On a serious note, spinal surgery to continue playing?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Huggy B, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Huggy B

    Huggy B Whiizzz

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    *please forgive the serious nature of my thread*

    Most of you know me as somewhat of a jokester, I try to be as lighthearted and comical as much as I can and it probably shows from some of my wacky posts, but recent times have not been very kind to me on several levels. I've had to deal with some difficult issues concerning family, career, and health.

    For this I am only going to address a health concern that has affected my quality of life. Four years ago I was diagnosed with degenerated discs and a pinched nerve. At the time I was in so much pain and physical dysfunction that I thought I would never play guitar again, something that I was accepted of and had more concerns with my basic quality of life. I would have sold every piece of my musical gear just to have the pain taken away.

    In time, and with acupuncture and physical therapy I was able to reach a moderate level of comfort and a level of ability to play guitar to at least compose and record. Now four years later my condition is showing signs that I might have to consider a more serious approach to the situation. Spinal surgery

    There are other factors outside of guitar playing that may dictate me to have the surgery but it hasn't gotten to that point yet (? I don't think?). Yet I am already at the point where I cannot strum fast rhythms or play a solid body guitar standing up with a strap, I now play sitting down.

    Spinal surgery is no joke and something that I've tried to avoid at all costs but I must admit my inability to get a decent night sleep and to continue doing the two things I love (music and fishing) has made me consider it and the serious complication risks (nerve damage, infection, paralysis etc.) that comes with these type of surgeries.

    Forgive me for my long-winded post, but I wonder what what most people would do to keep on strumming.

    [​IMG]
     
    Goldtop likes this.
  2. Alan Manning

    Alan Manning Well Love a Duck Mary Poppins.!!!

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    Huggy . I'm so sorry for you. Best listen to the experts and there advice.
    I sincerely hope it works out for you Bro.
    AL.
     
  3. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    Sounds rough. Hope relief comes your way.
     
  4. Lee B.

    Lee B. I stitch my wings and pull the strings.

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    If your back condition is keeping you from sleeping, it is pretty much guaranteed to eventually lead to other serious health problems. If it is keeping you from enjoying life, it will keep adding more stress to the worries you already have, complicating all the physical health issues.

    It sounds to me like you've accepted that the spinal surgery needs to eventually happen, because you have exhausted all less invasive options and those options are no longer giving you the basic quality of life you need. I would suggest talking with your doctor about any lifestyle changes you could make short-term to lower the risk of complications during surgery. I think doing that would give you some sense of control over the outcome, which might help reduce anxiety. Like you said, it's serious business with serious risks, but you have a lot to gain, especially if you do it sooner rather than later.

    Best of luck, Huggy! I will keep you in my prayers.
     
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  5. alantig

    alantig Zombie Four, DFZ

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    What Lee said. It's not like you're just jumping into surgery - you've done the other stuff. When it affects your basic quality of life, it's worth doing, as long as you're confident in your caretaker and you're aware of the risks. It's a big step, but sometimes that's what's needed to get over the obstacle.

    Major mojo beaming your way, Huggy.
     
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  6. tiboy

    tiboy New Member

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    A cycling friend of mine had this surgery well over a decade ago. He said the pain relief was immediate and total. He has since led a very active life. Here's to future pain relief and good health to you.
     
  7. tip

    tip New Member

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    All it takes it the weight of a dime to pinch a nerve. I would try swimming to strengthen the muscles around the problem area, if you can.

    I have had 3 spine surgeries all in the same spot C3/4. I am doing way better a few years out!

    If I would of had the first one done by one of the best in Los Angeles, like I did for the other two, I would have been only months of recovery.
    If you decide that route interview a few of the best that your ins. plan can allow. The surgeon that has done this procedure a lot.

    Try to keep a good attitude. The first year I was depressed but not now. Which is kind of natural but in hindsight could of been lessened.
    Positive thoughts your way.
     
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  8. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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    Sorry to hear about your problems. I understand that you have used acupuncture and physical therapy in the past. Please be sure you have exhausted all options, including extensive physical therapy and therapeutic percutaneous injections (which can be extremely helpful). If you continue to have debilitating symptoms despite all appropriate conservative treatment, then Surgery is your last resort (Spine Surgery, IMO, should always be a last resort)

    Good luck to you.
    Kevin
     
  9. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenf├╝hrer

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    Best wishes, whatever you decide.
     
  10. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc I like to party, mmm hmm, everybody does.

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  11. veinbuster

    veinbuster Zombie Three, DFZ

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    I would do quite a bit to be able to continue doing the things I love, but spinal surgery scares me to death.

    In the end, if I knew exactly what would be done, what the odds of a negative outcome were, and had confidence in the surgeon, I would do it to get more out of my remaining years - which I hope will be numerous.

    Good luck buddy.
     
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  12. Huggy B

    Huggy B Whiizzz

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    Thank you for all the positive vibes family, and especially from the people who had surgery in the past that shared their experience.
     
  13. toothace

    toothace Zombie Thirteen, DFZ

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    Sounds like you're on the path to making a well-educated decision. Positive thoughts for good healing coming your way!!
     
  14. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    First off I hope everything works out for you !!!
    Second my answer to your question -- Quality of life is everything to me , Just being alive is not enough for me, I NEED my activities Cycling ( Motor and Pedal ) and I need to play guitar. I will do everything necessary to continue to live a full and active life as long as possible..... !
    If you decide to have the operation best of luck to you !!!
     
  15. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    Huggy, one of my partners at work is going through this exact thing right now. He had a spinal surgery about 5 years ago, where they went in through the front of the neck and fused a couple vertebrae. In the last 6 months, he's had some right shoulder, arm, hand pain and loss of function, through many tests they determined the fusion has failed. Now they've proposed going in through the back of the neck and doing what I believe is a very similar surgery, he has a bulging disc issue as well. He had good results from his first surgery until this - I don't think his first surgery caused things to get any worse, it just needs to be revisited.

    Don't jump into surgery, but also don't let anything turn you into a miserable lump buddy! Get in touch with the best doctors you can, evaluate the risks and benefits. Can't play flight of the bumblebee at 200bpm is one thing... can't play, fish, and sleep is a problem!
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I recently went through a similar set of choices. I can't make a recommendation for anyone else, but here's how my thing went:

    Following open heart surgery last year (talk about scary choices!), two fingers on my left hand were numb. This is not uncommon with the surgery I had, but it usually goes away after a few days or weeks. However, mine didn't. By four months out from the surgery, I began to lose control of the fingers on my left hand. Two of them started to curl and I couldn't straighten them out. I gradually lost the ability to play a simple open G chord. An E was out of the question.

    Needless to say, I was freaked out, because I'm a professional composer and musician. I use my fingers!

    After a battery of tests, it was determined that I had a pinched ulnar nerve in the vicinity of the elbow (probably not caused by the heart surgery, by the way, just aggravated by it). I was referred to a hand surgeon who recommended ulnar nerve transposition surgery. I was warned that it might work, might not, and that the full extent of recovery wouldn't be known for 18-24 months. I decided it was worth the risk.

    I had the surgery the last week of March of this year. The surgeon told me that after the nerve was exposed, it was very obvious that the nerve was very deeply pinched. The operation went well. I spent a few weeks in a cast, but from about the first week, I could straighten out the fingers that had been curled.

    I had to wait a month after the surgery to pick up the guitar, because my activities were restricted under doc's orders. But once I got to play again, I could feel improvement, and at 6 months out, I still have numbness in two fingers, but I can control all of them enough to play. I'm not as fast as I was before all this happened, but as I said, playing was utterly impossible by January-February of this year.

    So I'm really happy. Was it worth it? Absolutely. The doc said the pinch in the nerve was very deep, and it was clear that no other therapy would have worked. I also feel that I was very, very lucky. Also, I'm now the Frankenstein monster, here's the arm the day the cast came off:

    [​IMG]
     
    #16 LSchefman, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
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  17. ADD

    ADD New Member

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    As I was reading your post, the first thing that came to mind was a pinched ulnar nerve which is quite common for people over 40. I had a similar experience 6-7 years ago and went to see various specialists including a neurologist but the remedy that worked for me was an Osteopath and a RMT. Some days, I still have some slight numbness in the two fingers and mostly feel it when i'm tired (like right now) but it does not impact my playing whatsoever. The RMT was convinced that it was in my chest and I noticed a big difference after a session of crunching my chest. I exercise regularly and do push ups every day which seems to keep the malaise at bay....It seems like you required the surgery but I thought I would let you know of other options to keep in mind as preventive maintenance now that it appears to be in check. The Osteopath also helped a lot. I am due for some maintenance!

    To the OP - all the best with your surgery.
     
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  18. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    I can't add anything that hasn't been said already. I've got similar stories from co-workers and friends. Sending good mojo your way! All the best bro!
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Yes, I see a physician who specializes in alternative therapies (and in fact teaches these therapies at the medical school level), who helps me out with all the stuff that I hope will prevent future issues.

    After what he did didn't work after a few months of trying, he agreed with the surgeon's recommendation; I did try alternative therapies.
     
  20. Drew

    Drew New Member

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    repairing the spine today isn't what it was 20 or 30 years ago. I've had a couple of friends who've had various reconstructive procedures. It can take a few months or longer, but usually the quality of life improves drastically. There have been professional athletes who've had similar procedures who went on to resume their careers. Why wait? Yeah, surgery sucks. But, you only live once.
     
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