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Going for epidural number 2

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Damn, I thought my herniated L5 S1 was a done deal when I has an epidural concoction injected in my disc four years ago. Four years later and a lot of bumpin' on hard pack icy bumps has put me in line for another shot.

I have to get this done though. I've been battling lower leg pain all season as the disc juice squirts out and sits on the nerve. It's the reason I missed Jackson this year.

Is there anyone out there who has battled a similar dilema?
post #2 of 20
I'm not sure what concotion they injeced in you, but I have to get a quartazone (SP?) shot every year. Was it a steroid/anti-inflamatory? If so i probably was somethig close to what I got.

However I did just break my T12 (comp fracture) and my doc said if the pain doesn't go away in 6-9 months he's going to give me a shot of something to take away my pain... so maybe I can ask him what it is and we can talk some more.

But my main advice, try to wait as long as possible before getting anymore injected into you. I wait ntil my pain is unbearable before going in... not much else you can do. But if you're curious, talk to your doctor. Maybe go to physical therapy?

post #3 of 20
DR. Pinhed.... got no advice, but I am sorry to hear about your back... I gues you are not up for a bike trip when I come out in june.. That sucks.
post #4 of 20
Everyone is different. I have some bulging and degeneration of discs in the same area. I battle with it quite a bit but mostly control it with core work.

What's key for me is keeping my hips loose which tends to be quite a chore. Lately my I-T band has taken some work and offered relief as well. I ski with a back brace for the last couple of years and it helps quite a bit.

I have troubles when things are pretty good and I ease off on the work while skiing hard. Almost siezed last week but found the stretch that loosened the hips and hence the low back. Thought I wouldn't be able to ski but brought it back and up I went. Spent this past week installing a laminate floor and painting and floor moulding. Hips got real tight and things were going poorly but finely got the time for lots of stretching and had a great day skiing today.

I've thought about the injections for firming up the tissues (prolotherapy?) but never thought about cortisone. I've always understood the cortisone to be a symptom treatment (pain and inflammation) but not a cure for the underlying problem. If it works great but I would sure look at other options first.
post #5 of 20
I've had a similar problem for too many years also. Sounds like you've had cortisone injections. This is a common treatment to alleviate the pressure of the bulge or herniation pressing against a nerve.

My recommndation is to give up the bumps and any other high impact skiing. Hit the trees and off-piste for back friendly contitions. Core work is also key. If you're inclined, Pilate workouts are great for strengthening the core area.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input, all. I have been doing core specific movements that I learned from PT when this first occurred a few years ago. I'll admit to slacking on the routine a 'bit. Maybe I'm paying for it now. Stretching seems to help a lot too. I had been fine for about 4 years since my first steroid injection. This year has been a bugger.

I go for another MRI in May and then an evaluation. I'm not going to quit skiing bumps because it is how I enjoy myself. I'll ski them more smoothly rather than the more agressive zipper with speed. [img]smile.gif[/img] Okay maybe a little zipper with speed. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

coppernyc, cycling is okay with the back. I rode 60 yesterday from N Denver up Lookout Mtn down to Bear Creek and back up the Platte trail. Weather was great! I'm already signed up for the Santa Fe Century, Iron Horse Classic and the Triple Bypass. What did you have in mind for a ride?
post #7 of 20
I do a lot of cycling in the summer and have long thought I create a lot of the problems on the bike and pay for them once my body is taxed by the demands of skiing. Stretch and use a roller on the I-T band (cyclists have notoriously short I-Ts). Stretch the hip flexors, (psoas) hunched over riding with them in a short position is bad and will yank your pelvis. Stretch the quads they get very strong but due to position never get worked at full extension. Stretch the hamstrings (ditto to quads). Strengthen and stretch the hips(abs and ads) which see little work and no range of movement on the bike.
post #8 of 20
PinHed, how does one ski a zipper with a free heel?

Not, of course, intending to hijack!
post #9 of 20
Pin, I aslo have a extruded L5 S1. Depending on the severity explore your options, personally I think the injections offer little success and two Dr.'s I went to agree. Luckily, my extrusion sucked back in to the disk last year but I can't lead a normal life. You sound like an active person who is not going to be satisfied taking the slow road. If you are like me, you live with the constant fear of the disk popping again and being in excruciating pain down and out for months. I will share that I have had fantastic results with Accupuncture. So much so that my neuro-surgeon couldn't believe the results. I stopped going to rehab because all they wanted me to do is the McKensey therapy which actually made me feel worse. I did excersices at home and worked on Core strength and building my legs up. Don't foget to stretch each day. Keep your hamstrings as flexible as possible and stretch both sides. A good book to get some stretches from is by "Anderson", You can find it on Don't forget massages if you can afford. I also take a mix of some good vitamins and supplements, like E, C a very good B complex, magnesium, boron and calcium, of course "consult your physician before taking any suplements or vitamins or under going any excercise program". Go to a good health store and read some reference books. If you are considering surgery do you home work and look for a very experienced neuro-surgeon. Make sure the surgeon understands you are not "normal" person. Unless you let them know you lead a very active lifestyle and expect to be able to ski, bike run, hike, etyc, they will treat you like a couch potato and meaasure your healing on that basis. You may want to look into a newer procedure call METrx which involves a 3/4 inch incision and does not involve cutting the muscles to get to the vertebra. Its a form of a microdisectomy using a floroscope and some special tools. You can read up on this at Good luck and don't give in or give up!
post #10 of 20
Hey Pinhead,
In 98 I herniated L5-S1 by just sitting up in bed. Suffered immmensly for about 2 months before having a micro-lumbar disectomy. I awoke feeling like a new person.No more agonizing leg pain! To make a long story short I was back running in about 3 months and back to skiing the next season. I have to say I avoided the bumps for a bit but slowly made my way back in there.Since then I have run a marathon ,4 half marathons and passed my L3 skiing( very agressive bump skiing!)
The surgery for me was the best way to go. I have no back problems. I think being physicaly fit really helped my recovery. Hope you recover soon Pinhead! Hang in there!

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the GREAT input all!

Ron, you suggestions are awesome. I have an acupuncturist friend in Denver who also recommended the needle. I'm going to establish a relationship with a local Chiro/Acupuncturist/Massage office. If anyone in Dillon has used Drs. Auth/Boyd I'd appreciate feedback.

Skier_J, I'm not sure what you mean... I ski the short line (zipper) just like an alpine skier except with a telemark turn.

I skied the Silver Coulior a few weeks ago off of Buffalo in Silverthorne, CO and have already racked up 450 miles on the road bike. I feel great. The trick is to keep it great. I think Ron has the right recipe.

post #12 of 20
Good luck Pin! I don't think there is a perfect receipe as back issues are one of the nation's biggest problems. Unfortunately for me I think I will have to go the route of Tcarey. I just can't seem to get things calmed down to my satisfaction after a year. I can't run, jump sit for more than an hour without pain and so on. If I was a couch potato it would be fine but I can't "adjust my lifestyle" that much. I still swear by the accupuncture and supplements though! I am going to have to look into the surgery. Tcarey any advice after the surgery?
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ron
Unfortunately I am going to have to look into the surgery.
Sorry to hear that. Best wishes, Ron.
post #14 of 20
Hey Ron,
For me Ron surgery was the last resort. I was sorry that I waited so long though. I lost alot of weight. My life dwindle to being a couch potatoe for about a month(no sleeping ,eating just getting through the day with agressive pain management.)
The night of the surgery I was up walking the halls of the hospital and looking for food! I was totally off any pain medication.I did have quite a backache but nothing compared to the nerve pain I had the past 2 months.
I think what helped me the most was getting up and getting active again, It took awhile and I had to go slow. I started back to bodybuilding about 3-4 months after my surgery. I think being strong helps alot. I really didn't do anything specific to aid in my healing. The doctor didn't order aby PT for me. I am already in the fitness field so he let me go it alone.
Alot of people might tell you that you can't do this and you can't do that.My surgeon told me to avoid bump skiing and not lift any thing over 25 lbs. Well that went out the window pretty quickly. Hope this was able to shed some light on the heaing process!

post #15 of 20
Thanks, I am a year in to this and was pretty much healed up. I took it easy this season and stayed on the greens and easy blues. I had to to avoid all the fun stuff and spring skiing was too rough on my back. I was starting to do more physical stuff like resurfacing my deck and some other landscape work (no shoveling or anything) but my back didn't like this too much and the nerve flared up again, not anything terrible a couple of accupuncture visits and I was good but I just can't see cutting back my activities so dramatically. I just turned 40 and I have a lot of skiing, trail running, kayaking and hiking with my dog to do and have been told I really need to "adjust my lifestyle" in order to avoid another episode. Can't live this way, got to do something. I was like you before your surgery last year and know what that's like. I am really glad to hear about your sucess. I will keep you posted. I have a MRI scheduled in two weeks and the neurologist later that week for the prognosis. Wish me luck! I need to ski this season!
post #16 of 20
I have a herniated L5, S1, at 23 its a major problem for me as i thought i had many good years left in me, I had 3 cortisone injections last year that helped quite a bit and was on Vioxx for about 8 months, having been off the Vioxx since january i havent been too bad however i still have the sciatic pain every single day. I stretch twice a day and have accupuncture and massage once a week which helps, but even so i think i'm heading to the operating table eventually.

My specialist (one of the best in Australia) says my back is in equivalent condition to that of a 50 yr old and beleives i will have to have a spinal fusion in the near future. I'm dealing with things as best I can, however i'm so scared of hurting myself that i only ski a few days a season and gave up soccer, golf and the gym.

I find the best thing is to stay positive and thats about all i can do.

Hope everyone elses back problems get better!

post #17 of 20
Good luck to you! I just had another MRI and went to another neurosurgeon. There was no real change in my extrusion and he felt I had a 80% chance of a near full recovery. Althouhg my outlook is far better than yours its still atough decision. I wish you the best of luck and recovery. Its a tough decision. Hopefully you can get back to the point were can at least spend some time on the slopes. Keep us advised!
post #18 of 20
Well, I had never really spent any time lurking/posting in this forum, but how fast things can change.
I have a herniated L5-S1 and found this thread pretty insightful.
After having a "stiff" back for many years (not out of shape, good core strength etc.), I now have 2 weeks of unrelenting sciatica pain. Have seen a neuro surgeon, tried NSAIDS/oral steroid, and have gotten essentially no improvement yet. I'm pretty limited in doing any stretching/exercises yet. For those who know, it's incredibly frustrating from going from skiing/biking/etc. to not being able to bend over to touch your knees.

I'm not sure what precipitated it- ?icy bumps a few weeks ago, ? 1st visit ever to a chiropracter 6 weeks ago at a friend's suggestion. IT just sort of came on XMAS day and got worse and worse. Probably was just a time bomb waiting to go off no matter what.
Either way, like the first author of this post, I'll be missing Jackson too (trip planned in 3 weeks-cancelled: ).
Right now, I'm just hoping for some relief and will be seeing the surgeon again later this week for follow up. My sense is that he is not anxious to operate in the near future.
post #19 of 20
PinHed here ...err Seven. I changed my handle because most people though it was a self effacing handle. : So, now it's Seven ...the brand of road bike that I ride.

I have to say that for me filler296's post was the most spot-on reflection of my situation.

I found a great chiro in Summit. That single person was able to nail the root problem and all the associated problems.

Bottom line:
My psoas were too tight.
My thighs were too dominant and therefore caused my glutes to not fire properly.

The tight psoas caused the lower lumbar to loose some of the curvature and therefore some of the shock absorption provided by the curvature.

I have been attending Yoga and Pilates, rolling out my IT and getting Rossiter sessions (myotherapy.)

I still ski bumps (yeah, the zipper line skier J), steeps, bumpy steeps and everthing else that ain't groomed.

It's very interesting how interconnected a body is. One thing that is out of whack can cause problems in multiple other areas. Then we treat the most annoying symptom and never explore the root of the problem.

It's been a great learning experience. I was determined to not give up what I love to do. I think I won.
post #20 of 20
Hi, PinHed.

Sorry to hear about the problems. Good luck with the treatment and I hope we'll get to see you in JH one of these days.
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