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why do surgeon tell patients that you will get instant relief

LovinggardenerLLovinggardener Posts: 494
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
From reading numerous posts and threads, having pain after microdiscectomy is NORMAL or COMMON, but why do doctors (ok...in my doc told me that I would get instant relief. No pain...voila! I should be fixed.

What do you speculate?


  • She had 1st surgery for L5-S1 broadbased bulge in 7/08, had a recurrence, more aggressive surgery in 2/09. Doc says surgery went great, but she still hurts daily. Its been 7 weeks. When will she get better? She's getting depressed!
  • Boy was he ever WRONG! I'm in so much pain now and it's been unmanagable. He said that the pain would be gone right away after surgery. It was, but only when I was on the pain pump at the hospital. As soon as I came home the pain returned and here I am 4 weeks later.

    I have no idea why they tell their patients this.
  • Thankfully, my right arm pain, tingling, and numbness were completely gone when I woke up from surgery. Maybe the doctors should say that some patients have immediate relief and others don't. I'm sorry to hear you are still in pain.
  • over estimate their capabilities and as a result lull us in to a false sense of security .so when we wake up in pain we are disappointed .my surgeon told me that the reason for doing the bilateral discectomy was to free the nerve and prevent it from being damaged .now i thought that this would mean that i would be free of pain ...not true ..in fact the back ache has been a lot worse since the operation the leg pain is not constant anymore but tends to be positional and after laying down {its still very painful and my foot hurts all the time}.many operations on the spine are done to prevent further damage to the structures within the spinal canal .this does not automatically mean a reduction in pain it is to ensure that function is not lost.many patients think that just because they have had an operation .they will be free from pain.often this is not the case.then there is the dreaded scar tissue ..this can be just a problematic as the original reason that the surgery was performed .i have found out after 15 years and 2 operations that back pain a way of life and as soon as you can learn to cope with how you are NOW rather than how you were before you had back problems the easier it will be for you to live your life ..i know that this is a tall order as having back problems is a life long problem and you will have to adjust your life accordingly.
  • Because some are dishonest and unmoved by the fact that it is somebody else's life. Make no mistake about it, a good number of them would not dispense the same advice were it a loved one.

    The unfortunate truth is that as in most things in life, you have to do your own due diligence. Be it getting an estimate for a roof repair or buying a car or getting a fusion, educate yourself and know what you are being sold. Sorry, but the idea that you should trust in the medical profession on the sheer basis of them being subject matter experts is simply flawed...and dangerous.

    Don't get me wrong, as there are good doctors out there. Nevertheless: trust, but verify.

    I do offer one piece of advice. Spinal surgeries definitely are effective when it comes to structural stability issues and mitigating paralysis. However, in terms of pain relief, spinal surgery remains non-deterministic. Any doctor who says otherwise is simply lying.

    Cheers, Mate
  • They have not taken the proper course when they were trained to become doctors, or they choose to ignore it.

    There are people at 90% plus of all teaching institutions in the States, maybe elswhere? they are called Risk Managers. They do as their title suggests they manage risk, they try to teach the doctors not to make these promises! They ask them to be truthfull, document EVERYTHING do not lie at any cost. To promise us instant relief is basically stupid on the doctors part. It creates illwill when it does not happen.

    I know a risk manager very, very well. She has told me there have been so many studies that show a doctor can massivly screwup yet not get sued, if the patient LIKES the doctor! Telling a patient lies or promising them instant relief does not get a patient to like the doctor, so she advises over and over, do not make those promises.

    Like all people, some doctors will just not listen! I was promised a complete painfree recovery by my OS, even after he was trained by my riskmanager friend to never make such a promise!
  • teachertx said:
    From reading numerous posts and threads, having pain after microdiscectomy is NORMAL or COMMON, but why do doctors (ok...in my doc told me that I would get instant relief. No pain...voila! I should be fixed.

    What do you speculate?
    My surgeon/doctor did not tell me I would be pain free after surgery. My surgery was to basically prevent nerve damage. My right leg was getting weaker and I couldn't walk very well and would limp around.
  • teachertx - how long has it been since your surgery?
  • I did get instant relief. I guess it depends on how bad the compression was, how the doc does the procedure (use steroids during the procedure to decrease inflammation) etc.
  • My Dr told me the risks and complications. He gave me real percentages of success/failure. Afte being in pain for 2 1/2 years, I was ready to try anything thinking it was better than where I was. Hoping it still gets better.
  • The first one was done on 3/4. He said I would wake up with immediate relief. I guess he was technically right, but after the steroids wore off I started to feel pain.

    The 2nd one was done on this past Tues. my pain is around 2 which is great, but not the immediate relief from leg pain. I knew that I would have pain at the incision site, but not the odd, transient pains here and there. If I had been given a warning, I wouldn't have been as worried.

    I just wish that they would lay it all out. As a teacher, I don't expect my parents to do the research on current pedagogy on education. That's my job to provide and research the answers for them.
  • I woke up from my 2-level fusion in ZERO pain. It was wonderful. The radiating left leg pain was GONE and it's not realy been back since.

    Not to say that I didn't experience a lot of post-surgical pain. Or that I've not had some 'issues' since.

    Also, whenever I needed to roll over, move, walk - or the worst part was throwing up after my fusion - I was hurting. A lot.

    But I honestly felt nothing when I woke up after the surgery.

    My NS did not give me false hope though. I was very point blank told that what I was going through was considered the second-most painful surgery there is. Open heart being the most. I don't know how far I trust that opinion, but I can tell you I was one grateful and humble patient when I realized I was 'on the backside' of my surgery and doing well.

    Maybe it's an expectation thing - don't get your hopes up and you won't be disappointed kind of thing?

  • Both of my surgeons never told me I would be pain free, what I am free of is the pain that was causing all my discomfort. My left arm/hand still has some numbness, annoying, not painful. My surgery on Monday has been wonderful so far, the problems we went after seem to have been addressed, but it has only been 6 days. From where I was to where I am now, it is night and day. Do I still have some pain, yes, will it ever be all gone, probably not, but it has become manageable and it looks like I may be able to get back to 'normal' or at least close to it. This has been the hardest part of my surgeries, the recovery, they said it would be long, they were right. I hope things start getting better for you.

  • I just never realized that my foot or leg could be victims of a simple lami/disk. I don't remember that ever being mentioned. My surgeon gave me the percentages and I had no reason to assume I would be in the small percentage that would have problems. Two years later no one has answers as to how to help my foot get rid of the numbing and horrible pain.
  • Sorry about your daughter's pain
  • But my neurosurgeon lied to me when he said 3 to 6 months for recovery. I'm in more pain now than before surgery. Severe muscle spasms and I'm on two muscle relaxers. Some numbness and tingling in feet and it's becoming more frequent. Last night I felt like fire was shooting down and out the bottom of my heels and insteps.

    PM said recovery is really 6 to 12 months for the surgery I had. She also said I'm having way more spasms than most patients at this stage.

    I'm annoyed for being misled about the recovery time. Helpless because it doesn't seem that anyone can do anything to ease this pain.

    I hope everyone else has a better experience and recovery than mine.
  • has told me that if everything goes well, he expects 80% of my pain will be gone but this is not a guaranteed surgery and that for 10 days to 2 weeks I will wonder what I have had done to myself. He has been really honest with me and I do appreciate that!!
  • My surgeon told me he could fix me and I should come out of it pain free, which I did (sciatica was gone instantly).

    Ya there was hellacious pain after the surgery, but having screws, rods, parts of your spine cut out, of course your going to hurt.

    However I truely feel for those who went in expecting relief from the sciatica and go for that first walk and it's still there, I truly can not even fathom the thought of it after going through such a major surgery.

    If that happend to me I would be calling every doctor, surgeon, specialist there is.
  • "If that happend to me I would be calling every doctor, surgeon, specialist there is."

    And just what would you say?

    Do you think the surgeon intended for the patient to come out from surgery and still have pain?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,874
    is that good surgeons want to believe that their work on your spine will result in a pain free existence.
    That always sounds good in theory, but in reality, even the best surgeon, who does the best job can never guarantee a patient that they will have instant relief and be pain free.
    There are way too many variables that come into play that can and will determine how fast you will get the relief and if you will continue to have pain.

    As patients, we place our faith and trust with our doctors who are going to perform surgery on our spine. We hope that they do the best job possible, and then afterwards it will be up to us a patients to determine how things will progress.
    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
  • preserve the function of the back and legs .this does not automatically remove pain ...it may cause pain .and as i have said on previous post ..getting back to normal often means normal for some one that has had surgery nit the normal that you think you should be like {IE before you had any back problems} recovery time from open back surgery takes around 12/18 months after this time if you are still in awful pain its likely that you have more problems in your back.and if you still have pain and limited function in your back and legs without any new problems in your spine this is normally as good as it gets and the surgeons will class this as the new normal for you.getting back to no pain and full function is almost impossible.
  • Many docs believe they can tell exactly what is wrong by looking at your MRIs or CT scans. Sometimes they can, but oftentimes there are other things they can't see on the tests in their way. If you had a disc that was plainly pressing on the nerve, they probably assumed that as soon as they removed the offending piece of disc, you would have immediate relief. I know I did (from the back pain). The residual pain down my legs lasted a bit longer -- I'm told it is the result of the nerve having been pinched for so long. I actually got a good six months out of my microdiscectomy, before things went way south again. I wish I could have just had another to deal with the pain I was having, but my spine was in too bad a shape.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • And to add to that surgery is also to stabilize the spine in my case.
    My NS didnt tell me I would be pain free, what he has said all along has been the truth, which is why I am so fortunate to have found him.
  • As dilaro said there are a lot of variables.

    If your nerve is damaged, back surgery would realistically be little use, but last I knew there is no technology, diagnostic test, that can tell you a nerve is damaged without surgery to visualize the nerve and even then its no guarantee.

    And as to what I would say to the doctors/surgeons, I would simply tell them my problem, and request a consult to see if there is any way they could assist me. A daunting task I am sure but there are surgeons and doctors, especially at learning institutions, that will go the extra mile to help you.
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