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Ruptured disks...

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I just had an MRI and found out I have three ruptured disks in my back and something called Degenerative Disk Disease (which I can't confirm is actually a disease due to conflicting info. on the internet).

Have any of you had a ruptured disk? What did you do? I meet with a neurosurgeon soon to discuss options (non-surgical will be my first option).

Exercise seems to make it worse but just hanging out on the couch doesn't seem like the best idea either.

:cry:

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Ruptured discs are a nightmare. Before you do any exercise check with the doctor. The Dr. will set you up with a physical therapist who will show you the proper exercises to perform. It is a painful process, but keep up with the exercises eventually you should experience much less pain. Most exercises are spinal stabilization exercises silmilar to yoga and pilates movements, however, you need to know which ones to avoid!!! The disc location, nerve involvement, and affected areas are extremely important to know to provide proper treatment. Get some help!!!

Here is a site that may help:

http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/herniateddisk/a/ruptureddisk_2.htm?iam=metaiq&terms=medrol

Best of luck,

Mike

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I take care of people every day with your problem, and consult them with various treatment options (ones that hopefully help you escape the knife). Degenerative disc 'disease' isn't a 'disease' at all. I hate it that it uses the term 'disease' to describe it. It is actually like gray hair and wrinkles (meaning that EVERYONE gets degenerative disk 'disease'). When you are born, your disks are 90% water. By the time you hit age 50 or so, they are dehydrated to only 60% water (no drinking lots of water dosen't help and you can't just inject something into the disk to make it better). Some people have a higher rate of degeneration than others. In my clinic we do epidural injections to help with any inflammation that the degeration may cause to buy people time and help them escape surgery. Physical therapy is important too, so is being good to your back. I have had patients significanty cut back on (and few quit entirely) riding motorcycles, jogging, skydiving, etc, etc, because these things compress your disks more. Just make sure that you get at least 2 or 3 opinions from different surgeons, don't operate until you absolutely have to, and cut back on launching your bike with those big air jumps :cry:. Hope that helps.

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Thanks for the information and advice. I really appreciate it!

I now understand about the degenerative process but is it unusual that it's happening this much and I'm only 33? I've been active my entire life, played basketball and ran track until college, was on my college ski team, I SCUBA dive when I can and have riden dirt bikes since I was 16 and ride mountain bikes in the summer. I'm strong, drink lots of milk, take my vitamins etc. What more could I have done?

I'm 5'11" and can recall having lower back pain since I was at least 10 years old. Must just be something I was born with and that I've aggravated over the years?

I CAN'T BE GETTING OLD YET!!! :cry:

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I have the same problem as you and I had it at a young age (26). In my case, I had two bulging disc and one herniated. It got to the point where surgery (laminectomy) was the only option but that was back in 1988, today I'm sure you have a lot more options.

It's not all doom and gloom though, even with surgery. I had mine in 1988 and I have had little to no problems since. I've ridden more and raced more after the surgery (took a couple of years off for college though so I could go "white-collar") than I ever did before it.

Do what you need to do to correct the problem and strengthen the area when it's safe and live your life.

Best of luck.

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I ruptured two disks in late September, had dual level disk surgery (lumbar spine)around Halloween. The Dr. decided on an agressive treatment because a lot of my left leg and foot weren't working. Now, two months later, the pain is gone and I am gaining in strength in my leg every week. The doc has cleared me to xc ski and downhill by spring. I should be ready to ride again by the time the weather breaks here in Colorado. I can't say that surgery is for everyone but it has done wonders for me so far.

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Hey ThumperGirl,

My brother has had this problem for about 5 years now. It began in his mid 20's. He gets epiderals occasionally and has been on just about every pain pill or patch imaginable. He has good days and bad days. The real drag is he has two beautiful boys 6 & 1.5, and he has a hard time keeping up with them, especially when he has to carry or lift the little guy where there is usually some akward bending/lifting motion.

He saw a surgeon a year or so ago and they decided they were not going to operate on him as there would have (I think this was the reason) been excessive nerve and muscle damage and there was no guarantee the surgery would correct his situation.

He follows a therapy routine as prescribed by his physiotherapist, takes his kids swimming, and occasionally goes to a tanning booth. I don't know about this one, but he says the heat is soothing and offers temporary relief.

Good luck and all the best,

mike :cry:

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My situation may be different because it started with back sprain. But I spent ten years in agony from disk problems as a result of the back sprain. I was just never able to believe that I needed surgery for bulging disks or degenerative disks because, like the other poster said, everybody has it as they age. So I resisted surgery and refused to take drugs. I learned to handle increased pain levels with a physical medicine doctor. Those therapists were like Nazi death camp doctors compared to the regular physical therapists I saw and that worked for a while.

But eventually the pain got too bad to handle that way and my family doctor recommended a local alternative medicine MD as a last resort before back surgery. This alternative medicine MD looked at my ten years worth MRI's, bone scans, X-rays and so forth and told me that I would be well in six weeks using Prolotherapy (search on it if you want more info - it is pretty common now). Of course I told the guy he was insane but I would try it anyway.

Bottom line, six weeks later I was well. Five years later I am still well. My only problem now is that my back is still a little weak from favoring it for ten years. The Prolotherapy hurt like he!! to have done (six Novacane shots per therapy shot), but it worked. Funny thing was, my insurance refused to pay because it was experimental. They paid over $100,000 for treatments that didn't work and made me pay the $600 for the treatment that did. This was nothing short of a miracle for me so feel free to PM me if you want to ask a question or make sure I'm not an Internet wacko. I would at least look into it before I tried surgery.

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Sorry to hear about the back. I screwed up my L5-S1 in "94" at the age of 34. Lost partial use of my left leg and had bladder problems. Went to therapy done epidurals and it just got worse. Finally neurosurgeon done a discectomy which allowed some normalcy to return. I went from being an ex-Army Ranger/bodybuilder/unbreakable type person to a full time house husband and part time college student. Now 10+ years later with a fairly good and normal life the Dr. telling me I may need a multi-level fusion. I'm only able to do water PT the standard stuff kills me. To make a long story short talk to several Drs. try different therapists what ever it takes to get it right. Good luck, Doug

PS At least they've have lumbar disc replacement and I may be a candidate:thumbsup:

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Now 10+ years later with a fairly good and normal life the Dr. telling me I may need a multi-level fusion. I'm only able to do water PT the standard stuff kills me. To make a long story short talk to several Drs. try different therapists what ever it takes to get it right. Good luck, Doug

Doug, I was in the same boat you were in. I ruptured L5 in 1999. I worked with it for a couple of years. But it slowed me down. I'm a Smokejumper for the US Forest Service. Not only the parachuting but the hard labor of wildfires was killing me. Numbness in the left leg, drop foot, constant pain.

Epidurals, acupuncture, water therapy. Had them all. Finally in May of '02 I had fusion surgery. L4 to S1. The surgery and the few days after was a kick in the crotch to say the least. But a full year of recovery and hard work I'm back to doing what I love, only took a year off work. No more pain, run everyday, ride when the weather is nice and jump as often as possible.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is there are success stories that come from such a surgery.

Good luck to you and ThumperGirl

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Try doing a search on the MedEx healthy Back program. It was developed at the U Of Florida Dept. of exercise and Science. It is a therapy program that strenghtens your back muscle. Their research concludes that most back pain is due to an imbalance of the stomach and lower back muscles. I herniated L4-L5 when I was 26. I have reinjured it a few times since then and blew it out again last summer at the age of 37. I started that program in the fall and I have never felt better. I still have some pain, especially on stormy days, but my back feels stronger than it ever has. I highly recommend it. They claim to be able to prevent surgery in 85% of their patient. It is a good program.

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I ruptured a disc at L5-S1 and had partial paralysis of my left leg. Ended up taking the surgery option, and it solved the paralysis but then the Physical Therapist, who seemed to think he knew more about my body than I did, kept suggesting exercises that caused me great pain, and insisted I work through the pain. After a month of putting up with that sh*t, I figured I could do better, so I fired the PT and put myself on a exercise program that would strengthen my legs and glutes (lots of walking) and also focused on core strength exercises without much bending at the waist. It took 1 year to get out of pain, and another year to feel I was back to full strength. I'm not suggesting you shirk PT, but don't think they know everything either. Like all advice (including mine), use what works for you, because you are your strongest advocate. Also, have patience in your recovery, because 2 years is not an uncommon recovery period, and if this depresses you, talk to somebody, because depression slows, or in some cases reverses your recovery time. Good luck, and stay strong!

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Not everyone in advanced years gets degenerative disc's, and you haven't lived long enough to justify the rate of degeneration that you say you have. The disc's ARE mostly water, a few years ago, I started seeing MRI's with the term "disc dehydration" rather than DJD which is a better description. The disc's stay hydrated by movement (they actually imbibe H20). this is movement at an intersegmental level (between the vertebrae) not gross movement like exercise. Exercise will help strengthen the surrounding musculature, but will not effect the biomechanics of the spine (movement). I had my first low back injury, flipping over the handle bars with a blown FOX air shock (1979)! I was paralyzed for about 3 minutes on the track, very scary for a 16 year old! I started going to a chiropractor within a week of the injury, and 10 years after that I enrolled in Chiropractic College. There is only one health care discipline which is dedicated to maintaining the proper biomechanics (movement) of the spine and that is Chiropractic. Many people wait until they are in such bad shape to to tackle their spinal problem, and at that point the limitations of matter have already taken their toll, making recovery less predictable. I'd reccomend you find a Chiropractor, and try that, at your age it is worth a try, you literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Chiropractic works best as a way to maintain proper biomechanics to prevent the very things that you are experiencing. As a patch up is is less effective, but still effective. I have a patient who is 64 years old and demonstrates no degeneration and I've had a 34 year old with the spine of a 60 year old. It is not the age of the patient but the age of the injury that the spine has had. Surgery is effective but of course has numerous potential problems, and as such should only be used as a last resort. Try anythin and everything first, once surgery is performed scar tissue will always be in the area and may lead to other issues. If you need any more information feel free to PM me. Good luck with your problem.

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