Any teenagers with prolapsed discs who've had surgery??

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Im 17 and was a very high level netball player (regional/national) when in 2012, when i was 15, I got a shooting pain down the back of my right hamstring after a hard training session. At the time i thought it was simply a pulled muscle and didnt think much about it so carried on training and playing for 6 months. It was only when i sprained my right ankle for the 5th time and had to go on crutches for a month that my back and leg pain became excruciating and then i realised something was wrong.

I had an MRI an found out that 2 discs in my Lumbar region had herniated, hence the leg pain. I found it extremely difficult to sleep so for baout 8 months was getting 4/5 hours of sleep a night due to the extreme pain. I could sit for longer than 10 minutes, I couldnt stand for long either. I was prescribed 'rest for 7 months' by my doctor so didnt do any exercise except walking for that amount of time (as a high level athlete this was extremely extremely difficult for me to grasp and i ended up becoming extrmeley depressed).

I then began physiotherapy after meteing with a spinal surgeon and him saying I was too youngto have surgery at thsi point so to try epidurals and physiotherapy for the enxt year- which i have consequently done.

I tried to get back into netball training after exteensive build up in exercise late 2013, I trained for about 2 months, no way near teh intensity or frequency as previously but I fpund that after a 1 hour 30 session  wasnt able to walk comfortable for the next 3/4 days so by Feb 2014 i realised it just wasnt worth the pain.

I soon had a second follow up MRI in April 2014. Although my pain has hugely decreased i still have trouble straighting my right leg and flexing at the hip. I've lost all flexibility and my back from time to time still becomes aggrivated. The MRI results were pretty disappointing though- my prolapsed discs had not decreasedin size at all, if anything they had increased.

I've now been set up with teh same spinal surgeon I saw a year ago and am awaiting an appointment.

I was wondering if any teenagers have experienced anything like this or if any teenagers have actual gone ahead with the surgery? I feel like everyone who's had this back problem is 30/40+ and i feel extremely isolated with teh situation rolleyes

 

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  • Posted

    Rachel, For heaven's sake, please think strongly about whether you really need surgery at such a young age. I know how excruciating and debilitating back pain can be, so I do sympathise with how frustrated you must feel about this and how socially inhibiting it can be. But surgery is a bit of a 'no turning back' step and some patients find that when they start surgical intervention, it never seems to stop.

    If you do have to eventually go for surgery, please ask about Endoscopic Discectomies. It means the difference between a less than 1cm insertion point into your back to remove the prolapsed discs and a several inch permanent surgical scar down your back. It also means that they don't have to cut into and strip away surrounding muscle tissue, which is postoperatively more painful, leaves both internal and external scar tissue and requires a greater recovery time. If your spinal surgeon can't do the more modern technique, ask to be referred to someone who can.

    In the meantime, I do really recommend trying Pilates. It does help strengthen your inner core muscles, which carry your back, and which can get so weak once you stop moving around as much.

    Good Luck.

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply!

      I'm still very unsure about surgery and the of having it at such a y0oung age, and initially was very against the idea. Ove the past year and a half I've been doing regular physiotherapy, yoga, pilates, swimming, stretching, and have gradually built up to doing cycling and going to the gym.

      I really was against the idea of surgery but now, after this year and the disappointing MRI results my doctor didnt know what else to suggest except to refer me to the specialist spinal surgeon who specialises only in prolapsed disc surgery and his son had the same problem with it as well at a young (but luckily rest and physiotherapy has worked for him!)

      Surgery is becoming more of an option because everything else that I've tried over th past year hasnt seemed to work. Yes my core is a hell fo a lot stronger now which is why i think the pain has significantly decreased but the porblem is still there and I dont really know how I can get out of it otherwise?

      Have you had surgery yourself then? Thnaks for all the advise, I will really think about it!

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  • Posted

    No, I haven't actually had surgery, although I nearly did have it. My disc prolapsed badly in c.late 2009/and again in 2010. I was a bit of a cripple/severely impeded in terms of mobility for first 2-3 years. Had I not been self-employed, I really don't know how I would have managed. In desperation, I probably would have succumbed to surgery much quicker.

    I have since tried spinal injections, which have helped ease things a lot. However, it's only now, c.4-5 years after the initial prolapse that things are finally easing up and my rather crooked back is feeling a bit more like it used to (not great, but more recognisable).

    However daunting it may seem, at 17 years, you are young enough to wait. Unless you get emergency bladder or bowel symptoms, you have time on your hands to take things at more your own pace - eg. not getting up for work at the crack of dawn 5 days a week, 48 weeks of the year etc. etc. Complete your A levels, make sure you go to university etc. These are things which will stand you in good stead for the future, but shouldn't physically exhaust you too much now. Time IS a great healer, it all depends on how much time you to play with.

     

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    • Posted

      Wow, okay thank you.. that really puts things into perspective I'll really take that in as an idea and with me to the surgeon appointment just to discuss it. Thank you very much!

      I think the main thing i'm sturggling with is because sport and being an athlete was such a huge part of my life and was so quickly taken away from me, ultimately I would love to be able to get back to that and actually be able to play netball again.. maybe i'm just being impatient, but really, thank you smile

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