T Nation

back surgery?

Ok, I’m looking for some opinions on having back surgery. I’ve seen several people post about having it done, and I’m trying to decide. I’ve had 2 epidurals(sp?) so far and they relieve the pain for about a month. Well, the doc said he’d only do that twice, and it’s starting to really bother me again. I guess it’s about time to decide what to do. I’ve got a bulging disc that’s pinching my sciatic(again, sp?) nerve. I’ve been unable to do a decent leg workout for about 2 years now since squats, hack squats, straight-leg deads, and hip sled all cause a lot of pain. The problem is that I’m only 26, and I am afraid this would limit my activities in the long run. So, I guess I’m looking for advice from people who have had lower back surgery for disc issues. Worth it or not? Thanks for any input, guys, and sorry for rambling.

My cousin had back surgery for the same thing when he was 19. By the time he finally decided to go through with it he was in constant pain and had trouble even walking. That was 8 years ago and he says it is the best thing he ever did. He was up walking around the next day and released from the hospital after only two days! Discovery Health channel just aired a show which showed three different back operations, following the patients from a few weeks before surgery, through the operation, and then following up a few months later. Anyway, one of the patients they profiled had this condition. You may want to log on to the Discovery Health website for more info.

I cannot tell you what to do, but I can guide you where to look. First read, “oh, my aching back”, “the real mirical worker” and find an ART practicionar in your area. Next go check out Paul Check’s site (he has some exercises and a list of physicians that are certified with him). I do not know the extent of your pain and or back problems so I have to be rather vague, but for most individuals surgury can be avoided. Look at Lou Simmons, has broke his back twice and a couple of bulging/ruptured discs, and he has avioded the knife so far (he’s 51). Which is another site to checkout, Westsides’. You can probably email them and get some expert advice on back problems (as they deal many of them on a day to day basis). Also, start doing reverse hypers and stretching. Even if you do have to subcome to the knife you will recover faster with a flexible and inshape back.

Thanks for the help, I’ll go check it out right now. I’m certainly not to that point yet, but since it’s getting progressively worse, I don’t think it’ll be too long before i have to go through with it. Thanks again for the input!

I guess I didn’t give that much information about what I’ve done so far. I started out by going to a sports medicine doctor who’s fix was Vicodin and Skelaxin. The next one gave me more Skelaxin and told me to see a PT. I went through about 4 months of physical therapy and saw virtually no improvement. I’ve been going to the Nebraska Spine Center and the surgeon there is the one who has given me 2 epidurals thus far. I know if I call him again, I’m going to have a scar on my back before long. The pain isn’t completely unbearable most of the time…but I get tired of limping around like I just got ass-raped by a horse. I love lifting, and I enjoy the cardio I do…but now that I occasionally lose some feeling in my lower leg, I think it’s gotten more serious and I need to do something. I’d better stop babbling now. Thank you very much for the advice and I’ll see what I can find out.

I am a back brother sufferer too. I have been diagnosed with degenerative discs in the L-5 region (lower back). I goo, have had steroid injections and with about the same results as yhou have had. One thing for sure is to do your abs on a regular basis. I find that when I slack off in that area, I get trouble. One last alternative is to get a new proceedure that is where they go in with a wife and cartarize the nerve endings of the disc. I’m not sure, but I think it is something that is an acronym like ENT. Good Luck!, Brad

I am a back brother sufferer too. I have been diagnosed with degenerative discs in the L-5 region (lower back). I goo, have had steroid injections and with about the same results as yhou have had. One thing for sure is to do your abs on a regular basis. I find that when I slack off in that area, I get trouble. One last alternative is to get a new proceedure that is where they go in with a wife and cartarize the nerve endings of the disc. I’m not sure, but I think it is something that is an acronym like ENT. Good Luck!, Brad

I had back surgery for a herniated disk 4 years ago and its the best thing I did. I suffered with the herniation for 4 years before the surgery and tried every possible alternative: Chiro, acupunture, epi shots, massage, stretching, etc. Only the surgery relieved the pain. I was up and walking the day of the operation and home the next day. I was back riding a horse in 3 weeks. I’ve been thrown from horses subsequent to the operation with no further damage to my back. To be able to stand without the horrible pain down my leg is a great feeling. Herniated disk operations now have a success rating of 95%+. I wouldn’t wait and suffer the pain. BTW, I was 53 when I had the operation done.

What type of surgery did you have? I have been reading about the endoscopic discectomy procedure, and it looks like it is a lot safer and easier to recover from than other procedures. Anyway, thanks to all of you for your input. I’m actually calling the doc right now to see what he thinks.

I have 1 herniated disk and 1 bulging disc and so far I have been able to avoid the knife and continue to train heavy most of the time. I do have some occasional flare-ups that lay my training up for short periods but I would recomend you try another physical threrapist before the surgury. It took me 3 different PTs before I found one that had a treatment that worked. The longer you can hold out the better. I was originally diagnosed in my mid 20’s, reulting from an injury when I was a teenager, and I’m in my mid early-mid 30’s now and through proper training and stretching I have less problems now than before. I saw a surgeon once that said it is best to wait because the earlier you have it done the more chance you will have it redone on more discs later in life. They are also coming out with artificial replacement discs that look very promising. If you can get rid of the pinched nerve via PT and just live with the occasional muscle spasms for a while you may be better off in the long run. Having strong abs, back and flexible hams helps relieve the pressure too. Good Luck, but if the pinch nerve doesn’t get better go for the surgury, long term nerve pinches lead to perminent nerve damage. AK

I did not have the endoscopic diskectomy done because I do not believe it was being generally used at that time. I had about a 5 inch incision. BTW, I agree with the previous poster that the younger you are when you have it done, the more likely you are to have a repeat operation in the future. The reason is that, as you age, your disks become less pliable and the less likely you are to have a re-herniation. However, if you have exhausted all other possible cures, then I would say it is better to have the operation than to live with the pain. If the herniation is touching the sciatic nerve, there is not too much besides surgery that will correct it…at least that was my experience. Good luck.

Reverse Hypers. I’ve seen many people with broken backs and bulging dics have alot of success with reverse hypers. Also, my brother had L4 and L5 fused several years ago, he is more limited in the weightroom now than before the surgery.

Nick, didn’t Bruce herniate that disk because his BLN’s hung too low causing a chronic anterior pelvic rotation?

A post was split to a new topic: Bulging Disc, No Relief