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Advice and opinions desperately sought

October 2012: Injured my back in a road accident (herniated L5-S1 disc)

November 2013: Injured back again doing a dead-lift (pain was so so at this point and no conservative treatment had been applied) WORST PAIN I'VE EXPERIENCED

June 2014: Terrible bought, brought on by a cheap mattress in my new apartment

Now: I have been taking conservative care for 2 months now (good mattress, no slouching, stretching, building core muscles, walking etc.)

1. The pain is probably 90-95% gone, I could live life like this as it's not even noticeable, however I know it is still there and it is making me depressed. Will I ever get back to 100% fitness and can play sports competitively again?

2. Because I didn't really take serious care of it for so long, what do you think the chances are of permanent nerve damage? Perhaps that's the 5% that I'm missing?

3. Most important one for me: What are the chances of serious problems because of nerve damage? i.e. loss of bowel control, ALS/MND etc.

4. Suicide is genuinely an option before surgery, I will get a microdiscectomy if the problem isn't gone in the next few years maybe, but fusions etc I would rather not put myself through it. Has anyone had a microdiscectomy and reached 100%?

5. I have been looking at MS Contin and Oxycontin if the pain alleviates again, has anyone had any experience of these drugs (or any other narcotic/opioid)? Was your pain gone 100% to the point you didn't even think about it anymore, or was it always in the back of your mind that it was still a little bit painful?

6. Has anyone had any positive experiences with PT?

Sorry for so many questions, but please help me and answer this in your own opinion, this is such a grey area and I've had conflicting information from doctors...
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Comments

  • You're not alone.

    Spines are precious and some just don't operate like others'. There's never a good time for anything to change in life.

    Is probably 90-95% gone, I could live life like this as it's not even noticeable, however I know it is still there and it is making me depressed. Will I ever get back to 100% fitness and can play sports competitively again? I understand what you are saying. Even though a good number of people on this site would love to trade places with you, the fact is is that you aren't who you used to be/are.

    2. Because I didn't really take serious care of it for so long, what do you think the chances are of permanent nerve damage? Perhaps that's the 5% that I'm missing? Do you have nerve damage? Have you been confirmed by a spine surgeon that this is the avenue for you? Have you had an MRI? I'm guessing that you have, in which case if they've told you this then I would understand your concerns. Otherwise you're shooting fish in a barrel. Once you know and if surgery is elective then physio would be a good place. (read #4 below)

    3. Most important one for me: What are the chances of serious problems because of nerve damage? i.e. loss of bowel control, ALS/MND etc. Nerve damage is caused by compression/severing/damaging the nerve. The question is, what caused yours and where is it. Ask your surgeon this question. It's number 1 for you and it should be addressed. I was told that my nerve damage caused by massive root impingement could yeild me a 33 % chance to walk again. I proved them that I'm working with the good odds. it's a chance to show them what I'm made of.

    4. Suicide is genuinely an option before surgery, I will get a microdiscectomy if the problem isn't gone in the next few years maybe, but fusions etc I would rather not put myself through it. Has anyone had a microdiscectomy and reached 100%? Life finds a way and is about living 100 percent in all facets of life. Things get thrown at you. Spine issues aren't fair. I gimp around and use a cane. But I'm upright and I have my marbles. I wouldn't throw that away for anything. I've been on the planet too long though and I'm rather fond of my surroundings and find joy in the small things. This injury has been an education and an eye opener into what the meaning of life is. I hope you find peace there too.

    5. I have been looking at MS Contin and Oxycontin if the pain alleviates again, has anyone had any experience of these drugs (or any other narcotic/opioid)? Was your pain gone 100% to the point you didn't even think about it anymore, or was it always in the back of your mind that it was still a little bit painful? I have experience with all of the drugs. Do not drug seek a doctor. Explain how you feel and for how long and journal your adventures and explain it the best you can. give them numbers. The right relief is out there for you if you seek the right people and state the right facts and let them decide. Both of those Contins are very short term in my opinion for me. They make me a zombie. They may work for you. who knows unless you go there with the doctors?

    6. Has anyone had any positive experiences with PT? Yes, but the key is to find the right ones. Get the hospital who deal in orthotics and prosthetics recommend you a person. Some will take your money and put heat and tens units on you and other such niceties but the real deal is about you doing specifics for you. It wouldn't hurt if you're deadlifting ever again in life to get them to show you form for the gym, and proper ergo for the desk/workplace. Whatever it is you do.

    Sorry for so many questions, but please help me and answer this in your own opinion, this is such a grey area and I've had conflicting information from doctors...

    Get a binder going and own your care. Nobody else is going to do the best job that you would. It would be great to have all of the information at the ready to discuss with whomever you see.

    Good luck to you. Keep us posted, and at least the new mattress helps with sleep right? Baby steps.
  • Thank you so much for your answer, it really is appreciated.

    I understand that a lot of people would like to swap with me so I am thankful for that. I have devised my own PT programme and that seems to be working for me (I genuinely haven't done anything for the pain up until the last few months, and I have seen an improvement, so hopefully this will all be over soon).

    1 more question...

    Has anyone had a percutaneous discectomy? This seems to be the far best procedure in my opinion, but I can't find much info about it online...

    Thanks again for all you help!
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