Posted 4/22/2021 05:57 (#8966332 - in reply to #8965657) Subject: RE: Disc replacement surgery
My situation was similar to his story but I did not get my back fused. Instead I had three operations each two years apart for the same L5 position. Learned to become a manager instead of a laborer during that time.
That was probably 20 or 25 years ago. It has always been a weak point since and I have had to limit my activity although over the years it has improved. But I could never run full days on the tractor without being in pain.
Fast forward to three years ago. I changed my diet and any back pain I still had went away. I can still over do it and cause some sciatica in my legs, but I have to REALLY over do it now. Inflammation is big cause of pain and my previous diet was keeping me inflamed. Got rid of my back and knee pain both. Used to take pain pills daily and have had maybe two Tylenol in all of the last three years since diet change. I just don't hurt any more. But that is a different story.
So the body does have the ability to heal itself over time, but it is a slow process.
My doctor told me something a little different than what his doctor did (he was a sports orthopedic surgeon who specialized in backs and elbo's - did surgeries like mine every week). He said studies had shown that people that had the operation (removing the bulged material) and those that did not over a period of years ended up in about the same condition. The difference was the pain and lifestyle changed during the period. He said if you could put up with the pain the body would eventually heal (yet the last operation he said it would not have corrected itself - it was to bad). In my case the pain was unbearable (spent a month in bed, not even able to get up to go to the bathroom before the last operation) so the operation was a great relief. You know your wife is committed when she changes your diaper for a month because you can't even get out of bed.
I had ask him about disc replacement (remember this was 20-25 years ago) and at that time it was experimental and he recommended against it. I am sure the state of the art has come a long way since then. He told me to change occupations and not come back because fusion of the spine was my next step. I did not change occupations but I did change the way I farmed and hired more help.
That is my story and keep in mind it is from a long time ago and things have surely improved/changed since then.
One other anecdote. One of the best things I did between one of my surgeries is go to a massage therapist. I waited too long for one operation and lost a lot of muscle in one of my legs because of it. Before the next operation (two years later) I started going to a massage therapist while waiting on the scheduled surgery (my doctor was in great demand, one of the leading ones in the area). I did not lose the muscle mass that time. With a pinched nerve the muscles go into a permanent charley horse. This makes the blood flow not happen correctly and causes muscle atrophy. The massage therapist gave the muscles time to relax properly, albeit for a short period each visit, and I give that credit for not losing the muscle that time. I had one leg considerably smaller than the other for a couple years between one of my operations.