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chronic back pain and excercise
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An_189683 posted:
I really need some support right now.

In 2008 I herniated my L5-S1 and also have 2 annular tears in my L4-L5. I had a discogram (awful!) but they decided I wasn't a good candidate for surgery. So for almost 2 years I received monthly injections and 2 "rounds" of physical therapy. I very rarely have to take my percocet anymore. I do still have acheness (sp?) a few times a month at least but it's nothing like before.
My problem is that I lost pretty much all the muscle tone in my legs/buttocks and am finally trying to get that back by doing yoga (was suggested by my physical therapist months ago but just recently started it once the pain got better)--but it HURTS! It makes my back so stiff and sore, throbbing pain, etc. I know I'm positioning myself right-making sure I'm engaging my stomach muscles, pulling my belly button towards the back of my spine to help strengthen my core...I just don't know what to do, it's so frustrating! Is it just going to take some time getting used to excercise? I'm so afraid of hurting my back again, wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.
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bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

first - yes discograms are horrible - they are barbaric and I wonder why they even do them! LOL I've had 4 of them so I know how they feel!

second - what type of doctor did you see that said you were not a candidate for surgery? Herniated discs do not move back into position - and annular tears normally do not get better either.

for exercising - if it hurts - stop - this means you are irritating areas in your back. certain exercises can make your back worse if not careful -

what I would do is gather all your information, records, x-rays, MRI's CT Scans, discogram and get a couple more opinions - see either an Orthopedic Spine Specialist or a Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they are the best at reading the results - they will also test all you reflexes etc to determine what the best treatments would be.

I had surgery 3 years ago - went to 2 physical therapist before surgery and 4 afterwards - the exercises would make my back/leg muscles stronger but for some reason it would intensify my pains -

what i have found that works is aquatic therapy - there is also the resistance water therapy - where water flows on way and you try to walk the other way - it really works you very well and I hardly get sore or much pain.

I do this in the winter time out our community center - in summer we have our own swimming pool and have just installed a hottub -

but do get a couple of opinions on your back and discuss aquatic therapy -

keep us posted - take care - Joy
 
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An_189684 replied to bj1208's response:
Hi Joy,
The main problem is this is all through work comp. I started having numbness/tingling in one of my legs so they did a second MRI in 12/10 and it showed that my disc looked better and my annular tear had healed. This whole experience has been unbelievable. At the beginning, when my neurosurgeon said the discogram was negative, he sent me to a pain clinic. The Dr there told me I shouldn't have had a discogram on a herniated disc b/c since the disc was ruptered I wouldn't have felt pressure from what they injected anyways? So they sent me to an orthopedic specialist.

He put me through my second course of physical therapy and then work conditioning. Then basically said I have to deal with whatever residual pain I have and stick to my back excercises. I can do almost everything I used to at work now but I still get painful, just much better than before. I love swimming though and I do have a friend with a pool, I never thought about it before but it makes sense!

I just worry about the work comp thing..I can't stand narcotics and I live in a state where medical marijuana is legal so I actually have my license..used it first for nausea from the narcotics then as things got better went completely off the narcotics..They tried dilaudid, vicodin, ultram, and percocet. Did you find one that works for you and you can still function?
 
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bj1208 replied to An_189684's response:
hi - sorry u are still going thru this -

I hope that you hired an attorney that deals with work comp claims only - they look out for your best benefit - worker's comp companies only look out for the company's best interest. so please keep that in mind - you may still have a case with them so you can contact one and see what may benefit you -

Yes sometimes annual tears can heal themselves - but the herniated disc does not - and the discogram - did it hurt like he%ll when they injected the medicine into the disc? If so, this means there is more damage than what shows on the MRI's CT Scans - usually they will not do a discogram unless they are looking at doing surgery - this is why you need to get the attorney to make sure you are getting the best treatment care - and they can get you to the right doctors for more opinions - just because you don't have pains right now doesn't mean it's healed - lifting bending or twisting can cause it to herniate more so please do get an attorney and see what ur rights are - you may be entitled to money too so do check into it

I live in a state where medicinal marijuana is not legal - but they are pushing for it - just will be quite a long time - I have used it a couple of times - as they say it does help with back pains - it did a little but I didn't want to have too much in my system in case of urine tests -

I go to a Physiatrist Pain Management Clinic - here's link abou them -

http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/what-physiatrist

I have been thru so many years of physical therapy both before and after my surgery, numerous injections, radio frequency nerve ablation (deadend certain nerves), TENS Unit, Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial Implant - All these have failed - I just found out lately that steroid injections have not affect on me - and I've tried pain shots - nothing has helped the pains -

A little over a year ago I had a current CT Scan and MRI - it shows the 3 discs about my L5-S1 are bulging - and a current nerve conduction test shows I still have severe nerve damage in my left leg from the L5-S1 disc (had fusion surgery 3 years ago on this disc) - but now the L4-5 disc is showing nerve damage in my left leg -

I've been to 3 Orthopedic Spine Specialist in the last 1 1/2 years and they have all said no to further surgery as it would only cause more pains and not make it better -

So I am at a very high industrial level of medications right now - I take 60mg ms contin 4X daily; 15mg oxycodone 6X daily for the pain and 3600mg neurontin daily to help with the nerve pains -

My next step is the pain pump implant - I am discussing this with my Pain doc right now - it's a big step but will reduce the amount of pills I take daily and hopefully reduce damage to kidneys and bladder - as the pain meds are directed into the spinal sac where the pains are -

it's a long road for me but at least I do have a great Pain doc - he knows everything that does and doesn't work for me - we've tried other meds - before my surgery I was taking ultram, methadone and found I am allergic to it - I was on hydrocodone for so long that I am immune to it -

I am also getting immune to my current meds so that's why I'm looking at the pain pump -

Keep us posted - take care - Joy
 
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An_189685 responded:
feel ur pain!! i have a bulging disk in the same area and unfortunately nothing seems to help. I have tried shots, only work short term and physical therapy which didn't help either. I have been diagonsed with degernerative disk disease (L5-S1) in 2008. the pain has increased, shooting pain down my legs and buttocks, it has taken control of my life and i want the surgery done on my back even though my doc warns me against it due to a 50/50 chance that it will improve but i have to do something, tired of the pain and the pills (vicodin es). looking for a surgeon who will help!!
 
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bj1208 replied to An_189685's response:
hi and welcome to the support group - per WEBMD's guidelines we cannot suggest physicians/hospitals/or personal information on the support board - there is a search engine at the top of this page - you can put in the information you are wanting and it will assist by listing physicians in your area -

I had the same in my L5-S1 - Degenerative Disc Disease with bulging pinching on the left side nerve root - I had a fusion surgery 3 years ago - I fused and everything is solid - the only thing is my pains did not get better - I am in worse pain now than before my surgery - my surgeon said it was a 50/50 chance - well it's less - normally fusions have a low success rate - so please research as much as you can on fusions - also look up FAILED BACK SURGERY SYNDROME -

I would suggest that you get a couple of opinions from Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - see what your options are -

Also - pain management - be sure that they practice PHYSIATRIST pain management - here's link -

http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/what-physiatrist

they go deeper into pain management than regular clinics -

please keep us posted - take care - Joy
 
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Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
I am happy to hear that your symptoms are currently much improved in comparison to what you were experiencing 2 years ago. Although you are are not completely asymptomatic, it appears to me that the decision to avoid surgery in your case was the right one for you. In the long term, I agree that a routine exercise program for stabilization, strengthening, stretching, and general conditioning is in your best interest. The key in your case is to avoid the extremes of the "no pain no gain" mentality on the one hand and the other extreme of being completely apprehensive about any activity the causes discomfort. My advice to you is to progress in a slow and steady pace while letting pain be your guide for your restrictions. You may also benefit from using over the counter anti inflamatories regularly during the initial couple of months of exercising to minimize pain and maximize the benefit from your program.

I wish you all the very best


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