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View Full Version : OT: anyone with herniated or bulging discs?


tsiguy96
07-15-2012, 01:06 AM
just got diagnosed with my 3rd herniated disk (actually 1 herniated 2 bulging). woke up a few nights ago with 9/10 pain in my back and couldnt sleep for basically 2 days, lost complete range of overhead motion in my right arm and finally went to the ER today (no pain now though). got diagnosed with a t6/t7 bulging disc, and already have 1 light herniation and 1 bad herniation in my low back, it makes more sense on the MRI.

basically im freaking out because of my interests and my career, and wondering how this will affect me pain wise in 10 years. as i lay here, i have no noticeable pain in my body from these discs, can this continue for a long time if im smart about training and keeping my body normal? thanks in advance

SouthStndJunkie
07-15-2012, 01:14 AM
You're the one that is going/went to school for athletic training and this sort of thing, right?

You probably have as good of an idea as anyone else.

Take it easy and don't over do it, would be my advice.

tsiguy96
07-15-2012, 01:19 AM
You're the one that is going/went to school for athletic training and this sort of thing, right?

You probably have as good of an idea as anyone else.

Take it easy and don't over do it, would be my advice.

strength and conditioning/sports performance. makes it really difficult to not be able to practice what i preach (squats deadlifts olympic lifts etc). at this point im more worried about long term effects and being able to move at 50 years old, so just seeing if anyone here has a long term experience with it. my training (cant even call it training the last few months which makes it baffling to me that i herniated another disc) is going to have to take a serious turn for the "more boring" but thats what i have to do to survive and stay the same/not get worse.

Ziggy
07-15-2012, 01:58 AM
Being a paramedic that works on an ambulance, I've had back issues for years from lifting patients, etc. Herniated disks can be a short or long term issue. It's really up to you. If you get them treated now, you can live your life without back problems. If you don't, the issue will compound over the years and become a problem that is not reversible without surgery. Take advice from someone who's been on wrong side of the long term back issues. Get it adressed and fixed now. It may require time away from work, rest, and PT. In the end though, it will be well worth it.

kcbroncofan
07-15-2012, 04:38 AM
I have herniated discs, and disc disease. starded when I was thirty after an accident at work. I am 40 now. Good news is you can manage the pain without meds. Bad news is you will need to manage the pain without meds. I am an electrician, football coach, black belt, and father of two and do just fine. You will need to deal with this for the rest of your life. Stay active and stretch ! Do Yoga ! Good luck my friend.

Kaylore
07-15-2012, 06:34 AM
I have two close friends who have had this issue. One opted for surgery the other for physical therapy. From what I have heard, surgery is just as likely to show no improvement or make things worse as it is fix the problem. The guy that did an intensive PT regimen for several years is pain free. The guy who got the surgery is addicted to Percocet and getting a divorce from his partly crazy wife.

That's obviously anecdotal, but that's what I've seen first hand. My Aunt got surgery too and she was fine, so I suppose I'm saying I've heard its a crap shoot.

rugbythug
07-15-2012, 06:49 AM
My Dad just got a Peyton Manning on his neck.

houghtam
07-15-2012, 07:06 AM
http://globalpatientnetwork.com/

These guys can probably help. Whatever you do, don't get a fusion.

Bighorn
07-15-2012, 07:09 AM
Ruptured a disk in 98, l4-l5. I lost 90-95% of the feeling in my right leg and after trying pt ended up having surgery. The pain in my leg was gone when I woke up. It took quite a while to regain all the feeling in my leg but all is good now. I did have to learn how to lift things differently and now it's just habit. I have a very active life and do whatever I want to do. Surgery now is less evasive and recovery time is much shorter. I only have discomfort in my back now if start to get a gut as long as I'm in shape I feel great. Hope this helps.

Beantown Bronco
07-15-2012, 07:12 AM
Yup, I've got a bulging di......sorry, misread the title of the thread.

gunns
07-15-2012, 08:05 AM
I have two close friends who have had this issue. One opted for surgery the other for physical therapy. From what I have heard, surgery is just as likely to show no improvement or make things worse as it is fix the problem. The guy that did an intensive PT regimen for several years is pain free. The guy who got the surgery is addicted to Percocet and getting a divorce from his partly crazy wife.

That's obviously anecdotal, but that's what I've seen first hand. My Aunt got surgery too and she was fine, so I suppose I'm saying I've heard its a crap shoot.

This. I have a 2 herniated discs and a bulging disc plus severe arthritis in my back and hips. Not discovered till 2 years ago although I'd been in pain and put my back out a few times for a long time. A result of carrying 6 kids and being small boned.

I'm not a doctor person and definitely not a surgery person. When it got so bad I did go to a Dr. An orthopedic Dr recommended surgery. I told my physician I did not want surgery as I'd see too many people have it and be in just as much pain. My Dr. agreed with me, saying I'd be trading one pain for another. She said if I were younger she might recommend it but for now exercise and physical therapy. The scariest thing for me was the pain at night as I needed to go to work. That's the only time I take pain meds if needed. Otherwise I do PT when it gets bad and always exercise. I take stairs instead of elevators. It has helped immensely. If I overdue it cleaning, dancing, or gardening I know I will pay. But so what? I enjoyed it while I was doing it. I'm not going to give in to it and it's not going to kill me. Good luck with it tsi, you've got a whole other situation.

barryr
07-15-2012, 08:21 AM
I suffered either a bulged disk in my back when I was in the Army 20+ years ago. It was first diagnosed as a herniated disk, the L5-S1, but then later bulged, but the Army was not great with its medical treatment to say the least. I spent a year and a half not able to walk very well since the disk would be pinching on the sciatic nerve on my left sid. It was hard to walk on my left leg and basically had to lay in bed all night to be pain free the next morning, but it would come back towards the end of the duty day and so on.

I was told surgery probably would have been worse for me since likely would have left scar tissue. Not that I was going to let them do surgery on me anyway with what I saw happened to others in the Army. Most times they were left worse than before.

I was told if I took it easy, the disk would eventually shrivel up and go back into place, which it did, but it probably took another year or more until really no more symptoms.

I have done the usual back type exercises and even chiropractors, which has helped, but my back will never be "normal" again.

You just need to be wise with what you are doing and don't overdo anything. If you start feeling pain, stop what you are doing immediately and rest. I would avoid surgery as much as you can, though I know in certain circumstances, that is the only option.

Also, it helps not to have a big belly since that extra weight pulls the muscles in the back, which in turn, can cause tight hamstrings, which can lead to more problems. My hamstrings get tight, which sometimes makes my pelvis twist and muscles to get very tight and sore and hard to walk.

I hope this helps at all.

Bronco9798
07-15-2012, 08:52 AM
I had shoulder surgery in November 2002 to repair my AC joint. Also had two bones shaved back that were rubbing together with every repetitive motion, and a clearing of numerous spurs from my shoulder. Before that surgery I was in constant pain during the day and couldn't sleep at night. That surgery worked wonders for my shoulder and I was pain free and back to lifting in 12 weeks with no restrictions. Be advised that physical therapy was done before the surgery with absolutely no benefits. Therapy was deemed useless.

In August of 2010 I had a fusion of the C5,6,7 in my neck/back. Again, I lived in total pain for about 2 years with numbness completely taking over my right arm and pain in my upper back before the surgery. Before the surgery I opted for cortisone shots and therapy. Again, useless. I now have two plates and four screws in my neck and am back to lifting again with no restrictions at all. 1 year after the surgery I was released by my doctor and was told my neck/back would be stronger than it previously was if I continued to workout.

I continue to workout today and have no problems with my shoulder, back or neck. My doctor told me to consider the quality of life I would have if I never had the surgeries. I opted for the surgeries both times after therapy was deemed a total failure each time. I take absolutely no pain meds, which I did before the surgeries and my quality of life is way beyond anything I could of imagined if I never had the surgeries.

I had heard all the horror stories of neck/back surgery before I had mine. But with better information and better technology in the medical field, these types of surgeries have been dramatically improved. 10 to 20 years ago these types of surgeries were considered a lot more risky than what they are today.

I also lift smarter today than I did prior to my surgeries. How much you could lift was a macho thing working out with the guys and seeing who could lift more. Today, I lift on my own, lift smarter and actually have better results than I did a few years back. I have absolutely no limitations and have more muscle mass and lower body fat than I did years ago and I'm 49 years old.

Both surgeries were considered major surgeries and I have greatly benefited from both in many ways. I have had no setbacks at all and my quality of life vastly improved. If I had not had the surgeries, I would probably be living on pain meds and would of never worked out again and my quality of life would of been crap.

My personal opinion, and people will disagree with me, is that therapy is worthless in these types of cases. You can't fix these types of problems with therapy, you can only alleviate the pain for a period of time before it all returns.

Don't know if any of that info helps, but that is what I can tell you from my own personal experience.

Man-Goblin
07-15-2012, 09:43 AM
My wife has basically the same thing in her back. She had a doctor that was borderline harassing her to get surgery about a year ago, and she even scheduled it. However, she got a second opinion and he told her to avoid surgery as long as she can, and opt for physical therapy.

Since, she's gone to PT once or twice a week and she has improved dramatically. She's doing yoga again and can have a fairly normal active lifestyle. She also goes to acupuncture once or twice a week and swears by its effectiveness in relieving the pain.

She still has her good days and bad days, but these days way more good than bad. She's very glad she didn't elect to have surgery and says that before doing so you should exhaust all options.

Oh yeah, and she says you shouldn't wear heels anymore.

Victor
07-15-2012, 09:55 AM
I had surgery for a herniated disc many years ago and have made a complete recovery. I empathize with you because I've never, ever felt pain like that. Ever.

The good news is that there are invasive and non-invasive solutions based upon your condition. The first step is to make an appointment with the best physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor you can find. This person should be able to diagnose your current condition and determine the best plan of care.

Good luck.

PS I'm sure that Dr. Bronco will have an opinion about this...just be aware that he is a surgeon ;-)

Brewer
07-15-2012, 10:21 AM
I read somewhere that about 98% of people aged 40 and up have AT LEAST one bulging OR herniated disc.

Pontius Pirate
07-15-2012, 10:46 AM
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/hm1w6BLTl50" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Popps
07-15-2012, 12:18 PM
I read somewhere that about 98% of people aged 40 and up have AT LEAST one bulging OR herniated disc.

...most of which don't complain of any pain. The connection between bulging discs and pain has been a murky one at best, which is why surgery almost never works.


http://thebodysays.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/video-with-dr-john-sarno/

broncosteven
07-15-2012, 12:27 PM
TSI,

At this point your Dr's should be doing the non-invasive course of Cortisone, Epidurals, and PT. My disc pinched my nerve via trauma and after going through all the PT and Epidurals and shots I had the EMG done which proved there was nerve damage and rushed into the fusion thinking it would relieve the pain. I was also a lot older than you are.

Since it is getting better you should look into trying to manage it as the others above have said. I saw something on 60 minutes about some Dr in TX doing some disk repair with a substance that he injects into the disk, it is less invasive and he has had a lot of success with it. I am not sure what the long term effects are but it has to be better than putting someone else's bone in your back and fusing it.

My range of motion is hosed and I cannot look up anymore.

I have recently had a long regimen of PT for my lower back due to another idiot who couldn't stop behind me and I will say I have done a lot of exercises that have strengthend a lot of the muscles in the area's around where I have pain and I can do a lot more and this is about the best I have felt in 4 years but I would say I am only 20-30% better since the surgery on a good day.

Since this is your career I would research the PT side more and maybe go into that over strength training. Your going to have to adapt for the rest of your life, the more you know and do to help mitigate the issue the better your quality of life will be.

Best of luck to you.

Hulamau
07-15-2012, 04:17 PM
I had three separate cervical fusions back in the mid to late 1980s ranging from age 35 through 38.

Though techniques have certainly improved since then, by all means go the Physical therapy route and also try the http://www.egoscue.com/Egoscue method first before ever thinking of surgery!

Sometimes the knife is your best option with a very skilled and high track record orthopod or neuro-surgeon, but by all means exhaust all the less invasive methods first.

Surgery for disc disease is a crap shoot with making things worse as likely as making it better ... similar to Kaylore's anecdotal report from friends and relatives.

You cant undo the surgery .. at least not very easily .. so exhaust all the non-surgical methods first, including traction where appropriate, and see how it goes. If you want more details you can PM me..

Hulamau
07-15-2012, 04:19 PM
...most of which don't complain of any pain. The connection between bulging discs and pain has been a murky one at best, which is why surgery almost never works.


http://thebodysays.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/video-with-dr-john-sarno/

Hey Popps, good to see you around! Howz life treating you??
Cheers Hulamau

Popps
07-15-2012, 04:26 PM
Hey Popps, good to see you around! Howz life treating you??
Cheers Hulamau

Hey pal! Things are good. Very busy but can't complain. Been lurking to keep up on news and hopefully will have more posting time in the near future. What a season we're in for. Hope you are well my friend!

sgbfan
07-15-2012, 11:05 PM
A few thoughts...

Just be smart about what you do now. If it hurts, don't do it. And 99.9 % of people won't care if you can dead lift 200 lbs or 600 lbs. Why have pain for the rest of your life because of your ego and trying to be tougher than everyone else.

A lot of times the pain goes away. Try being smart, doing PT and see what happens. If it doesn't go away in a few months, then back surgery isn't a bad option. If its for a bulging disk, it can help. What Helamau said is right though, any back fusion is a toss up.

tsiguy96
07-16-2012, 05:06 AM
thanks guys, im lucky i dont have any pain right now stemming from any of my herniated or bulging discs. in my profession though it just sucks knowing that i cant do what im going to ask others to do on a daily basis. i dont ever plan on having surgery unless its unbearable without it, but by that time comes around im sure science iwll be far further than it is now with this stuff.

Rascal
07-16-2012, 07:24 AM
I have three in my lower back (11mm, 9mm, and 7mm). Lots and lots of stretching and proper posture have made it tolerable. I can do most activities (actually started running and play basketball/volleyball occasionally) I just have to be careful. I no longer play sports 100% obviously as I have to keep my core tight and straight and therefore not able to do everything.

Peoples Champ
07-16-2012, 09:06 AM
i had one, just make sure you do the physical therapy they prescribe. It works great even though some of the exercise is a little corny. But MAKE SURE you do all of it. THey prescribed me 6 weeks of therapy, and after about 3 it felt great and better then ever. So I stopped going. Then I re injured it a few months later.

manchambo
07-16-2012, 11:06 AM
I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. Most things I've tried do not help--lots of injections and some physical therapy seemed to make no difference. My doctor said it gets better over time for some people, but that doesn't seem to be me. Hopefully it is you.

What does help me is drugs. I take something called Nucynta, which is partially an opiate and partially works on other neuro receptors. Taking that every day I have little or no pain. If you took one of the pills, it would probably make you feel kind of drugged. My experience is that after about a week that feeling goes away entirely. I really don't feel anything from the medicine I take on a day to day basis. I've never felt at all like I was becoming addicted to the medicine--never want to take more or take it to get high, etc. (though I'm sure I'm dependent in the sense that I would have to taper off to stop taking it).

The bottom line from my point of view is that you should not be unduly afraid of the drugs if you need them--they can be about the only thing that manages this condition well. If you do take them, follow the instructions for them, only take them for pain, and keep an eye out for problems (like wanting to take them for reasons other than pain). Also, stay away from things like vicodin and all immediate release drugs, and you will probably be fine. I feel like it's important to say all this because there are ots of people who suffer needlessly. The people who become junkies on these types of drugs for the most part are not the ones who are getting them for serious pain and using them correctly.

broncosteven
07-16-2012, 12:30 PM
I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. Most things I've tried do not help--lots of injections and some physical therapy seemed to make no difference. My doctor said it gets better over time for some people, but that doesn't seem to be me. Hopefully it is you.

What does help me is drugs. I take something called Nucynta, which is partially an opiate and partially works on other neuro receptors. Taking that every day I have little or no pain. If you took one of the pills, it would probably make you feel kind of drugged. My experience is that after about a week that feeling goes away entirely. I really don't feel anything from the medicine I take on a day to day basis. I've never felt at all like I was becoming addicted to the medicine--never want to take more or take it to get high, etc. (though I'm sure I'm dependent in the sense that I would have to taper off to stop taking it).

The bottom line from my point of view is that you should not be unduly afraid of the drugs if you need them--they can be about the only thing that manages this condition well. If you do take them, follow the instructions for them, only take them for pain, and keep an eye out for problems (like wanting to take them for reasons other than pain). Also, stay away from things like vicodin and all immediate release drugs, and you will probably be fine. I feel like it's important to say all this because there are ots of people who suffer needlessly. The people who become junkies on these types of drugs for the most part are not the ones who are getting them for serious pain and using them correctly.

I would keep trying PT, even if you have nerve damage like I do, I did a round after my 2nd accident and I couldn't tolerate it it was too close to the trauma. I kept getting the shots and finally had an EMG for my lumbar that proved there was no nerve damage but it really took being off my feet recovering from an unrelated surgery for about a month when I noticed the lumbar hurting less. I had another round of PT and now the lumbar is about 90% better, just need to loosen up the SI joint and AT band and I will only have the Cervical nerve damage pain left to deal with the rest of my life.

I did get the PT girl to help me with exercises that strengthened my neck and shoulder and made it a little better though it still freaks out on me and hurts all the time.

If you rest alot, Ice/heat the area and keep up with PT you should find some improvement, even if it is just working the other muscle groups so it is easier to get out of bed, balance or do stairs. Plus the massages really help.

The other thing I did different is I found the closest PT place to my house even though I was out of network and the Co-pay was more. I didn't want to aggravate what they did by being in the car for 45 minutes driving back and I didn't want to miss any appointments because I couldn't drive. I think this was big also.

missingnumber7
07-17-2012, 08:57 AM
I've got tons of back issues related to wearing body armor in Iraq on a daily basis. Have worked through several bulging disc issues, and agree with the PT comments. Infact, the best PT I have been through is Pool physical therapy. I have maintained about 80% of my usual mobility and the va refuses to accept that this is related to service in Iraq. But stick with the PT, it will keep you as close to normal as possible, and massage also helped mine as they found the muscles in my lower back were continually pulling me in directions that didn't help.

tsiguy96
07-24-2012, 10:07 PM
thanks for the response guys, nice to see i wont be a cripple by the time im 50.

found that the reason i cant move my arm overhead is a winged scapula. pinched my long thoracic nerve which damaged it, causing loss of function to serratus anterior and now a winged scapula. yay.

baja
07-24-2012, 10:32 PM
Wow there sure are a lot of young guys with serious back trouble here. Sorry for your pain that must really suck. I wonder why there so many of you?

tsiguy96
07-24-2012, 10:55 PM
Wow there sure are a lot of young guys with serious back trouble here. Sorry for your pain that must really suck. I wonder why there so many of you?

because only people with back issues responded to this post, genius.

baja
07-24-2012, 11:00 PM
because only people with back issues responded to this post, genius.

Why are you such a smart ass?

This board is a small sample size for so many people with back issues.


Maybe this is your problem? (shout out to Popps)

http://www.healingbackpain.com/

Archer81
07-24-2012, 11:16 PM
My father's lower back is basically bone on bone. His solution was to get some moon boots and hang from a freebar for 15 or so minutes in the AM and PM to decompress his back. It helps him alot. At some point though he will need surgery to remove bone spurs, maybe even some Manningesque spinal fusion to fix it.

:Broncos:

Broncos4tw
07-24-2012, 11:34 PM
Not much to be said other than: Strengthen your core. That is the most important thing you can do for back issues. I've suffered from severe back pain for probably 25 years. I have pain every single day. The best thing that helps it is core training.

This works well: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/ultimate-medicine-ball-workout

But only by strengthening those muscles around your spine to stabilize it will help. Stretching is good.. expanding so that your bulges are drawn back into where they should be.

But core training.. do that.. it's what makes it better. Pilates is good too.

Jay3
07-25-2012, 03:37 AM
I saw a new treatment watching The Dark Knight Rises -- hang yourself up on a rope (under your arms), and have a buddy punch the disc.

Jay3
07-25-2012, 03:38 AM
Disclaimer: do not do that.

broncosteven
07-25-2012, 04:45 PM
Not much to be said other than: Strengthen your core. That is the most important thing you can do for back issues. I've suffered from severe back pain for probably 25 years. I have pain every single day. The best thing that helps it is core training.

This works well: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/ultimate-medicine-ball-workout

But only by strengthening those muscles around your spine to stabilize it will help. Stretching is good.. expanding so that your bulges are drawn back into where they should be.

But core training.. do that.. it's what makes it better. Pilates is good too.

Yes Core strengthening is best for lumbar pain and has really helped me out.

I am at the closest point to having a 6 pack since I was in my late teens. I am not going to be in the next 300/Immortals movie though I could play Zeus on Earth disguised as an old guy.

McDman
07-25-2012, 05:11 PM
just got diagnosed with my 3rd herniated disk (actually 1 herniated 2 bulging). woke up a few nights ago with 9/10 pain in my back and couldnt sleep for basically 2 days, lost complete range of overhead motion in my right arm and finally went to the ER today (no pain now though). got diagnosed with a t6/t7 bulging disc, and already have 1 light herniation and 1 bad herniation in my low back, it makes more sense on the MRI.

basically im freaking out because of my interests and my career, and wondering how this will affect me pain wise in 10 years. as i lay here, i have no noticeable pain in my body from these discs, can this continue for a long time if im smart about training and keeping my body normal? thanks in advance

I had to have surgery in 2006 on my back because of lacrosse. My sciatic nerve was pinched by the discs.

If you're in good shape and do specific exercises you will be fine. Surgery worked great for me but it's not for everyone.

It got so bad towards the end of my last season that after sitting down I couldn't stand up straight for about five minutes. I walked like I was ninety. Also my nerve was pulling my hamstrings really tight and I would pull them every time I played. It was terrible.

broncosteven
07-25-2012, 09:00 PM
... I walked like I was ninety. Also my nerve was pulling my hamstrings really tight and I would pull them every time I played. It was terrible.

Yep, I still can't straighten my leg fully but it is slowly getting better. Lots of excercises and lots of stretching but I can walk and stand much longer and better but the day after lots of walking is still painful.