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Does anyone have a success story???

buckeyebackbbuckeyeback Posts: 384
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Sounds like everyone on here has a minor back surgery (possible oxymoron) then gravitates toward a multi-level fusion and constant pain. I'm aware that those who are back to "normal" after surgery aren't on these boards, but geeze,...doesn't anyone get on here and discuss their long term success story? Just wondering.


  • I can say I am 1 month post-op PLIF L2-L5 and a total successs at every level. No pain, in therapy making leaps of advancement and march 13th Ill find out if I am fusing.

  • Here is a success story for you. In June 07 I ruptured l5-s1, had a discectomy and unfortunately reruptured 4 weeks later. Had a one level fusion and that was a success, totally fused, etc. However, I had pain from top of butt, to back of knee for the next year and a half. Just finally had a METREX system surgery 3 weeks ago to remove scar tissue from the nerve and it seems to be a success. I still have the occasional flare up but it settles down after a bit. The episodes are getting further between. It took going to a different surgeon to finally have someone listen to me and do something for me, but it finally has a good outcome. I had every diagnostic test AFTER the fusion to try figure out what the cause of the pain was, myleogram, discogram, injections (7), emg test, MRI (2) etc, etc, etc. Thank God my original surgeon finally referred me to a different surgeon, within 2 months of my first visit, he had done yet another injection basically as a diagnostic took, got his answer and I had surgery on Feb 9th this year. There is an end to it, so hopefully this will help someone hang in there a bit more.
    Good to see Dilauro and C still here, going to check out and see who is still around from the "Old days"
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    If you look at the total picture, you will find that there are many more success stories regarding spinal surgeries.
    Many members who register here might not always have the same opinion. But keep in mind, that this is a percentage of people that have good surgeries
    Search on Success and you will find scores of posts where people had surgery and they are doing so much better
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I haven't had surgery. There are many of us here who haven't had surgery and are hopefully temporarily disabled. I've been out with a back injury for a year so far. I've worked for 28 years and this is my only major set back. I'm here to hear of how others are coping as well as give and receive support to others who have had surgery and not. It's great to hear success stories and back to work. There are probably hundreds of people who were here don't come here anymore and are healing well. But this happens to be the time for us.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I was a buckeye 90-95. I'm feeling better. The recovery is just a heck of a lot slower than I would like.

  • I appreciate your postings everyone. It sounds like the healing process is much more cumbersome than I was expecting. A year to heal is not that uncommon I suppose. I just wish this nerve tingling/aching would diminish some so I would know I am getting better.

    Hello fellow Buckeye alum (cbskibum)! You must've taken quite a spill. Where were you skiing when you had your accident? Is your leg pain finally subsiding?
  • How did you rerupture your disc? Rerupturing or reherniating a disc is a big fear of mine.
  • 360 fusion with hardwear and artificial disc replacement in November 2008. I am back to work and feel terrific. I can't wait to return to all the activities I had to give up because of the years with back pain. Summer is coming so I am really looking forward to swimming, biking, motorcycling, etc... I have so much life to live and thank God I get that chance! Good Luck to everyone...
  • Good evening all,

    I'm not what I would call a long term success story, but I'm getting there.

    I had a l4/l5 l5/s1 discectomy and laminectomy on July 11th, 2008. After several months of a few problems, P.T. and finally getting back into the gym, I'm doing pretty good right now. I don't think I'll ever get back to 100%, but as of now I feel I'm in the 80-85% range. Using a stomach cruncher and a lower back specific machine at my gym, I feel I'm getting better by the week. I have occasional stiffness and pain (like a joint needs loosened up, probably a 2 on the 10 scale), have started jogging and using a bike to keep things going.

    So fear not, there are success stories out there.

  • I moved to Colorado for work just after school and ended up in Crested Butte until last year. The picture posted here is the cliff I fell off. It was a pretty sweet powder day before the fall. The name of the run was "sockittome." A pretty technical run, I skied probably 50 times. I olnly fell ONCE.

    Slowly my leg pain is subsiding. Sitting is pretty tough for me after surgery. Mostly the pain is just in my big toe now so thats a big improvement and even that is starting to fade.

    Although a couple of weeks ago my Dr Precribed Nerontin. I could either be healing or the meds. Either way I feel quite a bit better.

    Hope your feeling better.
  • Just need to know.. I am scheduled for the same kind of surgery on the 17th of this month.. Did your insurance pay for your ADR?? or did you have to pay for it??$$ Mine wont and the hospital quoted me a huge amount that I will never be able to come up with :(
  • i'm on my way to success. i stopped narcotics 2 days post-op and control pain with ibuprofen 600mg tid, robaxin 500mg at bedtime, heat and my TENS unit. my neuro symptoms have not returned since surgery. my muscle spasms are slowly getting better. i can lift 20-25lbs or so (i couln't hold anything heavier than a pen without dropping it before surgury). my neck range of motion is getting better and less painful each day. i am hopeful that soon (maybe mid-april) i will be able to lift 50lbs and be able to do CPR so that i can return to work. i believe staying positive and working thru the pain (not masking it) have been and will continue to be a big part of my recovery.
  • I have 1 success story & 1 in the works!

    My DH in 2001 had a microdiscectomy and while he still has some backaches when he overdoes things - he is in incredible shape now - besting all his army buddies on PT tests ever since he re-joined.

    I had a 2-level fusion last July and I am back to full-time work. I still have dr. imposed restrictions but I take nothing stronger than Tylenol. Don't get me wrong, I ache, but hey - it's SO much better than pre-surgery!
  • On average,...when did the leg pain start diminishing after the surgery "inflammation?" I'm 23 days post op and My leg pain (ache) and tingling (now in BOTH feet) is still bothersome. I am now back on my Voltaren. UGH! My 1st followup with the surgeon is Monday and I'll have to restrain myself from freaking out about these NEW issues in the OTHER leg. Maybe I'm just healing slow. :/

  • I walk down the street and back 2-3 times a day and rest inbetween moving around in the house. I eat well and take vitamins/drink lots of water. I'm in good health other than the back issues. I'm trying to do everything I am told to by the doctor to the T. I haven't driven yet or really even sat down because I'm so afraid of hindering the healing process. I'll see him on Monday and get some answers hopefully.

    Sounds like you had a difficult time with your situation but are finally getting to the other side, That's great to hear!
  • I am 3.5 months post op PLIF L4-5 fusion/decompression/synovial cyst removal. Prior to surgery I was rapidly losing my ability to walk. Completely! Only had a few months left, probably. Last night my hub and I drove down to Atlanta (an hour) and I walked 5 blocks once there to go see Chorus Line. I sat reasonably comfortably for the 2 hour show and then back home (another hour). No way could I have done any of that 4 or 5 months ago. Sure I still have some pain and discomfort. But I only take 10 mgs a day at most of Lortab plus a Celebrex (non narcotic). My options were surgery or surgery. And I am rapidly getting back to life. Every week gets a little better. It has been a long recovery for me but I'm 57 years old. And incidentally, Chorus line was great!!! Can't wait to go hiking with my grandaughter this weekend.
  • I woke up from my surgery free of nerve pain, and have not felt any since pre-op. I had my six week check in with my surgeon yesterday from my L5-S1 ALIF on January 21st and he is pleased with the x-ray (we're optimistic I am fusing, can't say for sure just yet). I'm off the narcotics, walking every day, he eased the "BLT" restrictions and I'm going back to work in 10 days.

    As of right now, I am so glad I did this surgery.
    But I am also glad I exhausted every conservative treatment option first.
  • Helloo! I am 5 months post-op a 360 3 level fusion. Last visit was 2 weeks ago to my NS and I could actually SEE the bone fusion myself this time. It was great! It is a long haul, you have good days and bad days.. but Ive learned to keep the bad days to a minimum by not over doing it. Everyone is different as is surgeons, and I have learned the meaning of patience allll over again. I feel better than I have in a long time, and can start to see the the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope this helps, and I have has to learn its one day at a time! :)
  • =D> =D> =D> buckeyeback thanks for starting this post. i feel better everytime i read it. marcia
  • Thanks to those who have shared their stories. It's very comforting to know that back surgery can be an answer to the constant pain and patience is what needs to be employed sometimes.

    Thanks again everyone!
  • I guess you'd say I'm a success, although I guess the jury is still out, as I'm only 3.5 months post-op. It has been a long, slow climb out of the pit of despair, but I'm getting there. I can walk without a cane now (at least most of the time), I can sit for more than a couple of hours in a row but I try not to, I've even done a bit of yard work and house work! I'm back to work full-time. No more extreme jolts of sciatica and I'm getting stronger every day. I hope it all stays this way.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I am getting treatment FINALLY for a mis-diagnosis of sacroiliitis, which actually is a torn disc at L5 S1 pressing on a nerve root. I have a discogram next Tuesday, which scares me a bit considering how barbaric injections have been! Then, they run me off to CT.

    After that, my new neurosurgeon will determine what my treatment options are. He said it could be injections or surgery. If surgery, I wonder if it will be a microdiscetomy? They don't sound very reliable. But, after 10 years of intractable pain (24/7 level 7 at least) and now on permanent disability though riding horses daily professionally, anything it takes to stop this pain short of a bullet in my head (seriously contemplated last year) I'm up for.

    Your success stories paint a more realistic picture than the short reports you get from doctors - "it'll be fine in a few weeks", or, "Don't expect miracles."

    I hope that you will be here when I have more questions - I have a funny feeling you will!

    NOTE to Aimless: LOVE your signature!!!! Pity City - Amen!
  • Everyone recovers at a different rate.

    I did everthing my doctor told me to do and did not start to feel relative relief until about the 6 week post op mark.

    Even now I get frustrated sometimes the the recovery process is not going as fast as I'd like.

    But, every week I feel a little bit better than I did the week before.

    Hang in there Buckeye.
  • Hi there, My L4/L5 fusion w/plates and screws was a complete success 11 years ago... i was back to work in 3 months and in the intervening years enjoyed horseback riding, gardening, hill walking... Then my neck went and i've been diagnosed with DDD. I am almost 2 weeks post double ACDF (c5/c6 and c6/c7). I know its early days... but I'm doing great!

    Good luck
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • Why do you think microdiscectomy is unreliable? I, too, had injections, but I was sedated except for the last one because it wasn't scheduled.
  • Hi all,

    The succusses out there are suprising when you encounter them. A friend of mine had L4-L5 fusion 35 years ago. He's 6'6" and you just wouldn't have guessed he got it in the good old days. No screws, no plates just his own bone.

  • I'm hanging in there. "Blind faith" is all I have even though it is frustrating. It seems like two steps forward and one and a half steps back. At least there's the half step, right?

    Thanks for your encouragement!

    Go Bucks!
  • Hello,
    I had an ACDF C5-6, C6-7 5 weeks ago. I browsed these boards extensively in making my decision to have surgery. I wanted to share my experience with others to educate/alleviate concerns. My apology if this is not posted in the correct thread. If posting in another area would provide more value, please let me know. Sorry this is so long, but this is what I would have appreciated going into my surgery.

    My injury was simply wearing down due to contact sports, weightlifting, etc. About 6 years ago, I noticed tingling in my fingers. Prior to that, I just managed through the pain. After an MRI, I found out I had 2 small cervical herniations. I took a break from lifting and things calmed down enough to avoid further treatments. In October 2008, I began experiencing pain behind my left scapula. It felt like things I have worked through in the past, so I pushed through it and kept working out. About a week later, the pain intensified and I lost sensation in my 1st and 2nd fingers on my left side. That pushed me to the Dr. A lesson learned- Don’t push through these things. Don’t be stubborn or tough. Get treatment early on.

    My PCP felt it was nerve related, gave me some Vicodin to get me through the week and referred me to a specialist. My specialist ordered an MRI. The MRI showed my previously known herniations had become larger. We talked through options and I elected to go as non-invasive as possible. I had three epidural steroid injections about 5 weeks apart along with physical therapy including mild traction. The injections helped the pain, but the tingling remained, and I had lost 50% of the strength in my left arm. The lingering tingling and loss of strength pushed me to surgical options.

    This was going to be my 9th surgery, but my first one on my back. I have never been nervous before, but this one had me scared. I got 3 different opinions. They all netted out to ACDF, but it was clear who my surgeon was. He spent time with me, answered all of my questions, was very patient etc. The other 2 were very matter of fact, did very little testing, looked at my MRI, talked with/tested me for 2 minutes and recommended an ACDF as if it was the simplest thing in the world. Maybe for them, but not for me. A lesson learned- see a lot of Dr’s and find the one you connect with and trust. If you are near the Minneapolis area, I highly recommend my Dr. I’ve been through a lot of procedures and he was one of my best. Not sure if this breaches etiquette for this board, but I went to Dr. Kraker at Advanced Spine Associates.

    My planned 2.5 hour procedure (2-level fusion w/ plating) ended as a 4.5 hour procedure. It turned out that my issue was less herniation, and more bone spurs. My Dr had to remove a lot of spurs and that extended the procedure. Upon waking and throughout my recovery, my throat pain was my worst symptom. The incision, resection, and intubation caused a lot of aggravation and swelling. Eating and drinking were my bigger recovery issues. I was in the hospital overnight and out the next day. My immediate post-op recovery really was no big deal. The pain was pretty minimal. I had my hard Aspen collar on so that took some getting used to. Getting into and out of bed took some instruction, but it wasn’t hard. My voice was a little hoarse, but it came back quickly.

    I spent most of my 1st week home alternating between short walks and sitting in a chaise lounge. My Dr. instructed me to wear the Aspen collar ½ the time around the house, at all times in the car, and at all times sleeping. My throat was sore, and my neck just felt unsafe and loose. I was nervous enough to not take my collar off the 1st few days. Showers and getting dressed were toughest. Washing my hair was the most nerve-wracking as running your hands through your hair forces you to tense/support your neck and I was worried about doing damage. Take care with this and be gentle. I have a treadmill in my basement and I was on that pretty much every day for slow walks. I walked up and down stairs several times a day with no issues. Just take it slow. Comfortable seating was my biggest challenge. I tried everything except buying a recliner. Lime most people, I stocked up on the “must-haves” for post op. My 6 important helpers: 1) A caring wife and family; 2) wedge pillow from BBB (my most important purchase… I got one for my bed and 1 for my chair); 3) Cold foods to soothe the throat; 4) movies…lots of movies; 5) loose fitting t-shirts…hard to lift hands over head very far; 6) computer tray that elevates the keyboard. I returned a lot of stuff that I didn’t end up using like the grabber for picking things up from the floor, books (I really couldn’t look down to read), books on tape (too boring to sit and listen), etc. By my 4th day home, I was able to get on my computer and work for about 4 hours.
    Percocet was my only med. I also take a multi-vitamin and calcium supplement to aid in fusion. I never took more than 1 Percocet at a time. The first 3 days, I took 1 every 5 hours or so. By day 7, I had cut back to 1 every 8 hours.

    I want back to work my second week home. I was down to pain meds once a day, at night with Tylenol during the day. I couldn’t drive yet, so I took a taxi. I went 4 hours the 1st 2 days, 6 the next 2, and 9 the fifth. I work in an office. My biggest need here was getting my screen and keyboard elevated so I didn’t have to look down too much. The first day was tough, but by the end of the week, I was feeling fine. My throat pain was improving. My neck felt OK, just different. You know if you turn the wrong way or too quickly. It just doesn’t feel as stable. It felt off and different. Getting into and out of bad was weird as that was where I felt the instability in my neck the most. Listen to your OT’s when they teach you how to get into and out of bed, the car, chairs, etc.

    I had to travel for work this week. I made it through a 3 hour plane ride without issue. It wasn’t comfortable wearing the collar, but I needed it. I traveled with co-workers who helped me with my luggage. If they hadn’t been there, I would have had to cancel as I had a 5lb weight restriction and nothing overhead. From a meds perspective, I was down to Tylenol a couple times a day. I didn’t wear my collar during the day (Dr OK’d this at my 2-week checkup). Throat feels good, Neck feeling a bit more stable. I had the OK to begin driving this week but I was out of town and didn’t need to.

    I started driving this week. The mobility reduction makes you nervous and I try to minimize lane changes as much as possible. You get used to it. No more pain meds of any kind. I have a lot of my prescription left over. I still sleep on my wedge pillow and wear my collar at night, in the car, on the plane. My neck started feeling pretty good this week. I was more confident and had to hold myself back from doing too much.

    I’m in week 5 and feel great. As nervous as I was going into this, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The only thing I would do differently would be to get the surgery faster. I lived with the symptoms longer than I should have. There haven’ been any real setbacks outside of 1 time I overdid my walking. I added a set of 5lb dumbbells and tried some curls while I walked. The eight was within my limits so I figured no issue, right? My back ended up a bit sore between my shoulder blades. I think it was more to do with the number of repetitions than the weight. I did the curls continuously for 3o mins as the weight was really too light to fatigue my arms. I took the cue and slowed down until cleared by my Dr.
  • I went to my surgeon followup appointment and he seemed to be happy with my progress?! I'm not so happy about it. I am 4 weeks post op and I am still having a lot of sciatica and tingling similar to what I had prior to surgery. Maybe my expectations were too high but shouldn't I feel some relief by now???

    I am doing everything I am supposed to. I hardly sit,...maybe a total of an hour a day. I am also taking liquid B-12 which I understand is supposed to aid in the healing of nerve tissue. Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint health and a multivitamin. Omega 3, 6, 9 too. Plenty of nutrition and forcing myself to walk and get outside the house.

    My left inside thigh feels tight and sore too. When I told my doc about that he said "Do you have a blood clot?" I looked at him with a confused look, I'm sure and said "I don't know." Thinking to myself,....you're the doctor! He then said "if you are having any swelling or it moves higher to let me know so we can get an ultrasound." Great! more medical crap to worry about.

    I'm starting to take even more pain medication because I have to have a break from this sciatica.

    Any suggestions, please?
  • Buckeyeback,

    I'd get the ultra sound. I got a blood clot and then multiple pulmonary emboli as a result of fusion. The ultra sound is very easy. I was the same as you--not much pain relief at a month. I am now at 4 months and it is VERY SLOW progress.

    I am planning on having a full recovery! These posts have been very encouraging to read. Thank you--

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