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Old 10-11-2011, 09:19 AM   #1
Zach Ballard
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L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

I am starting this thread to chronicle the pre and post op experiences involved with this type of injury and how it affects an avid crossfiter. I had never had previous back issues, I am 32 and have been crossfitting for three years, and am level 1 certified. I injured myself on 9/1/11 while deadlifting. I was on my 5th set 3rep of 5 @ 345 (425 1rm). Almost at my knees I felt and heard a couple pops in my lower lumbar. I dropped the bar and immediatly and felt intense tightness. I didn't train for two weeks, just stretched. The tightness began to subside but then the sciatica pain started. So I got a mri and xray done. I was diagnosed with a 6mm extrusion at L4L5 that was applying pressure on the nerve root. At first the pain was only bad at certain positions, but the last 4 days I have only been able to lie down and stand for a few minutes at a time. The pain is completely debilitating. My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow 10/12/11 (thank God) in San Antonio with Dr. Meadows (supposedly one of the best in texas). He will make a small incision then pull the muscle over. Then drill out a hole in the lamina portion of the vertebrae to allow access to the ruptured disc material which will be removed. Staple me up and I should be on my way to recovery.

This thread will help me during my recovery and will hopefully help others trying to decide if surgery is right for them.

My next update will be post op. Wish me luck.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:13 AM   #2
Brian Strump
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Find a very good chiro in TX that focuses on rehab and soft tissue work. You can fully recover with time and hard work.
Long story, really short...We had a fireman break 2 bones in lumbar spine over a beam when feel through a roof. Herniated 3 discs and needed 2 level laminectomy. Still had tingling and weakness in his foot after surgery, but now back to work and CrossFittting and doing everything else he wants to do. It's a year long process, but you're only 32....put in the time now, or you'll be sorry when it's too late.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:47 AM   #3
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Well, the surgery went great. It's been about 17 hours and the horrible pain down my leg is completely gone. Just a little sore at the suie of the surgery. He had to remove 85% of the disc material but says if I am patient with the recover and take it slow for the first 6 weeks I should have no problem having a full recovey.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Four days post-op, and the incision pain and low back pain is decreasing. Although I still have pain down the right leg from the buttocks to the shin during squatting movements. Still have numbness and tingling in the foot as well. This is all par for the coarse as I understand. Regardless the relief from the excruciating sciatica pain is a blessing. I am doing my stretches and increasing my walking distance daily. The most frustrating part is to not be able to pick up my 10 month old little girl.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Here are some MRI shots before surgery. The side view shows the L4 L5 disc material squeezed out of the annulus and is smashing on the spinal canal in an upwards direction. The glowing kinda of white stuff between the vertebrae is how a healthy disc should look. The next view is from above and it shows the rupture putting a lot of pressure on the canal also. The third is a shot of a healthy disc from above as well. Hope this helps somebody out there, if not hey it is pretty gnarly looking anyways.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:09 AM   #6
Camille Lore
 
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Wishing you a healthy recovery. The pain and numbness will go away. I know you're limited in what you can do right now, but you will be back to your regular activities after you rehab on schedule.
Glad your sciatic pain is gone. I bet you're catching up on some sleep you missed out on, eh?
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:29 AM   #7
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Yeah, alot of much needed rest. Thanks for the kind words. Did you have a similar injury?
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:53 PM   #8
Camille Lore
 
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

My partner did. I got to experience the effects of little sleep and constant pain. Takes its toll on the family, and I certainly empathize with the pain and frustration you went through.

Btw my partner is now back to powerlifting, exercising in whatever form she wishes, judo competitions and BJJ classes with sparring.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:36 PM   #9
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

That's encouraging! Got the staples out today. Ready to start my comeback.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #10
Zach Ballard
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Re: L4/L5 laminotomy disectomy recovery process

Low back soreness is still decreasing. Still have some numbness in the right foot and tight hamstrings. Increasing the walking and stretching.
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