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Sciatica in a young person

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 6:44 pm
by kareny
My son is now 20 and at 15 years of age was diagnosed with ruptured disc L5-S1. He was sent to a back surgeon, who said a discetcomy would fix everything and he could be back to playing football in 6-8 weeks! I'm sure you all know the end of the first half of this story, 2 weeks post-surgery the sciatica was back. He returned to the surgeon who told him he "must have re-ruptured the disc" and didn't want to do a fusion surgery on a 15 year old, so sent him to physical thereapy which helped a bit, but then off to the chronic pain Dr. who did 3 epidurals over a few weeks, which helped for 1 year. Sciatica back, back to the pain dr. for more epidurals/pt and didn't work this time. He started with a chiropracter, who made him pain free after probably 6 weeks. He maintained pretty well for the next 2 1/2 years but now the sciatica is back with a vengeance. Had been seeing the chiropracter monthly and now has been going multiple times per week for 5 months with no improvement. I've taken him to the hospital now twice so he can get pain medication/treatments (which help for 24-48 hours) to get through his job, and he has an appointment to see a different back dr. next week. I know he's going to recommend surgery, that's what back dr's do, and my son will not have surgery again! I dont know what to do, he looks to me for medical guidance and I hate the fact that he's taking vicodin but as he puts it, it's not my pain and he can't live with it it's that bad, it never really stops vicodin makes it dull and bearable. Being he's young, he wants the "quick fix" which is what made the original surgery so tempting, outpatient surgery and your "all better". He knows better now. Can someone tell me if they've had similar history and followed the back excercises in the book everyone talks about, anyone else young like he is? He's never had an injury that would explain why his back/sciatica is like this, never even at the initial onset. About how long before he might see improvement with the excercises? His chiropracter has used that disc machine DRX9000, but it didn't really help. Any other treatment options anyone has experienced?
Thanks,
Karen
Dan's Mom

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:14 pm
by TBone
Hi Karen,

I am not young like your son, but I am an avid athlete as well. The hardest part about my lower back condition was accepting it (L5 S1 disc bulge & rupture in July 07). Now, I don't mean what doctors mean when they say things like "learn to live with it". What I mean is accepting that the condition is serious, that there are no quick fixes, and that it is up to me to get myself better. Once I stopped trying to find the "silver bullet", it became much easier for me to get going with the program.

Maybe the best thing that your son has going for him is that he is an athlete. All athletes have a "can do" attitude that can make the difference. The hard part for an athlete is that you miss playing sports because it is in your blood. Believe me, I know.

I have been doing the program for about 3 weeks now and I have seen some good results. The most notable is my increasing flexibility. I think the books Dean wrote have a great way of describing exactly how to do the exercises. I went to physical therapy for about 3 months and they never really described how to perform the cobra exercise. I was straining my lower back and legs while doing the cobra exercise instead of using my arms to press up and completely relaxing my lower back and legs. Also, they told me to avoid any exercises where I am bending forward. However, I found that I am able to actually touch my toes on a forward bend. I am able to do this by completely relaxing using the breathing techniques from the book...there is no straining at all. I simply let myself bend further after each exhale. And now my hamstrings are more flexible than they have been since childhood.

As good as I feel, however, I realize that I am months away from returning to the activities that I love. That is the only way this is going to work...if I am patient. In the past, I would have tried to "test the waters" and then hurt myself again. And then, you start to get depressed and angry and this only makes things worse.

I believe that stress has been a factor. The fact that I wanted to be well so badly only added to my stress that I wasn't. I have always been wound a little tighter than most. I am adding meditation and relaxation exercises to my routines and also trying to "roll with it" a little more. I know this has helped me relax which is a major aspect of the stretching.

I realize that your son has a different condition from mine, however, I believe that rebuilding is the answer. The key is to remain patient and not expect a miracle. Good luck and tell him to hang in there.

TBone

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:15 pm
by Chris Clemenza
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:15 am
by Peter B
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