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Old 06-02-2012, 03:50 AM   #1
fuzzybabybunny
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Default Arghhhhhh.. herniated the disk again. Sciatica flared up again!

I was doing so well. I first herniated my disk three years ago lifting furniture and I got better. Then I herniated again doing deadlifts a year and a half ago. This one lasted for over half a year. Went to a chiropractor and was doing basic physical therapy and stretches at home. But my progress plateaued. Then I got food poisoning on a random trip in Mexico and threw up and passed out for about 24 hours. Immediately afterwards my back had a huge improvement. For the past half year I've been doing so well, just a minor ache and pain down the leg. I could sit for long periods no problem, I could lift things, I could bend down, and I even took a couple of big falls doing sports without any flare ups. Life was basically back to normal.

Just today I was walking around in the supermarket and was bending down slightly when I sneezed. Sudden shooting pain in my lower back. The sneeze had caused me to herniate it again. Suddenly harder to stand up straight. I forced myself to stand up straight and I'm now back (no pun intended) to doing back extensions and laying down with a towel roll under my back. Putting on my pants is again a difficult thing to do.

*sigh*

I'm 26 and in good shape. I'm active. I'm not overweight. My core is strong. I'm thinking about just making an appointment with a doctor and cutting through the bullshit of first being prescribed pain meds for a problem that is obviously structural and insisting on getting an MRI. And then maybe even back surgery.

Anyone have any tips?
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Last edited by fuzzybabybunny; 06-02-2012 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:42 AM   #2
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which discs?

xrays, mri, then show them to a chiropractor
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:14 AM   #3
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So you've had more than one partial herniation of some vertebral discs and you still deadlift weights? Seriously?

All the exercises and PT in the world won't "fix" the bad discs once the damage has been done. The damaged discs are now a very weak point in your spinal column and despite the palliative treatment of exercises, PT, etc., they may relieve the pain and almost seem like a cure, but in essence all you're doing is shoring up rotten wood with new slats of wood, so to speak. (More like strengthening the surrounding muscles to keep the disc in check. But this won't cure the problem....once the damage is done, it's done and you have to change your life style habits to reflect the fact you are much more prone to reinjuring the spot.)


And remember what surgeons say about surgery......there's nothing that can't be made worse with a little surgery. Very positive outcomes with back surgery, while they happen, are rare indeed.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Then I got food poisoning on a random trip in Mexico and threw up and passed out for about 24 hours. Immediately afterwards my back had a huge improvement.
Yeah this seems common, I binge drank mine away one night randomly. I was sick as hell, but woke up with no back problem. Science, get on that.

Also anyone who WANTS surgery doesn't know what they are getting themselves into.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Where is your pain? What type of pain (dull, sharp, shooting, constant, intermittent etc). If it's mainly pain in your leg(s) then something is irritating a nerve. It doesn't necessarily mean a disc is herniated. It could be inflamed from muscles or a disc that is slowly degenerating or bulged, and rubbing on it during certain physical movements.

In which case pt, epidurals and/or chiropractor might help, if only for the time being. Depends how advanced your problem is. It does sound like this latest flare-up might be herniated.

Generally the more the nerve pain hurts and the more constant the pain, the chances are something physically is impinging the nerve, such as discharged material from a disc herniation.

The problem with that scenario is that it could just be in the early stages, and they will not do surgery unless the nerve is actually being pinched off. It seems like it has to more or less hurt in your leg 24/7 for it to be severe enough to risk surgery. And that's only if they find on an image study the exact location of impingement. I had to endure several years of this while being told that I had a herniation but "It's not that bad".

A classic herniation with primarily leg pain has a much better chance of success than primarily lower back pain. I've known three people who experienced this, had surgery (discectomy) and were more or less back to normal with no more leg pain. The lower back pain people, including myself are sometimes not so lucky. I had two surgeries, and if I overdo it sometimes feel as bad as before I went under the knife.

These are generalizations I observed from my own ordeal. Everyone's anatomy and injury are unique. You need to get an MRI and speak with your doctor. In the meantime, learn some good lower back stretches and be very careful how and how much you lift. Keep your back as straight as possible when bending or lifting. Like, for the rest of your life. You don't want surgery if at all possible. Don't fvck around with this, you're still very young. It's easy to fall back into bad habits if you seem to "recover".

There's another bad back thread with a post by Dixycrat linking an excellent pdf with tips for caring for a bad back. I suggest you find it, read it and most importantly follow it's advice regardless of the medical outcome.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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Very positive outcomes with back surgery, while they happen, are rare indeed.
Really? Not being sarcastic.

I do know that with modern medicine where it is it's still not good enough that surgery should not almost always be last resort. Most surgeons will, for most conditions of pain alone, tell their patient to deal with some pain over time (if there's nothing else to do) rather than surgery. There are always exceptions, but not a huge amount of surgeries that are close to 100% successful, and you'll always have plenty of people who had pain that pissed them off, got surgery, and ended up with much worse issues and wish they had just lived with it (I'm in this category with a joint pain currently; I am looking at having it the rest of my life and think this is preferable to the crap shoot of surgery at this point).

----

I have a neighbor who had a bad back and recently, while sneezing, did something that ultimately required surgery as well and is now walking around with a brace.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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Also, self diagnosing yourself with another herniated disc is not the brightest. You could just have a strained/torn muscle.

I have missed a week of work twice with the same muscle in my mid/upper right back/shoulder area going mean on me. Each time was the same, not doing anything at the time to provoke it, felt a twinge, within 5 minutes was damn near crippled. Last time I was on the bed for a few days chomping down Vicodin's. Good way to get constipated btw. Point being the back has lots of ways to hurt you, could be a disc issue, could be a nerve issue (which can get pinched in other ways) could be a muscular issue. Go to your doc or a good chiropractor and see what they say (my chiropractor will happily send me to the doctor if it's something that needs it, I had the ER doc last time my back went out tell me to go the chiro) first before jumping the gun and deciding you want surgery. Odds are you will just have a rickety back for the rest of your life.






However, I don't think it's Lupus.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Meghan54 View Post
So you've had more than one partial herniation of some vertebral discs and you still deadlift weights? Seriously?

All the exercises and PT in the world won't "fix" the bad discs once the damage has been done...

Had the surgery, with positive results {not flat on my back for weeks at a time any more...}, and I'll confirm that "Your Heavy Lifting Days Are Over", though you absolutely should still make sure you stay stretched and generally fit.

Anti Inflammatories - Advil/Ibuprophen - help ease flare ups.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:52 PM   #9
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Sucks OP, but a lot of people have already said that surgery might not be best option.

Here's some required reading so that you can be more informed when you waltz into orthopod's office.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #10
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I would be cautious about pushing for back surgery, unless MRI reveals a very specific lesion causing precisely your symptoms and neurosurgeon says you are ideal candidate for that particular surgery.

It may be bad now, but you could make it a lot worse with ill-advised surgery.

Again, be cautious and do a lot of research on bad things that could happen from ill-advised surgery before making such a decision.


(I also had a herniated disc, but mine produced a motor deficit, which correlated precisely with a lesion neurosurgeon found on MRI. I had surgery which fixed the problem without complications or recurrence, but I was considered ideal candidate because the specific lesion was obviously producing symptoms I was experiencing, and my problem was a more serious motor deficit, not sensory pain).

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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I'm in the same boat. Hurt my lower back a few months ago. The soreness lingered for awhile which made me think it was more than just a typical soreness. Went to a dr recently and now am pretty sure I have sciatica. Going to start PT next week. I feel your pain bro.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meghan54 View Post
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And remember what surgeons say about surgery......there's nothing that can't be made worse with a little surgery. Very positive outcomes with back surgery, while they happen, are rare indeed.
Most people I know that have had it end up worse off because of the scar tissue.
I know I'd put it off till I couldn't get out of bed any more.
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