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Can I hear people's stories about herniated lumbar discs?

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by klone klone, MSN, RN (Member) Member Nurse

klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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Especially if you opted to have a discectomy?

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Lol, i am surprised this thread isn't jammed with tons of stories from all the nurses with bad backs out there! I had a bad back for a while, no surgery, just lived with it,

and it was during that time, that i came to appreciate how much our attitude can help with pain control, how much staying relaxed can help us prevent strong wanggggggs of pain shooting through us, and how much tension can exacerbate the pain.

Once, i was young nurse, fairly careless with how i used my back, and ended up with a bad back. Real bad. Even leaning forward over a sink to wash my own face, was huge challenge, would cause pain. Had trouble getting my shoes on, all kinds of things became very hard for me to do.

I continued working, even though my back was out. I probably could have gotten workman comp and stayed home, but, never crossed my mind.

I remember, i had a mentally challenged patient, who i was helping her wash up in the bathroom, and i wanted to soak her feet. It took me quite a while, but, i eventually got a pan of water down onto the floor, and got her feet into that pan of water.

but, i couldnt' get myself back up, every move i made to rise again, caused excruciating pain. I kinda began to panic inside, just a bit, ha, there i am, kinda crawling around on the floor, secretly grateful that my patient had such low IQ they didn't mind this odd activity from their nurse, and i was trying to find something to grab onto, to get myself standing back up. But, it wasn't going well. I am going to get behind on my shift, if i dont' hurry on up and get out of here, ha ha!

Maybe worth mentioning, this was probably one of the worst time periods of my entire life, actually, tons of stuff going on for me, i didn't have a lot of reserve to cope well at that time.

anyway, a physical therapist came in just then, to collect my patient for therapy, and sees me kneeling or crawling around on the bathroom floor, trying to get myself back into standing position again. She told me, "Stop, stop, just sit down, relax. After you are relaxed, we can get you back up again."

so i did. I stopped trying to get myself back up, and just sat down, and got ahold of myself, relaxed. Then the PT gave me step by step instructions for me to do, to grab this, move my leg this way, etc etc, and i got up, not much pain involved at all!!!!! but wow, did it ever hurt a LOT before---- when i was trying to move while all tensed up about it all.

shocking to me, at the time. I've never forgotten that. I learned something that day, that if we get ourselves all tensed up, our pain is worse, and we are probably more likely to make poor decisions,

that we really can participate in our own pain control. If we can relax our own selves, we can move way easier, with less pain. Hearing it is one thing,

but, experiencing it, was very powerful to me.

I really think, for ME, my back pain was only part of entire "life in trouble" kinda thing, part of an 'entire picture' thing. Hard to explain maybe, but, i suspect, that had the rest of my world been going very well at the time (it wasn't) that my back pain might not have ever been or felt THAT severe.

on bright side, my back healed, and from then on, i've been lucky, if it is about to go out, i usually get a signal, some twinge, and then, i can be extra extra careful with my spine til i am out of dangerzone again.

GOOD LUCK!! Remember to stay relaxed when you do have to move around---it makes a difference, imo.

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but yeah, i know some people who have had a discectomy, and had impressive improvements,

and others who had same surgery, and had little improvement at all.

this is also true of various pain-relieving measures i've seen done on people's spines, too. sometimes, very impressive results, other times, not so much at all.

Might be good idea to get 2nd opinion, and do all you can to ensure you are with best possible surgeon, if you decide to have this done. Lots of interesting info on the web about the success rate of this surgery, too.

good luck, hope you feel better soon!

Edited by somenurse

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