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Slipped disk?

Has anyone out there had one and what was your prognosis? My husband has one and he is in a lot of pain right now and is on prednisone so the pain will let up going down his leg to his foot. I would like any advice on the next step. Thanks

Sun. Aug 19, 8:03pm

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My recommendation is to seek out any specialists in your area (or even outside your area), preferably those that put emphasis on physical therapy for your husband's situation. Deep tissue massage is also a step to help ease the pain and potentially relieve the problem. Weight loss, exercise, and stretching could help. Like I said, consult a specialist.

Doctors will tend to immediately jump to the conclusion that someone with a slipped disc needs surgery. Please don't let them fool you. There are many ways to treat the problem and the pain without surgery (or such harsh pain killers!). Of course, at the end of the road if nothing helps, surgery could be the only answer.

Do some research online, ask people you know for referrals, anything. Chances are at least one person you know has had a disc problem. Good luck!

Sunday, August 19, 2007, 11:35 PM

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I had a massively herniated disk (btwn L4 & L5) and after a year of therapy, specialists, multiple spinal injections, endless prescriptions, etc, I did have to have surgery. In my case it was over a year of excruciating pain that got so bad I was rendered unable to walk or even stand very long. All the specialists and therapists kept saying 'oh, you should get better without surgery.' Well - I didn't. And when I saw the surgeon he explained immediately why (mine was a somewhat special case). However because I delayed so long in getting evaluated, by the time I did have surgery I had suffered permanent nerve damage in my leg that continues to this day and will for as long as I live.

If I had a dime for every person who blithely excliamed 'Oh! You had surgery. So you're all better now right?" Wrong. Surgery is not to be taken lightly. If there is any chance your body will heal itself - it should be given the tools and opportunity to do so. Surgery, in essence means your body will never get that chance and it will leave behind a back that is weaker than it was before - albeit the leg pain will be gone and a somewhat 'normal' life can resume. Most importatnly it is not a 'cure' - it is a last resort. And if you are not extremely diligent afterward (keep the weight OFF, keep your core strong, avoid impact, lift and bend properly) you will be right back on that table again in a few years. And it ain't a walk in the park to have your back muscles sliced away from your spine while they take a chunk out. I'm glad they can do it, I'm glad I can move around, but I wll never be 'whole' again. It took 8 weeks to heal enough to be able to work full time. However, the biggest consideration is that now I have very little disk left, and there's a big danger that what is left will disintegrate if stressed.

Go to a GOOD surgeon - they will not do surgery on you right away unless it is a case like mine was, and they should be very aware of all the treatments availble and which ones you should have explored. They can refer you to specialists and therapists who work with this day in and day out. A credilbe surgeon won't do surgery without assurance that you have exhausted all non-surgical avenues without relief. However, in the .01% of cases that are like mine, they can stop you from suffering needlessly.

I was never more thankful for my insurance. It allows me to go to any specialist without a referral and I researched until I found the best spine center in my area, which also happens to be one of the better ones on the west coast and I am so glad I did. It was very important in my case to go to a doctor that had a great deal of experience and a high rate of successful procedures.

If I knew now what i did then - I would at the very least be seeing an orthopedic specialist and a physical therapist who concentrate in spinal injuries.

Even though my back didn't heal on its own, all that therapy did give me abs of steele (hint: it's largely pilates-based) and I dropped lots of weight because pain medication makes me sick. So when recovery time did come, those abs really helped stabilize my healing back and I didn't have excess pounds weighing on it. The medical staff kept exclaiming over my excellent vital signs (pulse, blood pressure), great posture and healthy weight - made me think they didn't see that too often... The best things I did for myself was to get a strong core, improve my posture and lose weight. Now, I have to keep it off (which is why I'm here) and I have to be very diligent about stretching and keeping active.

Best wishes to your husband - my thoughts will be with you both because my husband went through this with me and it was just as hard on him I think, as it was on me.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 12:44 AM

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Herniated and slipped are quite different...I don't think surgery is as useful for a slipped disk. Doctors who weren't my doctor always said to consult a neurologist for spine problems, since orthopedists only have surgery to sell you and aren't always good about suggesting other solutions (their words, not mine, but it coincides with my own personal experience). However, I think this is a problem that a regimen of chiropractic therapy has success with. After all, it's about a disk being out of place in a spinal joint, and that's what their entire focus is.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 1:27 AM

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Slipped Disk is a misnomer. Your spine is held together by a very tough set ot tendons and it is nearly impossible for one to 'slip' out of place. When most people talk about a 'slipped' disk, what they are describing is in fact a herniated disk.

Please see the associated link by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for clarification.


Monday, August 20, 2007, 8:37 AM

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i had a herniated disc a few years ago, and had to have an epidural into that disc for the pain and swelling. kinda scary, but with therapy (NO SURGERY) i'm just like new! good luck!

Monday, August 20, 2007, 12:02 PM

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OP here- thanks for all of your thoughts and ideas. I printed them out to show my husband. He is doing better, but I know that it could be a problem again. He sees the Dr again next week to decide what to do. He has seen a chiropractor which seemed to help the process. Anyone else out there with back problems- throw in your 2 cents. Thanks again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 5:48 PM

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