Yeah Dave, I keep looking at this and while I've made a few replies they are certainly not answers. I went through a similar curve as you except my cause was a traumatic event.
My ups: knowing I was still going. Still providing for my family and doing so against all odds.
Learning how to read my body and positively influencing others around me.
My downs: the terror of not knowing if I was going to be able to last long enough and provide for my family.
The roller coaster of pain meds from fentanyl to Oxys and Hydros. The depression and anxiety from fearing every tomorrow and how many tomorrows I had left.
Life brought on a bi-polar rhythm. My successes were usually followed by a disappearing act as I went to lick my wounds and heal. I was lucky the company I worked for was employing FWAs(flexible work arraignments) being salaried I was able to work from home a lot, but also had to come in and be seen, show up for meetings and check my guys work.
As I worked I went through 4 major spine surgeries that resulted in 12 fused vertebrae (T4-L3). I had 5 RF ablations, countless epidurals and trigger point injections.
I went thru 6 months of nuerotherapy including Bio-Feedback. Acupuncture and some treatments I can't even remember.
Fentynal put me in the ER room twice...once as I had a bullet pointed at my brain and lowered the gun to go to ER.
My injury; I was crushed by a substantial pine tree while riding a snow mobile. I incurred a subdurmal hematoma, right pneumothorax, 8 broken ribs, crushed my jaw and fractured other vertebrae in All three regions of my spine.
Like Dave, my Dr. Finally pulled me out when there just wasn't anything left for me to give. As he was taking me out on disability he asked again if I was interested in a pain pump? My doctors had been talking to me about the pump for years, but I was ready. I went home on short term disability and for some reason at this point in time it made more sense. I wasn't convinced if I would go back to work again after short term or just hang it up. My doc told me he fealt the pump would increase my quality of life in my early retirement. He made it clear that he wasn't implanting the pump just they could kick me in the ass and get more work out of me...quality of life.
Depending on the extent of injury and your mental place, a pain pump may be a solution to a continuing successful career or it may be wasting your last bullet on the wrong target.
If you are interested in a pain pump, and it is a potential treatment for you, please see a good pain psychologist and discuss this and the risk vs reward that you are deciding on. You'll need to pass a psych eval regardless for a pump.
So, I'm glad I did it, but that's easy to say now...now that I don't wonder if death would be better than facing another day of debilitating pain, corporate idiocy and the work. Keeping focused and technical was almost impossible. I do have a decent quality of life now. I am king of my very small castle.
I did for 13 years. It finally came to a crash. It was pure hell. I loved working, but the pain was torture. I found it very helpful getting help from a pain psychologist. He really helped me deal with getting thru the pain and being around people. I did a lot of work from home too.
We're all individuals with different injuries, pain tolerance and job duties. I worked as long as I could, there's no way I could do it now. It's as if I used up what I had and went as far as I could and collapsed. Since then I had a pain pump implanted and it's helped my daily life. I don't know if getting the pump earlier would have helped me work longer.View Thread
Dave is right, but I want to add that there are so many variables that you've left out. A fractured L4 could cause a permanently dibilitating injury, or it could just require some rehab and recovery. It all depends on what exactly is fractured and the extent of the injury.
Joy, I know the stats for spine surgeries and I'm curious, in your research have you talked to many people that were otherwise healthy and had a single disc repaired replaced or fused? I'm curious because we tend to know people like ourselves that have far greater extent of injuries and poor outcomes. I know a handful of people with a single or even two to three discs fused that had a great outcome. I think a lot has to do with underlying health issues and post surgical attitude and effort, traumatic injury verses DDD.
I know the success rate or pain reduction after a 2nd spine surgery is in the single digits. Unfortunetely that's where you and I fall.
In Carmen's case I'm more worried about the hip than L5/S1 as there's not a lot going on at L5 anatomically. The hip is where 90% of our lower body's articulation, bending and turning happens. If the disc has only a minor herniation the hip may be the source of pain...I just don't know what exactly "rotated hip" means. (I'll read up)
Robin W. In all the books I've read, doctors (MD PhD) I've talked to, a passive attitude almost guarantees failure. You must take charge of your own health and be the leader of your recovery team. I'm not saying spirituality and faith are irrelevant. I'm a strong advocate of faith and religion.
Carmen, Keep your hopes up and keep working with your ortho. If things aren't going in a way you feel comfortable try finding a new doc, but I don't sense any reason to be skeptical of the one you have.
Would you need a hip replacement or are there treatments for the hip?
Best of luck, your young and this is a fork in the road that will dictate the rest of your life. You have to be positive and learn all you can about what's wrong so that you can best communicate with your doctors and understand your recovery. This is no different than working on anything else, you have to know what you're doing. Ignorance will cause frustration and failure.
Carmen, I don't know anything about rotated hips, but to me it seems that the hip problem is likely a bigger obstacle than the disc. If it's just a disc herniation between L5/S1 there are non surgical solutions and even a complete fusion of those two vertabrae would likely have a very good outcome.
Without going into boring anatomical detail, fusing L5 to S1 would have a minor Skeletol impact. The sacrum doesn't articulate anyway and there's very few nerves that low in the spine.
The hip could be quite painful and must be resolved. If you feel the pain is causing depression I suggest you see a pain management psychologist. Don't let your MD feed you Xanax to make you happy. Benzos are worse than opiads.
Some pharmaceuticals are necessary, but my personal experience is the fewer pharmaceuticals you can get by with the more likely you'll have a long lasting positive outcome.
I think it's good you're working with an orthopedic surgeon. The relationship between the two of you is important.
Don't be afraid to ask for psychological counseling, it's amazing how critical mental health is for good physical health. The two are so intertwined they cannot exist independent of each other.
I empathize with you greatly. I think you're on the right track and don't stop with the Cox method. There are many other tools we can use to heal our bodies and learn to deal with reasonable pain levels so that we can have a successful life.
Sometimes surgeries are necessary, but it's kind a like marriage. You don't want to marry the person you just met on a blind date, but when it's right, it's time to pick a church.
Reading Your story I see you get great enjoyment from your gardening and enjoy your time with natural beauty.
From that I have an up front observation....stay away from pain meds (Oxys etc) as much as possible. Enough opiads can mask the pain and get you out in the garden for a month or even a summer, but enough opiads and you run the risk of free falling into a downward spiral of less pain At times, more at others and less sensation and enjoyment. Opiads stop the body from producing natural endorphins which give you that pleasure when you see your garden blooming in the spring. Eventually the meds won't manage the pain and you may have a surgery that never removes your pain.
Depending on how bad the DDD is this may or may not be possible and it is of course just my opinion.
Speaking of opinions get as many professional ones as you can on this, from Orthos, nueros, physiatrist or PTs. (Or...?)
Another battle is the dichotomy of beating chronic pain while there's enough of you left to come out the other side with the strength to go out and start a new garden. Or as the marriage analogy would go, don't wait too long and use up your stuff!
It's impossible for any of us to tell you anything other than what we've gone through. Knowing when surgery is needed or if there is some other therapy out there is beyond our vision. Many of us have had relief from epidurals, RF ablations, trigger point injections, water therapy etc, but there's no magic injection that will maket it go away over night.
I think we all have been in a similar place and my opinions are based on when I fell and when I got up. I had my back crushed and have 12 fused vertabrae. I'm 54 and recently retired, but I can do a lot of stuff that brings me enjoyment. after years of success and failure I finally had a pain pump implanted, that along with my retirement have allowed me to do almost everything at my own pace. I sit down and recoup, before I fall down break.
Along with seeking relevant medical knowledge I'm also a firm believer in pain psychology. You need to work on your mind as much as your body. Just like learning about antibiotics to fight contagious infections, we need to understand how are brain sits at the top of this puzzle for if we fail to control pain, pain will control us.
Keep us posted and feel free to ask any questions you may have
Yes water is the true low impact exercise. Since our bodies are mainly water our specific gravity is close to 1 which is the same as water. That's why we become weightless in water. We're not actually weightless, we're just in a fluid that has the same density as our bodies so the forces of gravity or effecting the water the same as our body.
I'm not against inversion tables to stretch a healthy spine. I'm with Dave though, playing with inversion devices with an injured spine...makes me nervous as you can damage something by pulling it just as you can by pushing on it. If it's compromised it could be a problem. It would be a stressor on any hardware anchor points or fusion points.
Like Dave said, professional advise from someone that is familiar with your injuries would be mandatory. While water is relatively safe.ive never heard a doctor say "be careful on the water!"View Thread