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Sciatica, no pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I have had a problem w/sciatic nerve for about a year & a half. When it 1st acted up it was very painful but now I have been pain free for about 2 months walking and exercising . The only thing that i notice is a tingling in my leg once in a while and the ball of my foot feels like I'm walking on a couple of marbles. I saw a neurosurgeon yesterday and after looking at my MRI he said that I have a disc that slipped back and is pinching the nerve, the L-4 & L-5. He explained the procedure to fix it as making a small incision over the area and relieving the nerve by opening up the area, giving the nerve more room. The whole operation would take 45 min. to an hour. He said being that I'm not in pain, I could wait and if the pain came back, then get it done. He left it up to me.
Has anyone had this done and if so, was it successful?


PS: I should add that I took no pain killers during this time.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,837

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    Sciatica pain can come and go... But as long as the disc is pressing on a nerve root it is always there.
    Through exercise and some medications, the Sciatica pain is controllable - SOMETIMES.
    I would get more details from your doctor regarding the procedure. While some spinal surgeries have become less complex over the years and many are almost minimally evasive, there is still a surgical procedure on the spine, the spinal nerve and column.
    So even the easiest 'talked about' procedure is no cake walk.
    That is not meant to scare anyone or say that people should not have spinal surgrey. Without the qualified doctors who perform countless amounts of spinal surgery there would be so many more people suffering every day and getting worse.
    Once you know you have a disc related problem, start to research everything about it. Become the expert regarding your situation, the options that are available to correct it. I have always recommended that any patient suffering from spinal problems need to exhaust all the conservative treatments before going in under the knife.
    These include:
    - Physical Therapy
    - Aqua Therapy
    - Massage Therapy
    - Heat/Ice Therapy
    - Ultrasound
    - Passive Traction
    - Acupuncture
    - Spinal Injections
    - Osteopathic treatments
    - Aroma and Relaxation Therapy
    - and more

    Best news is that there is rarely a spinal condition that can not be addressed and fixed.

    There is always three parts to any spinal problem:

    1- The Surgical Procedures to fix it
    2- The Patient's dedication and work to restore strength and health and avoid additional surgery
    3- Faith, Luck, Karma, whatever one may call it, some things are left out of our hands to an extent

    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
  • When you said that it feels like you're stepping on marbles, I had too laugh. My whole saga with sciatic pain started almost a year ago when I woke up one morning stepped out of bed and the ball of my left foot felt like I was stepping on rocks at the beach. By October, I was having foot surgery for an inflamed nerve and was in a lot of foot pain. While recovering from the foot surgery, I developed severe pain in the back of my left thigh. Long story short -- I had a herniated disc of my L4/L5 and I think it was the sciatica presenting in my foot at first. I had NO back pain and had not suffered from back issues previously so I didn't know what was happening to me until I finally had an MRI at the request of an orthopaedic surgeon. I've suffered in pain for almost nine months now and on several medications to try and control the pain. Currently, I having another MRI tomorrow morning and am going to a different ortho doc for a second opinion. I've also had 3 epidurals in Jan/Feb of this year which did little to alleviate the problem. Also just lost my job due to being out so much over the past six months.

    Surgery is a personal choice between you and your neurosurgeon -- pain is the great motivator -- I don't think any of us on this website would choose to have surgery if we were in little to no pain. If we had other alternatives, i.e. exercise, etc. that kept us out of pain, I don't think anyone would go under the knife. JUST MY OPINION -- I think you are very lucky to have little to no pain and have not had to take any pain relievers.

    Good luck to you and I hope you remain pain free.
  • Deltalady, My problem is also the L4-L5, but it just slipped back and is pinching the nerve. Did the foot surgery alleviate the feeling of walking on rocks? Mine is gradually going away, now I'm walking on 2 marbles instead of 6 or 7.LOL.... I don't know what to do about surgery, being that I'm not in pain. There are other problems that the sciatica creates, at least for me! It has changed my bowl movements and urinary tract, it seems that half of the time that I have to urinate I have a bowel movement too, that was never the case before, bowel movements were once a day and urinating wasn't many many times a day as it is now. That would be the only reason that I would opt for surgery. I DON'T LIKE IT! Do you have that problem also?

    The surgeon said he would make an incision no longer than an inch and the whole process would take from 45 min. to and hour. He gave me a CD showing the procedure, doesn't look like much, he does it with a scope and pincers, trims away some of the disc that is pinching the nerve to relieve it. Click this link, then click the " narrated animation version" bar. will show you the whole procedure.

    I think the exercises I've been doing for it have helped relieve the pain also but, not helping the other problem.

    I am very sorry to hear that you can't get any relief, I put up with that for 4 to 5 months and wouldn't wish it on anyone. Are you doing any exercises, they really helped me but it took a while.

  • :H First let me say that I don't have the problem you mentioned with urinary/bowel habits. That's worrisome and I would certainly let your doctor know about it especially since it is a new development in your bowel habits.

    Second, I think I had unnecessary foot surgery. I didn't know at the time my foot started to bother me that it could be sciatica presenting itself in my foot from my bulging disc. I had no back pain and still don't so I had no idea that the foot pain may have been sciatica. My podiatrist gave me antiinflamtories first, then we went to cortisone shots and finally surgery because after 4 months, my foot became very painful. I did get pain relief for my foot after the surgery but it was replaced by intense pain in the back of my thigh. That led me to the ortho doc and thre rest is history.

    I just had a second opinion along with another MRI a few weeks ago and the new ortho doc told me I wasn't a surgery candidate and should continue to use conservative methods to control my sciatic pain in the left leg. As I write this, I'm having a very low pain day - YEAH! I'll take it. I did get an inversion table Memorial Day weekend because the new ortho doc recommended it. I like it -- I feel like a bat hanging upside down :) but it feels wonderful when you get off. It may be helping since my pain has been quite reduced the last week or so.

    Sounds like you're talking about a microdisectomy that your surgeon is recommending. Please be sure to check out the section on this website about what questions you should ask your surgeon. There is a chance of re-herniation and scar tissue (which will make the sciatica flare back up). But,
    since you are having bowel/urinary changes, I'd certainly get right on having a conversation with your doctor about that. Are you taking any supplements or medications that may be causing this?

    Yes, I do exercises, also had a lot of chiropractic care but have not been for a while.

    Take care and I know you and your doctor will arrive at the best decision that's right for your situation. Pain is always a great motivator to have surgery so if you're not in pain, I wouldn't be rushing to surgery either without doing some thorough research.

    Good luck and PM me anytime you need to talk.


  • Hi Deltalady, my sciatic problem is also on the left side, I never take any pain medication or any drugs of any kind. I am very pain tolerant so I can usually put up with it, I take an 80 gram aspirin once a day, that's it! I lost my R. leg many years ago and the prosthetics that they had back then weren't as advanced as they are today, very painful to walk with, I guess I got used to pain years ago but today things are much much better in that department. Now I have sciatica! LOL.
    I did tell the neurologist about the bowel and urinary problem and he said that the L4 & L5 do cause those problems and many more, such as, colon, reproductive organs, groin, bladder, prostate, legs, ankle, feet and toes. As of now I only get a little tingling in my leg once in a while, no pain to speak of though. I had terrible pain in the buttocks when it 1st hit me, like someone stabbing me with a knife, then it worked it's way down to my thigh and calf, felt like cramps. This all took place over a period of 3 months, that was a little over a year ago. It progressively got better with time.

    I'm glad to hear that your pain has subsided as has mine. I may get one of those tables if it flares up again.

    I'll check out that section about what ?'s to ask a surgeon, and thanks for your help.

  • I am glad that you are not having any pain issues with your herniated disc. If it was me with the bladder and bowel problems I would be talking with the doctor a little more to see if there is away without surgery to correct that problem. If there is no other way then in my opinion I would do the surgery. You do not want the bladder and bowels to get any worse. Keep us posted on what happens. Good Luck.

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