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Pain to recovery. Back to pain

PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:13 pm
by Chris Clemenza
I'm 23 years old. I've played baseball my whole life including college which I finished last year. I've also been lifting weights religiously for over five years. Two years ago I noticed tightness and minor pain down my right leg after doing deadlifts. Thinking it was just a pulled hamstring, I kept it up with the weights and baseball. Until last January when I really did myself in on a set of deadlifts, and continued to play my last baseball season with the pain down my leg making it even worse.

So last summer I finally got an MRI and they found a broad bulge and disk degenration at L5-S1 as well as facet athropy. The doctors told me my spine looked very healthy (although not for a 22/23 year old) but they couldn't understand why I had such excrutiating pain. They gave me Tramadol, but I refuse to take it unless I can't even get out of bed.

So I got two epidurals last summer and they helped for about a week and the pain came back each time. I also laid in bed pretty much all last summer which I know now ended up making things worse. I couldn't sit, and when I did and would get up I'd get stabbing throbbing pain down my leg. I also couldn't raise my leg or even do anything at all without being in pain. Even turning my head would gave me a shot down my leg.

I finally started with a great PT in September, and began stretching and doing core exercises. It wasn't until five months later (February 2008) that my core became very very strong and was beginning to help stabilize my spine. I began to realize how important it was to maintain core strength and to keep my stomach and lower back always sucked in and tight. At this point I was able to walk differently, bend differently, and do everything differently always staying conscience on keeping my core tight. And at this point my pain went from an 11 out of 10, to a 0 out of 10. But the 0 out of 10 was only when my core was tight. When I sat in a chair I would keep my stomach tight, and when I got up I would tighten my abs and lower back and wouldn't get the shooting pain down my leg.
I even started lifting weights and being active again because I noticed the more active I was, as long as I kept my core strength and tightness, the better I felt. Up until now....

In May I started slacking with my PT, skipping 3 weeks straight without doing any core exercises. At this time I noticed my pain coming back. And finally I was in the gym one day, moved the wrong way, and BOOM! Back to square one.

So I found a very reputable Orthopedist/Anastesiologist/Pain Management Doctor in NY who just performed a procedure on me called a Percutaneous Disc Decompression. The procedure is minimally invasive. The doctor goes into the problematice disc and drains out part of the nucleus, causing the bulge to retreat and centralize, relieving pressure off the nerve. I had it June 4th (a few days ago) and the verdict is still out on whether it's worked or not as the doctor said it can take up to a month to see if it was effective.

I am also going to be starting Prolotherapy with this doctor in a two weeks in order to rebuild tendons and ligaments in my back and hopefully help rebuild, stabilize and regenerate my degerated disc.

I'll also be restarting PT tomorrow and will be stretching and doing my core even more religiously than before. Because I know that's what really helped me. I never thought PT would work, even for the first four months I did it I did not see any results and questioned whether I should waste my time there anymore. But thank God I did remain there. Because it's what did the trick. It helped me realize how important core strength and spine mobility and stability is.

I'll also be reading this the posts on this forum and will be reading the books mentioned here. I will keep everyone up to date on my treatments and what worked and did not work.

Any recommendations and or comments are appreciated. Good luck to all, as I know how debilitating this type of injury can be. And at such a young age it can really suck the life out of you. Especially when you were always an active athletic person, and you see your friends going out having fun, and you know you have two options.... sit home and lay in bed, or go out with them and be miserable in pain all night. It's amazing how such pain can change your personality and your outlook on all aspects of life.

Again good luck to all of you and hopefully with the help of God, family, friends, medicine, and our determination and work ethic, we can get better.

-Chris