The Spine, Tensegrity, and Review of a Laminectomy

Last week I got a call from one of my really close friends and it wasn’t a great call. You could tell he was banged up and he was talking about being in bed with back pain and leg pain. and really struggling even to sit up on the side of the bed.

He was in bad shape.

The correct decision was to go to the emergency room. I completely supported that and actually insisted that you’re even allowed to call 911 when back pain (or any kind of orthopedic pain) is not allowing you to take care of yourself, including get around in bed or even get to the bathroom under reasonable circumstances.

Fast forward a little bit: the MRI was articulated to me as one to possibly two-disc bulges. So, let’s talk about that for a minute. Now as I, and this is a very, very close friend, so I was able to communicate very freely.

Even in this situation I said, look, I am not there and I’m not the radiologist, but let’s just talk about some things.

I think for those of us that do have more, a deeper understanding of what a radiology report can tell us, this bulge probably doesn’t always equate to someone who simply can’t move.

We also know that in these different situations, how someone perceives any given pathoanatomy can be different for different people.

So that being said, I did ask my friend to have some considerations before they decided on a surgical procedure because bottom line, if I were to use the terminology of this bulge, I wouldn’t expect that to be an onset of one to two days leaving him in these types of symptoms.

But, if the intravenous steroids that my buddy were given in the hospital were not making a dent and there was not an opportunity to have an epidural, then yeah, we probably do need to look to a surgical procedure.

It’s very important to always have someone that’s going to be able to translate or advocate for you.

I think a lot of times, particularly on the fitness side, we will, people will say, I had back surgery and a lot of times the word laminectomy comes up. And there’s some realities that I discussed with him, both positive and maybe not as positive about a laminectomy.

So what I want to do in this video is show you on the whiteboard what the spine looks like and then give you an illustration that I think helped my buddy understand what the surgeon was doing to him so that he could look the surgeon in the eye and know exactly what he was doing to his body, why he was doing it, how it was supposed to help, but maybe why in the long term there could be some things that he’s going to have to work really hard to minimize his exposure to a second procedure.


  • May 8, 2020

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Rob Werdann Reply

Charlie: very clear and concisely communicated. Awesome presentation. Always enjoy learning about the spine. Thank you. All the best.

Rob Werdann
248 606 7160

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