1. #1
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    Default Anyone Have Back Surgery?

    Well...I just found out I might have to have surgery on L4/L5 and possibly L5/S1. So, I am looking to talk about the pros and cons with any of my brothers/sisters who have had it. Was it worth it? would you do it again? Were you able to return to work? Etc. Let me know. Thanks.

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    I had T2-L4 fused over 3 years ago due to scoliosis. I'm assuming your problem is herniated disk? Anyway, I'll try my best in answering your questions:
    Pros: worries of future problems from condition gone, good posture, cool scar, higher pain threashold
    Cons: pain, surgical complications, pain, loss of flexability, pain, time out of life to recover, oh...and pain. If your lower L and/or S vertebrae are fused, you'll lose quite a bit of flexablity.
    Was it worth it? Yes, in the long run it saved my life
    Would you do it agian? Had to, so yes
    Were you able to return to work? Well, I wasn't working at the time (in school), but it takes a good while to get "back to normal," but you never really feel the same again. I wasn't allowed to lift anything more than a few pounds for a few months.
    If you have anymore questions, I'll do my best to answer them for ya.
    Hope everything works out for you and you feel better!

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    Hey emtbff927, are you a firefighter after having surgery for scoliosis? I'm curious because I am 16 and had surgery for scoliosis (T11-L2) alittle while ago. Is it still possible for a person to become a firefighter?
    Thanks,
    Whitney

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    I know how you feel here... I have herniated discs at L4/L5, and a "bulging" disc at S1. My injury wasn't on the job, as many are, I was using my strength for a positive tool in getting a wardrobe across the room so as to accomidate a larger desk. Mistake was picking it up, the furniture moving wheels crushed under its sheer weight, and I grabbed for it. I had it for a few seconds, then it knocked me down. Worst painb I ever had, turn white.., really WHITE from head to toe. I thought I fracture my femur b/c of the pain in my sciatic nerve. And of course, like most large; usually strong people-I fainted, so the pain was just temporary. I woke up to the cat standing on me, figured my leg wasn't broken, and just went to bed. I refused to go to the er, had to wait 2 weeks to see a ortho surgeon just to get an MRI. Did Physcial Therapy, didn't work... Started to use a Tens, and just walking. Pain went away the first evening I walked five miles. Was gone for three weeks, went to get a spinal steroid shot, pain was gone the next day. I had to sit and think if anything evere happened, I felt so good. Had two more shots since then, have pain some times. Exercise alot. I figure if I lose some weight, that may help. Not that I'm over weight, I'm 6' 4". 200lbs is okay for a person of that stature I think.

    In my case, surgery wasn't an option. Told me that I have the spine of an 80 y/r old factory worker, no surgeon is his right mind would operate on me. I went to see five, they wouldn't touch me, said it would make it worse. They said I should rest for a long time and exercise, go on disability. Quit the fire department, never go on an ambulance run again. Well, the fire dept. and ambulance are my livelyhood. So I decided to find a career that was fun, and I could live with, and continue to run. I do more than I used to, mostly operate pumps, ladder, etc. I stopped doing things that were more invasive, b/c I know that I don't have the brute strength that I had before. Its a good thing when a firefighter can admit weakness, so that you don't put your life, or your search buddy's life on the line b/c you don't know if you will be able to pull him out, god forbid something were to happen. And you never know what may happen, so don't even second guess yourself. No more air packs, but hell, thats fine with me. So I will never be able to become a career firefighter like I had wanted to, or become a career Medic... Sucks, but at least I can still walk.

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    Default 2 cents...

    Guy and girls- Please take my post serious. I have
    been discussing this issue regualrly in here. You
    might have a back problem because of the heavy
    leather helmets.

    Please dont blew me off on this. GET REAL! This is
    the reason why I dumped my leather. My back and
    neck was getting sore. With the leather gone, so
    went the pain.

    And please dont tell me to work out more. I am
    6'2, 210 and very well built. I work out weekly
    and have always scored well on the PATS. I was
    in the top for fitness in my fire academy 13
    years ago.

    I still expect to have more back pain and
    treatment as my career goes on. I hope you dont.

    Please take care, Bou
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 07-05-2004 at 03:23 AM.

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    Default Re: 2 cents...

    Originally posted by CALFFBOU
    Guy and girls- Please take my post serious. I have
    been discussing this issue regualrly in here. You
    might have a back problem because of the heavy
    leather helmets.

    Please dont blew me off on this. GET REAL! This is
    the reason why I dumped my leather. My back and
    neck was getting sore. With the leather gone, so
    went the pain.

    And please dont tell me to work out more. I am
    6'2, 210 and very well built. I work out weekly
    and have always scored well on the PATS. I was
    in the top for fitness in my fire academy 13
    years ago.

    I still expect to have more back pain and
    treatment as my career goes on. I hope you dont.

    Please take care, Bou
    And back problems have nogthing to do with humping hose, throwing ladders, overhauling, having to twist ourselves like contortionists to get into wrecked cars to assess and treat patients, or lift stretchers?

    I wear my leather on fire calls...not 24/7!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default Re: Re: 2 cents...

    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo


    And back problems have nogthing to do with humping hose, throwing ladders, overhauling, having to twist ourselves like contortionists to get into wrecked cars to assess and treat patients, or lift stretchers?

    I wear my leather on fire calls...not 24/7!
    Bro- It is doing all of the things you listed while wearing the
    leather helmet. That 3-6 pounds of weight doing directly down
    your neck to your spine can cause damage.

    Its your back, take care of it first before tradition.

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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for all the input. Actually it is a bulged L4/L5 going out to the left foramen and in towards the sinal chord. Was out for two months and convinced the doc to let me back. Since then it has been re-injured about 4 times. Finally saw the specialist and it has now progressed to include L5/S1. Got it from moving a pt. from gurney to ED bed. Not sure if surgery is possible yet as I haven't done the test. I go back on Aug. 4 to discuss all options (seroids, surgery, truck driving school) and really need as much info as possible in order to make informed choices. Have a couple of guys in the dept. that have returned after surgery, but the thought of being out of it for a year or so sucks.

    Funny about the leather. I don't have one, but the guys that do are always saying how much lighter they are. Guess it comes down to how much additional crap we put on them.

    Anyway...thanks again for any and all info you guys are giving.

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    Default Re: Thanks

    Originally posted by Fireman891
    Funny about the leather. I don't have one, but the guys that do are always saying how much lighter they are. Guess it comes down to how much additional crap we put on them.
    That is an easy one, dont put stuff on your helmet regardless
    of the type. Rather, use the pockets on your turnout gear.

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    Default

    I ruptured L5 when I was 27, the disk material found its way into my spinal cord area and pressed on my sciatic nerve, causing severe pain! I had an operation called a "lumbar laminectomy" which entailed going into my back, clearing out the disk "jelly" from my sciatic nerve and emptying the disk of any additional "jelly". They did not have to fuse my vertebrae together, or remove the disk, my recuperation time was 6 weeks, although I was walking without pain right away. I didn't become a firefighter until I was 35, but I lift weights regularly and have no adverse effects. The only time I had trouble with my back since then was when I didn't adjust my airpack to rest on my hips properly, but it was just sore for a few days.

    My surgery was done by a neuro surgeon. The injury to my back was caused by lifting improperly over a period of time, there wasn't one injury.
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

    Dusty, working on Crusty IACOJ

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    Default

    Hey emtbff927, are you a firefighter after having surgery for scoliosis? I'm curious because I am 16 and had surgery for scoliosis (T11-L2) alittle while ago. Is it still possible for a person to become a firefighter?
    Yes, soon after my doc gave permission I started the department's cadet training classes. I can only say that for my experience I was able to do it...but I would think that as long as your doc says it's okay, and you know your own abilities and limitations, you can. I'm extra cautious of how I lift heavy things (that's not why I had the surgery, but I don't want to blow the last couple disks I got left). Although I'm less flexable and after doing heavy work the back does get sore, I still love volunteering and am able to perfome the duties I need to. Good luck to you!

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