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Back Surgery Question

just got back from out of town surgery for a spinal disk removal at L-4-5. Wow does this shit fuckin hurt! I have a nice cycle to do after recovery but it feels like that’s a looonnng way off! Anyone have experience with this type of sugery and recov. times, (and not losing too much mass)? I would appreciate the help! I would do some searching but I can only sit for very short periods due to pain! Thanks. P.S. no fusion was needed.

I had microdisketomy at same level. Unfortunately my results were atypical. It has taken me two years to “fully” recover in my lower back (pain wise not function) as I have other things going on as well. You should be much better in a few months especially if you are already fit and have some good PT. Good luck

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I had a partial diskectomy at the same spot. However, I had no pain afterward and was back lifting and riding horses in 3 weeks. No pain 8 years later. I am sure that a full diskectomy is much harder to recover from but I do not think you should be experiencing severe pain. You may need a post-op MRI.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
I am curious - you say that you had a disc removed but that no fusion was necessary… What did they do exactly. Insert a prosthetic disc?[/quote]

They said they could remove the portion that was protruding onto the nerves,the way I understand it they basically took about 70% of it.It feels like they drove a truck through it!

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
Wait a minute, did they take 70% of the whole disc, or 70% of the protrusion only?[/quote]

70% of the whole thing! I was told I will have to have a fusion many years from now but they didn’t do it now because I’m too young (33). And no, They never mentioned the possibilities you did. Fucking doctors. But I’ve lived with the pain for some time so I needed to do something. I’m sure future squatting is out. This doctor is the cheif surgeon of a major hospital by the way, not that it really matters!

They had removed a bulge from my disc that was squeezing 60% of the Siatic nerve. Every medical professional who saw it told me how much it must have hurt(no shit). They didn’t do anything to the disc, only removed the protruding disc frgment that happened many years ago and grew to aggravate the nerves and spine.
I was up walking 15 minutes after the anethesia worn off, was told by the surgeon to go to the gym the next day, dont lift for 1 week and watch compressional twisting.
I have never had a problem and tell people that " I used to have a bad back".
Hope you have good results.

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I had the exact surgury in 1998 when I was 32…only L5-S1, what happened to me was that the disc ruptured and pinched the sciatic nerve going down my right leg…it was freakin bad when it happened because I just kept working it thinking the pain was going away, but instead I just kept aggravating my problem until surgery was the only option. Just go out and imagine a “Charlie Horse” in your leg for about 4 days straight. So they removed 55% of the disc and filled it in with a composite that was supposed to bridge the Vertebrae gap…I was able to work out pretty quick after the surgery, but I totally neglected my back because they had scared me away from working the lower back and because it was so weak I just continued to aggravate it during the first six months or so. As a result I think it took longer, because they told me what they tell everyone…“Just take it easy and don’t do what you used to”, well that was FUCKING BS, because it ultimately took me about 3 years of pain before I took matters into my own hands. Then I worked hard on it to get stronger. My first mistake was thinking that Abs were the key, before the injury, they are important, but you have to get the lower back up to the same strength level…believe it or not, DEADLIFTS (light of course at first) gave me the most improvement. Extensions, good mornings, etc. all helped. Walking and then running gave me benefit as well, and you have to maintain a strong core, so you have to work lower Abs hard, obliques, and I found DB Pullovers and lat work gave me some good benefit as well. Legs…Squats helped me big time, sometime with a belt, sometimes without, just to get everything stabilized. The key is to get the body and more particularly the muscles all around the back that push and pull to get strong, then they keep the vertebrae aligned properly and keep everything nice a tight so that the back muscles are stronger and keepit stabilized when you do simple things like bending over or staying crouched down for extended periods of time. Once I achieved that, and got over the mental aspect and committed myself to fixing the problem, I was able to get it into the past. I do things now that DR’s would cringe over, and it’s because I put their ideas on the shelf and started working my lower back hard. You have to maintian discipline to stay within the limitiations that your body has set. Go light at first. maintain PERFECT form, and the strength will build and the pain will subside. I would guess that I have been PAINFREE in the lower back for about 5 years now, but if I would have started working smarter from the outset, I know I could have been totally recovered in a year. I almost forgot DIET is so important to recovery.

T38

Thnks alot for the info T-38!

Well, I had my himilaminectomy L5 15 years ago. My back periodically got tight, but the surgery definately helped the pain. after 15 years of not working out, when I got back into lifting I gained about 35 lbs, then decided to play alumni football at 35, and I ruptured the same disc.

You never know, but I still squat with lighter weight and the leg press heavy. I seem to get by pain free still.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
daron_e wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
I am curious - you say that you had a disc removed but that no fusion was necessary… What did they do exactly. Insert a prosthetic disc?

They said they could remove the portion that was protruding onto the nerves,the way I understand it they basically took about 70% of it.It feels like they drove a truck through it!

Well fuck, they seem to be a bit blase about taking away 70% of that segments shock protection… WTF are you supposed to do now? Often, when spinal stability is compromised (as it would be here, with 70% disc removal), the adjacent vertebra start to grow bony projections towards each other (called osteophytes) in an attempt to bridge the gap and stabilise the joint. Did they mention anything like this to you? What did they say with regards to training, rehab and therapy?[/quote]

this is incorrect at least as far as the stability comments. the disc material does not provide “stability” hence no fusion necessary. he will however be suspectible to future arthritic changes at that level and the bony growth you describe is part of that process - but there is no inherent “instability” b/c of the removal of disc material. fusion is usually reserved for multiple level surgery where the lamina is removed. the lamina, in part, provide stability to the spine.

i had a laminectomy c-3 - 7 with instrumentation; i was competing PL again within the year. you will quickly gain back what you lost but you have to humble yourself and be willing to go light until you can continue to build. of course, recovery depends on what shape you were in prior, your particular injury and how well your surgery went. in other words, mileage will vary.

[quote]daron_e wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
Wait a minute, did they take 70% of the whole disc, or 70% of the protrusion only?

70% of the whole thing! I was told I will have to have a fusion many years from now but they didn’t do it now because I’m too young (33). And no, They never mentioned the possibilities you did. Fucking doctors. But I’ve lived with the pain for some time so I needed to do something. I’m sure future squatting is out. This doctor is the cheif surgeon of a major hospital by the way, not that it really matters![/quote]

squatting in the future is NOT out necessarily. you are overreacting…take the time to heal rehability and get the answers you need from qualified health care professionals - hopefully someone with a sports medicine background too.

I think it took me six weeks of deep tissue therapy coupled with area specific light exercises to get rid of the scar tissue build-up and re-condition my glute and hamstring muscles… but I was in no way in good shape. If you’re in good shape right now, you’ll bounce back much quicker. Focus on your lower back muscles, do squats and deads (light weight) and GHR’s. You’ll do fine.

Amazing how many of us have these injuries. I had part of L5-6 removed when I was 17 (almost 10 years ago). I have done light squatting and deadlifting since–but then again–what is the point of doing these light? To really be effective, you’d have to do these at a level beyond what I personally feel is safe.

I have two suggestions:

  1. Read the book “Healing Back Pain” by Dr. Sarno. This is by far the best book I’ve found in 10 years of researching the subject and it has truly changed my perspective on the whole thing. And don’t worry, this book won’t tell you to baby your back.

  2. Do Bikram’s Yoga (or any yoga really) a couple of times a week. I like the Bikram because it’s extremely challenging and the spine strengthening series is outstanding.

I just started my third cycle, and I’m going to experiement with doing the Bikram while on 'roids. The problem is Bikram rooms are heated to 105 degrees and I’m afriad it might just be too hot while I’m on. If so, I’ll probably try another yoga like Iyengar. That one is great, and you can use all kinds of straps and stuff if you’re legs and back muscles are tight.

Anyway, these things worked for me. It’s been 10 years and I’m about 98% pain free.

Massive

I was curious to know if anyone has had the endoscopic procedures for bulges or herniations. I have been doing my own research on these procedures. I have called several places here in U.S. and have asked about the procedures. I just recently talked to someone that had some endoscopic work done on her lubar spine a few years ago and she said it was more like a very small puncture through the skin and muscle to get to the disk than an actual incision.

I called around my area and it looks like most of the doctors perform microdisectomies. I personally think as time goes on, more physicians will adapt these procedures.

Also, I have one question concerning rehab. Once you start a rehab program, how long do you go before their is a breakout period for pain relief, etc… Also, once this is reached, does rehab need to be sustained at that level or can it be scaled back to maintenance rehab. Also, its encouraging to here how everyone continues to train despite injuries. Any info would greatly be appreciated.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
TheBodyGuard wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
daron_e wrote:
bushidobadboy wrote:
I am curious - you say that you had a disc removed but that no fusion was necessary… What did they do exactly. Insert a prosthetic disc?

They said they could remove the portion that was protruding onto the nerves,the way I understand it they basically took about 70% of it.It feels like they drove a truck through it!

Well fuck, they seem to be a bit blase about taking away 70% of that segments shock protection… WTF are you supposed to do now? Often, when spinal stability is compromised (as it would be here, with 70% disc removal), the adjacent vertebra start to grow bony projections towards each other (called osteophytes) in an attempt to bridge the gap and stabilise the joint. Did they mention anything like this to you? What did they say with regards to training, rehab and therapy?

this is incorrect at least as far as the stability comments. the disc material does not provide “stability” hence no fusion necessary. he will however be suspectible to future arthritic changes at that level and the bony growth you describe is part of that process - but there is no inherent “instability” b/c of the removal of disc material. fusion is usually reserved for multiple level surgery where the lamina is removed. the lamina, in part, provide stability to the spine.

Well perhaps ‘stability’ is the wrong term, but if you remove 70% of the cartilaginous shock-absorbing and vertical-load supporting structure from between 2 load-supporting bones, then what are you left with? I’m not bashing your comments in any way: I’m here to learn and hey, I’m only a first-year chiro student, lol, but I don’t see how removing so much material from the IVD will result in anything other than a compromised level of IV support and shock protection.

If you remove 70%, how do you not end up with 70% less vertical load capacity in the spine (at least in the short to medium term? The IVD isn’t exactly known for its regenerative abilities… I’m hoping you can shed more light on this because I don’t understand how the spine can function ‘normally’ after 70% removal of the IVD. Nor do I understand why such drastic removal is necessary…

i had a laminectomy c-3 - 7 with instrumentation; i was competing PL again within the year. you will quickly gain back what you lost but you have to humble yourself and be willing to go light until you can continue to build. of course, recovery depends on what shape you were in prior, your particular injury and how well your surgery went. in other words, mileage will vary.

With all due respect to your recovery, wouldn’t you say that surgery in the cervical region in not going to have the same impact on weightlifting that surgery on the thoracic or lumbar regions will have? The neck supports (primarily) the head only, wheras the lumbar spine supports everything above the sacrum.[/quote]

I don’t intend to engage in a pissing contest - and i’m not implying you desire to either; however, i never said anything to imply you didn’t lose anything by removing some disc. I said to lose stability was a bit of a misnomer - shock absorbtion, of course you lost some. But to extrapolate a 70% loss of a single disc to a 70% total loss of shock absorbtion or any other benefit is plain wrong. And yes, the cervical region is different than the lumbar - i never implied anything else…but i refer you to a host of PL’s with similiar or worse back problems all competing. and i understand your particular slant - you’re going to a school where they are attempting to get you to take the “blue pill” and have you believe you can heal everything with spinal manipulation…correct :slight_smile: ? is that why you are so incredulous that they removed 70% of the disc? i dated a chiro - not saying you fall into this category, but some of them have some downright goofy ass ideas about what they can accomplish thru chiropractic care…she was one of the goofy ones.