Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 45
  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,333

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    I made an appointment for tomorrow!

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Posts
    1,222
    While I don't know if I could call myself "super-active", I do consider myself to be quite active...and my back is a mess, too. I don't have a herniation...I have a grade 2 spondylolisthesis at my L5/S1 level. In laymen's terms, my L5 vertebra has slipped forward and off of my S1 vertebra. The "grades" are used to distinguish the severity of the slippage...so at grade 2, I have a 50% or more slippage. I've had this condition for nearly all of my adult life. My lower back gets stiff and the pain is mostly chronic. The doctors I have seen all agree that surgery (a fusion and laminectomy) is the only solution...but offer no guarantees for being pain-free afterwards. I've had bouts of sciatica, too. My MRI showed severe bilateral foraminal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, degenerative facet joints, and a severe narrowing of disc space, and bilateral spondylolysis. I've been told not to run, but I still do...I'm slow and keep my distances to < 4 miles. I refuse to be told that I can't do something...just makes me want to do it, even more! I also swim, and workout at the gym doing cardio and strength training 5-6 days a week. In addition to my cycling, of course...which is roughly 200 miles a week (when the weather is good).

    I can't really offer any suggestions, since I'm not exactly a "good" patient by going against doctor's orders. Exercising and staying active is what helps me deal with my chronic back pain. On the rare days that I don't do any exercise, my back feels 10x worse!!! I stretch a LOT, and also have an inversion table at home that I use daily. The inversion table was particularly helpful in curing my sciatica...but YMMV. I was told by a PT, that I should NOT do any type of back extension because it can cause my slippage to advance more. But you know what...I still do them, because if I don't...I feel "unbalanced"...like those muscles aren't getting worked if I skip it. I'm to the point now, where I know my pain pretty well and know what my limits are.

    I hope you are able to remedy your back issues soon and get back to doing the activities you enjoy.

    Linda
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    I am going to jump in here with a slightly different perspective. I understand, and fully support, trying to do the PT and non-surgical route if at all possible. Obviously, if you can get relief that way it is the best solution.

    However, it doesn't always work, and the surgical options aren't as bad as some people would lead you to believe.

    I had my first disc herniation (L4/L5) at the age of 22... slipped on an un-plowed road on my way to a physics final. That time I could sit, but not stand at all with out excruciating pain. Finally had the MRI in April, and the doc was amazed that I was still functioning and finishing my senior year in college. I had done PT for a while right after the pain started, but nothing helped. Finally, in May I had a microdiscectimy. There was immediate relief. 3 months later I was cleared to start doing things again (rollerblading, biking, etc.) I wasn't super active at the time, but became so in the years following. After my first back surgery I went backpacking, hiking, running, rollerblading, started biking (road, and now mountain as well), all without any problems at all. My back would get a little tight at times if I over did it, or my weight got up and my core strength decreased, but nothing too bad.

    Then almost exactly 1 year ago I had a bike accident and re-herniated the same disc (L4/L5)... I was 30, so 8 1/2 years later. we tried PT and cortisone injections, and while the injections helped a little (made it so I could function and not be in tears all day, and I have a high pain threshold), surgery was once again in the cards. I had a revision micro-discectimy by a new surgeon (ortho this time), and again, immediate relief. The recovery from this surgery was a lot faster than the first, probably in part due to me being in better shape overall, but also I think from a really good surgeon. 2 months later I was cleared to start getting back to things again. I walked a 5 k 1.5 months after my surgery, ran my first one at 2.5 months, road all over southern Africa 4 months after surgery, and now, at 8 months have done a duathlon, and have a triathlon this weekend... 1 week shy of the 1 year mark for the accident.

    So, what I am trying to say, is that, yes, if possible avoid surgery. But, if you can't control the pain, surgery can be an amazing thing. And at least from the herniated disc perspective, once it is healed you can get back to all the things you did before. The only thing I was told to not do until 6 months after surgery is downhill ski.... but that isn't much of a problem here in Texas :-)

    Good luck, I know how horrible this can be! Once you get the pain under control (even a little bit) try getting back in the pool... that felt really good for me since it took a lot of the pressure off my disc.

    Ellen
    Support me in my fight against MS!
    http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/Ellen.Mallman

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    Hmm. If I had a Wii, I'd take you up on that, Jess.

    Thanks for your input, Linda and Ellen. I'm not vehemently opposed to surgery, but it's expensive and I was given a 75% probability of success. The PT I saw yesterday thinks there's a good chance I can fix things without surgery, so we're going to give it a month to see if there's any progress.

    Leila

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    Well, 2 1/2 weeks into PT with no overall improvement in the leg. Sometimes (usually mornings) the pain seems lessened, but often (generally afternoons on) it's worse. The back pain does seem better overall, which is in keeping with what the neurosurgeon and PT both expected, so I think the exercises are helping in that regard at least.

    Now that I'm looking more seriously at surgery, the naturopath/alignment experts in my acquaintance are telling me vociferously that I'm far too young for surgery, should look at fixing my posture, should walk more and avoid sitting; PT is only one non-surgical option; have I tried [X]?; and so on. There are days when I function more or less normally and think, "this isn't bad enough to merit surgery." And then I realize that I still can't ride or play tennis or hop off a low garden wall, and getting out of bed means grabbing a wall in anticipation of a surge of pain -- and I'm overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of the limitations. I come close to tears trying to justify the surgical option when people suggest yet another alternative. Maybe there is more I should do -- walk in the pool, take ibuprofen religiously, get acupuncture. But at what point is it enough?

    Well, that update devolved into a whine-fest. Sorry. :/ Thanks for being so understanding earlier.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Utah, Gateway to Nevada, not to be confused with Idaho
    Posts
    1,872
    I was "too young" too (mid 40s).

    You'll know if and when it's time. For me it was a question of continuing to be miserable (after having done everything I could to avoid surgery) or having the opportunity to be able to sleep, move, and sit again with less pain.

    I'm a better partner, friend, and employee now. I might get shot down for this, but surgery really wasn't all that bad. PITA, yes, but given the result I'd do it again.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,944
    Ered - if the surgery is going to be the most successful option, it's definitely worth considering. It's not as if you're having experimental surgery or they aren't sure what's wrong. And from what I read about a microdiscectomy, it was pretty much the first step in what they had to do for my back after I wrecked - remove a piece of bone that was impinging on the nerves. ta-da, remove the source of the pain!

    It sounds like a pretty reasonable cause and effect to me. And while recovering from surgery might suck for a few weeks, it's a lot better than having your quality of life suck for an indefinite amount of time. (plus muscle pain from the surgery is much easier to deal with than nerve pain, for sure)

    Not trying to persuade you one way or the other, but you've definitely explored other options - no one is going to accuse you of being scalpel-happy.

    Good luck, I hope you're doing better! (And I need to check the other thread to see how your bike search is going, I'm halfway looking for a road bike that I can put up with, too)

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    Thanks, guys. If surgery's the solution, that's fine. I want to get back to the land of the living, and waiting another six months is not an option even if I had the patience. The doctor said the nerve damage may be permanent if I wait too long.

    As for the bike search, I'm enlisting my (former mechanic) boyfriend to help me with components once I've been fitted for a frame. Unless I luck out on Craigslist, it'll probably be a building project, so I'll update on that thread as things progress.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    757
    I had L5 S1 surgery six years ago. I totally blew my disc, had radiculopathy down both legs, and oxycontin would even touch the pain.

    Here are some things to consider:

    1. Spinal Decompression: You go in for a month of visits and put you in machine that decompresses the discs. 80% success rate

    2. Chiropractic: Find a good one. Mine has changed my life. We took a photo of my back two weeks ago and the improvement was incredible. Better spacing.

    3. Find a good Physical Therapist: What I found important with physical therapy was to add one exercise at a time, to assure it was not causing further pain. Strengthening the core muscles is very important

    4. Dr. Yeung: He is teaching all over the country, and does disc replacements. He is in Arizona. He also put the "X" titatnium piece in for folks with stenosis. This opens up the closed canal. He and his father are quite well know, Dr. Chris and Anthony Yeung.

    Hope this helps. Stay positive if you can. I don't think anyone can explain how deep back pain goes. It rips you apart. It's unlike any pain I have every experienced.

    Heal well...

    Lisa
    Lisa

    Bacchetta Ti Aero
    ICE B1
    Bacchetta Cafe Mountain Bent

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124

    Update

    I went ahead with the back surgery on Tuesday. The second surgeon confirmed everything the first had said, and was able to schedule me for the surgery less than two weeks after the visit. I'd heard really good things about the second doctor from PTs who have worked with his post-op patients, and was told he's one of the best and that he only does surgery when he thinks it's absolutely necessary. I felt good about the decision going in.

    It happened Tuesday afternoon, and that evening I had a few glorious hours when my leg felt free of pain and there was much rejoicing. I walked around grasping the IV pole and feeling great. A few hours later the nerve pain in the leg came back, and it has gotten worse over the past three days. This is not unheard of, and it probably has to do with the fact that the post-surgical inflammation at the site of the procedure is compressing the nerve root. But the nerve itself may also have sustained damage that could take a long time to repair. So I could be in pain for a few more days, or a few more months. Or longer. (No! Thinking happy thoughts.)

    Getting out of bed is hell; rolling over is the worst part. I feel knives digging into my flesh and at every point I'm scared about ripping stitches or re-herniating the disc with a wrong move. I'm physically incapable of leaning forward to get up; it's such a bizarre sense of helplessness. Once up I can walk about a bit in accordance with the doctor's instructions.

    Fortunately, I have my sister in town for a bit. Her presence has been invaluable, both in terms of moral support and physical assistance getting in and out of bed and fetching water. The hospital sent me home with a fantastic water bottle complete with a straw that runs through the lid. I suppose parents of young children must be familiar with the concept, but I'm really impressed. (Maybe it's the drugs talking here.) It makes taking pills while lying down simple and painless.

    The neuropathic painkiller was supposed to kick in yesterday and address the leg pain, but so far no luck there. That's my only cause for concern right now. My back *should* hurt -- they took knives and needles to it and hacked away at disc and bone. But it was all done for the sake of the still-uncooperative leg. I'm attempting to be sanguine.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Utah, Gateway to Nevada, not to be confused with Idaho
    Posts
    1,872
    Ered, it's a tough decision to make and sometimes during recovery you will wonder why the hell you did it. I recovered very well (I had a different surgery...but it was still back surgery, with hardware) I think primarily because of two things: (1) I was 100% faithful with my PT--it pissed me off that I had to spend so much time doing it (when the benefits were often not apparent) but I'm stubborn so I kept at it and (2) I did not expect to be 100% free of pain after surgery. Recovery was a PITA, but it really wasn't that bad (certainly not as bad as the Internet would have you believe). It took me probably 6 weeks to recover from what I will call the surgical pain. Otherwise, gradual improvement. I know that I will need to continue maintenance for the rest of my life.

    Pick an episode from the last year in which you either melted down form the pain or couldn't do something because of the pain. Remember how that made you feel mentally and physically. And then remember, with emphasis, that it is in the past and that you are moving on.

    My episodes were being able to bend over on a whim to pick something up and not being able to put on my shoes without excruciating pain. I still have some pain and occasional numbness in my right leg, but I can now bend over pretty easily and put on shoes without much thought.

    Hang in there and be patient with yourself!

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,944
    It probably doesn't feel like it to you, but you sound like you're doing awesome! While I was physically capable of walking the next day, it was probably 4 days before I was able to stand up from sitting on the edge of the bed and not immediately puke everywhere (sorry tmi).

    And I feel you on the rolling over to get up - I could NOT roll to my left side for probably 3 weeks. Too weak or uncoordinated or something, and the incision was just enough in that direction that the pain was much worse. And the drain for the surgery was on that side and I was terrified of accidentally pulling on it. They got aggravated with me in the hospital b/c that would have been a 2 step trip to the bathroom, and instead I had to get off of the other side of the bed and walk around (while sick).

    I will keep my fingers crossed that the nerve pain will subside quickly. I imagine (and I'm hoping) that it IS just inflammation, and I doubt that will last too long.

    Good luck in your recovery - we're all here for you!

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,176
    Hang in there!
    Pain sucks.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    I've so far avoided vomiting, for which I am very grateful. The leg pain has been as bad today as its worst extent pre-surgery. Severe enough to make me seize up and lose balance. So I'm being very, very careful because falling now would be very bad indeed. I certainly didn't expect to be pain-free, but the severity and suddenness of the leg pain took me by surprise.

    I just consulted the doctor on call, who said, "wow, you're on some really low doses." Apparently I could be taking over twice as much of both drugs as I currently am. That might explain some things. I'm increasing the dose of the neuropathic painkiller a bit to see if it helps the leg.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    303
    Hang in there! it get's better, but sounds like you are doing quite well already. You are right that the nerve pain can take a while to heal... I still get twinges in my big toe now 8 months later.

    Take the pain meds per docs order.....don't try to be a hero...they give them to you for a reason.

    As you start feeling up to it, take walks... it is great both for getting out of the house and to keep you active and get mobility back.

    Good luck!
    Ellen
    Support me in my fight against MS!
    http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/Ellen.Mallman

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •