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  #1  
Old 11-24-2015, 01:26 AM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
Default Intro - Calgary, AB - L5-S1 pain

Hi All:

I'm 45 y/o from Canada, currently spending the winter in California. Was leading a moderately active life, practicing hot yoga regularly, enjoyed hiking, gardening and down hill skiing. In 2011 had first onset of lower back pain during yoga. Treated with NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, massage, chiro, physio, inter muscular needling and rest without success. X-rays were normal.

In Dec 2013 paid for MRI which showed moderate degeneration at L5-S1 and modal end plate changes. At the same time got referral to Caleo Spinal clinic. Conservative treatment not effective. Was referred on to surgeon for potential ADR. Currently on wait list for surgery with 6 - 12 month wait.

Current status: as long as I am relatively sedentary the pain is low to moderate. Forward bending, lifting or exercise bring the pain level up significantly. I keep active by golfing a couple times a week (walk the course) and some light hiking.

For pain relief I limit myself to Aleve, heat pads - cyclobenzaprine when pain is bad. Relaxation techniques also help.

I am quite nervous about surgery. Recently tried some limited hot yoga and gardening which brought on a good amount of pain/stiffness and gave me new resolve that surgery is the only option to get Bach into an active life style.

Susanne
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2015, 03:06 PM
drewrad drewrad is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 629
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Golf and yoga may not be suitable activities for spine issues. The axial wind up and loading on a long drive off the tee, ouch. And yoga can create severe stress on discs. Just an FYI. Sorry about your problem. Be careful. You have reached the critical age for life transitions. Be moderate in all things.
__________________
Weightlifter since 12 years old, now mid-40's and figuring out this wasn't such a good idea.

Chronic back pain started in 2010 while shrugging weights that a 40 yr. old shouldn't even try.

MRI in 2012 showing L4/L5, L5/S1 herniations and L2/L3 bulge.

L5/S1 taking on new shape, chronic sciatica, etc.

DEXA bone scan performed 5/7/14 showing mild osteopenia.

Surgery performed July 9th, 2014, Dr Clavel, hybrid three level lumbar.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2015, 12:12 AM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
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I understand that activities like yoga, golf and alpine skiing are not ideal for people with back problems. However, walking just does not cut it for me as an activity. As my spinal doctor put it, there is s find line between physical and mental well being and the risk of depression with chronic pain is increased. If a day on the slopes or out on the course is important for mental well being he recommended to go ahead and pursue the activity with caution and pain killers in hand.

I find also that bring sedentary has given me a false sense of how much my back problems affect my life. My husband would commonly hear me say that it's not that bad and surgery is too great a risk. It is not until I pursue my favorite activities and become almost incapacitated that I realize that it is THAT bad. I do not want to be a couch potato at 45 and surgery appears to be my only chance. I keep going to the range to hit balls and practice light yoga to keep this realization with me while I am waiting for a surgery date.
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2015, 12:40 AM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
Default

Hope everyone has had a good Thanksgiving! Doing a lot of reading on this forum and seeing many success stories and some not so successful. It has been interesting seeing how any people are going to Europe for surgery. I currently spend a good part of the year in Cali and concerned that my surgery will be in Alberta for follow up. Going to another continent for surgery had not even occurred to me given possible complications, follow ups etc.

I had thoracic surgery in my 20s to remove part of my lung. Apparently one of the most painful surgeries to recover from. At the time the surgery was a choice between life or death and it didn't require any decision making on my part. Still have some mild issues 20 years later.

Having to make a decision about elective surgery that could have significant complications and long term effects that could be worse than what I am going through now is tough. I find the pain I know more easy to accept than the unknown.

Having said all that I am still giving ADR surgery in Canada a green light. However, thanks to this forum I have a few questions prepared for my surgeon.

Cudo's to the many who have braved the uncertain outcome of ADR surgery and thank you for sharing the good, bad and the ugly. Hoping that you all will find relief from your pain!
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2015, 03:50 AM
Stonewall_Boris Stonewall_Boris is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 547
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Hi,

I'm from Winnipeg and had a 3 level lumbar surgery with Dr. Bierstedt. One thing i learned from my research was that Germany was 30 years ahead of any other country in doing ADRs. Last summer my wife and I were invited, as a past patient, to a supper with past patients of ONZ. I thought great, 6 to 12 past patients that I would meet with, to my surprise there were over 60, and just from southern Manitoba! So they have the skill and history to know what they are doing. When I was in rehab in Germany after my surgery I ran into a gent that had a cervical ADR done 7 years before and was doing great, he said before he couldn't raise his arms above his head.
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2015, 11:54 PM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
Default

Thanks for the post, Boris. I was born in Germany and immigrated to Canada as a teenager. I remember medical care being more advanced there than in North America but tend to forget after so many years. I am impressed how many Canadians travel to Europe for surgery!!!

Given there are only 4 or 5 surgeons Canada who perform ADR you'd think they would have a sufficient number of surgeries under their belt. Going to check with Dr. Bouchard to see how many he has actually done. Also which device he is able to install. I was a bit taken by surprise in my last appointment in that I thought there would be further diagnostic tests. Instead he put me directly on the surgery list. I did not have my list of questions ready.

Aparently only one device is approved in Canada but Dr. Bouchard has special permission to use a device approved in Europe. M6 I assume? I plan on calling his assistant next week to get more info.

I hear that it takes quite a bit of time to get surgery in Canada but I managed to get an appointment with the surgeon in 6 months rather than the usual 24 months. From there the delay has been on my end, trying to decide whether to proceed.

I will keep everyone posted on progress and decisions.
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2015, 12:47 AM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
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Coincidence or just that age? I practice hot yoga regularly for about 6 years and got back into skiing with my teenage daughter and her friends when the back pain started. Too many moguls? Too many forward bends? It all seemed to start at once: cramping of my calves and toes during yoga practice, snapping hip syndrome while walking up or down stairs, knee pain, back pain. Ruptured Achilles while playing with my dog in the back yard last year was putting insult to injury (pun intended).

Had no serious falls skiing, apart from a couple of dives into cushioned powder. However kept up with the teens taking on double black diamonds, moguls and jumps. Was in the best shape of my life when the pain started. Listening to the various doctors telling me to go to yoga and Pilates to build core strength was a bit of a joke. Interestingly, I've since read that strong abs in the absence of similarly strong back muscles can cause problems with posture and result n back pain.

Now four years later, any exercise (including house work) short of walking triggers stiffness and pain. Not gaining weight and keeping fit has become a constant challenge that I am holding on a teeter totter. One of the reasons I have been able to see a surgeon so quickly in Canada is that I have managed to keep reasonably active and weight down.

I think I have a good level of pain tolerance put once it becomes chronic and any little activity sets it off it starts becoming old quickly.

Still working 4 days a week in front of a computer. Taking few pain meds the past couple of years. Limited to Aleve a couple times a week and the odd cyclobenzaprine. Keeping up the motto that as long as I can feel pain I am alive.
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2015, 01:31 PM
Stonewall_Boris Stonewall_Boris is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 547
Default

Hi,

The best pain doctor I've been to moved from Winnipeg to Burnaby, he was the one that did Prolotherapy on me, on my upper back. After he got my upper back, mainly between the shoulder blades, under control he did start moving into the lower back area, but he then moved away. Perhaps a less invasive methodology might be indicated before surgery? My current pain doctor flipped out when I told him I was going to Germany for surgery, I was basically unable to walk due to lower back pain. That doctor stated that he did presentations with a Candian orthopedic surgeon in which they deterred any back surgery. So, IMHO, in Canada, your taking chances with back surgery. One reason I went to Germany over the US is that I got a more or less guaranteed price quote whereas the US doctors where very vague about the cost, since I would be paying out of pocket that meant a lot to me. Also, Dr. B. works out of a full hospital rather than a clinic so should complications arise they have access to a wide range of other doctors.

One other thing, Aleve can raise your blood pressure, I found about this the hard way when my BP spiked.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2015, 12:02 AM
Jonesie13 Jonesie13 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 127
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Thanks for the heads up on Aleve causing high blood pressure. My SO recently bought a home blood pressure device and low and behold mine has crept up a bit. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my stomach only tolerates Aleve in small doses. A friend of mine tried lidocaine patches for back pain but with little or no relief. I've tried them and they work quite well for me. I use them while golfing or after doing housework. The drawback is that when the lidocaine wears off the pain comes back quite suddenly and generally feels stronger than before.

I have tried other conservative treatment with little effect. The stiffness and pain is progressively getting worse. At this point I feel that my age (45) and fitness level (5'6" and 125 lbs) is something I have going for me as far as surgery is concerned. Fast forward 5 or 10 years and my fitness level will surely decline and so will my body's ability to heal. If surgery is inevitable I'd rather bite the bullet sooner than later and be able to, hopefully, enjoy life more fully with less pain.
__________________
2011 - onset of lower back pain during hot yoga
2011 - 2013 Treated with massages, chiro and physio - pain getting progressively worse
2013 - Xrays normal
Dec 2013 - MRI showed moderate DDD @ L5/S1 - modic type 1 endplate changes - remaining disks well preserved
Jun 2014 - became patient at Caleo clinic
Jan 2015 - first consult with surgeon
May 3, 2016 - L5/S1 - M6 - ADR in Canada (Calgary, Alberta)
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2015, 02:07 PM
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banhorn banhorn is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 93
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Hi Jonesie13,

There are a few of us on ADR Support from Calgary as well. You should be able to find our stories via the search button. I've pm'd you as well.

Good luck with your journey!

Cheers,

-Brett
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July 2011 - L4/5 M6-L, Courtesy of Mr. Nick Boeree
http://backup.muellhorn.ca
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