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Back surgery looms January 4th for me

bpatterson6

Turbo Monkey
Jul 1, 2004
1,049
0
Colorado
It's been a frustrating couple of years of injuries. I've been working on a recovery from a broken calcaneous (Heel bone) in my left foot suffered in June 2006 and I've been reeling from a re-occurring back injury (Herniated L5S1) suffered in the gym back in April while training for the 2007 season. I'm going to have surgery on January 4th and they will trim the herniated disc and send me to physical therapy afterward. The doctor tells me that I should be out of work for about 2 weeks after the surgery and after that on the road to (fingers crossed) a full recovery. Right now I'm suffering from Numbness in my left leg/foot and alot of chronic nerve pain from the bulging disc pushing on a nerve that often makes it very difficult to even walk, sit, lay down etc.

Do any of you other monkeys have any similar experiences with this surgery? I'm a bit worried about how hard it is going to be to get back in the gym after the surgery to train and get back on the bike to race. What kind of time should I expect for recovery? and What my overall recovery will be like? I'm hoping that after a few months I will feel better than I have in a few years and maybe I will feel more capable not having the constant back pain that has always lingered. I've been told by others (not Mountain Bikers) that the surgery was the best thing they have done and are glad they did it. I'm wondering how it will all play out for someone like myself who rides bikes.

Thanks.
 

ATOMICFIREBALL

DISARMED IN A BATTLE OF WITS
May 26, 2004
1,354
0
Tennessee
My wife had back sugery over a year ago & it's a big procedure! She didn't do rehab,but was in bed recovering at home moving very little for a few weeks. Surgery helped her alot as long as she doesn't twist or do anything like that. Be robotic & careful for a while!!

Being fit & strong like yourself should help with recovery.
I myself have had a spot in my back that hurts like a bruise on my spine.I have no idea what i did to it,but hurt only after going 100% on my hardtail a few months ago.It was the roughest ride i ever did on it railing my friends back wheel with a Blur.That was a mistake as my back is now hurting.
Good luck man.!
 

DBR X6 RIDER

Turbo Monkey
*knock on wood* I haven't had to deal with any surgeries as of yet, but I hope all goes well with yours. Being in good shape prior will definitely increase your potential for a full recovery. I have a buddy that tore his knee up, but it only took him half the time to recover since he was in pretty good shape. It didn't hurt that he really went at the PT when the time came.

Good luck!
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,279
0
seattle
L5-S1 discectomy about three years ago that failed (re-ruptured) immediately. L5-S1 fusion one year ago after complete collapse, for-aft displacement, and loss of stability at that level....

It can be a long road...sorry to say.

I have heard of others having good luck with a simple discectomy and having (near) complete recovery...I was the worst case scenario for sure.

I have since spent a bit of time looking into success rates of differing types of back surgery/non surgery...trying to figure out if I made the right decisions... several studies point to the single most important (really the only statistically significant) factor in determining outcome is ATTITUDE......people who were convinced that they were going to be better and were looking forward to moving on..had a much better success rate...those who were depressed about their condition and were not convinced that there would/could be a cure..had poor outcomes.

You have to trust that YOUR doc is THE MAN and can and will get you better. If for some reason (any reason) you dont believe in him/her find a new doc that you get along with great and that YOU believe can cure you.
Your attitiude is the single best determiner of your success!





I dont remember off the top of my head the recovery time for my first 'fix' but I want to say something like..PT after 2 -3 weeks....lots of gentle core stabilization work etc..but then my pain never went away post surgery and things did not progress as they were expected to.

I will say though, activity has and still is the best thing for me (and I have heard this from many others). Long days sitting are the absolute worst thing that I can do and usually end with significant aching/burning in my glute/hamstring. I would rather do hard labor than sit in a squishy couch for a long stint....

Keep up on stretching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also ice a lot and spend a fair bit of time every evening on the floor doing exercises/stretching/relaxing my back...


If you have any more questions....just ask (or PM me if you want)
 

khoolhandz

Chimp
Jul 27, 2006
89
0
I LOVE SURREY
Hope your surgery goes well. I also just 6 weeks post-surgery to remove a malignant tumour in my right lung (upper lobe).



Amazingly I healed pretty fast without any complications. After three weeks I was back at the gym and on the fifth week I was back on my bike.

Whatever you do, take it easy on recovery. It's good to do some exercise but do not overdo it.

Eat healthy too!!
 

toothless

Chimp
Dec 8, 2002
71
0
I've also had a surgery related to problems at L5-S1. I wonder if cycling places a particular stress at that point of the spine? After riding through my pain for years I finally came to the point where I couldn't feel my right leg at all and I could barely walk most days. I suppose the lesson in this is don't screw around with your back. Having a high pain threshold really worked to my disadvantage and I ended up with a bulging/herniated disc and had to undergo a spinal fusion surgery. I wish I could tell you my recovery was quick and painless, but it definitely was not. At this point I spend 4-5 hours a day icing my back, stretching, and doing the rehab just so I can go to work and lead a somewhat normal life. I'm 2 years post surgery right now and I'm finally back to work full time. Of course, this was a more severe case than a simple disectomy but I write this to illustrate the extended recovery possible if back injuries are left untreated. For any of you with minor back trouble, please look into a core strengthening regimen. I'm convinced that this would have made all the difference and may have prevented my having the surgery at all.
On the bright side though, despite the long recovery, I'd have to characterize the fusion/diskectomy as a success. I have much greater stability in the low back and my flexibility doesn't seem to be affected much, if at all. And this year I was back riding downhill at a reasonable level, as well as back on the basketball court throwing down the occaisional dunk. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel for serious surgery. Davep was right - attitude is key - but it can be very hard to keep your head up when you are a mass of scar tissue. The main thing is to focus on small progressions. Ask yourself, is this month better than the last overall despite the pain and temporary setbacks you might encounter? The answer is usually yes. Thanks for reading folks, hope this might help some of you! Cheers
 

deadatbirth

Monkey
Aug 29, 2007
657
0
In a van down by the river
I For any of you with minor back trouble, please look into a core strengthening regimen. I'm convinced that this would have made all the difference and may have prevented my having the surgery at all.
my core training this year made a huge difference on the amount of pain my back is usually in and helped it from getting injured again. no more major back spasms too.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
26,605
1,921
I have since spent a bit of time looking into success rates of differing types of back surgery/non surgery...trying to figure out if I made the right decisions... several studies point to the single most important (really the only statistically significant) factor in determining outcome is ATTITUDE......people who were convinced that they were going to be better and were looking forward to moving on..had a much better success rate...those who were depressed about their condition and were not convinced that there would/could be a cure..had poor outcomes.
yep, your attitude is key, as it is what keeps you doing the PT. the rehab process is probably as important as the surgery itself.
 

Percy

Monkey
May 2, 2005
426
0
Christchurch NZ
I have had exactly the same surgery you are lined up for, after trying too hard not to crash big time, and rupturing the L5S1 disc which herniated into the nerve root for my left leg and also into the spinal process.:shocked:

Was not comfortable at all at the time, and wasnt properly diagnosed till about a month later, which was mostly my fault for being a tough guy.:imstupid:

Anyway I have made a 100% recovery and it has caused no bothers in the 2 years since, in fact I would say Im better than before as now I worry about it less and just get on and do stuff.:monkeydance:
 

bpatterson6

Turbo Monkey
Jul 1, 2004
1,049
0
Colorado
Thanks so much so all the information guys!
This is exactly what I was looking for.

If you have a story, please post it.

Thanks.
Billy
 

sikocycles

Turbo Monkey
Feb 14, 2002
1,101
14
CT
I also Herniated my L5S1 in June of 05 at hockey camp. Worst pain ever. 3 toes went numb and lost all the strength in my right calf. Went to 3 different docs. Almost went for the surgery. Then I went to see Dr. Sarno and read his books. I have to say I am at 95%. Don't know if I would be better or worse if I had surgery.
 

davep

Turbo Monkey
Jan 7, 2005
3,279
0
seattle
Everything I have read or heard says that the results are indistiguishable at 5 (or was it 10) years surgery or not. The determaining factor should be if you feel you can 'live' with your current sutuation long enough for things to heal on their own. Your body has the ability to re-absorb herniated disc material over time, it is just a matter of whether you can .

(this is all based on the idea that this is simple nerve impingement..ie no instability, no displacement..something that a simple discectomy would address)

For me, I was eating a fair bit of long acting morphine daily as well as Nurontin(BAD SH1T) then Lyrica just to try to get by. Without it (just low dose percocets, and Lyrica) I could not sit for more than ~ 10 min tops. Several times I had to pull over on the highway to get out of the car and cry! (I am 37 y.o.).... I wanted to avoid surgery and was aware of the long term stats...I just could not live any longer with my situation...