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BACK SURGERY, WHAT TO EXPECT--UPDATE

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Tom Ruble, Apr 16, 2010.

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  1. Tom Ruble

    Tom Ruble TS Member

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    After many years of discomfort, pain, falling averages, and limited mobility, I've finally decided to allow the surgeon to fuse L3, L4, & L5 vertebra. I decided on having the surgery after realizing that I can no longer comfortably complete a round of 25 targets, let alone a 100 target event. My concerns are: What to expect? How long will it take me to recover, providing I follow doctor's orders, do the therapy, etc? For those of you who have experienced similar surgery, how long should it be before I can resume shooting? What will be my limitations? I'll turn 72 two weeks after going under the knife. Any help or encouragement will be welcome. Break 'em all! Tom Ruble
     
  2. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Tom, fusion is not an easy procedure as far as recovery is conscerned. I was & still may be a candidate for surgury. I've lost close to 30 lbs & my pain is greatly reduced. 1) what type of surgeon are you using 2) best to go with a neuro-surgeon. I was going to have a lamininectomy. Most recently I was made aware of a Dr. Leibowitz who operates a facility in Dayton Ohio, called North American Spine. Their procedure looks very promising. Quick, fast recovery & no PT.
    Good luck-Phil Berkowitz
     
  3. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

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    You might should have done it years ago when you were younger and could have recovered more easily. I was shooting in about 6 weeks, but you will likely be advised to avoid that type activity for several months. My back hurt less the day after surgery than the day before. (Fused L3-4-5) AJ
     
  4. semperfi909

    semperfi909 Well-Known Member

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    I just (finally) have gotten past a boggling bad drug reaction in association with spine surgery. Make sure you read the warnings supplied with whatever drugs they prescribe with GREAT care. The one in particular that messed me up was neurontin. It may be difficult to avoid it but make sure the doc is involved closely when it is time to quit taking it.

    Be informed and take care

    Charlie

    PS the surgery itself was a breeze.
     
  5. stillmisses

    stillmisses TS Member

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    Hi Tom,
    I am currently recovering from exactly that , Fusion of L 3,4,5. The surgery itself was no problem, as others stated get a good Neuro Surgeon. I'm 53, my surgery was march 19th. 5 day's in hospital after surgery getting me mobile, pooping etc. Then a week in a rehab part of the hospital. When I left there march 31 I could walk with a walker and do most of all the basic exercises they give you. My leg pain was so bad I could not walk at all before surgery. it progressed since June of last year. After the operation the pain was almost entirely gone, but I had to deal with the bone and incision pain. Do exactly what the doc say's, DO ALL the therapy the will give you , work on it at home afterward. WALK as much as they will let you, I started walking with just a cane foe balance last week. Did a couple small jobs for my business this Thurs. DON'T drive on the painkillers they give you, not worth an accident. My only caveat to you is the surgeon told me flat out, the longer you have the nerves pinched the longer it will take for the pain to mostly go away, the nerve will regenerate but it takes time, you said you had this for years, so you may not get the instant almost total relief I did after only 8 months of pinched nerves. Hope this helps, don't let it scare you, work hard at recouping and you'll feel better. JGS above is dead on, my doc gave me about the same weight limits, GO for it!
    Mike T.
     
  6. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    MiShot- You can expect great relief or no change or more pain. It is almost like playing the Lewis. Did you know that surgeons practice medicine ?

    Pat Ireland
     
  7. Tom Ruble

    Tom Ruble TS Member

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    Many thanks to those who responded. The positive stories and comments are very reassuring and the advice is well taken. I am sure it will be to my benefit if I follow it. Again, many thanks. Break 'em all! Tom Ruble
     
  8. TC

    TC TS Member

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    Tom, Wishing you the best and Good Luck! Tony
     
  9. melbournemike

    melbournemike TS Member

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    You may want to ask your surgeon about the Hospital for special surgery in NYC they invented many of the back procedures in use world wide,I'm also a candidate for L4 5 6 surg and will only have it done there! Good luck and godspeed back to station 1
     
  10. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy TS Member

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    If you have the same luck my wife had with her back surgery you are pretty much screwed for the rest of your life. I hope you have better luck. She was finally awarded her total disability as a result of her surgery after fighting with Social Security for more than 2 years.
     
  11. SMOKEIT

    SMOKEIT Well-Known Member

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    Tom,
    I had back surgery last year. I was 73. They replaced a disc and put two titanium rods and 4 screws in my back. Took about 6 months to feel somewhat normal. Had to wear a back brace for about a month.Pain was considerable. Took about 1 year before I was ready to shoot trap. I hope your surgery is not this complicated. I have also have had 3 joint replacements but I am really getting around pretty well now.The reason I responded to you was to encourage you to do all your rehab exercises and continue to exercise after rehab. I work out 4 days a week for about 1 hr. It has helped me tremendously. Good luck to you.....Smokit
     
  12. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    I had back surgery, not a fusion so not as intrusive as yours.

    I will add my vote on getting the best neuro surgeon you can find and then listen and follow every single piece of advise they give you.

    In my case, I had really crushed a nerve root coming out of my spine for my left leg. After the surgery I was still have considerable pain..maybe even worse than before. But as was mentioned, nerves heal...just slowly. Now two years later I'm pretty much pain free...I would say in my case it took 18 months for the nerve to progressively heal...but heal it will.

    The alternative for many to include myself, as mentioned above, is permanent nerve damage and loss of function. Not something I wanted.

    As for the fellow with the experience with neurontin. When it became apparent after sugery that I had some fairly serious nerve damage, they talked to me about neurontin or lyrica....man, those are some pretty powerful drugs with significant side effects. I elected to use muscle relaxers, 800 mg of Advil, a Percocet now and again when needed, hot baths, walking, and my very dear to me moist heat heating pad LOL. I'm not saying that some people don't need these drugs, shingles comes to mind as an example, but they are rough stuff and not to be triffled with.

    Cheers
     
  13. dospa

    dospa TS Member

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    Tom I had A NEURO SURGEON repair mine, L3...L-S1. Three days in Hospital.Weight limits same as others. Walking is the only rehab.From Feb 7 to now I am ready to try 100.Approx 70 days.

    Tom McElroy(FL & MI)
     
  14. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    I'm due for some major reconstruction in my L-Spine. I'm considering a couple of lesser procedures (Laminectomy/Laminotomy) in the meantime to borrow some time. The procedures will decompress the nerve, but without all of the fusion. I was hoping to wait for ANY surgery, until my spine was at a stage of degeneration to require the whole shebang. The Laminectomy may buy me five or ten years. Fusion can be a very life changing surgery. The results are not always good. I have severe pain and have lost strength and muscle control in the legs. I'll wait for major reconstruction if the decompression is successful with the Laminectomy. I might be lucky enough, since my L-Spine might be stable enough to stand on it's own for awhile.

    I have had fusion in my C-Spine a year and a half ago. It was done to stabilize the C-Spine, since a couple of vertabraes had been moved out of place and were impinging on the nerves, threatening paralysis. I still need to have the posterior decompression surgeries done, but will wait until I can determine it NEEDS to be done.

    I HIGHLY recommend finding a good Neurosurgeon and ALWAYS getting a second opinion.

    Just remember, once the surgery is done, you can't go back. It is sometimes the beginning of more troubles.
     
  15. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Statistically, when you read literature, there is no difference in positive outcome 5 years after the surgery when compared to those that didnt have surgery-- NO DIFFERENCE

    However there are some negative outcomes that are significant

    You cant go back. In your case you might benefit-

    Make sure you know this going into it

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  16. Model12

    Model12 Member

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    Tom,Please be encouraged.I went from 1954-1969 before my Dad(an MD) would allow me to have surgery. No fusion but removal of the disc between L4-L5.I'm now 74 and have no physical restrictions just minor senior stuff.Today's procedures are like going from the stone age to the space age. Keep us posted and heal quickly. Regards, Bob Gegerson
     
  17. JoeBobOutfitters

    JoeBobOutfitters TS Member

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    Age and overall physical condition limit you more after the back-surgery rehab is complete.

    I had a spine injury from deployment and had L4-L5-S1 fused in summer of '08 at the age of 21. I was in great physical shape, other than the spine problem (never failed a PT test). I was out of the hospital after 3 days, and only taking tylenol extra strength for pain, and driving on day 5 after surgery, and shooting 8 weeks after surgery. I was still limited on my weight and flexibility, but could comfortably shoot 100 rocks, but no marathon shoots of course.

    Now, nearly 2 years later, I'm substantially better, and almost back to the same shape I was in prior to my injury, but of course limited flexibility and weight limitations for safety. I'd double or triple your "down time" due to age and physical conditions. I'd bet within ~4 months or so you'll be back to shooting in a decent capacity.
     
  18. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    "Statistically, when you read literature, there is no difference in positive outcome 5 years after the surgery when compared to those that didnt have surgery-- NO DIFFERENCE"

    Mishot - be very careful of badly misapplied and overly broad statistical statements like the one above. There is such a gigantic range of different back injuries and degrees of injury as to make such statements useless.
     
  19. Tom Ruble

    Tom Ruble TS Member

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    Again, many thanks for the replies; with the advice, suggestions, encouragement, and comments. They are sincerely appreciated. I know a lot more now as to what to expect than I did before. This has been coming on for a long time and I now realize I probably should've done something about it before now. I've lost much of the agility, mobility, stamina, and strength I had before. I hope this surgery will allow me to regain some of that back. The surgery is scheduled for the end of May and I plan to report my progress from time to time. Thank you and Break 'em all! Tom Ruble
     
  20. threedeuces

    threedeuces TS Member

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    I wish you the best of luck with your back fix. I had mine done 13 years ago and it has never been good since. It has steadily got worst. I have countless people ask me if they should have it done and my answer to them is your body will tell you when it is time. They certainly don't all help but I hope yours does.
     
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