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psearby17 (@psearby17)

Bulging discs in neck and in L5

Spine Health | Last Active: Jul 21, 2018 | Replies (7)

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I'm sorry to hear of your all too familiar pain. I have a compression fracture in my C7, as well as bulging L4 disk that has misaligned & fallen onto my L5-S1. I had a laminectomy outpatient surgery on my L5-S1 in December, 2016, and it completely relieved the pain in my left sciatic area and entire leg down to my toes. The surgeon took off the part of my disk that was impinging on my spinal cord. What a huge relief that continues to be. If you're wondering about taking the step to that kind of surgery, it was a godsend for me. I broke my coxsys about 20 years ago so I understand the kind of pain you have, only yours has continued for years.

My L4 is still a problem and had caused me chronic pain for 2 years. Rather than having major surgery involving rods and pins, my surgeon recommended that I try everything else to ease my pain first. After 2 rounds of PT, accupuncture, and different types of massage to no avail, I decided to try Active Release Technique (ART) , which I read about on Mayo Connect. I researched and found an excellent practitioner in my area. I was surprised to find that chiropractors are the ones who do this therapy because it is soft tissue very deep massage along with moving your leg, or whatever limb is involved. My first appointment the Dr Andrews told me to come twice a week for 3 weeks and then we would reevaluate. It was a bit expensive for an "experimental" treatment, but I couldn't even walk up steps or walk any distance without excruciating pain even with Tramadol 50 mg. Sleeping was the worst of all. So, I decided to try it. At the end of the 3 weeks (6 sessions) my pain was gone! I could hardly believe it. I continued to go every other week for about 2 months, and then once a month after that. I recently moved and while unpacking boxes I hurt my back again. I stepped up my sessions for 2 months and I'm back to no pain. It's been a year since I started the ART, and it has worked for me.

I'm a Volunteer Mentor with Mayo Connect and not a medical professional. I can't offer medical diagnosis or medical recommendations but I do offer my experience, knowledge and support. If there are any questions I can answer to support you in your search for relief, please ask them. I hope you find relief soon.

Volunteer Mentor

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Replies to "@psearby17 I'm sorry to hear of your all too familiar pain. I have a compression fracture..."

@gailb, In reference to Dr. Andrews mentioned above, is he an MD, a Chiropractor, a Neurologist, or something else? I would really like to try ART but I don't know where to look. But in case ART doesn't help, can you please tell me how to find a "pain doctor"? The description "pain doctor" is used often in this blog and, to be honest, I just don't know what that means either. Thank you for your time and your help. @cognac

@cognac Hello, I'm Jen a Volunteer Mentor at Mayo Connect. @gailb is spending time with family so I wanted to reply on her behalf. To find an ART Provider, Google the phrase ART Provider. Or use the following link http://activerelease.com/find-a-provider.asp. The term "pain Doctor" is widely used for doctors either MD (medical doctor) or DO ( Doctor of Osteopathy) who specialize in pain medicine. These doctors focus on evaluating and treating pain.They work with you to find the cause of your pain and come up with a treatment plan.
As far as Dr. Andrews, that is Gail's doc, but I am unsure of his field of practice.
If I can help you, please don't hesitate to ask.


I'm sorry it has taken me so long to reply to you. I'm happy that my collegue Jen was able to reply to your inquiries. I will address your questions as well:

1. Dr. Andrews is a chiropractor and he does a great job. I live in the Los Angeles area. I found him by first Googling "Active Release Technique practitioners in my area." After the names were listed, I looked at the qualifications of each person, searching for a person with the most ART certifications/training, and the best reviews. I just happened to see my daughter's therapeutic masseuse one day, and asked him if he knew anything about Dr. Andrews. He laughed and said that Dr. Andrews was his chiropractor. That sold me, so I called and made my appointment. I did a lot of research on line about the technique too.

2. As far as a pain doctor, I was referred to mine by the surgeon who did my laminectomy. These doctors often have clinics where they treat patients for pain. That means they prescribe medications that they think will help with the pain. My pain doctor had me on 3 strong medications, and I wanted to stop them. I managed to withdraw over 9 months, once I began the ART treatments.

I hope you find my answers helpful, and that you find relief soon.

Volunteer Mentor

@gailb and @sandytoes14 – Dear Jen and Gail, thank you so much for the answers to my questions. I'll be taking them to my Primary this coming Thursday in hopes of her approval. And, Gail, I hope time spent with your family was for pleasure and not for an emergency. You know, you and Jen really do a wonderful job giving hope and information to all of us without being critical. Thank you both for volunteering your time. You both really do make a difference. @cognac