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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well after six months of PT, four epidural cortisone injections and enough Percocet to knock out a baby elephant I have not had a lot of improvement so I'm going in for back surgery at Stanford. I blew a disc in my back in March during a Mtb race and have been dealing with nasty nerve pain in my legs. I have not been back on my mtb since march and have not been able to do any road rides of any significant distance. The good news is the surgeon said I'll be 100% in six weeks after the (microdiscectomy and bone spur removal) operation. Got everything scheduled for next week. It's strange being so glad and excited about something like this. Any advise from others who have had to go this route?
 

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Enjoy the drugs. :D
 

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I dealt with a herniated L5 disc for about 5 years. I herniated it about 10 times during that time. Disc went for good in Feb 2009. Couldn't walk or do anything for the months leading up to surgery. I couldn't do anything but lay on the floor 24/7. Finally had surgery in May of 2009. I had the same surgery as you with the only difference being my surgeon repaired the disc with the X-Close, which basically pulls the hole in the disc shut after the surgeon removed the herniated part (I had 2 different herniations in the same disc). Most people don't have the X Close which leaves the disc open to future herniations if not careful.

Almost 1 1/2 years later I am riding like normal and feel really good. My nerve damage is healing. I keep up the core work daily where I warm up my back before I ride and I stretch/strengthen after I ride.
 

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I had an L4-L5 microdiscectomy less than 5 years ago and had significant improvement just hours after my surgery. I had no complications and was up and moving in 48 hours, but it did take 6-8 weeks to get built back up to where I could push it. Take it slow on the recovery.

My one downfall on the whole deal is *still* not putting core strength at the top of the fitness list, however. It's been too easy to forget about the maintenance that should be put in on those muscles and just ride even though I know how much I would want to avoid a surgery like that again.

You'll be fine.
 

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stover said:
Well after six months of PT, four epidural cortisone injections and enough Percocet to knock out a baby elephant I have not had a lot of improvement so I'm going in for back surgery at Stanford. I blew a disc in my back in March during a Mtb race and have been dealing with nasty nerve pain in my legs. I have not been back on my mtb since march and have not been able to do any road rides of any significant distance. The good news is the surgeon said I'll be 100% in six weeks after the (microdiscectomy and bone spur removal) operation. Got everything scheduled for next week. It's strange being so glad and excited about something like this. Any advise from others who have had to go this route?

AS someone who practices Emergency Medicine, has practiced in both Orthopedics and Neurosurgery in the past, NEVER believe any 100% guarantee on ANY surgery.

Not trying to be doomsayer, but you should at least understand the possibility of failed back syndrome. Know all the possibilities, and probabilities.

I'm glad you are excited, and chances are high that you will recover without incident. It sounds like you have tried everything short of surgery, and now are in need of it. Just please understand that there is nothing in medicine that is 100%...it just doesn't exist.

Otherwise, sincerely, good luck. I hope you have a good surgery, and an uneventful recovery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
physasst said:
AS someone who practices Emergency Medicine, has practiced in both Orthopedics and Neurosurgery in the past, NEVER believe any 100% guarantee on ANY surgery.

Not trying to be doomsayer, but you should at least understand the possibility of failed back syndrome. Know all the possibilities, and probabilities.

I'm glad you are excited, and chances are high that you will recover without incident. It sounds like you have tried everything short of surgery, and now are in need of it. Just please understand that there is nothing in medicine that is 100%...it just doesn't exist.

Otherwise, sincerely, good luck. I hope you have a good surgery, and an uneventful recovery.

Sure I understand nothing is ever guaranteed in life but when a well respected surgeon at Stanford says you have a blown disc and a piece of bone smacking against a nerve root and then says they can fix that, you would jump at the chance too.
 

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stover said:
Sure I understand nothing is ever guaranteed in life but when a well respected surgeon at Stanford says you have a blown disc and a piece of bone smacking against a nerve root and then says they can fix that, you would jump at the chance too.

Maybe...Just get concerned whenever I hear 100% terms thrown around by anyone in medicine.

To be honest, after working in a spinal clinic that specialized in failed back syndrome, I would need to be incontinent of feces and urine, unable to move, walk, or use anything, lying in a pool of my own filth before I would even consider letting anyone touch my lower spine with a knife, and even then, I wouldn't promise anything. BUT THAT'S MY impresssion, my own anecdotal observations.

You should trust your surgeon, and make sure you are aware of all potential problems and complications to make sure you make an informed decision, that's all.
 

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physasst said:
Maybe...Just get concerned whenever I hear 100% terms thrown around by anyone in medicine.

To be honest, after working in a spinal clinic that specialized in failed back syndrome, I would need to be incontinent of feces and urine, unable to move, walk, or use anything, lying in a pool of my own filth before I would even consider letting anyone touch my lower spine with a knife, and even then, I wouldn't promise anything. BUT THAT'S MY impresssion, my own anecdotal observations.

You should trust your surgeon, and make sure you are aware of all potential problems and complications to make sure you make an informed decision, that's all.
I had surgery for an L4 - L5 herniated disc and my surgeon said there was a 98% success rate for my type of surgery. I'm a fatalist by nature and worried over the 2%. Because of that I waited 6 mos before I had the surgery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JaeP said:
I had surgery for an L4 - L5 herniated disc and my surgeon said there was a 98% success rate for my type of surgery. I'm a fatalist by nature and worried over the 2%. Because of that I waited 6 mos before I had the surgery.
Its been 6 months for me now and I feel I have given the conservative approach a good long try. I just can't seem to get over the last hurdle of getting rid of this nagging leg/nerve pain. Going from bicycle racing to having to sit on the sidelines for 6 months in pain has been no fun.
 

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stover said:
Its been 6 months for me now and I feel I have given the conservative approach a good long try. I just can't seem to get over the last hurdle of getting rid of this nagging leg/nerve pain. Going from bicycle racing to having to sit on the sidelines for 6 months in pain has been no fun.
I was riding 200+ miles a week and racing mtbs at the expert level when I messed up my back. I had over 2 years off the bike, every approach I could think of, totally miserable, couldn't carry a six pack of beer or lean over to brush my teeth without extreme pain. Docs at UCSF and Stanford said I had two bad discs and at least one recommended surgery, but I held out. Then I read this book. That was 12 years ago. No pain since.

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Back-Pain-Mind-Body-Connection/dp/0446392308

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Had the surgery yesterday, it completely relieved my nerve pain in my leg. Other then the incision sight and walking bit slow I feel great. I wish I had done this sooner. I was amazed at the technology and techniques used for a proceedure like this. Doc says 6 weeks and Ill be back on the bike. :)
 

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stover said:
Had the surgery yesterday, it completely relieved my nerve pain in my leg. Other then the incision sight and walking bit slow I feel great. I wish I had done this sooner. I was amazed at the technology and techniques used for a proceedure like this. Doc says 6 weeks and Ill be back on the bike. :)
Great news!

I have been suffering from 2 protrusions since last October. I'm getting closer to thinking about maybe having surgery. Doc's/PT's do not recommend it for me yet, however. Anyway, glad you are on your way to less pain!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
woodys737 said:
Great news!

I have been suffering from 2 protrusions since last October. I'm getting closer to thinking about maybe having surgery. Doc's/PT's do not recommend it for me yet, however. Anyway, glad you are on your way to less pain!
woody,

If your having leg nerve pain and not just back pain I'd look in to it. I will say that the out come is dependent on the surgeon and facility you go to. I did spend some time seeking out a dr who I was confident in before taking this route. thanks again.
 

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stover said:
woody,

If your having leg nerve pain and not just back pain I'd look in to it. I will say that the out come is dependent on the surgeon and facility you go to. I did spend some time seeking out a dr who I was confident in before taking this route. thanks again.
Mostly back pain. A little nerve pain at the very top of the glutes when I tweak it. It never lasts and is super mild compared to the back pain. Feels more like I need to stretch than anything. Every Doc that has looked over the film can't believe I never had nerve pain. Guess I should be thankful! Thanks for the info!
 

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My wife had that surgery a couple of months ago. Went under the knife at 0745, was (slowly and groggily) walking around by 1300.

It was amazing how quickly she went from a twisted whimpering shell of a person to standing up straight with no pain. She's kicking herself for waiting so long.
 

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woodys737 said:
Mostly back pain. A little nerve pain at the very top of the glutes when I tweak it. It never lasts and is super mild compared to the back pain. Feels more like I need to stretch than anything. Every Doc that has looked over the film can't believe I never had nerve pain. Guess I should be thankful! Thanks for the info!

Yes, I have a couple of herniations @ L5-S1 and L3-L4 along with degenerative arthritis, spondylolistesis and some other crap but right now I have no pain and very little limitation at all. Two spinal surgeons said I have a very wide spinal column so I'm getting no impingement. The physical therapist said he couldn't believe I wasn't in a wheelchair.

Try a book called the Multifidus Back Pain Solution I believe it is.

Very simple exercise lifting opposite arm and leg while lying prone on the floor was almost miraculous for me.
 

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stover said:
Had the surgery yesterday, it completely relieved my nerve pain in my leg. Other then the incision sight and walking bit slow I feel great. I wish I had done this sooner. I was amazed at the technology and techniques used for a proceedure like this. Doc says 6 weeks and Ill be back on the bike. :)
Yeah, that is great news. Back problems are complete misery.
 
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