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A little off topic...need help...back problems

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    As some of you know, my back went out on me 10 days ago.

    This all started about a year ago. The (sp?) siatic nerve was being rubbed and irritated by a swollen disc...the L4 I think. Went to the doctor who recommended a surgeon. Had the MRI done and the surgeon said he could easily cut the swollen portion of the disc off. He likened the surgery to a wart removal, only it's below the skin. Made it sound like no big deal. He said he also thought that if we just gave it 6 months, my body would sense the swelling and over time, my blood system would slowly dissolve the swelled portion of the disc. I decided to wait and see what happened. Within 4 months I was completely out of pain.

    Well, last June the mild pain started to come back. About the middle of July, on a Sunday morning, I bent over in the shower to pick up a bottle of shampoo and BAM! Something went wrong in my lower back and I was in terrible pain. Laid on the couch all day and forced myself to work on Monday. Once I started working and moving around, within a few days the pain was completely gone.

    Then, Wednesday, September 1st, it happened again. Bent over to pick up a newspaper in a customer's lawn and BAM! I threw the back pack blower off and dropped to the ground. Laid there a few minutes and finally made it to my feet. Kept working. Last stop of the day...BAM! It happened again. This time it was even more pain. Very serious.

    Well, I went to the doctor and he ordered an MRI. This MRI shows a lot more selling of the disc than I had before. The doctor wanted me to see the surgeon at once. I knew they were gonna start cutting. So I made an appointment with the chiropractor. I've been in to see him every day. But that siatic (sp?) nerve is still extremely bothered. It kills me to put on my shoes and socks and sitting in a car is a rotten experience. If I'm not laying flat on my back or standing up on my feet, I'm in pain.

    What I'd like to know is, for those who have had surgury on the the lower back, did it work? Are things better now? Are there some folks who did have the surgury and things are worse now than they were before?

    Thanks for any advice.
    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    I had surgery back in 1988, two discs. L4 and L5. I had lived with the pain for about 10 years, on and off, but never completely pain free. One day the pain just went away, but so did my ability to feel or control my right leg. Went to the doctor ASAP, he put in the hospital, called the nuerosurgeon, and I had surgery the next day. I was not allowed to sit for a couple weeks after surgery, and no heavy work for 6 months. I occasionaly have pain even now, but I have learned what I can and can't do. And for the most part, I'm much better than I had been.
  3. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    The most common back surgery there is. Assuming it goes normal 1 Day in the hospital, 10 days before you get drive or get out, 4-6 weeks before you can do very light work and up to 6 months for full recovery.
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Son in law had the operatin on L3 & L4 on the 1st of March last yr. He was raking and shoveling rocks, moving paver everything a "normal" person could do by April 15. 6 wks to fully recover and he's been pain free ever since. No one likes the knife but its better than the pain and it sounds like its not an option for you, just a matter of when.Also my dad had L3 L4 L5 partially removed and he's been pain free for 20 yrs now and has a stronger back than me, and sugery has come along way since he had it done.
    Best of Luck to you

  5. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    My brother-in-law had a similar surgery a couple of years ago after enduring constant back pain for a couple of years. He was back to work in 6 weeks as a professional painter. He needs surgery again on a different disk but the only thing that is keeping him from it is the lack of short term disability insurance. He's holding off until work slows down - gotta make hay while the sun is shining. His wife (my sister) is in the medical feild and she mimics what olderthandirt said, back surgery has come a long way in the last several years and is pretty much routine these days. Better than living with the pain and constant threat of your back going out.

    Always lift with those knees and get yourself a good back belt!
  6. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    I had the surgery in November of 2002. Knowing what I know today as far as where my back is, I wish I'd done it years ago. My back had been bad for years, my chiropractor was visited on a monthly basis then a daily basis as my back got worse. But from about year 2000 each time my back went out it got progressively worse each time. Finally in the fall of 2002 I went to a Dr. for the first time, he put me on painkillers & steroid therapy, then physical therapy. That worked for about a month, then BAM! That was it, Dr. sent me to surgeon and he actually squeezed me into his schedule because he knew it was really bad after looking at the MRI. Herniated & ruptured, and I had fragments of disk floating around my spinal canal that would lodge against various nerves.

    Anyway, I had my surgery at 6pm, was back in my room by 9pm and walking around by 9:30pm. I spent most of the night walking around the hospital as it was a joy to walk and move without pain. I still had numbness in my left leg and toes, in fact still have a little numbness in my toes today as my sciatic nerve was dinged pretty good from the disk. Bottom line, the surgery brought immediate comfort, you'll still have some pain from time to time depending on how you move, twist, etc. But that will decrease over time.

    Now...the trick is to keep my back in shape, excersize, BE VERY CAREFUL HOW I LIFT THINGS, even being careful about bending over, wear support belt if I'm going to be lifting things for a period of time, eating better, drink lots of water (keep those disks hydrated).

    DFW, everyone is different. I've heard some not so good stories about the surgery, and have heard of many successful ones. I'd give it some time, see what happens, but it seems like your back is getting worse each time it happens, it may be at that point that you need to go in and clean it out. Good luck and hope all goes well.

  7. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    My brother had two back operations and the doctor was trying to convince him to go in for a third when he found those ceragem beds I told you guys about earlier. He says it is like going to a chiropractor, a deep tissue massage therapist and a sauna all at the same time. He warned me before I started go though, that you will become addicted to feeling good.

    I've been going for two months now and I tell everyone I know what they have done for me.

    My parents, both in their seventies, tried them when they went for a visit with my brother. My dad just wanted to buy a bed but my mother convinced him that they needed to get a bed for everyone in the treasure valley and so they went and bought a bed store. That's how much it helped my parents.

    Try them and tell me what you think.
  8. bluemoon

    bluemoon LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 114

    I worked for 2.5 yrs on a orthopedic floor at North Kansas City Hospital. I took care of people like you every day. I saw the pain when they came in and saw the lack of pain when they left.
    My suggestion is find a good surgeon that specializes in backs and do it.
    Follow their orders after surgery to the letter and you should be much better off.
    Best of Luck
  9. Had a disk separate from vertabrae and my body formed a cyst at the L3-L4
    which was pressing on sciatic nerve. Numbness & pain all the way down my leg. Neurosurgeon told me I could delay surgery but I had to see him every three weeks for reflex tests and strength. Finally could not stand pain (car rides sucked: 10-15 minutes ,stop, stretch) and had surgery. Much much better now-still not 100%-still have a little pain if I
    overdo it for a few days. Surgery at noon up and walking by 5 pm went home next morning, 6 weeks no mowing ect.
  10. bugspit

    bugspit LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 767

    I had the same problem, bulging disc between L4 and L5. Very painful, I was almost cripple and seeing a Chiropractor at the time and he made things worse and would not admit he couldn't help me.

    Left him and saw an Orth/Surgeon and this Doctor said the same as yours,(MRI was done at this time) he wanted to do surgery.

    I GOT A SECOND OPINION, this other Doc, also a Orth/surgeon said I had a 50/50 chance that an epidural steroid block would work. It did, for 6 months, got another one and it lasted one year, got one more and that was 3 years ago. I'm doing great, I'll take Bextra if I over do it. The only other issue is that I'm stiff in the morning (my low back) but, within 2 hrs I'm good (might be just age?)

    My problem with surgery is that the friends that I know that had surgery still had pain and I'd rather not be cut on unless absolutely necessary.

    Good luck

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