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L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover?

 

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jtval  (D 26340)

Mar 2, 2015, 8:16 AM
Post #1 of 29 (17013 views)
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L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? Can't Post

I know a bunch of you have issues with L5/S1.

How do you manage?
I have an L5/S1 Bulge that is pushing into my nerve bundle, paired with degenerative stenosis blah blah blah.
Everyone at my age, 40, has stenosis.

I have days when I can't stand and I have days when I feel no pain. Lately, I seem to be having more GOOD days than bad. (I'm loving that.)

I let my AFF-rating expire because of this, and other reasons.
I used to run a LOT. I USED to do hot yoga, as well. But, eventually that started making my right leg numb, too.

The numbness got me nervous so, I went to the doctor.
And, of course, the doctor told me to stop every physical activity. I 've tried that and my issue has gotten worse from inactivity.

I've been "WALKING" (how fkn boring) on my treadmill and generally, I feel better.

I'd love to get back in the air this year. I never went uncurrent, persay. But, I didnt jump this winter.

So, I'm asking for personal stories.
Were you able to recover and continue living?
Did you ignore it and live in pain/ pain eventually stopped?
Did you get surgery and get better/worse/no change?
I've heard that all of those are possible options.

What was your way of dealing?


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Mar 2, 2015, 10:12 AM
Post #2 of 29 (16783 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's exactly what I had. An old injury from a hard butt landing years ago didn't manifest until I tried carrying too much weight in firewood into the house and felt a sharp twinge in my back.

Shortly after my left leg started going numb in several places (not total) and it caused me to drag the foot when I walked.

Went in for an MRI which diagnosed the bulging disc at L5/S1. I was put on a schedule of a steroid epidural shot every 2 weeks into the spinal cavity around the disc. Total of 3 shots. It meant first getting a numbing shot for the area before the epidural, so I had to have my wife with me so she could drive me home.

The treatment worked. But, I have to watch how much weight I pick up or carry. Every now and then I'll feel a minor twinge but so far, I haven't had the numbness return. That was over 10 years ago.

ETA - I did go through physical therapy for a short time to strengthen the muscles around the lower back, and after that, I can pretty much do anything I want to do as long as I respect the weight limit (no more than 50 lbs)


(This post was edited by BillyVance on Mar 2, 2015, 10:15 AM)


jtval  (D 26340)

Mar 2, 2015, 10:40 AM
Post #3 of 29 (16773 views)
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Re: [BillyVance] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Long time BV-

Thanks for the reply.

I have done the facet blocks and even the nerve ablation (burning the nerve out) it helped temporarily.

But, due to the lack of activity, I did gain some weight.
I'm trying to maintain a better diet now that I am not traveling every weekend.

I need to get back to running or exercising as well as skydiving.


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Mar 2, 2015, 12:57 PM
Post #4 of 29 (16750 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

jtval wrote:
Long time BV-

Thanks for the reply.

I have done the facet blocks and even the nerve ablation (burning the nerve out) it helped temporarily.

But, due to the lack of activity, I did gain some weight.
I'm trying to maintain a better diet now that I am not traveling every weekend.

I need to get back to running or exercising as well as skydiving.

Cool deal. You may want to do a low-impact activity. Swimming or bicycling would be better choices over running. Just an opinion.


gunpaq  (D 11214)

Mar 2, 2015, 5:25 PM
Post #5 of 29 (16713 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Have been dealing with a more sever case for almost 20 years. Had surgery with little improvement but that was 17 years ago.

Don't aggravate the injury/condition instead train it and strengthen. All kinds of static back exercises to strengthen muscles around the spine, inversion therapy (do at home and save $), as well making use of a YMCA pool for reduced pressure strengthening exercises. As far as pain the amount is relative individually but can be controlled and and made tolerable.

It is not the end of the world you just have to find your new normal and build from their. My Doc's said I would be wheelchair bound he rest of my life and making a jump meant certain paralysis...............the best physical therapy I can get today is a good skydive.

Stay positive and move forward. :)


jumpwally  (D License)

Mar 3, 2015, 9:53 AM
Post #6 of 29 (16636 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Find a gym with a rowing machine, a lot less impact than running and you can do it slowly or fast but either way you can manage a great work out


WickedWingsuits  (D 30916)

Mar 3, 2015, 10:24 AM
Post #7 of 29 (16621 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had this and it grounded me for a couple of years. I ended up having to have surgery but I think if I had caught it earlier it would have been ok. To keep it under control I find the following help:

-Mckenzie Back stretches. These are quick and I have been know to do them in airports or in shopping malls. Even before my surgery it helped.
- Pilates.


rjblake  (C 43468)

Mar 4, 2015, 4:35 PM
Post #8 of 29 (16570 views)
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Re: [WickedWingsuits] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

WickedWingsuits wrote:
I had this and it grounded me for a couple of years. I ended up having to have surgery but I think if I had caught it earlier it would have been ok. To keep it under control I find the following help:

-Mckenzie Back stretches. These are quick and I have been know to do them in airports or in shopping malls. Even before my surgery it helped.
- Pilates.

I got disc degeneration L5&S1 - had it for 20+ years. Pain and hassles come and go but working on core strength and the above have played a big part in helping. When I used to windsurf a lot, my back never felt better


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Mar 4, 2015, 5:29 PM
Post #9 of 29 (16548 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Almost 30 years ago, I herniated a spinal disc which pressed on my sciatic nerve until the muscles in my left leg cramped up solid. Surgeons recommended trimming the disc, followed by 6 months of bed rest.
I declined surgery.

The first winter I laid around and felt sorry for myself.
The second winter I swam 2 or 3 times a week and felt much better.
The third winter I attended aerobic fitness classes 2 or 3 times a week and was able to resume hard-core skydiving.
The key is strengthening some core muscles, while stretching others to pull my pelvis and lower spine back into correct alignment.
Avoid high-impact exercise (running on concrete) because that re-injures the weak disc. Swimming, cross-country skiing and bicycling are much better aerobic exercises for people with spinal problems.

Recommended reading includes "The Back Pain Book" by Mike Hage (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago 1992 and 2005).

That reminds me to do some sit-ups, ball squats, ham-string curls and stretches.


jtval  (D 26340)

Mar 6, 2015, 10:31 AM
Post #10 of 29 (16507 views)
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Re: [riggerrob] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

THANKS FOR ALL THE REPLIES!!!

I'm in the "i can out-stobborn this fuckign thing" phase.
I tried to do nothing like the doctors suggested. That was the dumbest thing I ever heard but I had to take care of my dying mother so, It was easy to stop exercising.

in the mean time, I was trying to walk as pften as I could (dog walks etc)
bike, hot yoga, biking when I could.

Dr told me I should never do sit ups again. WTF???
I've trying pyh therapy and chiro. Those two paired together worked well.

I was doing all that stuff simultaneously. (hotyoga, wlaking, pt, chiro)

But I came to a complete stop when I couldnt get out of bed.
since my orignal post this is my first day of movement.
I was laid up in pain for most of the others days.

I'm still in pain today but decided to "out-stoubborn" it. The pain lessened but did not go away. I walked 3 miles on the treadmill (FUCKING BORING) at 3- 3.5 mph


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 25, 2015, 8:58 AM
Post #11 of 29 (15584 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a reminder, strengthening core muscles is only half the solution. The other half is stretching muscles to allow your spine to correctly align.


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Aug 30, 2015, 12:40 PM
Post #12 of 29 (15439 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Surgery. L4/L5/S1 fusion. 14 years later, it's a rare day that my back hurts.


sralston  (B License)

Aug 30, 2015, 4:30 PM
Post #13 of 29 (15403 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in the 82nd for a number of years and my lower back is screwed up. The human body is not a pack animal even though the Army thinks it is. However, I have an inversion table I hang upside down at least twice a week and I swim. I can tell when I forget to use the table. Best of luck.


Dopamine_Junkie

Aug 30, 2015, 9:47 PM
Post #14 of 29 (15359 views)
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Re: [skybytch] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

skybytch wrote:
Surgery. L4/L5/S1 fusion. 14 years later, it's a rare day that my back hurts.

Exact same here. 7 years out I am having some pain issues, especially in my tailbone for some reason. Got some epidurals and a ganglion block and am fine for now.


jtval  (D 26340)

Sep 22, 2015, 2:46 PM
Post #15 of 29 (15022 views)
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Re: [Dopamine_Junkie] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the replies.

I am a candidate for surgery. got a few consults in the next few weeks...

been working as much as I can on core, stretching etc...


Can't wait to be able to fully get back to it.


jtval  (D 26340)

Nov 3, 2015, 5:36 AM
Post #16 of 29 (14675 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

I HAVE heard what you all said:
NO RUNNING! NO IMPACT!
I have been walking, as much as I can . I MUST. My dogs need it more than I do.


I'm going to the Dr. (Neurosurgeon) today to discuss surgery. He can put in what I refer to as a "master link."


He said:
- 1.5 hr surgery.
- 4-6 week recovery.
- I'll be able to run and skydive again.


The BEST news is that he is NOT concerned about my T7/8 impingement. I've had 2 Dr.s (spine and pain management/chiro) tell me that the T7/8 could paralyze me and shut my organs down.
I had 2 NEUROSURGEONS tell me they are not concerned with it.

Attached are photos of the master link.
Does anyone have experience with these?
- A Physician Assistant/skydive friend even told my its removable.

I just hope it works smoothly. I have a lot of skydiving goals to continue achieving.
Attachments: Master link back to front.jpg (240 KB)
  Masterlink side.jpg (229 KB)


jtval  (D 26340)

Nov 3, 2015, 5:53 AM
Post #17 of 29 (14669 views)
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Re: [skybytch] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

WickedWingsuits wrote:
I ended up having to have surgery but I think if I had caught it earlier it would have been ok.
AGREED!. I wish I wouldn't have been so stubborn about it. I disc would make an excellent addition the my lumbar region of my spine. Instead, I'll get a master link.



rjblake wrote:
When I used to windsurf a lot, my back never felt better

AGREED! But, Nowadays, there a fine line between too much and not enough activity.


riggerrob wrote:
"The Back Pain Book" by Mike Hage (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago 1992 and 2005.

GREAT INFO! I literally just ordered it and a book from John Sarno MD. "Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection"

skybytch wrote:
Surgery. L4/L5/S1 fusion. 14 years later, it's a rare day that my back hurts.
How limited was your movement?


Meux  (D 29365)

Nov 6, 2015, 4:09 PM
Post #18 of 29 (14523 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Three years ago I had S1, L5, L4 fused. Prior to the surgery I spent every day managing pain. Since the surgery I've enjoyed zero pain. I have had to give up running at more than about a 10 min/mile pace and not more than two miles. I've replaced that with weight lifting and core strength exercises.

You are a couple decades younger than I, so your doctor may not be keen on doing this surgery on you yet.

The things that worked for me in the pain management era were yoga, walking (get a dog, they love it), minor weight lifting, avoiding things that caused pain and using every legal over the counter helper I could get.

I wish you the best as you find ways to deal with it.


jtval  (D 26340)

Dec 16, 2015, 3:08 PM
Post #19 of 29 (14178 views)
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Re: [Meux] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Meux wrote:
Three years ago I had S1, L5, L4 fused. Prior to the surgery I spent every day managing pain. Since the surgery I've enjoyed zero pain. I have had to give up running at more than about a 10 min/mile pace and not more than two miles. I've replaced that with weight lifting and core strength exercises.

You are a couple decades younger than I, so your doctor may not be keen on doing this surgery on you yet.

The things that worked for me in the pain management era were yoga, walking (get a dog, they love it), minor weight lifting, avoiding things that caused pain and using every legal over the counter helper I could get.

I wish you the best as you find ways to deal with it.

EXCELLENT!
-L5/S1 (missing disk) CHECK!
-Willing to run at a slower pace (as long as I can run) CHECK!
-YOGA (used to do it until it caused more tingling in my legs) CHECK!
- Dogs CHECK!


One important question:
are you allowed to skydive?
I was supposed to be in rocevery right now. But, my Primary care phys had concerns about my blood not clotting properly...that is, until the day after I was supposed to lock in the surgery date. Now, I have to wait until my co worker returns from his surgery....




KEEP THE GOOD STORIES COMING.
I keep hearing bad stories. I need to hear from people who ACTUALLY live their lives!


GoHuskers  (C 41540)

Dec 16, 2015, 8:14 PM
Post #20 of 29 (14132 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had bulging disks at L4/L5. Got them at the young age of 26. Had surgery it was worse than the injury. Couldn't get out of bed without a 3 point turn. Went to a VA doc, she told me to quit smoking and it would probably clear up. I quit smoking and 3 weeks later I was completely pain free. Surgery was 10 years ago and I have no limitations whatsoever.
If I start smoking even for a few days then my back problems come right back.


jtval  (D 26340)

Dec 17, 2015, 6:17 PM
Post #21 of 29 (14047 views)
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Re: [GoHuskers] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thats Very interesting.
What type of fusion did you have? Cage, screws, AXLE clamp?


Anachronist

Dec 26, 2015, 8:28 PM
Post #22 of 29 (13791 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

While surgery is always an option and a very good one for many people I'll abstain from discussing it because in reality, unless you are a physician who treats hundreds of patients a year, your opinion is irrelevant (including mine) and personal stories are statistically irrelevant.

What I have seen repeated with very few exceptions, physical therapy, with and without surgery, is fundamentally important.

Many of the good low impact exercises mentioned are great. Swimming, rowing, and yoga among them. You just have to find out what works best for you. Losing weight is also a consistent and tremendous help especially because the force applied to your lower back is not linear, it increases exponentially (not the actual correct mathematical term) based on the weight, i.e. if you weigh twice as much, the force on your back is actually increased more like 4x, or more, I don't remember the formula. So if you lose 10 or 20 lbs, you reduce the force on your lower back by more than 10 or 20 lbs. If this is an option for you. It also decreases the forces of opening and impacting the ground (even on your feet) by reducing both mass and velocity.

Another exercise I've seen help lower back issues is leg extensions. Not the hanging kind (that uses different muscles) but the kind where you sit and extend your legs. Like this.

You are doing a good job by consulting more than one physician because no one "knows it all" and much of the physician patient relationship is how well each can communicate. In my experience medicine is as much an art of communication with the patient as it is the hard science of biology.

Try everything, don't scoff or dismiss anything, but find out what works best for you. And vet your surgeon, they truly are artists, no two will install hardware or perform a surgery exactly the same way. (That may be an overstatement but suffice it to say, there is quite a bit of variation).

Good luck and PT hard. The old saying of "if you have your health, you have everything" also implies your health is worth sacrificing everything for.

Also if you are considering getting back into the sky I would recommend looking into a Firebolt for two reasons, very soft and long snivels, and the most powerful flare of all the canopies I've jumped without question, to include the Saber2, Pilot, Pulse, Storm, Silhouette, Prime, Nav, and Solo.

*I have no connection to or interest in JumpShack, just personal experience.

Also, Chiro's are not medical doctors, they are more like "advanced massage therapists" and do not conform to scientific research and practice standards. They exist outside of the larger medical profession and were only allowed to call themselves "doctors" after a federal judge felt the American Medical Association was being too harsh by basically calling them quacks and witch doctors. They have only slightly improved since then (1980's if I remember correctly). I'm not saying they are without merit but their education pales in comparison to any bachelor or above education at a real university, much less a medical school. Take their advice as you would a PT or rehab therapist, to confuse them with MDs is a colossal mistake.


(This post was edited by Anachronist on Dec 26, 2015, 8:47 PM)


nolhtairt  (D License)

Dec 28, 2015, 8:34 AM
Post #23 of 29 (13698 views)
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Re: [Anachronist] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as chiropractors, you must do your research. Only choose those with actual medical training, that can recognize a problem they cannot fix themselves. Even then, you can still make a bad choice.

I've been lucky. Both of the ones I went to, did have medical training, and they did me up right. Some of my friends have not been so lucky with others.


GoHuskers  (C 41540)

Jan 3, 2016, 2:04 AM
Post #24 of 29 (13529 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

They removed the herniated portion of the disk. My verterbrae were not fuzed together.


Stusmooth  (C License)

Jan 14, 2016, 3:29 PM
Post #25 of 29 (13233 views)
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Re: [jtval] L5/S1 Bulge--how did you recover? [In reply to] Can't Post

I raced motocross all of my life. I have had more than a dozen surgeries. I have fractured my C2,C6,C7,T1,T5,T6,L2 and my coxxic(tail bone). My last surgery was a three level spinal fusion to fix my C6,C7 and L1. They scraped all the disc out of three levels and replaced with bone and connected a flat titanium plate and two screws in each vertebrae. It took just about all of the pain out. I retired from racing but I was released to ride again months after the surgery. I have had maybe two hard openings that hurt but it would of hurt anyone. I lost feeling in my right arm and all the feeling came back after the surgery. Luckily I had some great Dr's but they did damage my vocal chords and paralized one side but I have learned to deal with it. The pain just about went away completely and my feeling came back! Thank the Lord for Dr's. Good luck!!


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