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Debating on surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am new to the board. My name is Sascha and I am 29.
Here is a little history about me.
In 4/2007 Gave birth to my daughter since then have had low back pain. Then in 10/07 my back gave out, I was in severe pain could not move. I had an MRI in Feb. 08. Stated that L3-L4 L4-5 there was a small annular tear. I was pretty active prior to getting pregnant. (Did Triathalons).
My Family practioner said that surgery is not indicated at this time b/c I was not having any leg pain. I Pretty much just really have a stiff lower back, with twinges of pain now and again. Accpuncture seems to help. But when I work I do have really bad low back pain, b/c I sit alot to chart. I am constanly getting up and down.
When I am at home the pain is not too bad and I go on walks every day and stiffness eases. I am wondering If I would be a canidate for surgery. The pain when I orginally herniated it has gone away, But I am left with this dull achey stiff back. I can't run. I am very fearful of doing activities that would hurt my back. Does this stiffness ever go away. I want to have more children. But I am scared. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.


  • Dear Sascha

    If you are not having any sciatica pain and just having dull achey stiff back, then personally I would not go for surgery. I am sure with enough rehabilitation and exercise combined with the right medication you will get better. Just rest your back..

    It is actually very hard to pin point the cause of back pain...
  • Welcome to Spine Health!

    Whether or not to have surgery is a tough question. I personally wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, and even though my doctor told me I needed surgery (due to a massive L5-S1 herniation and nerve impingement), I delayed and now have permanent nerve damage.

    That said, I had 3 surgeries in a year and I will always wonder if I had never had that first surgery, would I have had 3 and still be in constant pain?

    If you trust your doctor (and be sure to get a second and/or third opinion if needed), then I would follow their advice.

    I'm sorry you are suffering with the stiffness and can imagine being scared to have another baby. Hang here with us for support and encouragement and we'll support you through whatever you decide!!

    Take care,

  • Can cause enormous amounts of pain. I had one at L3/L4 and had an endoscopic microdiscectomy to repair it. (actually removed the torn part and sealed it with laser surgery). However, I would not have the surgery if I had it all to do over again. I have arthritis in my facet joints and it has actually become worse since I had the surgery. It did help with the pain in my leg though. I still am not able to sit for long. Before surgery I would have a rhizotomy (nerve burn)yearly and that was a tremendous help with my pain. Surgery should always be left as a very last resort when all conservative measures have been tried and failed. There are no guarantees with surgery and sometimes even makes your pain worse. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • When one goes to see a ohysician, one sees the doc for a few minutesm. You may get a whole hour with your PT who will come to know your body from tip to toe. This sounds like the place for you. Though, not all therapists are created equal so get a good one. Susan
  • Thanks for all your comments. I had forgot to mention that I DID go to PT, for about 3 months. It seemed to help. I am a nurse so in that line of work I don't know if it will ever get better. This past year I have stayed home alot. Now I just started back to work 12 hour shifts 2 days a week. So I am noticing a difference. ( It's hurtin more)Like one of the people had mentioned above I am wondering if I am having nerve damage. I would hate to think that I am prolonging surgery and then I have permanant damage. What kinds of things would I be feeling. That's what I am scared of. The doctors right now don't reccomend surgery at this time either, so I guess I will try PT again. Thanks again for all the comments.
  • hi there

    I came back to this site to share my experience that might help to other back pain sufferers like me. This time last year, I was in severe sciatica leg pain due to prolapsed disc between L5-S1. I couldn't stand straight, couldn't walk, couldn't sit, couldn't lie on my back. I could only lie on one side with my legs bent only for a short while. I was all on four for over 2 months and I actually lived and moved around like a dog for a few months.
    I also had accident during MRI scan. I had to get out after 3 mins as I felt like I was electrocuted through my sciatica nerve in my right leg. They tried to stretch my leg which I couldn't stretch due to pain.
    My orthopedic surgeon said I would have to do the surgery.

    My back pain started in Sept 07.
    Pain shoot down to right leg at Oct 07.
    Had MRI in Nov 07.
    Dec 07, Jan 08 and Feb 08 struggling with the pain. depressed and couldn't decide whether I should do surgery or not.

    within those months,I looked everywhere online where I could find info about back pain. In the end, I chose to try physio first .

    I bought a book from my physiotherapist called " TREAT YOUR OWN BACK " by Robin McKenzie.

    I did the exercises little by little as I could with the help of ice pack.
    It took me 8 months ( til Oct 08) to become completely pain free. I am still doing that exercises for my back and I would recommend for anyone who have problems with prolapsed, herniated, bulged disc.

    As you may know, sitting is not good for ppl with back problem. Try not to sit longer than 30 mins.

    So all I want to say from my point of view is that don't jump to the conclusion to have surgery because of the pain.
    Surgery should be considered as the last option after you have tried other options and your conditions doesn't improve. You also need patience. Your pain won't go away in a few days.

    So I wish you all the best for your back.

    Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about my experience.

    Good luck!!

  • i would agree with those who have said no surgery .for the very good reason .you will be in pain long term afterwards even if the operation is deemed a success scar tissue will form and will hurt like you can't imagine ..so if you have no or little leg pain .no surgery please take some good advice from people that are living with the consequences of surgery on there backs .i spend all my life on a recliner taking pain killers and i am only 42!i am over weight and very unhappy .you don't want to be like this do you?
  • You need a good diagnosis and doing no exercise will not help in the longer term, many with dedicated diagnosis forestall any surgery on the basis of the risk involved and you condition itself may mandate that balance. If your capacity should decline in that an invasive procedure would be more beneficial then that is the time to reflect on the realistic options and as said without that history and evidence, what would any surgery be intended to repair.

    In reality you have many tools and techniques to implement to try and improve your situation and continual evaluation and option needs to be part of that long term objective. Even when surgery is an option, evidence here infers some increased risk for the outcome.

  • If PT does not help try a different one. But if you seem to be stable while doing PT DO NOT STOP because it can get much worse. that's what happened to me. As soon as I stopped physical therapy I ended up with such horrible pain in my leg that I cannot walk. If you are walking fine and you do not feel numbness in your legs than you are fine. But check with a neurologist for your motor skills in terms of your legs. Also since you are on your feet all day long it is hard for your back. Try to stretch before work and after. Best of luck to you. I hope you feel better soon.
  • One thing that I tried before i had my fusion was aqua therapy. I even went on off days. Just floating in the water with the therapy floats around your neck back and legs will help relieve inflamation. Water is a great thing because it does not put any stress on ;your back. You can exercise with just walking around in the pool and it helps your back relax, and if you are working those kind of shirfts, I am sure this would feel wonderful for you. Hope it helps and good luck. I too tried many non ivasive things for 2 1/2 years before I had surgery. Also if you are on your feet alot, maybe try the zcoil shoes. They have big springs which can take alot of shock off your steps when you are on your feet, go on the web and type in zcoil.com. They fit them to your feet and they feel great.
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