections are seldom part of the solution (they only treat symptoms), I decided to go for alternative treatments before I give them a try. I did some research and found a machine called the DRX9000 in my country (Costa Rica), which does Spinal Decompression, and I've decided to go for it. It claims to stretch your discs and create a vacuum effect thus pulling the herniation back in... sounds too good to be true but I'll try anything at this point. I had to go through another orthopedic surgeon for an 'approval process,' who basically determines if you have a herniated disc or not and if you'll be a 'candidate' for the treatment. The doctor from Costa Rica diagnosed the exact same thing the one from New York did, except this one charged $60 and the one from New York charged $600. He said surgery shouldn't be an option at my age (23).
The whole procedure consists of 20 sessions spread in 4 weeks or more, and costs $2800 (they're submitting the insurance claim in the hospital to see if they accept it.. I have IHI BUPA). They give you a huge belt which will have to be worn ALL THE TIME (except for showers of course).
On the 1st of December '10, I had my first therapy session! Conclusion: kind of painful, but in a way relieving.
It's hard to describe. You're strapped on to a machine for 30 minutes which varies the load (decompression) every minute or so. I started with 80lbs today, which will supposedly be increased in increments of 5 lbs every session.
Again, they gave me this HUGE waist band that carries an ice pack in the back. I'm supposed to wear it all day for the duration of the treatment (soo I guess it's 30 days or so). I also got electro shock therapy after the session. They told me I can't do ANYTHING for the duration of the treatment... like nothing... no sex, no carrying stuff, no nothing! I guess I can handle it! I'm supposed to be getting physical therapy later on in the treatment.
Anyways, I'm optimistic. I'm hoping this will help me out, because I can't stand the pain.. it's becoming unbearable.
Now, I won't be posting every little update, but I am keeping and updating an excel worksheet with EVERY single detail regarding the treatment, including:
-POUNDS OF DECOMPRESSION
-PAIN LEVEL BEFORE THE THERAPY
-PAIN LEVEL AFTER THE THERAPY
-GENERAL PAIN THROUGHOUT THE DAY
-ADDITIONAL THERAPIES GIVEN
-AND GENERAL COMMENTS
(ALL UPDATED DAILY)
I'll be posting the file as soon as I'm done with it, unless anybody wants to see how things are going throughout the therapy, in which case I can post the most recent update or have it sent to your e-mail. In any case, here's the latest update (round 4/20): http://i.imgur.com/tOgIh.png
Good luck to everyone, but most importantly, WISH ME LUCK PLEASE! Round 5 is next monday.
P.S. Round 4 was painful as hell! But heck it felt really good afterwards.