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Looking for advice

dakoopddakoop Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Lower Back Pain
I have been dealing with lower back pain (L4/L5)off and on for a couple of years. I have had multiple MRI's, Xray's and also a discogram. I have tried PT and pain injections, nothing lasting very long as far as relief.
They tell me that I have DDD in those discs along with bulging , cracking and all kinds of other stuff. They are talking surgery.

Here is my dilema. On most days my back is sore. I play Volleyball once per week and it really doesn't bother my back. Work seems to bother it more, I am always on the move, up and down, always in motion.
On some days the pain is horrible, can't stand straight, cant sit, cant lie down.

In my mind I keep asking myself, how can surgery be in the picture if I can play volleyball? How much pain do I have to be in for surgery to be the right option. I have been wrestling with this for a long time. I figured it was time to get some input from those who have been in my shoes..

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13

Comments

  • My thought is to wait as long as you can stand it. If work is causing the worst pain then find a way to modify or adapt. But wait as long as you can because most people have problems in the years after a fusion.
  • I agree with Kris, but also think the type of surgery makes a difference. There is a huge difference in looking at a fusion as compared to a less invasive disc surgery.

    I think it really comes down to a quality of life question, and to me, it sounds like if you're able to play volleyball it's hard to want to mess with that. The big thing to think about with the fusion is that it is permanently altering your anatomy- you will not be the same as you are now. For some, this sounds great because the pain is so severe. For you, it sounds like perhaps that is a frightening prospect which might be an indication that it is too soon to be looking at the fusion. But, I'm also a person who has tremendous pain sitting and know that while it can sound somewhat trivial it can really make life miserable to not have any sitting tolerance, so just the pain you experience at work may impact your quality of life enough to want to go forward. If volleyball is the only activity that is not causing you pain that is definitely something to think about since most of your time is spent doing other activities that it sounds like cause you pain.

    I'd encourage you to talk to your doctors about the options as far as types of surgery. I had IDET to patch up a disc and it was a relatively easy procedure and one that I am *so* glad I had. If you're a candidate for a minimally invasive type procedure that may give you some more options to think about when deciding whether or not to go forward with a more aggressive treatment.
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  • And also, have you tried medication? I mean, even something like an NSAID or a nerve pain medication? Those might push of surgery quite a bit longer.
  • I think I have tried it all. Drugs, both pain and nerve, massage, injections, pt, chiro. I even bought an inversion table and a tens unit.

    I guess what I really want to know is what made those that had surgery decide to get it. Is managable on most days pain grounds for surgery?

    I have talked to some that wonder why they didn't do it sooner and then there are the horror stories.
  • DaKoop being that your pain is intermittent you should consider that you may have a hypermobile SI joint caused by damaged ligaments or ligament damage elsewhere.
    If done correctly Prolotherapy can tighten up the ligaments in the SI joint.
    If you Google Prolotherapy you can find more info and doctors who use Prolo.

    Prolo is helping me a lot, it's a low risk high reward treatment.
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  • Si is a problem too. Google here i come:)
  • I have to agree with the others that it really depends on what type of surgery they're suggesting and seeing what other treatments might work.

    The fact that you can play volleyball (I just can't imagine doing that) says a lot. I doubt that there's any one of us here that have had lumbar fusion that were able to play volleyball before surgery.

    So I think it's definitely a case of finding a low-invasive or non-invasive procedure to help your back pain. I can tell you that, being an avid golfer for many years, after having both a cervical and a lumbar surgery, my golfing is extremely limited and it's actually a miracle that I can play at all. I can play 9 holes (but sometimes have to quit after 7 due to pain), but doubt that I'll every be able to play 18 holes again.

    Good luck on your decision. Like it was said, lumbar surgery is extremely invasive and you aren't likely to get back to normal until a year, if ever.

    Cath
  • My back is out again can't stand or sit or lie down. Missed 2 + days of work for it. My question, how do I know for sure it is the two degenerative discs? They did a discogram and said they were bad but every time my back goes out I get pain relief when the chiropractic frees IP my si joints.
    So is it discs?
    si?
    faramen?
    aliens?
  • If Chiropractic makes you feel better by freeing up your SI joint then you probably have loose ligaments at the SI joint. This is the same problem that I had and I spent a ton of $ and years with a Chiro only to learn that Prolotherapy will tighten up the ligaments at the SI joint permanently. Now I have no pain at the SI and I don't need a Chiro.

    Did your Chiro adjust you by using side posture, which is where he lays you on your side and leans into you?



  • Yes I lay on my side and they push down on the top bent leg.

    I checked w my insurance and they know nothing about prolonged.

    can si issue cause you to not be able to stand up?
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