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Feeling better BEFORE surgery

RenfieldRRenfield Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
After 14 months, I finally got serious about lower back surgery. My MRI showed severe stenosis at L-4 andL-5, but ever since I made the appointment for surgery, my back has been feeling considerably better. I admit I can be neurotic, but should I go ahead with surgery even if I'm feeling better (not well, but better). I've heard that some people get better on their own. On the other hand, I've had other times I've felt better only to have the bad pain return in a couple of weeks. I should go ahead with the surgery, right?


  • Hiya Renfield! This happened to me also! It really wasn't a reflection of my spinal cord healing, but of the anxiety that I was feeling towards my upcoming surgery. I knew what pain felt like, this was my 3rd surgery in 4 1/2 years, but I didn't know what to expect in regard to my fusion and the recovery procoess.

    What type of surgery are you scheduled for? Do you have loss of strength in addition to pain?

    Hang in there and welcome to spine-health! Take care! Shari
  • Hi. I suspect you are right. It's the anxiety that's making me feel better before the surgery. I'm scheduled for a laminectomy and possible fusion at L4-5. No real loss of strength. I've heard so many bad stories about back surgery, I need to hear some good ones.
  • When is the surgery scheduled for?
    What is your pain level on a scale of 10?

    Also are you on any meds and if yes, have you cut any of them out?

    Before my last surgery the 2-days I cut out ibuprofin, I struggled but once I got passed that, I decided to cut out my pain med and muscle relaxers so that they'd be more effective post op. I actually worked AT the office for 2 weeks before surgery and put in extended hours (12+) just to be sure I had everything organized. I actually didn't feel any worse and thought a little better.

    My husband laughed at me...he told me for 2 weeks I've been workinig on adrenoline. He was right. I knew darn well I couldn't keep up and not experience increased pain. I could handle the pain b/c my head knew it was temporary.

    No one can tell you for sure if the surgery is right. You just have to have faith that you did your research, got your opinions, and that you can no longer be talked out of the fusion.

    Keep us posted. It's very nerve-wracking facing surgery and a fusion is a big deal. But remember, many of the folks that have success generally don't stick around here so don't be too scared from some posts but learn to know what to expect and how to prepare.

    You will do good!
  • Hi Ren,

    I remember when I was scheduled for my first surgery. It was a Discectomy. The MRI showed the disc had ruptured and there was a large fragment actually laying on the nerve. Of course I was miserable and in great pain during the whole process.

    Darn if I didn't feel better the week before surgery. Actually had me questioning the need for the surgery too. Of course where did I think that fragment was gonna go?

    I'm also reminded of all the nights I would be up all night with a sick child only to take them to the doctors the next day and have them act COMPLETELY NORMAL.

    Now with that said, Sometimes we do get what I like to call "checks" in our spirit for very good reasons. So, make sure you have done all your research. Are you sure they are operating on the right level? Are you sure that the other levels are strong enough to handle the exta burden that will be placed on them if you do end up with a fusion? Have you indeed asked all the questions you needed to ask, gotten all the opinions you needed and are 100% CONFIDENT in your surgeon's ability? Once you go the fusion route there is no going back.

    And of course, you do realize no one can tell you what to do, but I wish you Divine Guidance. Please feel free to ask as many questions as you would like until you are sure. Keep us posted.
  • Renfield

    I had the same thing happen to me, after I comitted to the fusion, I had 2-3 days, I was just taking mobic and I felt good and like you was thinking about putting it off, then I went to the Dentist and spent over a hour on his chair of PAIN for a crown. :S My back pain was worse then him drilling in my mouth. I think your body trys to heal itself and your mind plays tricks too, because a fusion is hardcore surgery, any surgery is, you don't want to have it done. But after that, it was all downhill 2 days after that I had to quit the NSAIDS to get ready for my surgery and I was in agony.

    But if you feel really good call your surgeon and change the date and put it off. ;)
  • I think just reliquishing my problems over the to the surgeon made me feel better. Like I would finally have some resolution. I questioned it up until the time of my surgery. "Do I actually feel bad enough to warrant surgery" There is definitely something psychological about it.
    I can't believe how much I felt better after post op.
  • Hi Renfield

    Last year when I was given my surgery date, my pain level went down and I was sure I wouldn't need surgery. Because I was feeling a bit better, I increased activities and then I knew I couldn't live with the pain.

    Think of all the bad days that you've had. I've not heard of anyone with severe stenosis getting better on their own.

    What date is your surgery?


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    In your post you mentioned you have severe stenosis at L4. Do you have any herniated disc or any disc that is pressing on a nerve root?
    Not that stenosis is not painful, but many situations patients do not have surgery for this. Through a approved exercise program and medications it may be something you can manage and control.

    The fact that you are now feeling better with your scheduled surgery, what does your doctor tell you what is necessary?

    I am of the belief that IF you can avoid surgery, then that should be your plan. But that is something you need to discuss with your doctor
    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
  • Thank you, everyone. My pain level has wide swings from almost nonexistent to hardly able to walk more that a few yards. I've tried everything else for the last 14 months and nothing has really helped. The surgeon is highly respected and had no doubts, after seeing my MRI, that I should have the surgery. I could go on living with the daily pain, but my activites are very restricted now -- and I have a 10-year-old son. I feel like I owe it to him to feel better so I can do more.
  • My severe leg pain literally disappeared 2 weeks before surgery. However a 2nd MRI showed no shrinkage or dissolving of my massive disc fragment at all and I still had weakness and numbness in the foot. But NO PAIN. It was weird and I made sure my Dr. knew that.. but he said it was just the position of the disc on the nerve. Sure enough, they went in and removed a fragment half the size of his pinky finger. I am 3 weeks post op starting tomorrow and I feel VERY GOOD. (knock on wood) PT is going great.. everything is going well. So good luck
  • Thank you, very much. Calming words are greatly appreciated. And by the way, what's the deal with a catheter during surgery. I've never had one and it sounds pretty unpleasant. Can someone tell me it's no big deal!
  • Honestly, it is no big deal and you won't know or care that you have one! It is also no big deal or painful when it is taken out!

    I know ahead of time it seems humiliating, but really, you won't care! hang in there! Shari
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