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Husband with two herniated disks, fainting, leg pain...options?

My husband is only 34 years old but suffers from extreme back pain (sometimes he has to walk completely bent over)
He sometimes passes out and also experiences leg numbness. He has done intensive ranch work his whole life which has partly caused the problem. Last year he went in for an mri and discovered he had two ruptured disks in the low lumbar region and one bulging disk. He was given steriod injections but they didn't work. He went to multiple doctors and it seemed like he was a candidate for spinal fusion surgery. He had a disciogram (sp?) where they injected dye into his disks and this test was very painful for him. After many weeks of being tossed from one doctor to another, they basically told him that the surgery would only help with 45% of the pain at most and that insurance probably wouldnt pay. They basically said surgery wouldnt be worth it.
The only other option they gave him was physical therapy. My question is: are there any other options? He is in so much pain he can't stand up with rolling from the chair to his knees first. He walks bent over. He faints randomly. He is also very pain tolerant, as he grew up on a ranch training horses and is one tough cookie. He Is willing to try physical therapy but he Is In such severe pain that I am wondering If there Is any more Intensive treatment they can try. Does he have to live like this forever??
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replied December 30th, 2013
*I meant he can''t stand up out of a chair WITHOUT rolling to his knees first.
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replied January 3rd, 2014
I think you got that visual out to everyone in the original letter, dearheart. Do you mean to tell me that the doctors out in the hinterlands where you live are so backwards that they still do procedures as old-fashioned and painful to patients as discograms? I would think that once the doctor had decided the give your hisband that test, he had already decided to also give him the surgery he obviously needed; it makes me wonder what changed his (the doctor's) mind.

When I had my back operated on for a ruptured disk in 1996, my neurosurgeon in Sacramento, California, told me back then that discograms were not the recommended way to evaluate a patient for surgery anymore, and he sent me for an MRI. If your husband was already diagnosed with two ruptured disks, then the physician who decided he was "only going to get 45% relief from his pain" is playing games with your husband and perhaps is simply afraid to do the operation because it is beyond his ability. Physical therapy seems completely inappropriate for a ruptured disk, let alone two of them that have to be surgically repaired, and no doctor can look at the problem and say with ANY certainty EXACTLY what percentage of relief any patient will get from such repair! That is ludicrous!! The surgeon can certainly say that your husband cannot expect to get back to 100% of what he was before, but to make such a broad dismissal of his possible outcome is almost criminal. As for having put him through the pain of the discogram, the Mayo Clinic has this to say about their use:

"Some doctors use a discogram before spinal fusion surgery, to help identify which disks need to be removed. However, discograms are not always accurate in pinpointing which disks, if any, are causing back pain. Many doctors instead rely on other tests, such as MRI and CT scanning, to diagnose disk problems and guide treatment."

God bless you both. You deserve better than you've been getting, and I hope you find it--and soon. My heart breaks for you.
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replied December 31st, 2013
First don't worry and keep calm your self. This time is hard to you but all things depend on Time. This time will pass away soon. I think, Marma Therapy is beneficial in this situation.
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replied January 4th, 2014
Active User, very eHealthy
He Is willing to try physical therapy but he Is In such severe pain that I am wondering If there Is any more Intensive treatment they can try.

IMHO, physical therapy is best suited to RESTORE health which someone already had before their injury. Say your husband took a fall and broke his ankle. After the doc sets the bone and it heals, P/T would get him up and moving again. But the key point is your husband was healthy and functionally BEFORE the injury took place.
This is why traditional P/T doesn't work for a lot of people. Many people have an ongoing problem that CAUSED their injury to begin with. This can be seen if you can find someone skilled in with posture / alignment / muscle imbalance problems.
He is in so much pain he can't stand up with rolling from the chair to his knees first. He walks bent over.

This would suggest his "hip flexors", the muscle which bend his leg at the hip, is very tight. Because this muscle also attached to every bone in the lower back (L1-L5), it compresses the lower back and can lead to severe pain. You could have a massage professional "release his psoas muscle" or he can stretch it out himself with one of these if he has the patience:
To stretch your hips:
1a) "Supine Groin Stretch" or "Progressive groin stretch" (Do a Google search)
- This is the most gentle stretch for your hips but it can take 20 minutes for the muscles to let go.
1b) "KNEELING LUNGE STRETCH" (Do a Google search)
21c) "STANDING LUNGE STRETCH" (Do a Google search)
- Front leg up on a step of chair will give a better front-of-hip stretch.

You will probably find one hip is tighter than the other.

There are 2 other thing which should help your husband:
2) "Static back 90-90 position" (Do a Google search)
3) "STATIC BACK ABDOMINAL CONTRACTIONS" (Do a Google search - "Campusfit" has an excellent video)
- For this exercise, I am assuming he has a forward curve to his whole body like the bow of a ship and his lower back is not flat but has a slight inward curve.

If he does not have this inward curve, it is VERY important to get it back. To put the curve back into your lower back try one of these 2 exercises:

4a) "Static extension on elbows" (Do a Google search)
- To get your shoulders pulled back as well, pinch your shoulders together.
--- or ---
4b) "Static back 90-90 position" (Do a Google search)
- Same as above but put a rolled up towel -or- 2 soft foam balls under your lower back just below your beltline.
NOTE: Discs move 1mm in 3 minutes. So you may need to hold these for at least that long for the disc to move back into place.

Let me know if any of this is not clear.
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