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Spinal Disk Degeneration - Page 2

post #31 of 47

Well, my husband has had three very successful surgeries. Two lumbar and one neck over a period of about 12 years. It has given him his life back. He was barely able to walk, and is now skiing again.

 

Surgeon would only do after extensive PT, injections, etc. for years... But once done, miraculous. My cousin's wife suffered for a year with sciatic pain. She is in her 80s so they didn't want to operate. She had PT, injections (useless) and pain clinic sessions. finally they did orthoscopic surgery, found she had a cyst on the nerve. removed it. She's pain free. Niece had drop foot and severe burning pain. had lumbar surgery about two months ago. At first, she thought it was a disaster. lots of pain. but over time it got better and she too is now pain free. Her mother had multiple surgeries, none worked. (family genetics = bad backs) So both husband and niece understandably reluctant to resort to surgery. Both wish they'd done it sooner.

 

That's a small sampling of 4 with 3 of 4 benefitting from surgery. They range in age from 30s to 80s in all sorts of general physical condition. You are a doctor. You know that anecdotal evidence (yours or mine) is not how to base an opinion.

 

REPEAT.... Find a great doctor you trust and have your specific situation analyzed to see what is best for you.

post #32 of 47
Thread Starter 

  I really cringe at the idea of any sort of surgery.  I am only 41 and don't want to live with a lifetime of pain.  I know some surgeries turn out okay but as others stated its a high probability that it won't.  My first choice was chiropractic for that reason.  Then the next step is shots soon.  I will talk to them about options as I am sure the specialist giving shots is sort of a middle ground specialist to talk to.  After those visits if nothing is cleared up or changed then I would go to a surgical specialist.  This is just my thinking and maybe it will be wrong.  

 

I know that some people have stated that chiropractic can cause the issue to get worse.  Not really sure what to say about that, anything can cause things to be worse.  The chiropractor I work with does a lot of rehabilitation work along with chiropractic.  Also getting a lot of massages but they don't come close to getting out the knots.  I have a lot of internal scar tissue built up and very limited flexibility at this point.  This is why I am hoping a shot will help calm down those nerves.  Back issues happen from the muscle pulling and spinal degeneration.  Once those knots are worked out it should clear up.  Anything else is just a band aid, including chiropractic, and surgery imo.

 

 A Neuro/Ortho just isn't really an option at this point for me.  I wish it was and I could talk with a few different specialist but it just isn't in the cards at this point.  

 

  One thing that really works for me is diet and yoga.  I have not been able to do yoga though as my arm was injured in my last accident.  I have heard of quite a few cases where that helps. 

post #33 of 47

Utahsaint, I've been reading this thread but have not contributed because I don't have any experience with your issue.

But I'm interested, and I have a question.

Are you saying that you think eating different foods can clear up spinal disk degeneration? ("I have a very degenerated spinal disk way down around the L4 area of the lumbar vertebrae.") 

 

Do you know how that might work?  I must admit I'm skeptical.

post #34 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Utahsaint, I've been reading this thread but have not contributed because I don't have any experience with your issue.

But I'm interested, and I have a question.

Are you saying that you think eating different foods can clear up spinal disk degeneration? ("I have a very degenerated spinal disk way down around the L4 area of the lumbar vertebrae.") 

 

Do you know how that might work?  I must admit I'm skeptical.

 

 

Not at all.  What I am saying is that certain foods cause more inflammation in your body.  What I have found is that some foods exacerbate the situation.  Take caffeine as an example.  If I drink any later on at night my body will stiffen up and sometimes I cannot walk.  I have also found that bread causes issues as well as a brie cheese (one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches).  If I have these sorts of things my body has a major reaction and instead of being a little in pain its horrific at night. I wish it was not that way as I crave some breads, wheat products at times with pop.

 

What I have found that makes me feel 100% better is a smoothie made of fruit for breakfast and mostly cutting out anything but salads, and vegetables.  I am not vegetarian though and really crave a good hamburger or pizza.  Which lately just makes me regret the decision.  So I keep telling myself I should eat cleaner and maybe I'll be okay...  its just a difficult lifestyle change.

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post
 

I know some surgeries turn out okay but as others stated its a high probability that it won't.  

 

I don't know that it's true that there is a "high probability" that it won't work.

 

I absolutely agree with trying every reasonable non-invasive method first.  Chiro didn't do it for me, but that doesn't mean it won't for you.  I gotta agree with LF and admit that I'm skeptical of diet making a significant difference once pain reaches near-debilitating levels.

 

In any case, yeah, as long as you can stand the pain and limitation of mobility in the meantime, I say try Plans A all the way through Y before the last resort of surgery.  Still, if it comes to that, remember that you're a quite young 41, presumably fit, not overweight(?), and a non-smoker(?).  All those factors along with the motivation to engage in post-op P.T. I would imagine make you a great candidate for a successful surgical outcome...if it even comes to that.

 

My Neuro won't even do surgery on smokers, as it hinders recovery.  He also insists on 6 weeks post-op P.T. to aid recovery and believes any surgeon who doesn't should be avoided.  As with most things, the trick is to find a good Doc, I guess.

 

Anyway, Good Luck with whatever you end up needing to pursue.

post #36 of 47

I may be belaboring the obvious, but if one is overweight, losing weight will help a bad back (or hip, or knee). Wish I could take my own advice. Given that carrying 15 pounds makes my back worse, losing 15 pounds would help a lot.

post #37 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

I may be belaboring the obvious, but if one is overweight, losing weight will help a bad back (or hip, or knee). Wish I could take my own advice. Given that carrying 15 pounds makes my back worse, losing 15 pounds would help a lot.

In all honesty I could stand to lose at least 25 lbs. I also have high blood pressure which doesn't help at all.
post #38 of 47
Take a look at the McKenzie method. I had a microdiscectomy at L5-S1 due to badly bulging disc that was causing nerve damage and foot drop in August 2013. My neurosurgeon insisted my PT was with a certain person who followed McKenzie method and I also followed the directions in his book. I was skiing by the start of the season at the end of November. I'm 41 and still have stenosis and lower back issues but I can control them with Mckenzie exercises and refraining from sitting as much as possible. Get a stand-up desk for work.
post #39 of 47

In my experience, I've always tried conservative methods first and then adjusted accordingly.

 

In my neck, I have syringomyelia (longitudinal fluid-filled cyst in my spine). While it caused a lot of pain, the criteria for surgery was foot drop and incontinence. When it came to that point, I had C5-7 fused.

 

In my low back, I have DDD, multiple herniated disks--the MRI is a mess. I had not been skiing for over 10 years due to a combination of the back problems and ankle injury. An orthopedic surgeon referred me to a physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctor). I had a series of epidural injections which helped calm things down enough to start a physical therapy program. The combination of the two (injection and PT) did the trick this time. In Colorado, we have direct access to physical therapists meaning I can go to one without needing a prescription from an M.D..

 

As an FYI, many physical therapists have a doctorate degree now--DPT. (not an MD). Physiatrists are MDs.

 

I am currently experiencing some issues and am trying chiropractic and acupuncture. Basically need to accelerate some healing so I can get back to doing my back exercises.

post #40 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

In my experience, I've always tried conservative methods first and then adjusted accordingly.

 

In my neck, I have syringomyelia (longitudinal fluid-filled cyst in my spine). While it caused a lot of pain, the criteria for surgery was foot drop and incontinence. When it came to that point, I had C5-7 fused.

 

In my low back, I have DDD, multiple herniated disks--the MRI is a mess. I had not been skiing for over 10 years due to a combination of the back problems and ankle injury. An orthopedic surgeon referred me to a physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctor). I had a series of epidural injections which helped calm things down enough to start a physical therapy program. The combination of the two (injection and PT) did the trick this time. In Colorado, we have direct access to physical therapists meaning I can go to one without needing a prescription from an M.D..

 

As an FYI, many physical therapists have a doctorate degree now--DPT. (not an MD). Physiatrists are MDs.

 

I am currently experiencing some issues and am trying chiropractic and acupuncture. Basically need to accelerate some healing so I can get back to doing my back exercises.

 

 

  I am so sorry to hear that.  I can only imagine and yet some of it I am living. 

 

   I had a mri and a cortisone shot this last week.  After this I am waiting to hear from my doctor on the prognosis.  I think my skiing days are done for a while.  From what I know L5-S1 are all moderate and L2-L5 are mild degeneration. 

 

  I also don't know on my shoulder yet but might need surgery.  It's going to be a long road to recovery for sure. 

post #41 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

In my experience, I've always tried conservative methods first and then adjusted accordingly.

 

In my neck, I have syringomyelia (longitudinal fluid-filled cyst in my spine). While it caused a lot of pain, the criteria for surgery was foot drop and incontinence. When it came to that point, I had C5-7 fused.

 

In my low back, I have DDD, multiple herniated disks--the MRI is a mess. I had not been skiing for over 10 years due to a combination of the back problems and ankle injury. An orthopedic surgeon referred me to a physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctor). I had a series of epidural injections which helped calm things down enough to start a physical therapy program. The combination of the two (injection and PT) did the trick this time. In Colorado, we have direct access to physical therapists meaning I can go to one without needing a prescription from an M.D..

 

As an FYI, many physical therapists have a doctorate degree now--DPT. (not an MD). Physiatrists are MDs.

 

I am currently experiencing some issues and am trying chiropractic and acupuncture. Basically need to accelerate some healing so I can get back to doing my back exercises.

 

 

  I am so sorry to hear that.  I can only imagine and yet some of it I am living. 

 

   I had a mri and a cortisone shot this last week.  After this I am waiting to hear from my doctor on the prognosis.  I think my skiing days are done for a while.  From what I know L5-S1 are all moderate and L2-L5 are mild degeneration. 

 

  I also don't know on my shoulder yet but might need surgery.  It's going to be a long road to recovery for sure. 


Best of luck utahsaint, and recover fast.  Report back with progress.  

post #42 of 47

Best advice is:

 

It's all about the attitude, if you want it bad enough you will get it!

 

Applies to everything in life.

 

@utahsaint chin up, focus on getting skiing and you will (the body will just be forced to follow ;))

 

Best Wishes,

 

G

post #43 of 47
Thread Starter 
I have not on the forum much at all. Sort of been discouraged to be honest. My latest accident was worse than I thought. I have a partial tear on my rotator cup and lots of scar tissue. I am going for surgery at the end of the month. As bad as that is my back is far worse. I have had one shot so far and it doesn't even help. I need to schedule my second one soon. At this point I am looking for specialist. Skiing this year might have to be a rare thing.
post #44 of 47

Do NOT let them get to you.    Both rotator cuff and back injuries are extremely good depressants and will completely kill any joy if you let them.

I'd say 'chin up' but as I'm currently on round 9 of jaw surgery (yep, another 6 weeks of polenta yoghurt and applesauce) the irony would be too much.

post #45 of 47
I just had back surgery Thursday. It's obv very new but I already have more strength in both legs and no more
Hip pain. I did everything possible to not get surgery, but I'm glad I did. Maybe now I can ride at my full potential.
post #46 of 47
Thread Starter 
I had a epidural steroid shot on Thursday and that has really cut out most of the pain. Hopefully now I can work on the weight loss that I so badly need.
post #47 of 47
Thread Starter 

I never updated this thread.  I still don't know exactly what is going on.  It's not a good thing nor is it as bad as I thought at first.  The good news is that nothing was wrong enough on my back to require surgery.  The bad news is that I still don't know what is going on.  I really think I tore something and it has not shown up on any of the mri's.  I have been through physical therapy and a few shots.  It seems to be slowly getting less painful but still flairs up sometimes.  So for now I am trying to take it easy and trying to lose some of the pounds I have put on over the years.  Either way I am back on skis and just not hitting the slopes quite as crazy as I was before.

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