Thursday, 22 July 2004

I've had two sets of epidural spinal injections to try to fix my back, and while I have had some relief, it's not solved the problem.

So, I went to the doctor the other day, and he decided its time to send me to the spinal surgeon. I guess there are a few procedure options - one of which involves heating up the intervertebral disc from the inside in order to cause it to shrink. The heated tissue scars and shrinks, so the protruding (herniated) part of the disc (which is pushing on the nerve roots where they attach to the spinal cord) recedes. The disc has a soft inner portion surrounded by a more fibrous shell, so to speak. A herniated disc is one where the fibrous shell gets torn and the center material bulges out. The bulging out part is what's pushing on the nerves. Oh, and it hurts (sometimes a lot).

Anyhow, the doctor that does this special heating/shrinking procedure (the more common procedure is a microdiscectomy, where they just go in with blades and cut out the bulging part) is in Salem, which is a good couple of hours from where I live. I guess there are a few docs in Portland that do something similar, but my doc wants me to go to this guy because its a newer procedure that heals faster and has shown good results (less scarring damage to the disc - it's more exact). So arranging visits and working with that doc will be a little complicated, and I don't even know for sure if I'll end up being a candidate for that particular method. But if it means pain relief, it's all good.

The craziest part of this problem is that most days I am uncomfortable - some pain but not unbearable. Other days (few and far between) I feel almost completely normal (I love those days). And on yet other days the pain is so unbearable it can't be described with words. Debilitating comes to mind, but that doesn't really paint the complete picture.

Anyone have any personal experience with any of these?

  • Intradiscal Electrothermal Treatment
  • Endoscopic laser foraminoplasty (ELF)
  • Percutaneous discectomy (PAD)


Add/Read: Comments [1]
Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories
Friday, 23 July 2004 10:10:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I hope you get some relief. I've had plantar faciitis since running the Portland marathon last fall (and therefore only able to do the half at Seattle, my favorite), and after so much babying and cortisone shots and ultrasound, I still have barely walkable days.

I won't even think about whining. I bet you only wish it were just your foot!

Good luck. I hope you're a candidate. That surgery sounds great.
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