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  #1  
Old 04-06-2010, 12:08 AM
Danzamann Danzamann is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
Default New Member: Just Had Surgery

Hi, I have been reading some of the information on this website for over a year now but finally joined today. I think it's great that this site actually exists!!

Anyway, I am a 42 year old male in very good health except I have had lower back problems at L5S1 for about 4 years. I believe it was caused by overexerting myself building a patio during the summer of 2005. I subsequently started feeling pain in my lower back the following November which got worse by February 2006. Since that time I've had 2 MRIs, a 3 month session with a chiropractor using one of those decompression machines, 2 rounds of physical therapy, a month of acupuncture, and two epidural injections.

I seemed to have 3 different stages of pain that I noticed:

1st Stage:
When I first got my back symptoms in November 2005 through March 2006, it tended to be in the center of my lower back. My legs were not affected at all. The physical therapy I was prescribed along with my exercising seemed to keep the pain away for a about a year and a half.

2nd Stage:
When the pain came back around January of 2008, I was getting burning sensations in my left foot along with other sensations on the top of my foot. My left lower back was hurting as well. It got to the point where I could not walk very far before my left foot would get "on fire" and I had to stop. I tried a chiropractor for 3 months using one of those drx9000 decompression machines that didn't help me at all. I then had two epidural injections that following summer and this did end the leg pain for good.

3rd State:
Even though the leg pain was mostly eliminated from the two epidural injections, my lower left back hurt very bad and caused the muscles in my lower back and hip joint to spasm and hurt when I would stand or walk for long periods of time. I had a diskogram a year ago and it was confirmed that my disk at L5S1 had deteriorated. My neurosurgeon said my only medical options at this point were either fusion or disk replacement. He said there was the slight chance that the vertebrae may fuse on their own but there is no way to know for sure.

I opted to have disk replacement surgery last summer but the insurance I had at the time (Blue Cross & Blue Shield) denied it. Since I'm lucky enough to have two insurances where I work, I switched to AETNA for this year and they do cover the disk replacement surgery. So, I did finally have my disk replacement surgery last week.

The surgeon was Dr. Bradford Mullin of Columbus Ohio and the only disk he uses is the Charite. I researched a lot in the last year or so particularly on this forum and I did like the ProDisk better but the most important thing that I learned on this site was feeling good about the doctor is more important than the product. I did see another surgeon about the ProDisk but I didn't feel as comfortable with him. Also, Dr. Mullin was part of the FDA Charite study since 2000, so he has been doing this surgery for quite awhile. Dr. Mullin did my diskogram as well a year ago.

I was told that the surgery went well and it's true I had no complications. I was literally walking around the very next day after the surgery. I came home 2 days later and I have been walking around the block every day, going up and downstairs with no problem. The big thing I noticed is that I can stand for long, long periods of time and I do not have the pain I used to have. It seems like this problem was resolved. The only thing that bothers me though is that I have achy pain in my lower back on both sides when I sit now. Laying flat and standing straight is fine, but sitting or curving my back forward is uncomfortable.

Incidentally, the doctor told me that bending forward is fine. The only thing I cannot do is bend backwards which could dislodge the disk. But it's only been a week after the surgery and I don't know if I should worry about the pain when I sit. I'm kind of thinking that the muscles in there are kind of sore from the trauma they had a week ago and by bending them it makes them ache. Does this sound reasonable? In any event I have my post op appointment next week and will discuss this with my doctor.

If my pain when I sit goes away in time, I believe I had a very successful operation. I would love to hear any comments on what people think of why I went through 3 stages of pain, and most importantly if they think that some of the post op pain in my lower back when I sit is temporary or not.

Thanks again,

Dan
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2010, 08:44 AM
Harrison's Avatar
Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 7,014
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Hi Dan,

Congrats on your surgery and thanks for your well-written introduction. Your journey sounds similar to so many others from this community. And it’s great you got Aetna to cover it – choice is a beautiful thing, eh?!

Sitting tolerance after lumbar ADR (and sometimes cervical) is almost always a big problem. This seems to last months for most people. The longer you had DDD, the more levels affected, the longer it may take for the pain to go away. But there are always exceptions as there are many other variables that can affect your healing process.

It took me many months for my sitting pain to go away completely; but strangely, the process was not “linear.” Some days there was no problem and on others there was! It was odd.

I am glad you are familiar with the board. If you’ve not already tried this specific search, you’ll find many more info-nuggets that will address your question:
Go to search in the top navigation > Advanced Search > Keyword Search > Enter “Sitting tolerance” > Select Search in “ADR Surgical Outcome Forum”
There, you should find appr. 32 topics that relate to sitting tolerance. Hope this helps you now and with other questions in the future.

By the way, while your pain may subside after 2-4 months, some may linger. Try to be patient. I recall one instance I was driving in my car, more than a year my ADR in 2004 and thinking, “hey, my car seat is comfortable!?” So it really does take time for the human spine to adjust to the new biomechanics of new hardware…
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"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2010, 06:30 PM
Danzamann Danzamann is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
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I thought I'd give an update on my post surgery recovery. First of all, I feel wonderful. I have not felt this good for at least two years. I am taking long 2 hour walks in the woods with absolutely no pain in my legs or back. Also, my sitting tolerance has improved a lot in the last few weeks. The first couple of weeks after my surgery, I couldn't sit for very long. Maybe 5 minutes before I had to either stand up or lay down. Well now I am driving a car again and have no pain. I even did an all day road trip recently. Sitting on something hard straight up still causes a little discomfort but I think that will probably go away as well in time. I really believe that deciding on having this surgery was one of the most important decisions I've made in my life.

Thanks,

Dan
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  #4  
Old 05-09-2010, 08:10 PM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 7,014
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That's great news. And you are on the right track...literally. Keep walking. Otherwise, we'll give you a hard time and present merciless, boring comments like "slow & steady wins the race..."

Consider yourself lucky...and warned!
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"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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  #5  
Old 05-25-2010, 01:56 PM
mslizzy mslizzy is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 11
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I've got to admit it is nice hearing stories like yours. Normal dude, doing normal things, making difficult choices, getting a positive outcome.

I hope you continue to heal well.

L
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Torn L5/S1: 11/08
Confirmed by MRI: 1/09
Retore: 11/09
Epidural: 2/10
PT, massage, but mostly movement modification
Still off work
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  #6  
Old 05-26-2010, 10:15 AM
DaddyO DaddyO is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 20
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Wow what an amazing surgery and recovery. Thanks for sharing. I am having a consult on a clinical trial for the XL TDR in 3wks. I can only hope and pray that it goes through (as BCBS won't cover ADR as you know) and that my surgery and recovery go as well as yours as I can't take more than 2wks off work. If I am not a candidate then I will have to get fusion.
__________________
39yr old
Dealing with back pain 3yrs now
Been through 6 facet injections
3 Epidural injections
Discogram (If U R thinking about a discogram PLEASE RESEARCH, In my case it helped but it is very, very, painful and in most cases its not needed)
2 "tears" in disc at L3-L4 (leaking fluid onto nerves)
July 27, 2010 got Nuvasive XLTDR
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2010, 11:06 PM
Tierney Tierney is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 10
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Daddyo, where is the trial taking place and are they taking on any more applicants? Thanks, sorry for high jacking your thread Danza
__________________
1/11/2010 slipped at work
1/15 doctor visit,prescribed steriod pack, no results
1/26 Chiro treatments (8 weeks) no lasting results, $500
4/1 MRI taken, revealed herniated disc at L5/S1, $1000
4/16 first epideral shot, some relief after a few days, lasted 1 week: $3500
5/10 second epideral, no relief at all: $3500
5/24 frst visit to nerosurgeron, recommends discectomy, cost ~ $20,000--workers comp should pay,so far denied due to no witnesses. So far out of pocket-no secondary insurance
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