Back Surgery

I’ve heard the Anti Cortisone stuff a fair bit over the years ,… particularly from an Arthritis suffering friend, … but the Sonogram guided injections into the shoulder are a God send when the Bursitis flares.

Just have to give your immune system everything you can to help it, & stay away from Flu or Cold riddled people for the next few weeks.

Don’t bother with it O/wise. Do it once, do it properly,… rather than 3 times,

They’re still a bit hit and miss (and effectively rot your bones).
A friend had a sonogram guided one in her shoulder just before Christmas . . . Nothing. (I’m not sure how bursitis fares when compared to a ligament injury with regards to cortisone though i can see how it would help bursitis due to its anti-inflammatory properties).

That’s what it’s all about.

Which brings me to mention something I neglected on the Back thing, which I just happened to pick up from the Chick at the Smoke Shop one day during a chat, (sometimes when people ask you “How Are You?”, it actually pays to tell them lol…)…

She said when it goes, … take 6 Ibuprofen straight away, … and then 2 as recommended thereon, …

I thought Fk!! SIX!!

But you know what? It works.

Getting the swelling/Inflammation down ASAP is the best thing in the world for both, IMO.

If you need surgery, get a decent surgeon. Shop around.

And surgery doesn’t necessarily mean a fusion. They may be able to remove some bone and open up the area around your nerve.

Thanks everyone for your feedback.
I think I need to be a bit selfish and put some time aside and give the strengthening approach a red hot go.
And as one poster said - take up swimming.


Four years ago I was stopped at a stop sign at Narromine, a truck decided not to step and rear ended my 4WD. I was looking forward and to the side, checking for traffic. I ended up with some L4/5 issues. The first few months were like rats gnawing on my nerves, so I sympathise.

Cutting a long story short, after much specialist consultation and reading I started a very slow and programmed weights program. Started with a small length of Poly pipe as the weight. At the base of the program was the Olympic Lifts (Squats/Deadlift/snatch/cleans and Jerks). I never did sit-ups.

The Oly lifts strengthen the whole chain, this is important.

I had to stop running for 18 months, but since then have run the Great Wall Marathon in China and Singapore night Marathon.

Four years on, I really enjoy the exercise and if I miss a week I find my back getting stiff and sore. Driving long distances is still an issue. I still get some nerve pain.

Get some good advice and weigh it up. EB and others make sense to me. Get your self strong, in a programmed supervised way.

PS I have graduated now to CrossFit 3/4 times per week and find the functional fitness valuable.

Best wishes.


My understanding is that it’s not directly supporting the back, but if (like most people) your quads and other muscles on the front of your legs are way bigger & stronger than your hammies, your pelvis will have a tilt. And (because you like to stand and sit upright) your lower back is compensating for that by being more bent.

Thanks Humble,

Well as of thiis morning I can’t put any weight on my back, I.e can’t even walk or stand. I went through this last year - then I couldn’t even sit. Two weeks in bed and cortisone injections got me mobile again. So stupid me for not taking advantage of the time I had to really strengthen myself more. I’ve had more guided injections since bit they haven’t been effective.

Will see surgeon tomorrow - at this stage I’m not sure what to do. Not sure if it’ll come right again to actually be able to do the exercises.

As for drugs, surgery. Trust experts waaaaaay before numpties like us. Cortisone has side effects. Back surgery certainly has side effects. Weigh it up very carefully and do everything you can before going to surgery.


Very sound advice. Weigh it all up.

Yep, that sounds reasonable. Mine stems from a ACL reconstruction with the graft coming from the hamstring. Which naturally led to very weak hamstring/s, glutes and lower back problems. I’ve also always had poor positure in sitting at my desk…just a sh!tshow all round really.

Hi! I’ve had lower back problems on and off for a few years. Last Feb, after hitting my back hard while rock-climbing, things started to get worse. After a few weeks, I had trouble standing and walking, eventually ending up needing crutches and at times, a wheelchair. Over time, I tried my GP, Physiotherapy, Massage and an Osteopath. None were of much use. Some even made it worse. Anti-inflams helped with the pain to a degree but I didn’t want to keep taking them, for the obvious reasons. Scans showed a few instances of facet joint deterioration with one moderate disc problem but really didn’t explain the severity of my symptoms. I got sick of being told I was just another old bloke with a body that was on the way out. (I’m in my early 70’s) A friend recommended I try a Gonstead Chiropractor she knew of. I’ve been seeing him for around 3 months now and the difference is amazing. Improvement started with the first visit and has continued to the extent that I’m now able to walk around 6 kms or so with minimal discomfort and I’m starting to believe that I really can get back into climbing and hiking. At my worst, I couldn’t walk from one end of my house to the other. (And, no, it’s not that big.) Gonstead is a very thorough and precise approach which aims at minimal interference for maximum result. And it really can work. This guy managed to locate a long-standing problem that everyone else had simply not seen because they hadn’t looked closely enough. My recommendation would be to read up on what Gonstead is about and, if you think it might suit your situation (which in some ways sounds not dissimilar to my own,) find a practitioner and give it a go. I realise I sound like I’m preaching but I guess I really do see this guy as providing me with a light at the end of what was a long and pretty dark tunnel. Cheers Mate. I really hope things work out for you çause it’s a ■■■■ of a problem to have.

Almost everyone with a predominantly sitting job has smaller hams than quads.

Swimming is a good starting point to get moving again, but it’s going to be insufficient to build strength or endurance where you need it (ie your trunk).
If you’re physically capable, I’d consider beginning with outdoors walking (particularly while the weather is warm). It’s something that you may be able to involve the kids in (to an extent at least), can be done anywhere (though if you can get to a park or woodland that has other benefits) and will put a light load through the spine. Begin with a time and intensity you can easily manage and increase this gradually (no more than 10% in a month as this seems to be the magic number for overload injuries in athletes at least).
Once you can walk for a substantial period of time unhindered then (and in consultation with medical professionals) you can progress to increased spinal loading. This might be, to start, as simple as doing 10 second plank holds on your knees every day and increasing in 10 second increments fortnightly up to 2-3 minutes at a time. Then progressing to doing them on your feet and going back to 10 seconds before progressing in time again. Once you’ve accomplished 2-3 minutes you might add a dynamic element such as moving from a regular plank to a side plank etc. This is just an example of the type of progressive rehabilitation you should expect at some stage regardless of whether you need to go down the surgical route or not. I would recommend finding professionals were a biased against surgery and pro-exercise (there’s a reason Medicare rebates Exercise Physiology for chronic pain conditions). At least that way if they DO recommend surgery you can be confident you’ve exhausted every other option.


Thanks for taking the time to reply in such depth.
It’s eased a bit today and I can stand or walk for up to about a minute before what feels like cramping in the glute and down the front of the thigh gets unbearable.

Since hospital around last Anzac Day - (I had to sell my ticket :disappointed:), I’ve had no issues with my left side - And I should have been using this time to strengthen.

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If you are able to get to a pool, I’d do so ASAP.

It;s the weightlessness that helps straight off the bat. You can just start out walking through the water as fast or slow as you like to modify the push back resistance to a comfortable level.

Also,… I sometimes use the ladders to just support my upper torso by wrapping my arms around it and let the legs hang, then as it gets better, start to wave the feet back and forth a few inches like flippers, eventually pulling both legs straight up through the waters resistance using nothing but my trunk. I’ve even joined in with the old folk doing their water aerobics on a Wednesday when they up the pool temp, … and that also helps a lot.

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Condolences on the back pain, there are two groups of people in life

Those that have experienced debilitating back pain and those that have not.

I slipped/popped my L5/S1 when I was 20. I remember I couldn’t move my neck, to turn my neck I would move my whole body, I had a turning circle of a truck, to pick up something I would bend my knees - I couldn’t possible bend my back during that period. It was all about bringing down the inflammation.

I was able to manage for a number of years and then it came back, the sciatic pain running down my left leg. It got to the point I couldn’t extent my left leg by more than half a step. Couldn’t run, jump, extent without this ‘pinching pain’

At that point I tried everything - acupuncture (this actually provided nice 24-36 hour relief), cortisone shots (what garbage), Pilates, physio, keiser strength training. Nothing really assisted.

I decided to have a Microdiscectomy, to remove the herniated disc material pressing on the nerve at the L5/S1. My surgeon was David De La Harpe. He was fantastic and all went well.

I am 4 years post-op. All was going well until I blew my right ACL in Netball (seriously, find me a sport worse for ACLs!)

Subsequently I have now developed, a stronger right leg (bigger hammy) and more flexibility. The issue I have is lack of flexibility on the left leg (from where the sciatic pain is/was) and on both legs a lack of upper strength in the hammys/glutes.

For me, the focus is on strengthening the core and legs, this will take the pressure off the lower back the hips (the more I am listening to the body, I am finding my hips are tilted and this must be due to lack of strength in lower core/upper legs)

I have dropped 5kgs+, which helps obviously (guys tend to hold fat around the belly). I have also been doing a lot of yoga - this has helped with my flexibility and my ability to do lunges, asian squats/seats etc - I found this help with lengthening the hamstring, but also with building up the stabilizing those muscles around the ankle and knees (would recommend for anyone recovering from an ACL)

The sciatic pain has flared up since Christmas, this must be due to the road trip we did of 10+ hrs driving each day.

But knowing I still have weak hamstrings, I am focusing on doing leg training 1-2 times a week of doing squats, glides, kettle bells etc. I am focusing on form at this stage and instantly the back feels great.

I guess in my mind, with the back surgery and ACL my mind has always thought to avoid squats etc.

As mentioned I would recommend swimming and walking. Swimming it a great way to release that lower back tension.

I also use a heat back at home and get along to the physio.

Good luck and PLEASE try to avoid using the opioid they feed you (I had a showbag of drugs to take home - I ditched them all after a day) - personally I would rather the pain of recovery than that risk of addiction.


Thanks htcman - about to see David this morning and probably end up with cortisone shots into each side. I’m not sure about the cortisone shots - I didn’t think the first one I had didn anything but I came right after about 2 weeks. It’s hard to differentiate when you’re also on Prednisilone and Lyrica as to what bought down the inflammation. David thinks that because I have stress fractures in the sacrum, it looks like I have extra vertebrae in the scans and they may have put it in at the wrong level.

Anyway something helped and I was ok for a few months but then it flared up again to the point that I couldn’t even sit without the cramping pain and numbness through my whole leg and I ended up in hospital for 2 weeks. I had another shot when I was first admitted and this time they said they focussed on counting properly - starting from the sacrum. This time it hurt like hell - all down my leg and in my lower back. For the next 10 days I would wake and check if I could still stand or sit but there was no relief. Then on the 11th day - one day before surgery I could stand and it improved from there and I’ve had no issue with that left side since then- but my right side has been flared up for the past 4 months. Again - I’m not sure if it was just laying flat in my back for 10 days, the drugs or the shot that resolved the inflammation enough for me to function again. I’ve since had another shot on my right side but that didn’t do anything. So I’m not sure about the shots either - I think they probably work if they get the exact soot.

Now suddenly without anything I can recall to set it off, my left has flared up again to the point I can’t put weight on my back for more than a minute before the shooting, cramping pain hits.

Anyway - will know more by 9am.
Thanks for your reply.

Good luck Mackster- you’ve certainly had a rough trot. Lots of got advice here- hope the Dr has some answers for you too.


That’s not true, or at least not cut and dried is it? Depending on what’s weak and needs help.
After all, we all walk every day and lots of us have weak cores. We don’t all swim every day.