So…in a moment of self-pity, you googled ‘famous people with bad backs’ and this blog-post popped up. It’s completely understandable. Many of us want to feel like we’re not the only ones going through this – and in some strange way, knowing that President John F Kennedy had a horrible spine condition helps us realize that perhaps we can also accomplish great things despite days when we’re hunched over like Quasimodo.
Tag - surgery
Like many people reading this blog, along with bulging discs and Spinal Stenosis, I have Degenerative Disc Disease. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how this contributes to my overall level of chronic pain, but generally speaking, DDD causes a lot of stiffness and instability. I wake up with an achey lower back, and spend most of my day trying to minimize the amount of bone on bone (vertebrae – L5/S1) pounding it takes.
In May of 2015, the Sciatic pain down my left leg was so intense that I couldn’t get out of bed for three weeks. I had surgery for a herniated disc (the root cause of Sciatica) at L4/L5 in June of 2015, and here’s an update a year and a half later.
I started playing piano when I was 22, and by 24, I had severe tendonitis on both arms because of poor technique. My wrists were locked, elbows too bowed, shoulders too tight and I basically white knuckled it all the way towards early retirement from the concert stage (I was never really on the stage, but you get what I mean).
“If you took 100 people off the street and gave them MRIs, a third of them — even if they had no back pain whatsoever — would have obvious structural problems,” says Dr. Charles Rosen, M.D., clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.
In late May of 2015, I distinctly remember laying on the floor of my condo watching Youtube videos on my iphone. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really move without horrible nerve shocks shooting down my right leg into my ankle. And while I lay there I just kept watching self published videos of people recovering from a discectomy. These videos gave me some comfort in knowing that surgery could stop the excruciating Sciatic pain I was enduring. So, I would like to thank these five people who took the time to tell their story of overcoming herniated disc pain through surgery.
On the recommendation of a neurologist, I began epidural treatments for back pain in early 2013. These were injections of Depo Medrol used to reduce swelling, and inflammation in my lower back. After several treatments that were largely ineffective, I stopped with the injections and looked for other forms of pain relief.
In 2011, as my neurosurgeon was explaining the results of the laminectomy, he casually mentioned that I had condition known as Spinal Stenosis, most likely congenital and most likely the cause of my Sciatica. Of course, this was all news to me and I wondered why it hadn’t been noticed on the MRI scan. Regardless, I had a new back ailment to add to the list and one that laminectomy should partially fix.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure to treat nerve root or spinal cord compression by decompressing the spinal cord and nerve roots of the cervical spine with a discectomy in order to stabilize the corresponding vertebrae. This procedure is used when other non-surgical treatments have failed.
In September of 2011 I underwent a Laminectomy for a herniated disc at L5/S1.Â The operation was performed by a Neurosurgeon who advised decompression to alleviate a large herniated disc applying pressure to a nerve root.Â He also performed another procedure unrelated to the L5/S1 disc issue which I won’t discuss at the moment.Â The entire procedure lasted approximately 5 hours and I stayed one night at the hospital.