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JanaGreen posted 9/17/2013 12:11 PM

What treatments did you undergo, and how successful were they?

My husband had an MRI - he has a herniated L5 disc, which is causing awful sciatica pain for him. Our family doctor told him that he would have to have surgery, he said the disc is basically pushing the nerve to the side and it's past the point where less invasive options would help.

My husband called the chiropractor and he said that reverse decompression should help.

He went to a neurosurgeon who told him the chiropractor was a quack and suggested that he try epidural injections as a last resort before surgery.

Nobody's mentioned physical therapy.

He's got an appointment with another neurosurgeon on Thursday for a second opinion.

I'm not sure the information I'm finding on the web is unbiased - i.e., the websites that are all YAY REVERSE DECOMPRESSION are run by chiropractors.

If you've experienced this, what helped?

EvenKeel posted 9/17/2013 12:15 PM

The discectomy (where they shave off the part of the pultruding disc) was not an option for me either.

I did the decompression via a chiropractor for awhile. They were very clear to me that I would have to have surgery eventually.

I made it 8 years and then went to stand up after dinner and just couldn't walk (but I was an ace of a crawler).

I ended up having spinal fusion at L4-L5. It was a heck of a procedure.

I am able to function at about 99% today as a result of the surgery.

My surgery was mega when I had it....however, technology is so rapid that the surgery has a much quicker recovery today. I know some places are doing it via laser now as well.

You can PM me if you have specific questions and I will try to help.

Edited....I did PT as well. That helps strengthen your core but will not heal that disc.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 12:18 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

JanaGreen posted 9/17/2013 12:18 PM

Evenkeel, thanks for replying - did you have sciatica issues as well? Did something specific happen to injure your back or did the pain come on slowly over time? Did you continue to be in pain during the reverse decompression treatment?

tired girl posted 9/17/2013 12:30 PM

Mine was also L-5 S1, nothing worked in the end, PT, epi shots. Had fusion surgery, not the major one where they go in the front. But I do have a cage, rods and screws. They used donor bone.

This is what you need to decide prior to surgery, are you going to use donor bone or his bone. Talk to the surgeon about both. Using his bone creates a little more risk, but increases the chances of fusion. If I had known this going in I would have done it.

JanaGreen posted 9/17/2013 12:35 PM

I think I need to read up on this surgery - I had no idea this was a consideration!

I think what our family doctor was talking about was the discectomy, not the fusion. I will clarify that with my H.

EvenKeel posted 9/17/2013 13:46 PM

I sought 3 opinions before I decided. I had one dr who wanted to try to do the discectomy. The other 2 drs greatly disagreed. They said it would alleviate the pain but what was left of the disc would eventually poke out onto the nerve again resulting in additional surgeries (ie more scar tissue).

The specialists recommended the fusion since I was heading down that road. Theory of 'do it once and do it right'.

As Tired referred to....I had the one where they went through my stomach, moved my organs to access my spine.

I had a choice of using my own bone or using sea coral (it was experimental back then...not sure they still do that). I have bone from my hip in my spine with a titanium ring holding it together. I know a lot of ppl said the bone graft hurt way more than the back. I did not have that - my hip gave me no problems.

If you do some internet searches, you will see comparisons between the fusion and discetomy as well. Maybe that will help.

I did not find much difference with the chiropractor treatments. Some ppl have great results though so it is definitely worth a try. I never had the shots. They said my disc was so shot that it would not do much for me.

I have no clue what happened to mine. I did have a minor accident years ago (rear-ended) that resulted in some issues but nothing mega. When I pressed the neurosurgeon (NS) for details of what was wrong with my disc....he said "it is just shot....wore through....".

Yes - I did have issues with that nerve and did have pain down my left side (butt-check and down leg).

The entire "can't walk anymore" was very sudden and I had no pain that day.

I was very frustrated but the NS said I was lucky my back lasted that long given the state of it. He said having a baby made it progress more quickly (DS was 2).

I still have stenosis but do not have many issues with my back. I do mega stuff (stack wood, etc) and it will be sore and require me to take some Aleve or such but I am very functional.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 1:48 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/17/2013 14:02 PM

I have ruptured the same disc twice L5/S1. I have had successful laminectomy surgery twice.

The first time was in 2003. I did no other form of treatment, surgeon was like "meh" we can or we can't - sent me home to think about it. Two days later I was in such paid I called and scheduled surgery. Best. Decision. Ever.

Then Oct 2011 I hurt my back just standing up from a chair. I let it go until Feb and then this time I sought chiro help. It helped for a little while, but never really lasted very long. I was going 2x/wk. One day in May I went to get up off the couch and I was in SO MUCH PAIN I wanted to cut my leg off! Now I know what the 10 on the pain scale of 1-10 feels like!! OMG I was telling my H to call the ambulance because I couldn't imagine even walking to the car. He refused and called the Dr instead. He called in a script for pain meds that helped - minimally. Called the chiro that following Monday and he wanted to see me. My whole left side from butt cheek to toes was numb (which was better than pain!), I had lost the heel reflex, and could no longer stand on my tip toes (paralyzed calf muscle - that's scary to hear). He ordered another MRI immediately. It was ruptured again - off to the surgeon (who didn't remember me 10 yrs later!) and he said there is nerve damage and he would recommend surgery ASAP for the best chance of nerve recovery.

That was a year ago June, the reflex has returned, the calf strength has returned, the numbness is still there and may or may not subside.

No PT at all. Walking after surgery was the only exercise required.

I would have surgery again in a heartbeat.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/17/2013 14:05 PM

This is what you need to decide prior to surgery, are you going to use donor bone or his bone

There was no bone replacement in either of my surgeries. Here's a link that describes the procedures fairly well.

sullymeishadomi posted 9/17/2013 17:35 PM

I had surgery. A diskectomy.

9 months later, the pain was coming back

Finally the pain had me near tears...and I have a high pain tolerance.
About 1-1/2 yrs ago I began going to this chiropractor. I have been to many chiropractors and not all are created equal.

He not only adjusted me, but had us doing very easy excersizes (sitting on a blow up cushion and moving our hips side to side and forward to back to loosen up). I have to say in six months the pain went away. There isnt even soreness in the muscles surrounding the injury/surgery site. I get tight once Iin awhile but no pain. I havent been to this chiro in over 9 months bc of back issues (my problem was l5-s1)

[This message edited by sullymeishadomi at 8:29 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

tushnurse posted 9/17/2013 18:01 PM

Having worked in the medical field for many years, I can say that you will usually get that response from any MD when asking their thoughts on chiro's. The reason for that is they feel it's voodoo medicine. Plus if you go to them they don't make any money.
Now if you can find an orthopedic DO you will be in business. Bets of both worlds. However they are hard to find, and if you question if they are real doctors they are. They have the same amount of schooling and take the same boards as an MD.

I think there is a fine balance that can occur between Eastern/Western Medicine. That being said, I had a similar issue except in my cervical spine, numb arm and hand at times, shooting lightening pain, not able to turn my head left to right. Surgery is not something I was willing to even consider, since back surgeries will never leave you like new.
My Dr's the first go round thought I was being a sissy, the second go round gave me muscle relaxers, NSAIDS, and Pain medications. So I was gorked for a week, and the pain only slightly improved, went back to doing my old yoga/pilates stretches, twice a day, and eventually it went away.
Third time, I was willing to try a chiroprachter, and man let me tell you, those guys are magicians. He did massage therapy, and TENS therapy, and then would do an adjustment, provided me with exercises to improve the surrounding muscles, and it went away. I did use muscle relaxers at bedtime when this flare up occured.
Which the Chiro was agreeable to.
It hasn't been a big issue for me since that time. I get tight, and feel it coming on, and start my exercises again, and it gets better.

So will seeing a Chiro heal him, no not in the long run, but you bet your bottom they will make him better for a while. Then give him exercises to improve the strength of surrounding muscles. If he is heavy/has any extra weight on his front (ie a belly) he needs to work very hard to get rid of it. I have seen people eliminate their back issues with weight loss. The constant strain goes away things tend to stay where they belong.

So surgery is always an option, but I would encourage you to make it the last one, when all other modalities have failed.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

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