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Learn how a lumbar disc herniates and
can cause lower back pain
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a
problem in the low back.
See how a disc degenerates and how it can cause pain and other symptoms
vitally helpful things-a reacher/grabber tool. actually get more than 1 because if you are anything like me you'll leave one somewhere and need to find the other one LOL. and a sock aid. i never used one (too stubborn) but on retrospect....that would have been VERY nice to have. although with a bit of practice it is possible to put a sock on successfully with a reacher/grabber tool LOL. i find now i cut my toenails by putting my foot up on a chair and then leaning forward from my hips. (a definite no no for at least 3 months post surgery though!!!! wait for your surgeon's okay to do any leaning over even from the hips!) i can cut my own toenails and shave my legs! oh, i taped a plastic plant stake rod to my razor for shaving my legs after surgery. i used that for almost a year post surgery! very helpful. at least i was less hairy even if it wasn't a perfect job (plus i didn't trust my hubby to help with sharp objects LOL). i used a walker for the first bit after surgery. and even now i find walking poles help me a lot. my balance was so off....and a word of warning, because you will have a post in your back now, you will find your "tipping point" has changed. if i get pulled sideways i cannot recover and will go crashing down, same with being pulled backwards. sometimes even just leaning back a little too much can get me hopelessly off balance. i've had 3 spills since my surgery, each because i passed the point of no return on a reach or a pull.....thankfully i didn't hurt anything metal, but it does take a while to recover when things like that happen.
i gained 3 inches in surgery. got a waist back, but i'm not straight. i lean to the left still and still have a small twist to the left. most people do not notice, but i do....it bothers me, but it is what it is. i'm walking, so i'm happy.....but if i had gone into surgery without the threat of the wheelchair i would be quite annoyed. at least my shoulders are square with my hips now, and i'm not so bad now that people notice. they could before....i walk with a limp though, and have some nerve damage that i don't think will heal. oh, be prepared for healing nerves. they HURT. zapping and tingling and aching.....but that does get better with time. i wouldn't have believed it, but at 2 years and 4 months i still have nerves healing. and i still have patches of skin that are totally numb.....it's a long haul.
i started driving at 3 months. it was very tough.....i learned to use my mirrors a lot more, and had to switch to automatic because of the nerve damage in my left leg (i would miss the clutch pedal). others have used a hand held mirror to help them see around awkward corners. i find that the worst is not the 90 degree corners but things like merging into traffic onto a highway.....i tend to stop further back down the ramps now so i can time it better and see better. but it's doable. going into a parking lot off the road, the side to side sway is the worst....it still is not pleasant some days. but i had to prove that i could handle an emergency stop before the surgeon would clear me to drive. i found driving better than passengering, because i could help brace myself with 2 hands on the wheel. plus, i could avoid the potholes LOL.
i'm now also looking at a hip replacement and a knee rebuild....good old arthritis. is that why your knees etc are done? i like your tattoo idea! i have in mind a full back tatoo of a wolf looking out from behind a tree, with my scar being the one edge of the tree....but i'm scared of a second surgery and then having to cut through it. so i'm thinking maybe a half back tattoo-on one side, so if they do need to they can go in beside it LOL. i should likely do it while my skin is still numb in places. ha ha i've seen tattoos of peoples xrays done too. those are neat too.
oh, i also found putting everything you can in your house (clothes etc) between your knees and shoulders makes it easier to get to.
Thank you so much for the info. It's just wrapping my head around the whole thing that doesn't seem real. Never did I see this coming in my years of living including the other surgeries I have had. I'm told after 50 is patch patch patch!!!Ugh! This is when I could have used the monkey's arms so no bending to do below the waist stuff. I was just looking at my shoe closet this morning with all of my boots and sneakers on the floor or bottom of the shoe racks, thinking I can't pick those up the same way anymore.
Got a grabber already and have a double sock puller for my compression hose I wear daily. Thank goodness it's summer so not concerned about putting those things back on or if I will even be able to. Will figure out the razor deal. Could you lay on your back to bring your knees up to do things? How did you sleep at the beginning or even now? I slept on our reclining sofa for a month after the cervical fusion. Cat stretched on morning, heard a pop, and the excruciating pain was one I never want to experience again. I am apprehensive that with this surgery I will experience the same only on my lower extremities. It felt like my neck was on fire and straight pins being shot into my neck.
My next concern is, as you said, what problems will this surgery bring on that I don't have now. With cervical I have a slight numbness in the tip of my left thumb. With my knee surgeries I have a spot on the top of my foot that is numb. In the spinal correction, what will it cause that I don't have to deal with now? That scares me. I've been so very lucky to not have had any real issues until now and I know the time has come just as it did with my knees and hip.
My knees were the gift of my grandmother. I had one slight knock-knee, hers was severe. Did some of the minor stuff to make them last longer. Wore out the cartilage on the outside of both knees. Never had pain with bone on bone. Just decided in 2010 I had the summer to recover to get it over with. It had it's boohoo moments too. Both at the same time. Did not want to have to repeat what I knew was going to happen again. Surprise is livable. What a difference it made. My funniest moment was at 3 am. Trying to turn on my bed on the floor. Had to wear full legs braces. As I turned, the velcro attached both legs together and I couldn't get them apart! I was needing a pain pill and all I could do was laugh. Ice has been my friend thru all. The best part, when walking out of school one day, I caught my image in the glass of the doors, noticing that my legs were straight. I looked like everybody else! Also, when I was in an exercise class, where the exercise required your ankles to be together, I could!!!! hallelujah! What a smile I radiated to myself.
My hip replacement was a question to walking difficulty...back or hip...MRI yep it was hip. Again no cartilage, and a torn tendon. Surgeon had to wrap a tie twist around the bone when he inserted the femoral stem into the top of my femur creating a hairline crack. Easy recovery with no pain. Don't think I even took pain med. Tendon reattachment costs me 6 wks with a walker. So cramped my style to wait to get on a spin bike.
Why would you think of having another surgery? I know things happen. Have seen the number of forum headlines of failed surgeries, infinite pain issues, redo's and I just can't fathom another correction. So it is in my best interest to do just as you said, no...no...no...and probably a few more of those since I am hard headed sometimes. Let the bone graft harden so I can do other things later on. One of my concerns, as I've read, is the pressure that is placed on the other vertebrae now. Guess they feel left out of the bond the others have. I know corny! haha I will only have 10 open totally, C3-4 and T1-9 maybe 10 or 11 if lucky.
Once more, I appreciate the time you took to respond to my need for more info. Just mentally preparing helps with the frustration that is bound to come. More strengthening exercises will help and walking. Took my mom out (she's 92) Sat. to a yard sale, which she use to love to do, by pushing her in her wheelchair probably a half mile. Great except the long driveway is rock and I almost dumped her 3 times with the pot holes in the yard.