PDA

View Full Version : Herniated disc: What does it mean for amateur machinist?



taydin
09-11-2012, 07:06 AM
Last week was a nightmare week because of intense lumbar pain. Had this type of pain on and off in the past years, but always dismissed it as some kind of a stiff back. But this time it was quite severe and didn't respond to applying heat with a hair dryer or taking a hot shower. So went to the doctor, got an MRI. The result, 3 herniated discs, one of them ruptured and applying pressure to the spinal nerves... The doc wants me to undergo surgery as soon as possible. I will get the opinion of a few more doctors and will do everything possible to avoid surgery.

So, what is this going to mean for an amateur machinist?

macona
09-11-2012, 07:17 AM
My dad has/had three disks herniated. Three back surgeries to go with it.

He is currently on methadone as a pain killer.

What does it mean? Not too much, you will be pain for rest of your life. :(

The surgery will help things from getting worse and help with the pain. There is pretty much no avoiding it, my dad tried all sorts of things but surgery is about the only thing you can do. Things are damaged and need to be fixed before it gets worse.

SteveF
09-11-2012, 07:38 AM
I've been dealing with 2 herniated discs in my lower back for a couple of decades. Handling it with pain killers, muscle relaxants, Ibuprofen (which did a nice job messing up my digestive tract), etc. Finally the sciatic pain in both legs got so bad I was not functional and had microdiskectomies this past spring. Truly a crappy experience. Didn't get out of bed for the first 5 days except for the 45 minutes of "walking" (6" steps) my doctor demanded (if you lay in bed long enough you can get blood clots that can kill you, just a little fun fact).

My wife took two weeks of vacation to help me which was a necessity and just getting in and out of bed was brutal.

Lifting limits were 10 lbs for Feb, 20 lbs for March, 30 lbs for April, etc. About a year for full recovery. Pretty sad to have to use my fork lift to move a 60 lb motor around. Back is far better than it was, no more sciatic pain, although pretty stiff in the morning and I am constantly watching what I lift and still take some muscle relaxants or drink some alcohol.

If you don't have any sciatic pain, I'd try to manage it as best as possible with exercise and medication.

Back problems suck.

Steve

rubes
09-11-2012, 07:56 AM
For me it was C6 and C7 in my neck. pretty much my right arm was useless (right handed too) and horrible pain. could not even hold a cup of coffee. It was not constant though and would subside some days, but never go away. Since I hate doctors, I "dealt with it" for 7 or 8 months before going in and getting an MRI that identified the C6 and C7 issue. Luckily, the doctor did not believe in surgery as a first course of action. I did forgo the cortisone shots too. I was put into physical therapy two or three days a week. This included, ultrasound massage, hot packs, and traction. Worked out really well, and been pain free for 7 years (still very minor tingling in my fingertips sometimes).
Definitely get a few other opinions. Good luck. as others have said, back/neck problems sux.

rkepler
09-11-2012, 09:33 AM
15 years ago I lost 4 lumbar discs in 2 surgeries a few years apart. The first was a simple discectomy, the second a full laminectomy. The second was done in a hurry as I was losing the core of my spinal cord, in the end I lost 50% of the function in my left leg and 25% in my right (but at least I can pee).

Long term for me it means shorter times in the shop and fewer visits. Running my loco can be difficult as I know what it's going to feel like later. I can't lift much and have trouble going up ladders. I fall when trying to balance on my left leg and fall in the shower with my eyes closed if I can't lean on a wall.

If a couple of surgeons think you need a discectomy I'd suggest that you take their advice. Keep track of things so that if symptoms return you take care of it before you get damage. I toughed it out, don't make the same mistake.

lazlo
09-11-2012, 09:57 AM
If you don't have any sciatic pain, I'd try to manage it as best as possible with exercise and medication.

About 5 months ago, I was waking up with burning in my lower back, and an MRI showed that L4/L5 was herniated. The litmus test is sciatic pain -- I didn't have it, so the orthopedist recommended diet, exercise, and a lot of stretching.

I'm a chip designer -- we spend hours in front of a monitor, and depending on how you sit, there are a lot of L4/L5, or C6/C7 herniations or spurs. Your body adapts to the position, and you get hyper lordosis -- your ligaments shorten, and the stabilizer muscles in that direction weaken.

5 months later and I've lost a lot of weight, I'm running ~ 12 miles/week, stretching, and I feel a whole lot better. I'd love to see what the discs look like now, but I don't think insurance would cover a second MRI.

flylo
09-11-2012, 10:05 AM
I used to be an Ox. 6'4",Could lift anything. Leg press 650# all day. Did 2000+ sit ups in a row,rode a bicycle 4000+ miles one year. Never had a doctor as I never needed one. Moving a log I blew out 4 lower disc & pinched flat both spinal bundles where they split into both legs. I walk with a 4 legged cane, can't walk or stand lond. Wore a bone growth stimulator 8 hrs a day for 6 months after having 4 disc removed & 2 cages installed. Was on a walker for a year. Lost my 30+ year job. In pain all the time. I had to wait 4 months to get into a surgeon. Don't accept that get it fixed NOW. If you want a second opinion get it NOW. Please dont wait as the damage is growing. I wish you well & pray they can get you back to 100%. Sometimes they can. GET IT DONE NOW!

taydin
09-11-2012, 10:25 AM
Thank you for all the great, insightful responses. The amount of collective knowledge and experience in this forum is amazing...

Luckily, I currently don't have any numbness in the legs and the pain is localized only in the lumbar region. The physical therapist gave me a special lumber cushion, which I use now when I drive or when I sit in front of the computer. It really made a difference! I am an electronics engineer doing software/firmware development and just like lazlo, I sit endless hours in front of the computer.

My biggest concern not being able to lift anything in the shop or do gardening work, which I enjoy and do a lot. I didn't have any problem lifting my 90 pound milling machine vise or my rotary table before, but now... Guess I won't even attempt it...

ogre
09-11-2012, 10:25 AM
+1 for macona & +1 for rkepler. I was factory worker,and automotive mechanic whuch i had to stop both except the iccasional car. So i got into machining hoping itd be easier to do instead of going under a car and crawling back up to my feet. Ive looked at my glock alotta times cause tough for many reasons. I cant provide for my wife and daughter anymore,ive lost alotta control in my hands and legs,and i cant go into my garage everyday like i want to. I am 6'1" 270lbs and i worked out 3-5 times a week before thus happened. I have 2 discs in neck fused and 2 in low back. I am serious to say ,try EVERYTHING you can try before surgery,cause once its done,thats it,no reversing it. Surgery may work for some but not me and medical magazines and doctors are coming out to say that the surgeries are failing in high order. Theyll push you into it cause its big money but dont go so easy. I am only 35yrs old and mine was the cause of a girl i was riding w pulled out in front of a semi and killed 3 of us and 2 if us lived. Stay happy and stay focused on life and uts many treasures. Hope u can get a good doctor to guide u through.Forgive my typing and words,part of muscle control,and i get tired of fixing mis typed words lol
Edit: Ask a doctor and it may have to be one that isnt gonna recieve money from you. Ask him/her if neck or back surgery will fix neck or back pain. The answer is NO it does not. Surgery will only help w nerve pain in legs,feet,butt, and neck will only help w nerve pain in arm,shoulder. If they tell you surgery will fix neck or back pain then theyre already lieing to u. I did not find this out till after surgery at I.U University in indianapolis.

ogre
09-11-2012, 10:45 AM
And flylo is a pretty big guy. Alittle taller than me lol

ogre
09-11-2012, 10:49 AM
You are right not to lift the 90lbs vice anymore. Both flylo and i were big and built guys but it inly takes once and when u do it its done and over with. So dont lose ur back being the tough guy.

dp
09-11-2012, 10:56 AM
Last week was a nightmare week because of intense lumbar pain. Had this type of pain on and off in the past years, but always dismissed it as some kind of a stiff back. But this time it was quite severe and didn't respond to applying heat with a hair dryer or taking a hot shower. So went to the doctor, got an MRI. The result, 3 herniated discs, one of them ruptured and applying pressure to the spinal nerves... The doc wants me to undergo surgery as soon as possible. I will get the opinion of a few more doctors and will do everything possible to avoid surgery.

So, what is this going to mean for an amateur machinist?

I had a ruptured disk in the 1990s and more than anything in my life it has had the greatest impact on my quality of life since. Pain is a constant partner. Most physical things I enjoyed like biking and x-country skiing are history. Walking is a torture. It has led to deterioration in other ways owing to the pain of activity. Things that were enjoyable and highly valuable like home and auto repairs are severely curtailed. Even mowing the lawn is a tough decision.

My rupture extruded the disk matter into my spinal cord. It happened at work and the L&I debate went on for months before a decision to operate was made. By then the damage to the cord was done. In hindsight it may have been a better deal for me to have paid out of pocket for the surgery rather than lose mobility.

Good luck with yours - beware of putting things off.

flylo
09-11-2012, 11:01 AM
I asked the surgeon who I found thru a friend 4 months later & is one of the best & truly cares, not just in it for the money if he could fix me. He was honest & said I will change you, He did all he could as the damage was done. I ended up with foot drop & have braces I don't wear. I think if I found him I'd be in a lot better shape but I kept dragging into work to get things going then going home to bed. The pain is your body telling you to stop. Listen to it.

bob_s
09-11-2012, 11:24 AM
I too have had a disc herniation, which led to spinal cord damage.

Your physiotherapist might have told you that extended periods of sitting should be avoided if at all possible.

Get one of those workstations that can adjust the desk height so that you can work standing up.

check out
http://www.ergodepot.com/Standing_Desks_s/157.htm

danlb
09-11-2012, 01:58 PM
Do not wait to take action. Nerve damage can become permanent if it is repetitive.

Unlike some, I had a great outcome from my surgery. My advise is to get several opinions (3 or 4) and see if you get 3 recommendations that are the same. Keep in mind that a doctor will almost always recommend pills, a surgeon will tend towards surgery and a chiropractor will suggest manipulation. The HMO will demand that you do pills (many months) , then PT (physical therapy), then cortisone shots then surgery.

I screwed up my back lifting. An MRI clearly showed that a bulging disk was pressing on my nerve. My sciatica was so bad that I could not sit, could not drive and could not even get into a car. The doctors ran me through the full gamut of treatments.

The doctors agreed that I'd probably need surgery after I tried all the rest. The pain pills just covered the pain and made it hard to work. The PT (guided by the MRI) helped a lot, and I got to the point where I could drive 5 or 10 minutes at a time. I learned how to avoid things that made it worse. That was invaluable. I was almost willing to live with that.

The local "spine specialists" said I needed the injections, but they were unwilling to do the cortisone injections because I was on blood thinners . I was off put that they diagnosed the problem without looking at the MRI. My Dr had recommended an orthopedic surgeon in a neighboring town, and the PT got me to where I could manage to drive there, so I made the trip.

Here's the good part: The Ortho doc looked at the MRI, did various tests and questions and ordered a second MRI to look for change. He recommended a microdiskectomy, which is basically enlarging the hole that the nerves go though and carving away the bulge. The surgery went off without a hitch. I was walking without pain that day, and have had only minor occasional discomfort since then. That was 6 or 7 years ago.

Externally, there is a 1 inch spot in my back where they went in. Like a second belly button.

I can bowl, walk, sit, and play without problems. I work out at the gym regularly and try to keep the core muscles strong. I try not to lift too much. So far, so good.

Good luck with yours.

Dan
P.S. A note on pain pills. They can actually make the problem worse. While on the pills I felt no pain, so I brought home and installed a 200 pound drill press. I'm sure that was a terribly stupid thing to do.

SteveF
09-11-2012, 02:19 PM
Do not wait to take action. Nerve damage can become permanent if it is repetitive.

..............

True, but just because a person has "back pain" doesn't mean they are doing nerve damage.

The doctor that did my surgery was the one I saw in 2009. At that time my sciatic pain was minimal and he recommended AGAINST getting surgery as there are risks with surgery plus he couldn't give me any kind of assurance that after surgery I would be in better shape that I was before it. Fast forward to 2012 with major sciatic pain and being unable to function and NOT getting surgery was no longer an option.

Taydin is just going to have to work with his doctors to evaluate his specific symptoms and hopefully come up with some good options.

Steve

Dr Stan
09-11-2012, 02:37 PM
While I do not have a ruptured disk I have plenty of back pain from arthritis. Between that & my Dad having ruptured disks I can appreciate what you are going through. Medicine is not an exact science such as applied physics or chemistry and has been described to me by more than one MD as an art & a science. Each of us is a case study as we all react differently to medications, surgeries, procedures, appliances, etc. So as virtually everyone else has said, get a 2nd, 3rd, etc opinion.

Above all else, get to feeling better.

On edit. Start looking for any and all material handling equipment you can use. Hydraulic lift carts, etc.

sch
09-11-2012, 02:54 PM
Back pain is one thing, nerve compression another: as numerous posters have noted, pain radiating into the leg with muscle or sensory changes, though sensory changes are a bit fuzzy to
go by, muscle malfunction is clear cut, ie the foot drop flylo had. Surgery for pain ALONE is a chancy thing, it may be successful but frequently is not. You should be aware that about
1/3 of all people have "herniated discs" and unless there is nerve compression it is meaningless as 90% have no symptoms. There are many reasons for back pain most of which have nothing to do with the disk, but everybody knows about 'discs' so that is what it is blamed on. Be aware that surgery unavoidably damages tissue, tissue NEVER heals without scarring and any bone work to open up
tight neural foramina will inevitably result in bone hypertrophy later. The net result is that the scarring consequent to surgery can cause the problem to recurr. When you are in pain you
want to do anything to get it to stop, but surgery should be approached cautiously as the procedure is irreversible in the tissue damage done. Back surgery is an extremely lucrative specialty
with surgical charges (surgeon alone) of $4-10K.

flylo
09-11-2012, 04:46 PM
I had 5.5 hrs of surgery,2.5 hrs in recovery(low blood pressure) 5 days in the hospital. Just the hospital bill was $223,000. They gave me 2 pints of blood on the 3rd day,don't know how mant in surgery, I man I felt great. Those vampires got it going on!
I love anything that lifts or rolls.
Another point is don't get depressed. When it all started they kept giving me all this paperwork asking how I felt, was I depressed,etc. I told my wife they gave me the wrong paperwork it was my back not my head but I guess it effects many people mentally and I do understand it, I just feel it's another bump in the road to overcome. It may be a life changer but not a life killer. So keep the spitits high & us informed. We're all pulling for you!

RPM22
09-11-2012, 06:42 PM
I have had a fair bit of experience with disc issues, and one thing that will help you avoid surgery is decompression of the spine. It has been shown that if the downward pressure of the spine on the discs is removed, then it is possible, if the discs aren't too damaged, for them to resume their previous healthy shape and thickness.
I have a friend who already had the cessation of feeling in his bowels, loss of leg feeling etc, so there was serious impingement of the spinal cord. Apart from cortisone shots, his main treatment was inversion therapy at the chiropractors, then he bought his own machine and did it at home. While he will never have a strong back like he did, all his previous symptoms have disappeared -and x-rays have shown that the discs had re-grown and were now more like their original shape .

There are several machines that will invert you, more gentle than the hanging from your feet system, and you can now buy a cheap version for about $200. One thing is for sure, this kind of treatment will not cause you any further damage - which surgery cannot guarantee - this should be kept as really a last resort when everything else has failed.

Richard in Los Angeles

flylo
09-11-2012, 07:52 PM
I had no stenosis(narrowing of the disc due to age) I bought an inverion table at a great deal $300+ for $25 (had to get a deal in there as I haven't made one all except over the phone) anyway my physical therapist warned against using it after 50 because risk of stroke. It didn't do me ant good anyway. I went thru the epedurmal shots in the spine also. That's when my legs starting collapsing & surgury was decided. Everyone make sure you have long term disability insurance. It kicks in at 6 months. Don't waste your money on short turm you can make it 6 months & they cost about the same, I had bought that policy 20 years prior.

oldtiffie
09-11-2012, 08:11 PM
I've had two "collapsed" disks and two more "ready to go" - not nice - the sciatica and other effects were very "not nice" either- caused by stupid lifting in the shop.

I was in traction for two weeks, was very limited in what I could do for quile a while (many months) and had to do my "physio" twice a day for two years - and I did it - never missed!!!.

I am super careful of what I lift and how as I seem to have no after effects but the back is weakened and can "let go" if I am silly.

It, together with age (75) is the reason I've got rid of all my heavy/heavier-lift machines, tools and accessories and when necessary have the gear to lift what I have left - and I use them.

I am very lucky and I've seen my horoscope and a repeat by me of my own stupidity is not in the offing, but if it is it will be my own fault.

All too often it is caused by sometihing (a "lift" particularly while "twisting") that you'd done "lottsa times" and then due to wear (and tear) the disks "lets go" (big time). Seems just like lifting an awkward/big machine or lathe chuck or large mill vise doesn't it - and it just maybe what it is.

As others have said it can change your whole life and future and well as that of others.

I can tell you from my own experience and that of others that it can bring the biggest and best "bullet-proof" "iron-men" to their knees. If he's lucky he will get up - but if he doesn't or can't he's in for a hard future - and so is his family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herniated_disk

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&gs_nf=1&cp=14&gs_id=1i&xhr=t&q=herniated+disk&pf=p&rlz=1R2IRFC_enAU360&sclient=psy-ab&oq=herniated+disk&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=512fb598185929c7&biw=1920&bih=851

Weston Bye
09-11-2012, 08:40 PM
While I have no disk problems, my back gives me a lot of pain. The problem is is a variety of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis. The spine is slowly fusing, arthritis deposits bridging around the disks. Several of my lumbar vertebrae have already fused and just this summer I am beginning to suffer some neuropathy in my feet - no pain, just the feeling of cold wet socks that ain't so. The doc did nerve tests of my feet and legs to rule out diabetic or ordinary neuropathy. They all worked fine but the signal is being impeded at the spine.
I have lost considerable range of motion in my back and neck. The arthritis also affects my ribs and sternum limiting chest expansion and breathing so I "belly breathe".

I am beginning to stoop over and if if I live long enough the spine will fuse from top to bottom into a condition called "bamboo spine". I can still lift pretty well, but I have to avoid falls and hard bumps that could "fracture" these frozen joints. Indeed, when I first lay down in bed, a joint that has had all day to try and fuse will "let loose" with the brief but excruciating pain of a broken bone. After that
I sleep well enough until a general ache forces me to get up 6 or 7 hours later.

There is nothing aside from pain relievers to do for the condition but adapt and move on.

SteveF
09-11-2012, 09:10 PM
I have had a fair bit of experience with disc issues, and one thing that will help you avoid surgery is decompression of the spine. It has been shown that if the downward pressure of the spine on the discs is removed, then it is possible, if the discs aren't too damaged, for them to resume their previous healthy shape and thickness.

Well, I herniated my first disk about 30 years ago and removed the downward pressure every night since then. Generally for about 8 hours. Didn't help.

Not to sound too prejudiced but if a chiropractor (and one of them is a personal friend of mine) solved a person's back problem, they didn't have much of a problem.

Steve

randyjaco
09-11-2012, 10:13 PM
+1 on the inversion table. It has worked well for both my wife and me. Just don't go overboard, start off easy. I bought mine off CL for $75. The best 75 buck I ever spent. No more pills, chiropractors , message therapists or other phonies.

Randy

J. Randall
09-12-2012, 04:14 AM
I have the same arthritis that Wes has only worse, have the bamboo spine fused solid from my waist to the top of my neck. After all that I went and broke my fool neck at c-6 and c7, one of the top surgeons in the state set it and got me healed up but when standing I now look down at a 45 degree angle. Now to get back on topic my brother suffered with 3 herniated discs in his low back and for several yrs. they kept telling him surgery, I got him in to the Dr. who set my neck, and after checking him over and looking at his MRI, his exact words to him were as good as you are getting around don't let them cut on you. A couple of yrs. later he tried acupuncture and has done pretty well for the last 5 yrs. or so, once in a while he has to go in for a tuneup, but is glad he toughed it out. If you are getting nerve damage then I can see where surgery pretty quick might be warranted.
James

aboard_epsilon
09-12-2012, 06:49 PM
I had surgery for herniated disks 17 years ago.
the surgeon never told me what it involved .
I'm still in pain ..my disks are degenerating .

I've only just found out via yo tube videos what was involved.
and why I'm still in pain..with more degeneration going on.

They snap off the bony protrusions on your spine to get at the discs ..literally ..snap them off with a pincer.

These protrusions are the anchor points and guides of the ligaments and muscle.

I've just had an MRI in December ..the results show the muscle tissue in that area twisted and fused up into a mass of what looks to be non functional, incapable of supporting your lower back or carrying / spreading the load equally between the discs..like it should do.

had I seen those videos ..I wouldn't have let the surgeon near me ..

I would have found alternative treatments


all the best.markj

oldtiffie
09-12-2012, 08:42 PM
Here is the title and question in the OP:


Herniated disc: What does it mean for amateur machinist?

Here is the text of it:


Last week was a nightmare week because of intense lumbar pain. Had this type of pain on and off in the past years, but always dismissed it as some kind of a stiff back. But this time it was quite severe and didn't respond to applying heat with a hair dryer or taking a hot shower. So went to the doctor, got an MRI. The result, 3 herniated discs, one of them ruptured and applying pressure to the spinal nerves... The doc wants me to undergo surgery as soon as possible. I will get the opinion of a few more doctors and will do everything possible to avoid surgery.

So, what is this going to mean for an amateur machinist?

There are two very pertinent questions there that are basically the same and should not be ignored or glossed over:

1. Herniated disc: What does it mean for amateur machinist?; and

2. So, what is this going to mean for an amateur machinist?

If you have a prolapsed disk - as you have - the answer/s are that it, "it depends" on how bad it is and what the medical people intend doing about it - and what you agree to - and what your condition and capabilities after it are.

It might not just affect you using your shop either as it can affect a whole lot of things, your employment and other people.

Don't hurry back to the shop and take it easy - another prolapse is not something to look forward to.

Best of luck.

Rex
09-13-2012, 03:21 PM
I've had lower back pain since i was in Junior high. I used to hang by my knees from a clothesline pole once a month to relieve it.
A few years later I was found to have severe scoliosis - my spine from the back looked like a letter 'S'.

It's now 45 years later and I have no back problems other than minor discomfort, which means I need some therapy.

For me that means walking out the backdoor to where I have a chinning bar hanging from a tree limb. I use that to stretch my back for about 30 seconds, once month. Keeps my back working, and surprisingly, my scoliosis is about 30% what it was when I was a kid.

I did try an inversion table. Doesn't work for me, aggravates my BP. It says on them not to use it if ou have high blood pressure.

Maybe I'm lucky. I've never been very strong, so I don't tackle much that's heavy without some sort of mechanical aid.

DICKEYBIRD
09-13-2012, 06:47 PM
For me that means walking out the backdoor to where I have a chinning bar hanging from a tree limb. I use that to stretch my back for about 30 seconds, once month. Keeps my back working, and surprisingly, my scoliosis is about 30% what it was when I was a kid.So you just hang from the bar using your hands, body in a normal vertical position or do you hang upside down with your legs hooked around the bar behind your knees?

My head would literally explode if I had to hang upside down but I think I could hang by my hands pretty well.

aboard_epsilon
09-13-2012, 07:40 PM
Well I take it the inversion table means being upside down ..And he cant take that ..

So he must mean hanging from his hands ..

How long ?

There are chinning bars for sale on the net ..most mount to a door fame ..and pull heavily on the architrave.

Cant see the door frame lasting very long with one of them ..especially in USA Type homes, with your wood and plasterboard houses ..no insult meant .we have our fair share of those homes here ...but not a great percentage .

all the best.markj

oldtiffie
09-13-2012, 11:29 PM
For info:

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=spine&hl=en&rlz=1W1IRFC_enAU360&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=eKNSUJu9HM6iiAfmxYCoCw&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=851

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&rlz=1W1IRFC_enAU360&sclient=psy-ab&q=spine&oq=spine&gs_l=serp.12..0l4.733665.737819.0.742086.9.9.0.0.0 .1.308.1783.2-3j3.6.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.kefJF6jnz60&pbx=1&fp=1&biw=1920&bih=851&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&cad=b

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebral_column

Simple mechanics will soon show how/why the spine is damaged when it is abused.

rockcombo
09-14-2012, 01:38 AM
I too have had the sciatic pain , caused by a herniated disc , had surgery as i was losing feeling in one leg , surgery stopped the lose of feeling but scar tissue caused pressure on the area so still had pain just less of it, also diagnosed by doctor , therapist and surgeon with 1 in leg length difference , a year and a half aqfter the surgery and living in a very fragile state ( surgeon said it was was as good as it would get and more surgery would be needed later in life , hips, arthritic fusing of discs , etc ) I started questioning the leg length difference and had a MRI bone scan done to see what the actual difference really was, it came out at 7mm , on the edge of normal differences .
about that time an a friend found out about my condition and recommend a doctor in my region who was good with working with back pain, the fellow was almost retired and used a method by Pete Egoscue (his books are available at many bookstores) (like most things the Egoscue method is a tool the skill of the user makes a big difference and this doctor was very good ) with in a few weeks I was seeing real improvement and over a period of 2 years got back almost to full pre back pain strength , I still do about hour of stretching and strengthening exercises every day , I don't really enjoy doing them but being able to function normally is very motivating. it's been 7 years since the back surgery and i do quite well and am pain free , I walk a lot and am able to bicycle most of the time .

now the funny part of this is while I had a interest in machining I had never really done much of it , when the back pain started I couldn't do any my usual hobbies , working on a 53 Chevy truck project , bicycling, etc so I bought a little grizzly lathe mill combo to play with , the truck got sold as I gave up hope of being able ever work on it again , but the machine tool bug bit hard and by the time I started getting better several lathes had pasted through my hands and now my little home machine shop has a monarch 10ee , diamond mill and a tree mill ( in pieces ) in it :) I occasionally eye 50s chevy trucks but lack the time to work on one now with all the machining projects .
Brice

camdigger
09-14-2012, 03:41 AM
Last week was a nightmare week because of intense lumbar pain. Had this type of pain on and off in the past years, but always dismissed it as some kind of a stiff back. But this time it was quite severe and didn't respond to applying heat with a hair dryer or taking a hot shower. So went to the doctor, got an MRI. The result, 3 herniated discs, one of them ruptured and applying pressure to the spinal nerves... The doc wants me to undergo surgery as soon as possible. I will get the opinion of a few more doctors and will do everything possible to avoid surgery.

So, what is this going to mean for an amateur machinist?

Luckily enough, I have no major back issues. More by good luck than good management. I have a couple of friends who have had assorted issues. Surgery is not a guarantee.

All three have had surgeries and have a legacy of ongong issues some related to the original problem and some related to the invasiveness of the surgery. One suffered through debilitating migraines for over 20 years before finally getting relief from exercise (dictated and recommended by a physical therapsit) and alternate medical treatment - herbology (eye of newt wing of bat stuff), accupuncture involving electrified needles, and of all things, Yoga to relax spasmed muscles and to stretch shortened ligaments. He is finally able to play fiddle again after 15 years, so who am I to judge? It works for him.


Just out of curiosity, how does the Turkish medical system handle this kind of thing? Through private or state insurance?

NiftyNev
09-14-2012, 08:09 AM
For me it was C6 and C7 in my neck. pretty much my right arm was useless (right handed too) and horrible pain. could not even hold a cup of coffee. It was not constant though and would subside some days, but never go away. Since I hate doctors, I "dealt with it" for 7 or 8 months before going in and getting an MRI that identified the C6 and C7 issue. Luckily, the doctor did not believe in surgery as a first course of action. I did forgo the cortisone shots too. I was put into physical therapy two or three days a week. This included, ultrasound massage, hot packs, and traction. Worked out really well, and been pain free for 7 years (still very minor tingling in my fingertips sometimes).
Definitely get a few other opinions. Good luck. as others have said, back/neck problems sux.

Pretty much what I have now. Had the same about 25 years ago. Treatment was similar to yours, cured in about six weeks and good up until 12 month ago when I injured something again. C6 and C7 are supposed to be the problem. This time after 12 months I am still in pain. Had different treatments this time. None has fixed it. Cortisone a few weeks back did nothing. Now going to another specialist next week for an assessment, as work cover want to offer me a payout and get rid of me.

Nev

taydin
09-14-2012, 08:26 AM
Yesterday I went to a doctor that was recommended by a few acquaintances. Based on the fact that I don't have any loss of strength or numbness in my legs, he said it is too early for a surgery and that I should take good care of what is left in order to delay the surgery as long as possible. Loosing weight, doing exercises to strengthen back and belly muscles, sitting upright and not doing heavy lifting ... I liked the fact that unlike my first doctor, he didn't push me to decide for surgery.

One thing that didn't make sense to me is the strengthening of the muscles, which sounds counter-intuitive. With stronger muscles, isn't the disc going to be under higher pressure? But in any case, it seems there is no way to reverse the deterioration of the discs, I just have to try to delay it as long as I can ...

taydin
09-14-2012, 08:36 AM
Just out of curiosity, how does the Turkish medical system handle this kind of thing? Through private or state insurance?

Both types of insurance is widely available. State hospitals are either completely free of charge or require a very minimal payment. But they are too crowded so the appointment dates come out to far our in the future. The doctor's medical qualifications aren't that good, though.

The private hospitals, on the other hand, either have no agreements with insurance providers or there is a minimal agreement and you need to pay most of the bill. They look to maximize profits. The doctors are usually very capable and highly paid.

One thing that is in big contrast to the US, though, is how easy and cheap it is here to get an MRI. I went to a private hospital and paid the equivalent of 40$ for an MRI. According to a statistic I read a while ago, Turkey has the highest number of MRI equipment in the world, more than the combined number of MRI equipment in the rest of the world. A doctor in the US would probably have a hard time justifying an MRI for most cases, while here, none of the insurance companies questions a doctors decision to have an MRI taken.

taydin
09-14-2012, 08:42 AM
I have started to think about provisioning a crane into my shop. Currently two designs:

- A round, thick pipe somewhere in the middle of the shop with a boom that extends 3meters. The boom can be turned around this post. This probably won't be useful for more than 100Kg...

- Some type of gantry crane.

Once I get serious with this, I will put the design here to hopefully get some feedback/criticism...

Dr Stan
09-14-2012, 02:17 PM
One thing that didn't make sense to me is the strengthening of the muscles, which sounds counter-intuitive. With stronger muscles, isn't the disc going to be under higher pressure? But in any case, it seems there is no way to reverse the deterioration of the discs, I just have to try to delay it as long as I can ...

Strengthening the muscles will act to assist/reinforce the disc rather than applying pressure. They will carry the load rather than the disc think of it as adding braces to an existing structure.

aboard_epsilon
09-14-2012, 07:15 PM
I think I'm going to start taking halibut oil capsules again ..see if that does anything.
ive read on the net ..that the degenerated disk is dried up and dehydrated..it looses it nucleus shrinks and crushes..then its down hill all the way .

surly someone must have come up with a way of rehydrating discs.

all the best.markj

oldtiffie
09-14-2012, 08:35 PM
Yesterday I went to a doctor that was recommended by a few acquaintances. Based on the fact that I don't have any loss of strength or numbness in my legs, he said it is too early for a surgery and that I should take good care of what is left in order to delay the surgery as long as possible. Loosing weight, doing exercises to strengthen back and belly muscles, sitting upright and not doing heavy lifting ... I liked the fact that unlike my first doctor, he didn't push me to decide for surgery.

One thing that didn't make sense to me is the strengthening of the muscles, which sounds counter-intuitive. With stronger muscles, isn't the disc going to be under higher pressure? But in any case, it seems there is no way to reverse the deterioration of the discs, I just have to try to delay it as long as I can ...

That advice is about the best you are going to get at this stage. Do it all the time to maximise your abilty and time.

Neglect or disregard it at you own risk/peril.

boslab
09-14-2012, 08:49 PM
I suffer Sciatica so i suppose that's a disk thing though i haven't had a scan [too much metalwork i am told!, nuts and bolts all over the place, the wife thinks i'm a terminator or something]
Anyway Be careful with pain medication, i have only just managed to get off Tramadol as i had become addicted, i had to take it even when i wasn't in pain to feel normal, I still take CoCodamol at the which are quite strong at 30/500 that's 30 mg of codine to 500 mg of paracetamol, these are also addictive but not as much [in my case], i reduce to 8/500 when possible.
If you don't want to fry your liver watch the paracetamol.try not to take to booze also, it does provide relief and sometimes sleep but the downside is obvious
mark

J. Randall
09-14-2012, 09:28 PM
I think I'm going to start taking halibut oil capsules again ..see if that does anything.
ive read on the net ..that the degenerated disk is dried up and dehydrated..it looses it nucleus shrinks and crushes..then its down hill all the way .

surly someone must have come up with a way of rehydrating discs.

all the best.markj

Mark, here is something that piqued my interest a few yrs. ago , Googled it and got this link
http://www.restorativehealth.org/prolotherapy.html
Might be worth researching.
James

flylo
09-14-2012, 09:43 PM
Hard to believe one lift can do so much damage. 3 external & 1 internal heniations rubbing on the spinal cord plus crushing both nerve bundles where the split & go down the legs. No previous back problems. No stenosis. I wish I didn't have to have surgery but the damage was done & I couldn't live like that. Don't play Superman at least with a Kryptonyte tree. The only constant in life is change.