T Nation

Surgery?


#1

Ok I really need some advice. I?m 26yr old and I have a herniated disc, lumbar area - L1 I believe. It?s been there for a couple of years now and hasn?t given me any problems. I?ve done my therapy and kept up with the stretching exersices on a daily basis. Recently though I?ve been in some pain and it is getting worse, usually when I get pain it comes and goes but not as severe as it does now and it just doesn?t go away, no matter what.
What I?m wanting to know is should I do surgery? I really haven?t thought about it since I was doing ok and the dr. had said I would be alright if I took care of myself. I?ve had mixed thoughts from few people but one thought that did hit me was that I was told to do surgery now instead of waiting till I was older cause it will get worse. If any of you could give me some advice and much needed knowledge I?d appreciate that.
Thanks
Quinn


#2

bump


#3

T, I also had a herniated disc but for 4 years. The pain down my left leg became unbearable when standing without moving. I tried chiropracty, acupuncture, epidural spine shots, massage, physical therapy, etc. Nothing relieved it. Finally a specialist told me that if I didn't get it fixed, the constant pressure on my sciatic nerve would lead to "drop foot" and I would lose control of my foot and be required to wear a brace for life. I had a partial discectomy done about 6 years ago whereby they cut out that portion of the disc where it is hitting the nerve. I was up and walking pain free the next day and back riding a horse in 3 weeks. Not even a twinge since then. I even deadlift now which I couldn't do before. The absolute recovery rate on partial discectomies is not about 98%. I believe it is even done arthroscopically now. Just find a good ortho surgeon with lots of experience. Good luck!


#4

What Avoids said is true. Even if you can "take the pain like a man," the constant pressure on the nerves could eventually lead to permanent damage and loss of function.

This is what I faced - I had two ruptured disks in my neck. I had shooting pain down my arm, but I just "dealt with it." Eventually the pain went away and I figured the problem resolved itself. Not so. I began having weakness in my right hand, which was bad since I am right-handed. My neurosurgeon said that because the disks were ruptured pretty bad, it wasn't likely that they would heal themselves - it was surgery, or "wait and see," but the wait and see could mean further loss of function. I also debated having the surgery, especially since I no longer had any pain, and I figured why fix something if it didn't hurt? I had the surgery and I am very glad I did. I regained 100% of my hand function. The worst part about recovery was I had to wear a neck brace for 6 weeks. That was because my surgeon replaced the disks with bone and it took 6 weeks for the vertebrae to fuse together. This was the better option for me since I wanted to remain active. I know with the lower back they can save part of the disk since those disks are larger.

Bottom line: Don't be afraid of the surgery because the results in these types of procedures are generally good. Once the pressure on the nerves is released, many people experience instant relief from pain.


#5

Thanks a ton guys, I really do appreciate the feed back. It's a subject where I'm still pissing in the kiddy pool.
I'm goingto take your advice and run with it.
Quinn