Herniated disk now three more

by Dawn
(Cherryfield, Maine, USA)

I had a herniated disk L4 L5 causing pain in my left leg that made me lie and cry, and a neurosurgeon repaired it. Before I could walk without a limp from the surgery, less than a year, I had 3 bulging disks and pain in the opposite leg, going down to my ankle.

Now, when I lie in my bed at night, I have always lain on my left side cuddling a pillow to sleep, I cannot lie on either side because my right hip, thigh and leg will ache and pain so badly, I have to get up out of bed. I can lie on my belly or my back, neither of which is my preference. Sometimes, I must sleep in the recliner on the end of my couch with it pushed all the way back and my right leg dangling to get enough relief to go to sleep again.

I have enough nerve damage or else circulation problem that my feet always feel cold and often feel like they are on fire at night and dry enough to crack, though they really are not dry. I care for them with all kinds of creams trying to find one that works best. So they don't get a chance to become really dry.

Hello Dawn,
Sad tale, I'm afraid. The surgeon should have told you that if you don't ring in some big changes that the disks above and below the fusion would start to take strain. It's all in the medical literature, this is common, so don't feel all alone.

Is it too late to do something? No, it's not, but of course things are going to be difficult and chiropractic certainly can't promise you a bed of roses.

First up, start doing some lower back exercises every morning before getting out of bed, and every night. And during the day when you have time. You'll find some at chiropractic help but in a case like yours you really need professional guidance on which exercises. No more than two to three minutes but several times a day.

Secondly, go for a short walk every day. As far as you can manage.

Then, find a swimming pool and start lying on your back and kicking up and down the pool for fifteen minutes. At least three times a week, preferably every day.

That alone will be a significant difference within a month. Boring, but the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

If you're overweight, do something about it. Or suffer serious disablement. Do it.

Then look to an anti inflammatory diet. Using the search this site at chiropractic help and you'll find plenty. In short, look for omega 3, phytochemical foods, fish oil, freshly ground flax seed, chicken bones bouillon, and replace seed oils with olive oil.

None of that is impossible. But can chiropractic help any further at this late stage. Frankly I'm not sure. Right now I'm treating a lady with severe pain, after a major fusion three years ago. She was fine for one year, but like you didn't ring in the changes. She's much improved, but it's not always like that.

Go to that search function at chiropractic help again and type in find a good chiropractor.

Good luck, let us know how you get on. I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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Interesting questions from visitors

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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