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Thread: Back Surgery

  1. #1
    600@50's Avatar
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    Back Surgery

    Well..................it finally happened.

    I had to have back surgery. Totally blown out discs at L3-L4 and L4-L5. Actually they used the term sequestered discs. I had been having issues for about 8 years from an old injury at L4-L5 mainly to the right sciatic nerve sometimes down the leg but it usually cleared up after a couple of days rest. Over the years the bouts became more and more frequent and lasting longer each time. Towards the end of all this the pain was lasting 4 or 5 weeks before it would heal up and the time between bouts became less and less. I have had 2 really bad painful bouts so far this year each lasting 5 weeks with only a month or so of good time in between.

    It all came to an end about a month ago when I literally felt L3-L4 blow out to the left side. Instant pain down the left leg and it felt like someone was taking a crowbar trying to pry my knee and lower leg apart. My left leg was numb to touch and was so weak I could barely walk. It was mainly affecting the femoral nerve to the quad and knee area. Total numbness down the front of my leg from above the knee to the foot.

    I went to the ER and basically was told it needed to be fixed ASAP. Any worse and you start to lose bladder and bowel control. I asked when they could do the surgery and was told the next day. Talk about having to make a decision quickly. I was admitted to the hospital that evening.

    So............... I'm now 2 weeks post op from a double laminectomy and the back pain is gone. Stitches are out but I'm still restricted to lifting only 10 lbs for the next month. My left leg is still weak and numb but was told that could take 6 months or more to return to normal. I have some post-surgical pain down my left leg too that is being somewhat controlled by anti-inflammatory meds and Neurontin for the nerves. All in all it hasn't been that bad. The residual pain is frustrating but I was told that while it's not "normal" it's not unexpected given the amount of damage to the discs and nerves and due to the amount of work they did to clean it up.

    I'll try to give some updates along the way. But the moral to all this is don't try to tough it out. If you have a really high pain tolerance like I have you may possibly be putting your health at risk if you don't see a doctor about an injury. I should have gone to the doctor at least a year ago and then I probably wouldn't be having these residual issues. Listen to your body. Stay strong and stay healthy.
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    Damn dude, did you have Causa Equina Syndrome? From what to describe about bowel and bladder changes. That is basically the most severe thing you can do to your back with out breaking it.

    Wish you a speedy recovery!
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  3. #3
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    No it never got to the bladder and bowel problems. That would have been the next phase. The thing was I had zero back pain during this episode. The pain was all in the hip/glute and quad/knee area. And it was severe pain.

    Thanks for the well wishes MS.

  4. #4
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    Heal strong man good luck. Must have hurt like hell. My dad had his go out after a truck accident and lost all control of bowels and bladder. He was walking across his garage and went down screaming. He was given max morphine on site and hauled away by ambulance. He sat in the hospital for a long long time. Bladder wouldnt empty and this problem pretty much put him out of work.

    I feel for you and I understand how bad this can be. Hope you recover fully very soon.

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    Thanks Obs. Hope your dad recovered. Morphine did absolutely nothing for the pain. It just calmed me down for awhile so I could tolerate it. Luckily I never got to the bladder issues.

    Doctor said I'm going to have to rethink my lifting. Not what I wanted to hear but we'll see.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 600@50 View Post
    Thanks Obs. Hope your dad recovered. Morphine did absolutely nothing for the pain. It just calmed me down for awhile so I could tolerate it. Luckily I never got to the bladder issues.

    Doctor said I'm going to have to rethink my lifting. Not what I wanted to hear but we'll see.
    Dad never recovered fully. He is about half what he was. Morphine calmed him down too but he was suffering until the spinal tap. Hope it doesn't interferre with yoir trainong permanently

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    Had my L5-S1 fused in 09. Thing that helped me the most was walking. By month 4 post op I was up to 10 miles a day. I definitely had to change things in the gym. At 56 I just do what can as long as it doesn't cause pain. Only thing I will not do is dead lifts.

  8. #8
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    Damn 600. Very sorry to hear this but glad the prognosis is good and you're on the road to recovery. Keep us updated please!
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    Thanks for the support guys. The doc isn't real happy with my heavy lifting. I told him I haven't been able to squat or deadlift heavy in 4 or 5 years anyway. I'm going to remain optimistic that I'll still be able to do the heavy benching and upper body work. Hopefully with some adjustments I can get in some decent lower body work now. I'm going to take it slow. My next follow up is mid July. I'm still on a 10 lb restriction until then. But I've exceeded that on several occasions already with no issues so I think it'll be much better than it was.

    The pain down the left leg is much improved. The meds have helped but I think there was so much inflammation from the disc herniations and from the surgery that it's just going to take time. The leg is still very weak but it's better than before.

    You're right Seamac about the walking. I feel much better and a lot more loose after some good walking. I have no intentions to do 10 miles but I feel like I could do it.

    Thanks Obs and Kel for the support. You guys are great and it's much appreciated. I'll update along the way.
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    Well I wanted to give you guys an update. I' was released to go back to work this past Monday. All pain is gone but there are some minor lingering weakness and control issues with my left leg. Doctor said that it could take several months to totally clear up but it's getting better and I'm encouraged. I'll get back in the gym in a couple of days. Just trying to clear the long backlog of things that were put off while I was healing up. Doctor said no more heavy lifting as far as compression to the spine. I've had to stop the heavy squats and DLs for a few years anyway so anything done now will be an improvement. He said I knew what to do and just be careful.

    Ok this is for anyone out there that is having or has had back issues. Please, please, please don't try to be a hero and push through the injury. Go to the doctor and get checked out. We tend to just say things will get better and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. It's when they don't get better that we risk some serious complications. I'm not one to go to the doctor. This time with my back I took it up to the very limit before things could have gotten really bad. Knowing your body and it's limits comes with experience and age. But it's better to get checked before you have some permanent damage.

    I was up to the point of risking some permanent nerve damage in my back. I should have had things looked at much earlier. Knowing what I know now there is no reason to be worried about back surgery. Yes I know there have been horror stories about botched surgeries but if you can do your due diligence and research the doctors you could potentially have operate on you. In today's internet there are many ways to review a surgeon and even the facility that you would go to. Trust what your body is telling you with pain levels and your mobility. There is no reason to be in pain when there are better alternatives.

    Thanks guys for all the support and encouraging words.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 600@50 View Post
    Well I wanted to give you guys an update. I' was released to go back to work this past Monday. All pain is gone but there are some minor lingering weakness and control issues with my left leg. Doctor said that it could take several months to totally clear up but it's getting better and I'm encouraged. I'll get back in the gym in a couple of days. Just trying to clear the long backlog of things that were put off while I was healing up. Doctor said no more heavy lifting as far as compression to the spine. I've had to stop the heavy squats and DLs for a few years anyway so anything done now will be an improvement. He said I knew what to do and just be careful.

    Ok this is for anyone out there that is having or has had back issues. Please, please, please don't try to be a hero and push through the injury. Go to the doctor and get checked out. We tend to just say things will get better and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. It's when they don't get better that we risk some serious complications. I'm not one to go to the doctor. This time with my back I took it up to the very limit before things could have gotten really bad. Knowing your body and it's limits comes with experience and age. But it's better to get checked before you have some permanent damage.

    I was up to the point of risking some permanent nerve damage in my back. I should have had things looked at much earlier. Knowing what I know now there is no reason to be worried about back surgery. Yes I know there have been horror stories about botched surgeries but if you can do your due diligence and research the doctors you could potentially have operate on you. In today's internet there are many ways to review a surgeon and even the facility that you would go to. Trust what your body is telling you with pain levels and your mobility. There is no reason to be in pain when there are better alternatives.

    Thanks guys for all the support and encouraging words.
    Glad you're doing better. To echo what you said about listening to your body. I would go as far to say that if you are very physical in your daily routine. It is probably smart to get an annual spinal check up. We do it with, eye, teeth and so on. I have seen thousands and thousands of patients that had no idea they had degenerative process occurring in their spines. Pain is usually the very last thing to come on. Disc desiccation, bone spur formation and facet arthritis are silent until that one day that the body can't take anymore. But those are the 3 major causes of back pain.

    Get in, get checked and keep going.
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  12. #12
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    Very well said 600! Glad you came through this ok.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 600@50 View Post
    No it never got to the bladder and bowel problems. That would have been the next phase. The thing was I had zero back pain during this episode. The pain was all in the hip/glute and quad/knee area. And it was severe pain.

    Thanks for the well wishes MS.
    Damn it, man. Heal safely and strongly!!!
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    Damn 600... Sorry I just saw this but very well said regarding all of your posts and what you've touched on !

    I'm very glad to hear you have gotten the OK to return to work and just like I would try to Surpass what we can do weight wise just be careful and I wish you all the best! Heal fast and stay positive brother!!

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    In 2014 I had a cervical fusion of c2-c7. I gave it eight months before touching a weight. I started a slow process to reintroduce myself to lifting to be sure that I would not strain with my neck at all. Eventually I got it figured out and can lift somewhat heavy again. Heavy enough to get my physique back anyway which is what most is here are concerned about. Stick with it, be patient. Please don't go back in blasting.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHew View Post
    In 2014 I had a cervical fusion of c2-c7. I gave it eight months before touching a weight. I started a slow process to reintroduce myself to lifting to be sure that I would not strain with my neck at all. Eventually I got it figured out and can lift somewhat heavy again. Heavy enough to get my physique back anyway which is what most is here are concerned about. Stick with it, be patient. Please don't go back in blasting.
    I made that mistake 3 times, once with my shoulder and twice with this knee. It's hard to not mash the gas pedal getting back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuscleScience View Post
    It's hard to not mash the gas pedal getting back.
    You ain't kidding. I've been back in the gym about 2 weeks and it is so hard not to push really hard. My back hasn't felt this good in years and just being pain free is such a blessing. I'm trying to go slow but it feels great to be able to do things without almost falling in the floor from being in pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NACH3 View Post
    Damn 600... Sorry I just saw this but very well said regarding all of your posts and what you've touched on !

    I'm very glad to hear you have gotten the OK to return to work and just like I would try to Surpass what we can do weight wise just be careful and I wish you all the best! Heal fast and stay positive brother!!
    Thanks Nach. Everyone has been really supportive and that has been much appreciated. I tend to heal fast anyway and right now being pain free helps me to stay positive. I'm trying to go slow and still take it somewhat easy in the gym.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelkel View Post
    Very well said 600! Glad you came through this ok.
    Thanks Kel. It sucks getting old.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 600@50 View Post
    Thanks Kel. It sucks getting old.....

    Right there with ya brother!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuscleScience View Post
    Glad you're doing better. To echo what you said about listening to your body. I would go as far to say that if you are very physical in your daily routine. It is probably smart to get an annual spinal check up. We do it with, eye, teeth and so on. I have seen thousands and thousands of patients that had no idea they had degenerative process occurring in their spines. Pain is usually the very last thing to come on. Disc desiccation, bone spur formation and facet arthritis are silent until that one day that the body can't take anymore. But those are the 3 major causes of back pain.

    Get in, get checked and keep going.
    I totally agree MS. If someone could get an idea of the condition of their spine they could change habits or do something proactive to prevent further problems. Unfortunately our health care system is getting to where there is less and less focus on prevention. Most people only get done what the insurance will pay for. And most insurance is paying for less each year.

    I believe especially as we age there should be more emphasis on spine health. My wife is a chiropractor and she has kept me going for 9 years after my back was injured. If I had gone to a surgeon any sooner they would have only recommended PT or something non-invasive. In my situation I wouldn't have gotten the surgery much sooner than I did anyway. Not everyone has a chiropractor at their disposal everyday so you'd just have to get in and get checked out.

  22. #22
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    Just seen this 600 Iam glad your getting better it's a tough change having to tone down on the weight..I've had to completely quit deadlifting and have to keep my squats in the 20+ rep range I have something going on with my sciatic nerve it's at the point were it goes away after a couple days..I wish you a full recovery and hope you can still do the things you love if not the same at least in a fulfilling way!!

  23. #23
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    Thanks KingKong. I'm doing better and for the most part pain free. At the end of a long day my whole lower back aches but there is none of the sharp grabbing nerve pain like before. It just needs time and to get stronger again.

    I'll take your advice on the higher reps. Only time will tell to what extent I can push it again. Hopefully your back won't get any worse. That's the way mine was for a few years but it finally got bad. Take care man. Thanks for the support and hopefully you can heal up without surgery.
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