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Old 07-15-2012, 02:06 AM   #1
tsiguy96
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Default OT: anyone with herniated or bulging discs?

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
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:14 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:19 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:58 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:38 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:34 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:49 AM   #7
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:06 AM   #8
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http://globalpatientnetwork.com/

These guys can probably help. Whatever you do, don't get a fusion.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:09 AM   #9
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:12 AM   #10
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Yup, I've got a bulging di......sorry, misread the title of the thread.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylore View Post
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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:52 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:55 AM   #15
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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 ;-)
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:21 AM   #16
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I read somewhere that about 98% of people aged 40 and up have AT LEAST one bulging OR herniated disc.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:46 AM   #17
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
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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/201...dr-john-sarno/
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:27 PM   #19
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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.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #20
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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..
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
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...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/201...dr-john-sarno/
Hey Popps, good to see you around! Howz life treating you??
Cheers Hulamau
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #22
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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!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:05 AM   #23
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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.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:06 AM   #24
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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.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:24 AM   #25
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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.
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