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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Default Sciatica

    I've had severe sciatica for several years. I've been down the list of treatments, from physical therapy to various drugs. After a while, it gets too severe for one treatment, and I move on to the next. I've been getting cortisone shots in my back for almost a year now, and they're great for about 3 months, then I get another. However, the last shot didn't do anything, so my pain management doctor sent me for another MRI. My back has deteriorated quite a bit in the past year, so it seems that I finally will have to have what I've been avoiding for years...back surgery. I've done a lot of research, I'm not going into this cold, and I've been seeing several specialists. My pain management doctor has had back surgery himself, with excellent results, so I'm going to go to the same surgeon that he used. I haven't seen the surgeon yet, but my pain management doctor feels that I'll need spinal fusion, which is what I expected. I'll be seeing the surgeon sometime later this week.

    I'm going to see if I can wait until fall to have the surgery, I have a lot to do on my farm every summer, so I'd rather wait until things slow down in the fall. My pain management doctor thinks that will be OK, but the surgeon will be boss on that decision. And my pain management doctor thinks with the info from my last MRI, he can manage my pain for a few more months.

    Has anyone here had spinal fusion? How long were you off your feet? I know recovery will be painful, and I can handle that, but I can't handle being sedentary for an extended period of time. I'm an active person, I HATE sitting around. My wife and I don't even own a TV. I'll do whatever the surgeon says, I want a full recovery and want to go back to my normal life on the farm, so I'll be good, but I just want to know what others have experienced.

    Thanks!!!!!
    Rich
    "What a long strange trip it's been."

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    NHTC45D, NH LB75B, Ford Jubilee

    Default Re: Sciatica

    Rich, I don't have any specific advice. Sorry... I wonder who is going to handle the milking and milk delivery while you are down? Do you expect to hire a helper? It seems I remember your description of loading the milk for delivery included manhandling some large containers, but I could be mistaken. I hope all goes well when you finally have your surgery. You can't keep a good guy down.
    Jim


  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Hi Jim. You are correct, I used to manhandle a lot of huge milk tanks for my goat milk. However, the economy has not been kind to dairy farmers, including diary goat farmers. Feed prices more than doubled in 2010. We started off 2010 selling our milk for $4/gallon to 2 cheese makers. I was milking 60 goats and life was good. But by the end of 2010, it was costing us $5/gallon to produce our milk. To make even a small profit, my wife and I had to tell our cheese makers that we would have to raise our milk prices by 50% to $6/gallon. I knew that our cheesemakers couldn't afford the increase, but we were losing money, big time. Goat cheese was a sideline to both of our cheese makers, so as expected, they couldn't afford our milk anymore, and went back to exclusively making cow's milk cheese. We couldn't find any other buyers for our milk. The same thing happened to all of the other dairy goat farmers that we know in our area. Now the only dairy goat farmers that we know of still in business are making their own cheese. Cheese making is a time consuming and expensive business to start up, so we're out of the goat milk business, at least for now. We've sold most of our herd, but have kept our equipment, if feed prices go down, or the economy improves (which I doubt will happen) we'll go back into our goat milk business.

    Selling most of our herd was one of the hardest things I've ever done. All of our goats had names and were pets to us, but we couldn't afford to feed over 100 goats without selling milk. We kept about a dozen of the ones we were most attached to.

    Livestock feed is primarily made of corn, and using corn to produce ethanol has raised livestock feed out of sight. We have many friends who were livestock farmers of all sorts go out of business.

    My wife and I bought a few Nigerian Dwarf goats that we will breed and show, to stay involved in the goat world. We still produce wool from our sheep and eggs from our free range chickens, but the majoirority of our farm income came from goat milk, so we're hurting. I was intending to retire from my full time job and become a full time farmer this year, but that won't happen anytime soon, now.

    And all this is probably what has caused my sciatica to get so bad. My doctors and physical therapists were always amazed that I was so functional with such bad sciatica. They all felt that my farm work, especially milking 60 goats was like my own special physical therapy, and kept my back in as good shape as possible. I've tried to duplicate the work I used to do with all sorts of exercises, but my back continues to get worse. I'm sure the fact that I'm pretty depressed about al this is not helping much.

    So, it looks like it's time for back surgery.
    Rich
    "What a long strange trip it's been."

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor jinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Rich, I went to buy four bags of deer corn just to draw in a few deer for us to watch. I was stunned to find out it was $10.50 for a 50# bag. I can sure sympathize with you. There's no way you can cope with price increases like that.

    It's a long way from Sunset, TX to Albany, NY, but we will be pulling for you and sending good thoughts your way. You have lots of long-time friends here on TBN who want to see your health improve and your life return to happier times. I hope someone can offer you some really good advice about your back surgery.
    Jim


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    We have had to deal with multiple surgeries in my family. Such is Life. There is always something.

    One big lesson I have learned is that if we do not like the doctor, find another one.

    For surgeries, we get a doctor at one of the local teaching universities. They have been far more competent than the other doctors we have run into. Getting to a university, especially the top notch ones we have locally, may not be available to you, but I would certainly check.

    Later,
    Dan

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Rich, sorry to hear about the back problem and the goat business. The first paragraph of your post started out sounding like my wife's back problem. Hers is mostly due to arthritis, I guess, which seems to run in her family. Spinal injections from the pain specialist really helped a lot for a couple of years for about 6 months at a time, but the one in January didn't help, so the orthopedic doctor sent her for another MRI, prescription pills, another round of spinal injections, and physical therapy. In fact, she's at the physical therapist's right now. If this doesn't help, surgery is next. But I think the kind of surgery she'll have is different from what you are having, and the pain specialist will be the one to do it.

    This old age gets tough sometimes. I had the first MRI of my life Monday for my right shoulder. It's been giving me problems for a couple of months, and the daily exercises the doctor prescribed a month ago didn't do the trick, so I'm now starting 6 weeks of 3 day a week physical therapy in addition to the exercises at home, and a few pills.
    Bird

  7. #7
    Veteran Member tungularafishcamp's Avatar
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    kodiak island, Alaska
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Rich,
    I can empathize completely with you. I was told in my early 20's that I had the back of a 80 yr old and they wanted to fuse 3 vertabrae I said no and managed the pain by mostly being a grump til my early 30's all the while continuing to fish. I tried many chiropractors and had the best luck with one doing a type of chiropractory called applied kenesiology.

    But what really fixed me up was when a physical therapist friend got me doing yoga with allowances of course for my back. I am in my mid 50's, still fishing, and hardly ever have enough back pain at the end of a day that I take a asparin for it much less anything stronger.

    Doctors are quick to put you under the knife sometimes and some people don't put any stock into alternative medicine but I am glad I went the way I did. A couple of friends that had fused vertabrae seems like the pain went away but many more complications came down the line after a while mostly because of the reduced flexibility and shock absorbtion. Remember what works for a doctor or someone who spends most of their time at a desk might not for someone who depends on their body for a living.
    Good luck with your back and I hope you can find something that works for you.
    Rick

  8. #8
    Gold Member idaho2's Avatar
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    Mahindra 5530 4WD Turbo - Gear,

    Default Re: Sciatica

    Rich,

    I had a discectomy of L4-L5 in 87 after an injury lifting a patientt onto an x-ray table even with another person assiting in the lifting from a wheel chair. Went the route you done but it finally came down to myelogram followed by CT. I had no choice but surgerry. I went to a nuero surgeon because of the nerve involement. Had the surgery and no more leg pain. Recovery -I did a lot of walking (miles) each day, post surgery exercises and started to lift increasing weights and used a therapy pool at the club all on my own. You learn to lift objects in a way not to injure another level as once you have surgery you become 25% more susceptable to injury at another disc level, as told to me by my neurosurgeon. Fast forward to Feb 2000, 1200lb robotic x-ray machine moving into a U-haul truck fell on me. Twisting injury and felt a new disc pop. MRI, pain meds, saw the same neurosurgeon and scheduled for surgery. 1 week prior had another MRI, neuro surgeon informed me he was not going to perform the procedure. Reason I had shrunk the herniation by 90%! How had I done this is by a very simple thing - Lost 10lbs of belly weight and taking it totally easy. By not doing anything stupid and watch what I eat has kept me healthy from more back injury. Now you wonder what is this guys occupation? I'm a registered radiologic technologist and still lift patients. I was raised on a dairy farm and alot of times I had disregarded my back in those years. I hope I have given you some insite into questions you need to ask before going under the knife and know what to expect post surgery. Seriously seek a good neuro surgeon and ask questions.

    This is also gave me a reason to buy equipment that I can use on my 60acres plus my sons 20acres to lift and work smarter. Can't get the dirt out a farm kid even if it's 44 years later.
    Best regards.

    Warren

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Thanks for all the support guys, for my back and for my farm. I turned 57 on Sunday. It seems weird, how could I be that old??? I'm a baby boomer for gosh sakes!!! I'm a Dead Head, a rocker and a farmer!!! But after I turned 50, things really started going downhill. I had carpal tunnel in each wrist, plantar fasceitis(sp?) in my heal, positional vertigo and sciatica. I guess spending over 30 years as a building inspector, climbing up and down ladders, and the last 10 years farming takes it's toll. But I've had good doctors, and I have a few again, so I'm sure I'll be fine, I'm just not looking forward to the next few months.
    Rich
    "What a long strange trip it's been."

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Sciatica

    Quote Originally Posted by RichZ View Post
    Thanks for all the support guys, for my back and for my farm. I turned 57 on Sunday. It seems weird, how could I be that old??? .....
    I am not THAT old, , but time does fly by FAST.

    Seems like just yesterday I was riding my bike to school...

    Later,
    Dan

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