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Lower Back Surgery?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by 635 G, Feb 24, 2009.

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  1. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I'm seeing an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow morning. I know I'm going to need some kind of surgical procedure on the L4-5 region. Won't have specifics for a while. My question is for you serious shooters who have had lower back surgery is--How long were you sidelined before you could get back into shooting? and how long would it be to you were able to shoot a minimum of 400 targets a week?

    Thanks

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  2. Southpaw Sam

    Southpaw Sam Member

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    Individual needs vary, however, my personal experience with the same area as you mention and with additional problems lower at S1, was not to have surgery, but rather to go on a permanent daily routine for the rest of my life, 1 hour every morning of stretching and core strengthing exercises. This was an alternative offered by a sports therapist, and 7 years have gone by with a managable back problem not any worse, and some days better.
     
  3. Post  2

    Post 2 TS Member

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    Follow your surgeons advise. Don't get in a hurry. I was about 3 months but couldn't finish the first tournament I entered, not due to pain but just wasn't in shape. You'll be up and around in 4 to 6 weeks most likely but take your time. Good luck. Post-2
     
  4. ljutic73

    ljutic73 Well-Known Member

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    I too have problems with L4 and 5....stenosis to be exact...and from what I have heard including the opinion of Dr. Harrison Hall, a back surgeon and founder of The Canadian Back Institute, who himself suffers from back pain, cautions against surgery except in the most extreme cases. He states that almost 90% of the patients he sees are not candiates for surgery.
     
  5. eagles11

    eagles11 TS Member

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    Phil,

    Mine was a helicopter crash 20 years ago. I have herniated discs at c3/4 and c5/6. Got so bad that my right arm was numb. The pain was intense and pain killers were not working. After going to my orthopod I chose to take his advise. That was to do stretching. I augmented this with trips to the chiropractor to have traction applied. This method was supposed to confuse the muscles to allow better results. All I can tell you is that it all worked. The only residual is a bit of loss of feeling on the pad of my right thumb.

    Jack
     
  6. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I have been tracking my back problems for over 12 years. I take MRI's every 3 years for comparative purposes. Been the epidural, Pt, & chiropractic route. When the pain & numbness is in the legs, I've been told it is time or close to time for the surgery option. Most of us past 60 it is not job, or motion related. it is heriditory. If one or both of your parents had bad backs or arthritis----you're gonna get it.


    Phil Berkowitz
     
  7. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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    PLEASE do not be too quick with the surgery option. Get at least a 2nd and maybe a 3rd opinion. PLEASE. Back surgery is totally the last resort. I've been an X-Ray tech for over 15 years and have seen a LOT of back surgery that didn't go as planned or the results were not as promised. Get other opinions and try EVERYTHING else before you get sliced.
     
  8. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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  9. George Steffes

    George Steffes TS Member

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    Try to find a chiropractic Who has a DRS system,see if they can help you.I have 4 surgery's,but i waited till i couldn,t hardly walk anymore,you will know when it is the right time when it put so much pressure that you can't move your legs.good luck and hope for the best results.

    George
     
  10. trappermike

    trappermike Well-Known Member

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    As a guy that has been there. Don't wait until the pain turns to numbness. It may stay numb forever. I am not positive, mine has only been numb for about 17 years. Also, if it does get worse, you may be wearing diapers for the rest of your life. Don't jump in too fast but if you need to, find the best neuro-surgeon and check references, then go for it. My neuro told me to never see a chiropractor after what he did to my back. BTW, L4-L5, L5-S1.

    Good luck, we are all different,

    Mike
     
  11. Joe G. NJ

    Joe G. NJ TS Member

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    Trappermike, you are right about the numbness. I had emergency back surgery on this past Easter Sunday. I had a history of back problems for years and ignored it. It would hurt a lot, then I would rest it , it then felt a little better and I would live like that.

    There came a point when it was to painful to bear any longer. I started feeling the numbness in the legs and feet, couldn't stand up for more than five minutes at a time. One day it finally gave out completely, I was loading a couple of folding chairs in the car, we were going to spend Easter at my in law's house when I felt like I got hit by a lightening bolt.

    Later that afternoon I couldn't feel my legs and my feet were totaly numb. I was also pissing myself and didn't even realize it was happening. I was rushed to the hospital, told I had "corda equina" syndrome. (look it up on webmd.com).

    I had a lamenectomy/discetomy on my L4 and L5. An eight hour operation. I am still recovering, my bowel and bladder functions are fine now, doctor says I am extremely lucky. Thank God and the doctor. My feet are numb and quite painful. Its been almost a year and I am just now starting to drive a car again.

    I always felt the same as other posters do about not going for operation etc. Now I wish I had taken better care of myself and paid more attention to my back problems.

    I am actually feeling much better now than before the operation but my numbness in the feet is a major problem and it is something I am dealing with.

    I am sorry for this long post, I think you are in a much better situation than I was and you should have a complete recovery.

    Take care and good luck.

    Joe G.
     
  12. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    I think trappermike said a lot of good things.

    First, let's assume the OP has a disk herniation problem. If its extreme arthritis, ruptured disk (like it's completely blown out) or vertebrae (bone) problems, well....these are all different issues and need a different approach and have different risks, etc.

    But if we are talking about a herniated disk, with resulting back pain and pain throgh the effected nerve root and limb, then look at any research on the web at all (try Mayo Clinic site for one) and they will indicate that at least 70% of disk herniation problems self correct within 3-6 weeks to the same extent that would result from surgery. That's because the disk and the herniated chunk tends to shrink back after some time and it gives the nerve enough room to work again.

    However, if you have muscle strength loss...and if you have significant muscle strength loss...then you have at the most about 6 months before you have bought permanent nerve damage. If you are ok with your degree of function...fine. A lot of my neighbors, all they do is walk Fluffy once a week...they would have been happy with my degree of function.

    However, I had a L3/L4 herniation, a foraminal herniation which means the chunk went right into the canal that the nerve root exits, and I had excuriating pain and significant (50%) loss of strenght in my entire quadracep area.

    We tried high doses of oral steriods, we tried time, I tried a chiropractor which was the biggest mistake (you ain't fixing this kind of injury by moving bones around a little...ain't happening). Finally, 2 1/2 months later, I had surgery.

    My leg is back to about 90% strength. Because of the delay and the direct impact of the chunk on the nerve, the nerve has continued to hurt and only slowly heal. Surgery was in Aug and I am only now generally pain free. Nerves heal slooooowly. I was able to pick up a gun again for light shooting after 2-3 months. But really, to shoot a 400 rounds in competition...if your surgery was like mine, then give it 6 months...if you lose a season, so what.

    Also, as trappermike implied...screw the orthopedic guys and get a good, a really good neurosurgeon. If I want an artificial hip, I'll go to an ortho guy and they can wang away with their hammers. If I want surgery around my spinal column...its a neuro surgeon for me.

    Even with the best surgery...you are still going to have to do the work...you are going to have to walk. You are going to have to do Phys Therapy. You are going to have to loose weight! You are going to have to stretch regularly and do core excersizes (stomach...obliques, gluts, etc).

    In my experience, this process was not easy...but I was looking to the rest of my life and I'm only 56...to me this is too young for permanent loss of limb function.
     
  13. shoottilithurts

    shoottilithurts Member

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    phil, i had lower back surgery 3 months ago, spine fusion and a double laminectomy. i'm worse than before the surgery. can hardly shoot at all. last year i had epidurals 5 times. each of those can me a fair amount of relief for abouut 5 weeks each. good luck, whatever you do milt luther 518-608-4243
     
  14. threedeuces

    threedeuces TS Member

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    I had lower back surgery 11 years ago and there is never a day goes by that I don't hurt or a night goes by without only getting 2 hours of sleep at a time before having to get up and walk look out all the windows then mosey back to bed for another 2 hours. I can not say you should have surgery or not because I do not know how I would be without it. I do know one thing. Once you hurt your back you will always have a hurt back. I would also recommend that when the numbness starts down the legs you better really consider the surgery. That was one of the problems I had is I was holding off and holding off and that constant pressure on that nerve killed it. Good luck with your decision and recovery.
     
  15. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    I would agree with capvan about not jumping in too quickly - I had surgery too quickly. I was a firefighter/paramedic on the LAFD and thought I'd just go in and "get it fixed." But unfortunately I had to have two more surgeries to fix the mistakes of the first one. The pain I suffered after my first surgery was much more than before the surgery. So if I knew then what kind of pain I know now, I would never have jumped into it so quickly.

    My last surgery was in 2002. It was an anterior/posterior circumferential fusion (front and back surgery) of L4 through S1. I followed the doctors recommendations: 1) No smoking!!!! It prevents fusion! (no problem on that one) and 2) No anti-inflammatories until fusion has taken place, they also slow the fusion process. And of course don't do anything STUPID like lifting, etc. I began shooting after two months and was fused at 2-1/2 months, according to my doctor, medium-hard on one side and hard on the other and was cleared to do whatever I could tolerate, including jogging. I did take up jogging again and now I put in just over 3 miles every other day on the treadmill. That is actually what keeps my back from hurting. So you're looking at a minumum of 2-1/2 - 3 months. I fused very quickly, so 2-1/2 months is probably a best case scenario. If you're a smoker it could be much longer, or never (which happened to a trapshooter I knew).

    My friend from the fire department is going in for fusion this Thursday. You can bet I have overwhelmed him with all the pros and cons. I sure hope it goes well for him.

    Good luck with whatever decision you make.

    Jennifer in Idaho
     
  16. PerazziBigBore

    PerazziBigBore TS Member

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    My wife has had problems in her lower spinal area for 20 years.. She's kept it under control with proper excercise.. and anti-inflamatories.. Get a second opinion on the surgery..and put off all you can.
     
  17. Jamesquinn

    Jamesquinn TS Member

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    Before you decide for certain on surgery, ask around, find the best physical therapist you can, get his opinion. Some of those PTs can work miracles.

    Chiropractor? No, no way.
     
  18. Kim Little

    Kim Little Member

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    "Get on the Ball" literally. Before you opt for surgery look into physical therapy and check out strengthening your "core muscles." Check the link above for the exercise ball.
     
  19. ken a

    ken a Member

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    Trapper mike is right on. There are surgeons and then there are surgeons so check their track record and ask them point blank what they can do for you. I did 15 years ago and couldn't be happier. After the surgery walk and walk some more before testing the back. So many people right after surgery injure themselves and then blame the surgeon. Your question was how long will you be sidelined. I waited 6 months which was recommended by the surgeon. good luck
     
  20. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    My wife just had L3-4-5 fused four weeks ago at age 62. She was walking - in pain - the next day and doing stairs three days afterward as part of the PT her surgeon prescribed. She used a walker for two weeks before going to a cane during the third week and now can walk fairly normally without the cane but she still uses it when we leave the house or when she goes up or down stairs. Her pain isn't horrible and is controllable with a prescription pain killer her doctor prescribed but she doesn't take it as often as he suggested.

    I know this doesn't help with your shooting recovery time estimation but I thought you might find her experience interesting.

    I had a shoulder 'scoped once, if that matters. But I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

    Ed
     
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