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introduction and scheduled for surgery

LovinggardenerLLovinggardener Posts: 494
Hello! I am new to this board. I have been lurking for a time. I found this forum on my surgeon's website. cool.

I am scheduled to have a MRI and microdisectomy on next Wednesday. My surgeon wants a current MRI since the last one was done a year ago. According to the old one, I have a 7mm bulging disc at L5S1, which has caused a lot pain. I have had weeks where the pain was manageable, but the last three months have been hell. I have had four lumbar ESIs. The first and the fourth one have helped, but I still have tingling sensations and manageable. My orthopedic surgeon performed some neurological tests, and he found that I had no reflex response on my achille's tendon. Already some nerve damage. I never saw myself in this position, because I stay healthy by being active (yoga/core fusion) and keeping my weight in the normal range. However, the raging pain has forced me to do a lot of things (injections and upcoming surgery) that I never thought to do. Surgeon explained that some people are predispositioned have back problems. Yes, it's true. My mom had a relatively successful back surgery. She still has some back pain, but it's not crippling.

My doctor said that I should recover in two weeks. I would love to hear SUCCESS stories, so that I can stay positive. When did you start feeling better as far the pain and when does the tingling sensation go away? Does the tingling sensation mean that nerve damage is going on? (forgot to ask my dr.)

Sorry for the long post and questions.

Thank you in advance!


  • There really are no specific answers to your questions, as there are so many variables involved, like the degree of the nerve compression, how long it was compressed, etc. Many people get relief from the "sciatic" pain almost immediately.

    It generally takes awhile for the nerve to recover, as nerves heal VERY slowly. During this time, you may feel some similar or new nerve sensations such as tingling, pins and needles, temperature change, etc.

    As spine surgeries go, microdiscectomy is fairly simple. Most people are up and about in a couple days. Often the bigger problem is trying to keep the patient from doing too much. After months of pain and restricted activity, the patient usually feels so much relief that the normal response is to want to try everything right away. This usually leads to a temporary setback in healing as the nerve ends up getting irritated and inflammation is usually the result.

    The tingling means that you have nerve compression. It does not necessarily mean there is any permanent damage.

    To maximize your surgical experience, follow your doctor's orders exactly. The first two weeks limit your activities to resting and walking, as much as possible. Fight the temptation to be on your feet or sit too long. Avoid activities that involve bending, twisting and do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. If you go grocery shopping, be sure the bags are packed lightly. Do not reach up over your head at the beginning (like into a high cupboard or shelf). Just keep reminding yourself that you do not want to have to repeat this surgery. Give yourself the very best chance for optimal recovery.

    Keep a positive attitude, follow the surgeon's directions and you should do very well.

    Good luck to you.

    xx Gwennie :H
  • Teachertx, I had a microdiscectomy a few months ago after many months of pain very similar to yours. The horrible gluteous minimus, and hamstring, and calf pain, along with the tingling/sleeping/numb foot. I had a massive L5-S1 herniation last April. Received a couple of ESI's that helped quite a bit for a couple months. Then a selective nerve root block that did not help at all. The pain was steadily creeping back up to about an 8 and they said that all non-surgical options had been done. The tingling/sleeping/numb foot was gone when I woke up from the surgery and has not come back yet. Most of the hip, hamstring, and calf pain was gone pretty much right away too. After about 6 weeks some of the calf and hip pain did come back. I had another MRI and they said it was scar tissue. I had another selective nerve root block to schrink the scar tissue about a month ago and it worked to reduce the pain quite a bit. The microdiscectomy surgery was no big deal and I recovered very quickly. Everyone else is right in saying that you have to be very, very careful to not do too much, too quickly though. Just walk alot every day.
  • Hey teachertx good luck. If u have the microdiscectomy you may want to find a dr who implants these things that help prevent re-herniations by helping reinforce the part of the disc that is broken. Look up annulex.com or something like that. Look for their prodcuts inclosure and x closure. It is really new technology. I personally never had it done bc I still havent had any surgery, but it is somethign worth looking at. It is still pretty new so I dont think they have any long studies on it, but I dont see where it could hurt. So ask around and see if u can find a dr who does this if you want it. You can search dr's on their website who do this. I dont know if they require them to train alot to be listed as a provider or not. Well good luck with everything and I added you on here if u have any questions you can message me to ask.
  • Hi Teachertx,

    I may have this procedure soon if my plasma disc decompression scheduled for next week doesn't work so I'll be looking for your follow-up post surgery. I too maintain a healthy weight and had initiated a walking program when all this started. I have a small herniation of my L5,no back pain and raging pain in the left thigh and foot, 3 epis, 2nd and 3rd gave me one week of relief each and am now miserable again and barely making it to work. Doesn't the timing of these painful back problems seem unbelievable with this economy? Anyway, I'll be hoping that your surgery and recovery go well and you'll be back in the PINK soon! :D
  • I am rereading your post and it sounds just like what my nurse advise me to do. Thank you taking the time to give all the details for recovery!!! You are awesome!
  • I have been posting the details of surgery and recovery on the surgery forum. I did have the microdiscectomy and it's day 2. I am not in pain except for the incision site. I am walking on eggshells because I am afraid to reinjure myself. My husband has been a saint in helping me. I thought I was going to crack up before the surgery, but I kept in together until today. Having to ask someone to do everything is frustrating.

    Overall, I have to say that things are going better than one can hope.
  • A week ago today I had microdiscectomy and the recovery process have been good so far. My allergy has kicked in and it's making me cough. Holding my breath that the coughing doesn't hurt me.

    I didn't get to walk as much today due the unrelenting rain. My leg feels heavy. The healing process has been steady but not quick enough. One thing that I am learning in this experience is patience.
  • I hear you on the coughing. I sneezed and that sent the disc out to the point of ahving no choice but to hace the surgery. Now that i am doing great, i still sneeze quite often and it scares the hell out of me everytime i do. I try to get into a cradle position and then sneeze as lighlty as possible as i am scared to death that a sneeze or cough will floor me again. Im glad to here your recovery is going well.
  • Pain and burning returned two days ago. I am not quite sure what set it off. I have read some old threads that my pain could have been masked by the steroid given during the surgery. In addition, I was given a pack of steroid to take the first week. Thankfully, the pain has not increased to the level prior to surgery, but uncomfortable enough for me to pop a pain pill left over.

    I was so happy to be off the med. I don't want to be on the roller coaster of weaning myself again.
  • Thank goodness the burning pain has ceased but the pain in the buttocks and down to my ankle still forces me to take ibuprofen and a vicodin at night. It is not the shooting pain. More like throb or an ache. Not bad enough to make me cry but bad enough to prevent me for sitting no more than five min.

    I don't know how I am going to return to work on Monday. My husband says that I still have a week and things can get better. Is he realistic?
  • I saw my surgeon's nurse practioner today. She examined me and seemed satisfied. When I told her about the return of the old pain (not as bad as before), she instructed me to walk for 20 min. three times a day and start physical therapy next week. If my symptoms worsen or new ones arise, she said I should call her. I was released to drive which was awesome.

  • Hi,
    I must concur 100% with gwennie. I had a discectomy/laminectomy at the L5-S1 on 3/2/09. The relief from the nerve pain was immediate and so wonderful. Then...12 days post surgery I over did it. Even being cognizant that I shouldn't, I was feeling so good, and so tired of being cooped up in the house; I walked around too much, sat around too much. Woke up the next day with sciatic pain! I was almost inconsolable. The surgeon gave me some prednisone and I've been VERY careful since...I do NOT, and you do NOT want that pain anymore! The pain has since subsided but, you MUST do exactly as your Doc tells you. Don't sit for more than 15-30 minutes in any 2 hour increment. Walk around the house, carefully at least 6 times per day. Lie down and rest for 20-30 minutes at least 6 times per day.
    Good Luck!
  • I had an emergency laminectomy/discetomy on 11/21

    I had hurt my back in sept.. hurt it worse on 11/18
    in which the disc basically really ruptured into
    my spinal column.. and I had acute Cauda Equine Syndrome.

    needless to say.. that was scary.. as of today
    3/19.. I have no symptoms of the CES.. =)

    I feel good.. still have numbness and some tingling
    in my left leg and toes.. my L4 nerve was really effected too.

    my doc said it would take some time for the nerves that
    were compressed to heal. I had the nerves tested
    post op, along with the follow up xrays.

    He says everything is goin well.

    id have the surgery in a second given to do over again
    with the amount of pain I was in and the scariness
    of the CES... it was the right decision.

    hope this helps
  • Currently I am on a second round of oral steroids that has helped easing the pain. I feel the pain mostly on the back of right knee and ankle. Again not to the preOp level, so I am hopeful.

  • NP called to tell me that they will do another MRI. She will try to get me in today.
  • I have been in pain for 4 years . I had some trauma and after a failed L5/S1 in June '08, I bided my time with a
    Lortab3 at bedtime and 5mg's prednisone. On Jan. 2nd my
    back pain was acute; pain from left-- back, hip, groin, knee-- both heels, both hips and buttocks. I was referred to Mayo-Jacksonville; just had 5 tests to guage condition. They were lab workup, MRI's, XR's, an EMG, and a discography(OUCH). The neuro-radiolists, the EMG doc et al told me that I should take the Neurosurgeon's advice ; I met with him after he saw the tests. He scheduled me for fusion of 4&5 and willuse cadaver bone for graft, along with some growth hormones.Does anyone have experience with such? He said I'll be in Mayo Hospital for 6 days, in JAX for 2 more days, no driving for 1 month, and a brace for 4 months. He
    said that I should expect at least 50% pain reduction.
  • You should post your question on the back and neck surgery board. I think you get more responses.

    Good luck!
  • This time I got a MRI with contrast. I have been dreading getting the dye, but it wasn't bad at all. Now I have to wait for the results....
  • Hi there, I've been reading your posts im relatively new to this forum but not to discal problems unfortunately!! I had a microdiscectomy in Nov 2006 as an emergency it was L4 I have a high pain barrier(I think!) but that took the biscuit, I still have numb toes and tingling sensation and now, lucky me, I'm back in for another microdiscectomy 2nd April for L5 S1 which is hell! I'm currently medicating with oramorph its the only thing that will touch it. I'm just unlucky I guess!!I hope all goes well for you keep the faith, just be careful in all u do, I constantly watch my posture now and its not a bad thing as it feels good! When will you get the results?
  • My neighbors have noticed the change in my posture. I am trying to keep a good form.

    I am suppose to get the results in two - five days. My pain is manageable if I lie on back. Good luck on your surgery. You should start a thread. I enjoy reading other people's recovery.
  • I just got the bad news that I need a second surgery; therefore, I am closing this thread. Thank you for answering and supporting me through these difficult days. I will start a new thread about my 2nd procedure.
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