right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Concerned about how to pay for college amid COVID-19 economic changes? Join us for a webinar on Thu, Apr. 9 at 5pm ET. REGISTER NOW and let us know what questions you have and want answered.
Check out our newest addition to the Student Lounge. Go to the "STUDENT HERE: Ask Me Anything!" and connect with fellow students who can answer your school specific questions!
Most of the decisions are in by now. Connect with fellow students and share support for those who didn't get the best news.

Back Surgery in your 30s?

somemomsomemom 10941 replies329 threads Senior Member
I have a family member who is having back issues, debilitating spasms happened once about ten years ago and once about 5 years ago, diagnosed with spondiolesthesis, degeneration of the L5/S1 disk. She has had two debilitating episodes since giving birth, recently. Her PCP is sending her for PT and then hopes to get an MRI approved. The PT is worth a shot as abdominal muscles are pretty useless postpartum. However, I am wondering if anyone has had experience with surgery for this? A friend mentioned spacers. I'm researching, but would love to hear some anecdotal evidence.
25 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: Back Surgery in your 30s?

  • SybyllaSybylla 4511 replies56 threads Senior Member
    edited February 20
    Has she actually ever tried PT, exercise, improving core strength? Not even post diagnosis? Is she healthy?
    edited February 20
    · Reply · Share
  • travelnuttravelnut 2039 replies15 threads Senior Member
    With her history and diagnosis, it seems that ongoing follow up with an orthopedist who specializes in the spine would be critical for ongoing treatment recommendations. With a degenerative disease, recent pregnancy and uptick in pain, knowing the current status of her spine is likely important. It is my understanding that this condition can be extremely painful and I wish her all the best. I have an adult child with a complex ortho history and found her PCPs very supportive of having the ortho docs managing the needed care.
    · Reply · Share
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 677 replies39 threads Member
    I just had a micro-discectomy of the L5/S1 about 4 weeks ago. I'm a bit older (42).
    Since mine was degeneration as well as herniation from a serious car accident, PT didn't help at all. My disc was bulged to the point that it was going down my spinal canal and choking the nerve running down my leg. That's actually what hurt, not my back.
    I did 8 weeks of PT, which actually made my situation worse. I also tried the epidural steroid block, which did precisely nada. It took a couple months of waiting for an opening, but I finally got surgery and I feel great now. Some lingering issues w/ my gait and walking further distances but I see a PT for that in a couple more weeks.
    My back didn't hurt before surgery but it's a little touchy now. I have very little disc left, so I do baby it a little. I still do all my normal household activities, except for things like have DH or DS change the water bottle in our water cooler.

    The worst part of the whole experience was the pain while waiting for surgery. I was loaded up on drugs, but it didn't really do much. I was still completely non-functioning. And then getting off the drugs! My one piece of advice for anyone is to have a plan for coming off the meds BEFORE surgery. I didn't and there were a few days of misery that I wouldn't have had to go through if I'd known better. I was on 2 different opioids for about 4 months. About 24 hours post surgery I felt well enough to stop taking the pain meds. Huge mistake!! I didn't need them for pain, and I didn't want to take them, but my body physically thought it needed them. It's like having the flu, but with an extra helping of anxiety and depression. It won't kill you, but it's utter misery. Weaning is the best method for coming off opioids. For me it took about a week to get off them completely.
    · Reply · Share
  • tx5athometx5athome 3958 replies5 threads Senior Member
    My daughter had a double spinal fusion in 2009 at age 19. She had Spondylolisthesis. She was an athlete and at some point must have gotten a stress fracture of her vertebrae which caused the vertebrae on top to slip forward. I think because she was in excellent shape prior to surgery she handled the surgery and recovery really well. She did not take a lot of the pain killers because she was so afraid of constipation. Also she has a pretty high tolerance for pain. The surgeon told her it is very important to stay in shape and keep a healthy weight. She has absolutely no issues. She has no restrictions and is very active (snowboards, runs, hikes, yoga, pilates, Orange Theory, etc...).
    · Reply · Share
  • oregon101oregon101 5637 replies138 threads Senior Member
    I am grateful for this question as I am waiting to see a surgeon for back issues. I finally, after weeks of waiting, had an MRI done. For nearly a year I have suffered with "sciatica". PT made it worse. MRI shows L5-S1 has a disc extension and there is a narrowing of the spinal canal at L4-5. So now I wait to see a surgeon and then, hopefully, get scheduled for surgery. Living with this pain is awful. It comes and goes without cause which makes planning activities difficult.

    Parent23, I am especially worried about the narcotics I have been taking. I appreciate your description of your withdrawal. I have been confused about this as I never feel high with the Vicodin I take but now I understand that my body will still want it. I will be more vigilant now as to weaning before surgery.

    OP, until she has an MRI there is not enough information to know what course she should take. PT can definitely make things worse. Good luck to her.
    · Reply · Share
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17570 replies164 threads Senior Member

    The worst part of the whole experience was the pain while waiting for surgery. I was loaded up on drugs, but it didn't really do much. I was still completely non-functioning. And then getting off the drugs! My one piece of advice for anyone is to have a plan for coming off the meds BEFORE surgery. I didn't and there were a few days of misery that I wouldn't have had to go through if I'd known better. I was on 2 different opioids for about 4 months. About 24 hours post surgery I felt well enough to stop taking the pain meds. Huge mistake!! I didn't need them for pain, and I didn't want to take them, but my body physically thought it needed them. It's like having the flu, but with an extra helping of anxiety and depression. It won't kill you, but it's utter misery. Weaning is the best method for coming off opioids. For me it took about a week to get off them completely.

    I'm surprised your physician didn't warn you-a patient on narcotics for four months would of course need instruction about how to wean off pain meds. Glad you are feeling better now.
    · Reply · Share
  • oregon101oregon101 5637 replies138 threads Senior Member
    My physician and my Doctor husband have warned me about the narcotics in a general kind of way. Not until Parent23 described her withdrawal did I even begin to understand. I thought if I do not get high (I do not) why would I feel withdrawal. Love CC--now I get it.
    · Reply · Share
  • NJresNJres 6075 replies189 threads Senior Member
    edited February 20
    I would strongly encourage your family member, and anyone suffering from back pain, to read a book, Mind Over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain by Dr John Sarno. I suffered - really suffered -from back pain for years before reading this book. My sister had it worse than I did, and was very close to having surgery before seeing Dr Sarno (he wrote the book in 1986 and he died 2 years ago so you can't see him).

    Read the book. It's cheap. No drugs, no surgery, no PT. no acupuncture. All those options will still be available to you if the book doesn't help. Worst case, you get a different perspective.
    edited February 20
    · Reply · Share
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 677 replies39 threads Member
    @Nrdsb4 Hindsight, I am too. Maybe he assumed I'd still be on them by the time he saw me for post op? He gave me another script for recovery that I never touched.
    That's another thing I need to figure out... how to get rid of the meds still in my home.
    · Reply · Share
  • scmom12scmom12 3175 replies21 threads Senior Member
    @ChaosParent23 CVS near us has a drug depository for turning in drugs. Don’t know if all have. Also our police dept has held a drug turn in day. Could check that out.
    · Reply · Share
  • somemomsomemom 10941 replies329 threads Senior Member
    We just confirmed with the secondary X-rays that is it Spondylolisthesis with Pars defect, so a fracture there. Yes, she was an athlete as a kid & in HS. Not so much as an adult as her back has been very touchy and painful for 20 years, which is when the initial Spondylolisthesis was diagnosed.

    She did PT during her pregnancy because of the long time back issues, but has not yet begun postpartum PT. I expect her to be following that regime for several months, I just want to research the options ahead. If the PT does not make a significant difference, I want to be ready with the next steps already researched.
    · Reply · Share
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17570 replies164 threads Senior Member
    edited February 21
    Yes, being physically dependent on narcotics is NOT the same as being "addicted." Being addicted typically means that in addition to the physical dependence, tolerance, and physical symptoms that accompany abrupt withdrawal of the medication, you are wanting, "needing", seeking these drugs after the medical indications for them are no longer present, or you are psychologically dependent on them for the side effects that are helping you to deal with psychological or emotional issues.

    There are many medications that shouldn't be withdrawn suddenly or they can cause unpleasant symptoms. We don't usually refer to patients in these instances as addicted.
    edited February 21
    · Reply · Share
  • LindagafLindagaf 10163 replies562 threads Senior Member
    For anyone interested, The Economist, a highly respected weekly magazine, recently published an interesting article on back surgery. In a nutshell, it is not very effective at all. There is a lot of evidence supporting the findings. The vast majority of people who have had it don’t need it.

    In short, the article said that there are noninvasive approaches to chronic back pain that are proving much more effective at helping to alleviate symptoms. It appears that the brain isn’t “switching off” pain signals, and so it needs to be reprogrammed.

    I can’t link the article, as we get The Economist on paper, but I know some newspapers have published the findings reported in The Economist.
    · Reply · Share
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18846 replies331 threads Senior Member
    edited February 23
    Never mind.
    edited February 23
    · Reply · Share
  • HoggirlHoggirl 1887 replies204 threads Senior Member
    We are in the throes of this with my dh.

    Without derailing the thread, but hopefully giving helpful insight to the OP and others similarly situated about what to expect, can any of you speak to the situations you have encountered re: how long it took to get back surgery approved by your insurance companies?

    Dh has been jumping through hoops. L5-S1 herniation with bilateral pars defects. Has done PT, had his first ESI yesterday (which has seemingly done nothing). Had to battle insurance on that because he has not yet had enough PT. Not sure if insurance will require a series of three ESIs or not. This seems to be typical. Scheduler at neurosurgeon said everyone has to battle their insurance company to get back surgery.

    What challenges, if any, did you encounter getting surgery approved and how long did it take from request to approval?
    · Reply · Share
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 677 replies39 threads Member
    Thankfully I had no insurance hoops to jump through b/c the wait to get an appt w/ the neurosurgeon takes quite long enough.
    I had an xray Oct 25
    MRI Nov 1
    Referred to neurosurgeon Nov 6.
    Saw neuro Dec 6.
    Surgery Jan 17
    · Reply · Share
  • HoggirlHoggirl 1887 replies204 threads Senior Member
    Thankfully I had no insurance hoops to jump through b/c the wait to get an appt w/ the neurosurgeon takes quite long enough.
    I had an xray Oct 25
    MRI Nov 1
    Referred to neurosurgeon Nov 6.
    Saw neuro Dec 6.
    Surgery Jan 17

    I guess my definition of hoops is different from yours. From your other posts, I think I saw you had PT and the injections as well. I count those as hoops. Dh got an MRI very quickly. Before doing the PT or injection. Did you have to do a series of injections? I hope once dh does that, the insurance path will be clear. Dh’s neuro is new to the area, and getting scheduled is not going to be an issue.

    Thanks for your reply and glad to know you are on the mend :) It’s been tough. My dh is a marathon, triathlon (half iron man level) type, and this has been hard physically, mentally, and socially for him. No “trigger” for this, really, so very unexpected.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity