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After discectomy on L4, six months later still having low back pain

scottymacsscottymac Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am 33 year old male who used to be very athletic except for last few years due to horrible back pain. I didn't have insurance until December 1, 2008 and I had discectomy on December 7, 2008 on L4 to remove bulging disc for sciatic nerve pain. This was my second discectomy, my first one was ten years ago in result from a car accident. The first one was on L4 on the right side, this second one was herniated on the left side of my spine. The surgeon says i don't have much of a disc left but for now everything should be fine. Tried therapy month later and was still in much pain. I worked in the restaurant industry as a waiter/bartender. Now six months later I am still in daily pain. I tried to return to work a month ago but after a couple hours I was in a lot of pain, and could hardly walk the next day. Last week I returned to Northwestern in Chicago to get another MRI, to see if it was scar tissue or a reherniation. The MRI showed that everything seemed to be fine. The surgeon determined it was a deep muscle problem, and has recommended deep tissue massage, tens unit, and heat along with light stretching. If I do absolutely nothing the pain is bearable, however for example the other day I mowed the yard filled a couple buckets of water and carried them and could hardly walk that night and was in a lot of pain. The only way I can explain the feeling is that on both sides of my spine there is two points which feel like they are bulged or huge muscle knots, this is where all of my pain is coming from. It feels like my muscles are squeezing my nerve. Sometimes after activity it feels like someone hit me in the back with a bat or stabbed a knife into my nerve. My surgeon has been good however has refused to give my any pain relievers since february, stating it is not his belief to treat my case with pain killers. I accepted this hoping every day this will be the day the pain goes away. I am now to the point where I don't know if the pain will ever go away. I am starting therapy again where they are going to do deep tissue massage w/ tens unit etc. I asked surgeon about pain management clinic and he almost got angry and stated all the do is mask pain and shove pills down your throat. I know pain killers don't fix the problem but they sure as hell help you get through the day, and help with quality of life. I'd almost like to hit him with a bat and let him feel the pain I feel every day. If anyone has had a similar problem or has any advice I would greatly appreciate it!!


  • hi. i am a fellow pain sufferer like yourself who used to love sports but now because of pain i'm stuck in a wheelchair.
    I am surprised you found a dr. who doesn't prescribe pills of any kind. in my 40 yrs. of fighting pain i have come across only one.
    However you need some relief. something to take the sting out of your back.
    I have a terrible back with many problems. i have tried strong pain medicines and they have not worked for me. i'm either a zombie or they just don't work on my pain. The two pain killers i do use however are tylenol and a drug called diclofinac which is in the ibepropin family. they take the curse off some of my pain and i am still very alert. You may want to check with your primary care dr. to see what milder pain killers are available without going into the more powerful ones. I have a feeling the therapy and tens unit are going to help. I think he's right but you could use a little help.
    keep us posted and best of luck.....pete
  • Everyone I have heard of that had this surgery says the same thing you do that they still have pain which makes me afraid to even have the surgery if they are not any better. I can't afford to be off work any long period of time right now I'm seeing a pain management specialist who has me on hydromorphone 4mgs. and oxycontin 20mgs. helps somewhat but don't know about down the road what I will do.Also have had epidurals only work for a short time less than a week, physical therapy what other than surgery can I try for spinal stenosis of L4 L5 with nerve impingement?
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