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Back Surgery and Golf

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have a lower disc issue and it is very irritated after playing golf.  The disc is herniated, they said PT, or shots, or surgery.  Has anyone had fusion type surgery and continued to play.  Was there limiting factors after that.  Lastly what was your recovery time before getting back out.

 

I can play about once per week then "recover" for about 5 days.

 

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 14

I can't speak to a fusion, but I had to go through a laminectomy at T12 a few years ago to biopsy a growth in my spinal cord, and then a second surgery to remove it a year later (it turned out to be a parasite - eewww!).     It wasn't fun.   

 

My first surgery was in early September, and it took about a month before I could start putting and light chipping.    It was mid-December before I felt comfortable enough to start full swings with low effort, and mid January before I could confidently swing at more-or-less full speed, and I played my first round in late January.    It was probably another 3 months before I was pretty close to full range of motion again and had the back muscles feeling relatively normal.      

 

The second surgery was a year later, and the recovery was a bit quicker since there wasn't any bone work, but not by a lot.   Even if the surgeon is able to avoid cutting muscle in the back, the process of pulling it aside to gain access to the spine detaches it and gets it out of shape, and that re-attachment just takes time.      It is very tempting to start pushing it as soon as you're not feeling that much pain any more, but the risk of setting back the recovery can be pretty high and patience is certainly called for.   

 

If your doctor feels there are alternatives to surgery, I would exhaust every one of them first.     We have close friends in the medical profession and my wife deal's with injured workers all the time and they see the overall success rate of back surgery; although it is much better than it was even just 10 years ago, there is still a lot of risk and the recovery is slow and often painful.    

 

Good luck!!!!!

post #3 of 14

I, too, have lower back problems, and would never presume to be able to diagnose anyone's back issues, but here is something that has been successful for me....

 

Years ago, when I was in my 20's, I injured my back playing fast pitch softball. After muscle relaxants and 10 years of chiropractic visits, my back was still a mess. Then, suddenly, my chiropractor unfortunately had a heart attack, so I made a resolution to do morning exercises every day for a month, hoping that he would be available to work on my back after that time. I would get up 30-45 minutes before I had to get ready for work, and do a series of exercises, and a month later my back began to feel much better. One month led to two months, and my back continued to strengthen.

 

To make a long story short, I have not visited a chiropractor for more than 20 years, and continue to do my exercises daily. Not only have I benefited from daily back exercises, but I have shard my regiment with at least a dozen people, including two doctors. One success story, was a man who was supposed to have a cadaver disc replacement. I gave him my exercises and he has yet to have the surgery. This particular person still has occasional back issues, but swears to me that my back regiment has been of great help to him. He golfs 2-3 times weekly in the summer, and he regularly walks 18 holes, riding only on a rare occasion.

 

My particular regiment is now 60 minute long - one SportsCenter show from 5-6 am - and has evolved to include stretching, back manipulation (twisting), and strength maneuvers (stomach crunches and push ups). It is a great way to start my day, and when I do have the occasion to put my back out, after 2-3 days of exercises, I know I am on the road to a quick recovery.

 

Best of luck and may you have a speedy recovery,

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfreuter415 View Post

I, too, have lower back problems, and would never presume to be able to diagnose anyone's back issues, but here is something that has been successful for me....

Yeah, same here.  I don't even like recommending a particular ball or driver ... I'm sure as heck not going to recommend against surgery for something I know nothing about, but I also have a story:

 

Ever since my mid 20's I've had back problems.  Up until about age 30 (2003) it wasn't anything big, just a sore nuisance, basically.  Then one morning that year, I was tying my shoes, something happened, and then I could barely move without excruciating pain.  Long story short, it was a couple of herniated discs (L4-L5 and L3-L4).  There was a chiropractor near my office, so I went there for awhile (6 months or so) until I basically got the impression that it would only continue to help keep the pain away as long as I never stopped going.  Well, obviously, that $$$ adds up quickly, so next I went to an ortho doctor.  He sent me to a spine specialist who gave me a series of epidural steroid injections.  Those worked very well ... for a time.  The first time I went (3 separate injections over 5 weeks) it kept the pain away for about 8 months.  I tried it again, and this time it kept the pain away for about a year or a little more.  (I should mention at this point, that all this time, even when the pain was gone, the discomfort was always there, and among other things, golf was a low priority.)  I went a third time, and this is where my memory gets a little fuzzy.  I can't remember if I got a third series of injections or not.  I'm pretty sure I did, but regardless, the last time (whether it was the 2nd series or a 3rd) they lasted another year or so, and when the pain started coming back, it wasn't quite as bad as the last.  This time instead of another round of injections, the doctor sent me to a physical therapist.  (When I asked him about surgery, he was adamant that he would not recommend surgery until I basically could not move, at all)  I went to the therapist for about 8 or 10 weeks, twice a week, for exercises, PT, a massage, and E-stim.

 

Bottom line:  It has been close to 2 full years since I have last been to the therapist (I started in March 2011, so it would have been May-ish that I last visited) and the pain has stayed away - the discomfort is still there, and probably always will be, but nothing debilitating.  And since October 2011 I have golfed more than I ever have in my life.  I still do exercises and stretches (cobra, supermans, planks, that sort of thing - although not as much as I should).  The only other thing I do is take Advil prior to playing golf, or doing anything else active.

 

Whatever you decide ... good luck, I hope it all works out for you!

post #5 of 14
I had 4 herniated discs and did pt shots and the finally surgery. The pt and shots didn't work for me. The surgery was the best decision i made. I was up walking normal again right after i woke up from surgery. It took me about a month or so before i was released to do anything strenuous
post #6 of 14

I don't have much to add other than this... I play with a guy who had fusion surgery. He didn't really play before the surgery but it is apparent he can't make more than a half swing for any given shot. Love playing with the guy but he is severely limited in scoring due to the problem. After talking with many people with back problems, some who surgery has helped and others who would declare it was one of their worst decisions ever, my conclusion is live with it until you can't live with it any longer (unless they come out with some new surgery that has a much better success rate).

post #7 of 14

I believe many possible causes for back pain. The cause of your pain, i don't know. For my back issues, certainly my back was damaged as a boy (the avatar is not a personal photo), later as a young man. I had been doing yoga for 25 yrs so felt pretty good. Finally, at age 62,  the sciatic nerve was slowly getting  pinched by the herniated discs giving me lots of trouble, even unable to lift my leg to climb the steps. So after some xrays, mri, consultations i chose a double laminectomy for 2 lumbar vertabrae. Up and walking next day, now after 6 yrs all good, never a problem and can do all the same yoga bending etc. I would never visit a chiropractor. I also avoid NSAIDS in order to save my internal organs as these pills offer known negative  side effects. I do take 3 fish oil  capsules/day for general joint benefit and can say that these do seem useful and without negative side effects. As far as individual health, each man is an island. 

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by turbosdad View Post

I have a lower disc issue and it is very irritated after playing golf.  The disc is herniated, they said PT, or shots, or surgery.  Has anyone had fusion type surgery and continued to play.  Was there limiting factors after that.  Lastly what was your recovery time before getting back out.

 

I can play about once per week then "recover" for about 5 days.

 

Thanks in advance.

Sorry to Crap on about this but give bending your lead arm a go. As soon as you bend the elbow your back will love it. There are virtually no downsides to this.......oh, apart from better accuracy, more swing speed and a better backa3_biggrin.gif. Give it a go.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by logman View Post

Sorry to Crap on about this but give bending your lead arm a go. As soon as you bend the elbow your back will love it. There are virtually no downsides to this.......oh, apart from better accuracy, more swing speed and a better backa3_biggrin.gif. Give it a go.

Wait ... now its not only a golf swing cure-all, but it actually cures medical ailments as well???  That is some swing you got there, Logman!! ;)

post #10 of 14
Sorry to hear about your pain. In my case I had the fusion surgery on L4-L5-&S something in 1974 due to a motorcycle accident. I exhausted all the usual stuff (shots, electric therapy, pills,etc). Got to be so bad that I said " just do it and make the pain go away!" I didn't play golf till 20 years later so I can't comment on how bad it affect the game but I do know Golf does not bother my back at all. However, in reading one the OP I can concur that there is some flexibility issues with my swing. I play off 7 so decent golf can be had with a less than perfect swing I have to consciously make myself " finish my swing" every time due the fusions. It can be done but many times if I don't do it my ball blocks right due not completing the swing and leaving the club 80-90 degrees past impact instead of a full follow through swing.
post #11 of 14
I had back surgery in 2002. They worked on 5 different levels of my lower back. I started playing golf 8 weeks later. You will probably never be pain free but they can probably fix you where you can play golf. Be sure and get more than one opinion from different doctors. Stay away from steel rods and bone graft if at all possible.
post #12 of 14
CLAMBAKE

How long did it take you to walk after your laminetomy? I just had a tumor removed from.my spinal cord at t-11. My motor skills are starting to come back as it's it been a week post op but I have numbness in my legs and currently need wheelchair to get around. I'm positive and doing pt each day seeing progress but wanted to know about your recovery? Thanks
post #13 of 14

I too had a spinal tumor removed which was located from S3 all the way up to L4-L5. The tumor had caused a tethered spinal cord which had me to the point that I couldn't even walk and had lost use of bladder and bowels due to the pressure on the nerves. Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, and several other hospitals said there was nothing they would attempt to do because of such a high risk of paralysis, however the Cleveland Clinic referred me to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Dr. George Jallo....., the dude gave me back my life. I am fairly limited in range of movement and have some issues with strength but thank the good Lord I am able to do most of want I want to do. 

 

It may look bleak but with the right doctors and the help of the Lord it could be just a bump in the road. 

 

God Bless!!! Ray

post #14 of 14

I have 8 herniated discs. Never elected to have surgery.... lumbar and thoracic spine. Every so often I throw my back out and I just need rest. Recently I threw it out badly and needed 2 bilateral transforaminal injections. 

 

I was out about 2 weeks from the game. 

 

I hate pills. 

 

Need to strengthen up my core again which will reduce the stress on my back

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