Spinal Stenosis, Bulging Herniated Discs, And Degenerative Disc Disease
Anyone here have this? If so, can you tell me how your doctor is treating it?
I've been having lots of pain in my lower back and numbness, tingling, pinching and burning sensations running down my backside into my legs. My recent MRI shows degenerative disc disease, bulging herniated discs at L5 and L6, and spinal stenosis. My doctor sent me to a Neurosurgeon immediately. He says I am in very bad shape with the spinal stenosis causing the most problems. My right leg is very disabled from it, weak and barely responsive to reflex testing. My other leg is better, but not by much. I could potentially wind up in a wheelchair from this, but I am very scared to have surgery as was suggested would probably be my only recourse. I guess I would love to hear some success stories, as I've already heard plenty of bad outcome spinal surgery stories....but please tell me the bad as well. I'm a person that deals in reality, not wishful thinking. And the Neurosurgeon is the top in his field in the area so I am not apprehensive about his surgical skills or his opinion....
Oh, my dear... No experience, but sending warm, gentle hugs.
I had back surgery two times to fix herniated discs. Both were successful. I needed the second because scar tissue had formed from on the sciatic nerve going down the left side of my body from the first surgery. My second surgeon was real good better then the first. I had so much pain before the surgery I was popping pain pills all day and they did not help much. I felt 100% better after the surgeries. After the second surgery I had numbness on the left side of my left leg. The doctor said there was nothing they could do about that.
It has been over 15 years since I had the last back operation. I get around fine and do not have any pain. I do limp some with my left leg but I do not have any pain. The pain I had before surgery was almost unbearable!
Edited to add: The surgery was scary but worth it. I do not have any back pain now.
Last edited by freein05; 2-20-12 at 10:30pm.
Some experience -- second hand:
1. I had one student whose left leg was dropping and lots of pain (walked with a limp, too), from ruptured and degenerative discs. Her last ditch effort was to do yoga. It worked, 6 months later, no pain, leg was fine, everything good. She still hasn't had surgery and it's been 10 years. If you are going to try this (and/or physical therapy) YOU MUST get someone who is EXPERIENCED AND WELL TRAINED (i can help you with this if you would like).
2. i had other students who had surgery before trying yoga. Yoga helped with any stiffness due to the surgery. The newer surgeries are better than the older ones, they use some sort of "spring" system in some of them -- not just rods. AGAIN get a good teacher.
It's totally possible for you to not be debilitated and handicapped and in pain. Find the route that works for you, ok? You will make the best and right decision.
No success story. My mom has spinal stenosis and herniated discs and scoliosis. She is 81. She has a lot of pain in her legs and insists that it is her varicose veins even though the doctors keep telling her it is the spinal stenosis. She was offered a cortisone shot for pain though the spinal surgeon didn't give that much hope of solving the pain because of the location of the stenosis. He wouldn't recommend surgery at her age. She has done some physical therapy (seems to be a lot of stretching and strengthening) but she gets tired from that and refuses to go much of the time though she does seem to get relief from the pain for a while. From what I read spinal stenosis is quite common as we age. I think the pain varies by person.
You must be careful. If you really have a ruptured disc and pain shooting down your leg that means the disc is pushing against a nerve. The disc will eventually permanently damage the nerve as in my case.
I am not a doctor see an Orthopedic Doctor and decide for yourself. Be sure and ask questions about what will happen if you have or do not have the operation. Also should you feel uncomfortable with one doctor see another one.
I have heard success stories and stories about surgeries that made the whole thing worse, or just weren't helpful. I would use what ever time I have to try every natural and alterantive treatment out there. I would try spinal decompression exercises or home devices, inversion table, natural anti inflammatories and muscle balance therapy. These are 2 articles that talk about alternatives, hope it helps:
I too would research ALL non-invasive alternatives first, Wildflower. I'm getting up-close and personal with my own spine over the past few weeks, and though it is still in acceptable shape, I've been exploring things like frmeital mentions above. I'm even going to buy my own inversion table (a gently used one in good shape) because the relief I get from it is nothing short of astonishing. I've also been doing VERY gentle yoga to decompress and lengthen everything, massage for the same reason, and my pain is almost gone (and my posture is 1000% better)
Talk to a naturopathic doctor and get the alternate story from the "you've got to go under the knife" story, then follow your heart and choose the one that's right for you. Sending you gentle hugs!
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Nortin Hadler who wrote the book The Last Well Person also wrote a book about back pain which might dissuade some from surgery as a treatment option.
My mom just had spinal surgery due to stenosis and it has been six weeks and she is improving....so far her balance seems to be a bit off but a little better already than before the surgery. She will be going to physical therapy outpatient very soon here and the prognosis seems to be good in her case - though I will say the week right after the surgery was very scary and she seemed to be a wreck unable to walk and barely able to use her hands. Thank goodness that has passed.....The surgery has been stressful for all involved but so far in this case it is seeming to help and like I said, the prognosis seems to be very positive in her case. Rob