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Any advice re L5-S1 disectomy and (L) decompression..more pain!

waynuswwaynus Posts: 46
Hi Everyone,

I have had an L5-S1 disectomy and decompression, surgeons said a huge disc piece was removed. also a caudial epidurial a week before the major op.

I have just come off morphine and valium/diazipam and have noticed my right leg/buttock is flaring up and causing me alot of pain.

The question is: is this part and parcel of having the operation which was in April 09.

Or could the disc have potentally moved to the right hand side!!!! more op's.

Im still numb in the left buttock/leg/foot and the genital area, should this subside or is this part of the effects of the caudial epidurial????



  • i carnt answer your question my friend but can give you my experience after having the same op as you .i have been in a lot of pain and still am and taking oxycodone in large quantities because the pain has never really gone ..only changed..i have horrific back ache and leg pain in the morning and when i try to sleep i also carnt walk far and when i swim my leg goes dead after 4 lengths .i carnt get rid of the pain and i guess the you will never be pain free either ..sorry.. but i dont know anyone that has had our operation and is pain free ..its a massive operation and a lot can go wrong ..but they dont tell you that do they!! hope you can get some pain relief see you doctor again and tell him/her that you are in pain .you wont be able to be MRIed yet you need a year for your operation to clear {too much post operation tissue for the radiographer to see clearly}
  • Hi Straker,

    Thanks for the reply and taking the time to write.

    I saw the surgeon on friday, who was in my opinion quite abrupt. It has been since the 16/4/09 since the op and still on crutches due to the calf, foot numbness and knee instability. He said i should not be using the crutches as they are designed for people with knee and feet problems!!!!! I explained that i experienced strong nerve pain hence a visit back to the emergency room and the right leg was playing up. The surgeon said i should get ANY pain now as a huge amount of disc was removed!!!

    I have tried for the last 2 days to come off the crutches and replace it with a hiking stick, and have noticed the aches and pains in the back.

    I explained to the dr that im walking funny/foot/ankle is flat when walking and tired. He thinks i should have intense physio rather than NHS physio which is every 2 weeks.

    I walked out the consultation room thinking this was a waste of time and the dr. couldn't be bothered listening
    and he will be reviewing me in 3 months.

  • I had discetomy in Feb 09, I had a fall in Jan 09, the Doctor gave me an epidural a couple of weeks after the injury. A few days after the fall My leg and foot went numb. The epidural didn't work. Went to see surgeon that did previous back surgery on left side of spine at the L4/L5, was good after that surgery. The surgeon told me that I would be 100% better after the surgery. NOT SO. I also think I was dropped before or after the surgery because I have a bruised hand print under my arm bit, and two bruises one at the side of my rid cage and one at my hip. The pain is no better and my calf is as hard as a rock. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.
    Meds: Oxycodine
  • Hi SP,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Gosh, I hope you took photographs of the bruises and hand print, it makes you wonder what happens in the op room hopefully that is rare but shocking.

    Some surgeons make me laugh, they expect people to be pain free after major surgery but sadly not everyone recovers as the text books tell them. Sadly i think my hypermobility syndrome is not helping, yesterday my hip popped out slightly a few times and the knees sublaxing so that doesn't help?

    Thanks for letting me know about your calf and the similar problems your experiencing. I find that after 10/15 mins walking they feel inflated and swollen/painfull. I have found icing my legs and back helps numb the pain and brings down some of the inflamation.

    Regarding medication im now back on tramadol and diclofenic and have cut out the morphine and valium which is good. Downside is i was/am suffering from depression now partly due to the pills/surgery/pain and hassle from work.
    Least the prozac will cheer me up regardless of the pain.

    speak soon.
  • Wayne, your comment about the surgeon expecting you to be pain free is funny. The same thing happened to me. At a follow-up appointment after my L5-S1 microdiscectomy my surgeon asked me "how many pain free days have you had since the surgery?". I told him that I would be happy to start small, with a pain free second, and then a pain free minute, and then a pain free hour. If I had a pain free day I would probably be so happy that I would go out and do something stupid and re-rupture the thing!
  • With another major surgery coming up in July my doctor said that he would do his best to put me back together structurely (fusing 11 levels) but couldn't guarantee any relief from the intense pain. So as long as he's truthful with me I can deal with it. Depression is hard to deal with so I'm glad you recognized your need for talking with others and taking your meds. Nothing to be ashamed of. We have all been there.
  • Hi Wayne,
    I too had surgery in april this year and have what i would describe as horrific and debilitating nerve pain in my left leg. It is constant and ive been trying to not take alot of medication, currently on lyrica and nurofen as all other medication was too strong for my stomach and made me really sick. I had a disectomy L5/S1 and a Wallis Implant put in. i had a discetomy in april 2005 aswell. I think im in the same boat as you re the nerve pain and find it worrying and exhausting. I am ten weeks post op now and neurosurgeon is going to do a MRI next week to check everything is ok. At my 6 week check up he said to me when he seen me walking in, "it looks like your having a bit of trouble" my reply was that i could not sit down for longer than 5 mins, i cannot dress myself, i cant do housework, i cant drive etc. He assured me it was just neuralgia and the pain would gradually subside, but it hasnt so now the next step is a MRI. Im 26 and after having 2 spine surgeries and living with constant pain for the last year im wondering when it will end and if i will ever feel normal again.

  • I can't imagine what a surgeon is thinking to tell a patient that they will be pain free right after surgery! My surgeon told me that after the pain killing medication in my back wore off after surgery in about 18 hours it would feel like he kicked me in the back with a cowboy boat on for at least a few days! He was right, but at least I was expecting it!
  • Interesting if rather worrying comments on here. After 19 months of agony I finally had 2 discs replaced 3 weeks ago. They put a device called an In Space between L3-L4 and a Coflex between L4-L5. Since the surgery the pain in the sciatic nerve down my left leg has been excruciating and I am also getting more pain in my right ankle, knee and groin. What worries me is that the sciatic nerve may have been damaged beyond repair due to the excessive wait. It's very frustrating and boring, the only comfortable position is flat on my back.
  • This may be interesting in time

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  • Hi all,

    After a few postings and tons of pain killers later im still here to talk about where im at with my Cauda Equina S...CES to date:


    Im using a crutch now to support the left leg which is still numb at the rear & inside plus it tracks down to the heal. In addition to the groin area. Plus the outer thigh numbness has got worse with non stop pain. Im walking funny as if my calf is going to pop which is worse after sitting or later on during the day. my walking is slow and depending on what activity is done my leg can go heavy and i walk like a robot. I can only walk for short distances otherwise my legs feel strange and i have trouble wiggling the toes in my left foot.
    Muscle spasms have been painful to the point my big toe curls over and sometimes triggered if i touch the arch of my foot!!!. The spasms/visable twitches are like thunderstorms along the leg particularly in the inner and outer calf, achilles area, thigh and inside above the knee..I find when i exert myself or over do it I can be screaming. As well as sciaita tpe shooting pain down the outside of my left leg (can be both).

    Back Area

    Standing for more than 10/15 mins and my back is in pain..plus if i stand for too long my legs feel weird. Pain is still a key problem as I sometimes seem to hit a nerve as i get electric shocks directly in the back when i try to get up or stand on uneven ground!! I still find i have to sit down as the back wants to go into spasms. The disc area still loudly clunks which i put down to the hypermobility which doesn't help.


    Can anyone help me to answer this? Can CES patients suffer with an overactive bladder. A neurosurgeon thinks this is unrelated even though my bladder has not been right at all since I had a huge l5-s1 disc herniation and crushed cord with S2 nerve damage!!!!! Im struggling with this problem as i also still get mixed signals to go to the loo...on the opposite side i have woken up with severe discomfort and sometimes none and passed 1250ml + of water?? So im somewhat confused of what is going on

    I also find the groin is still numb in places and don't feel the flow when passing water. I also suffer alot of gential and pelvic pain when particulry sitting. Its like a air bag has gone off and i have to stand up to reduce the amount of pressure..(sorry, its the only way i can describe it)


    I now find i don't get any physical stimuli due to the numbness and loss of sensation. I do get some build up to a climax, but not now never reach it (sorry to be graphic) which is strange to get my head around.


    Do other suffers with S2 nerve damage or similar experience with sitting for periods of time. I find I can sit too long due to pressure and alot of pain in the sacral and groin area...plus scitatica. I find it can be made worse when sitting on wooden/hard chairs? so im struggling to keep in work, which im keen to do rather than going sick.
    This is my main problem really as I don't know what else to do or other people have experienced?

    I have explained all this to the dr's but they won't tell me how much damage has been done and some of them are pushing it away from the CES to my hypermobility or something else which the more i question i find it bizarre. Could it be the fact that i was left for 2 weeks without an mri and had a caudal epidural injection a week after i was admitted for serious back pain..then after my leg felt dead on the table when i had the injection they left me a week later screaming of pain, they then gave me an mri which found the disc had covered the spinal column and was crushing the cord at l5-s1..then having major surgery the next day..!!
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