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Quick Advice? Please read..

fastfordffastford Posts: 5
A bit of history. I am a 34yo male that is very active and in very good physical shape. A little over a year ago (3/09) I ruptured my L5/S1 disc while lifting/twisting , and generally having no reguard for my back. I immediately started having severe sciatic type pain from my left buttock down the back of my leg and around the front of my calf. I never have had any loss of strength or neurological deficit to speak of. Just alot of deep seated pain. The wierd thing is, my pain is is brought on by sitting. The more I am up and active the better the pain relief is. After sitting for long periods, and I get up to walk, it can be almost unbearable until I can walk out of it. I did PT for months and months with no real lasting help. I have had 2 steroid injections that were marvelous however they were very short lived (about 1.5-2mos relief). I have tried Chiropractic services (Cox decompression table) which again was wonderful while I was on the table however pain returned on the drive home. MRI shows a bulging disc right on the nerve root. It is not a huge bulge but my doctor says it is all about location. I am scheduled to have a micro discetomy on friday the 21st.

1) Having waited over a year since the injury have I jeopordized my chances of having a good outcome?

2) I know these things can heal themselves...but I have done my due diligence in trying that route? Have I waited long enough?

I am just really nervous and anxious about this surgery. Will it work? Can I get back to normal? I know there is a chance to re-injure (not really herniated). Will this surgery cause me to be forever stiff?

I know this is long winded, thanks for taking the time to read and offer any insight/advice. It is appreciated.



  • I had similar symptoms, worse leg pain after sitting, waited 5 years before surgery, L4/5 fusion, and while keeping my fingers crossed all the leg pain is gone, so in my case there was no permanent nerve damage despite waiting. Wish I had done it sooner. 5 weeks post op and starting gentle exercises to overcome stiffness. Hope you have as good an outcome.
  • You found a great place to find people in similar situations. You doctor is right that location is everything. Sounds like you have tried everything.

    Micro-d is about the most basic of surgeries to correct this. The recovery is a few weeks and depends alot on you. Listen to your doctor. Ask about PT right away. And most importantly follow directions but if it doesnt seem or feel right ask your doctor.

    If you haven't already check out the must-have list on the surgery forum. It has lots of great ideas on what you will need when you get home. Don't be overwhelmed and you won't need everything but there are things there you never thought of.

    Good luck on Friday and let us know next week how you did.
  • Since you are scheduled for surgery, you've come to the decision that surgery is the last resort (I am assuming). Like you, I tried PT, chiro, injections, pain meds. etc.

    I ended up having microdiscectomy. I reherniated the disc at L5S1 because I had a sneezing and coughing attack a few days after the surgery. My second microD. has been successful. Currently I am experiencing sciatica on the opposite side, but the pain is manageable with Tylenol and stretching.

    Just follow your dr.'s order very carefully. My directions were No bending, twisting, lifting anything heavier than a gallon, reaching to grab objects....
    Sitting was permitted at 15 min. intervals at the beginning.

    Walk...walk...walk...drink a lot of water because you'll probably be on pain meds.

    I also began PT quickly after my surgeries, which helped me physically and mentally.

    Take care. Wishing you a successful recovery.
  • Is the sciatica on the opposite side caused from the surgery? I really hope I am making the right decision. The only decision I have really made is that I want to be better. I think I have exhausted all my other options. I just hope that waiting a year hasnt reduced my chances of having a successful surgery. Thanks for the well wishes.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. Be sure to check the rest of the site about microdiscectomies. You can put it in the search area at the very top of the page and you'll be able to find articles and videos that will help you understand what's about to happen.

    While I had a fusion instead of a discectomy, a good friend of mine had a micro-d last summer after many, many years of trying to ignore the pain, working on PT, not finding the right doctor and taking muscle relaxers. She finally found the surgeon that made her feel most comfortable, had the micro-d and is now doing very, very well with no residual effects.

    Try to go into this with as positive of an attitude that you can and you'll do fine. You will definitely have restrictions (no BLT, bending lifting twisting), so you'll need some things for recovery. Look at the list like Kris said, but there will be many things you won't need. One of the life-savers for most of us (I might even say all) that have had any kind of spine surgery is the grabber. Another is a toilet riser.

    I also hope that you'll have someone staying with you for the first week or two to help out so you can rest and keep up on your meds. It's important at the beginning to take your meds as prescribed to keep ahead of the pain, but you'll eventually be able to wean off of them (keeping my fingers crossed for a great outcome, of course).

    I don't think you've compromised your chances for a successful surgery and I applaud you for making the choice to take the plunge and do what you feel you need to to get your quality of life back. You'll have an excellent chance with a microdiscectomy.

    Good luck and keep us posted post-op when you can.
  • Well, I am in considerably more pain than I expected. For whatever reason I was thinking I would be up and walking all around and in pretty good shape after this. I am not. The sciatic pain that was the original reason to have the surgery is gone. So I guess that is good, however the doctor has said that may come and go as things heel. I am surprised I am this sore though. I am not sure why I expected different. Getting up or laying down is pretty painful. Once I am there it is not horrible to stay though. Is this normal? It feels like my back could go 'out' at anytime?

  • I was pretty sore at the incision site for awhile. The physical therapist at the hospital taught me how to log roll out of bed and couch but it was still uncomfortable and painful to do.

  • The pain on the opposite side startedmrecently after a yoga class.
  • Hello,

    I am a physical therapist that has great results treating patients with disc bulges. Your symptoms are NOT unusual. Disc bulges push on the nerve when you sit, bend, and flex. Your symptoms are very classic. I hope you are really avoiding any sitting or bending. Stand and walk as much as you can. Use ice on your back frequently (10 minutes 3x a day).

    Follow the link below and read thru the description. I bet it sounds just like your pain. Then, follow it to the exercise section and do these exercises. I would do the one lying on your stomach every hour. At first your leg pain will be better but your back will be sore. This is normal. Just keep up with the exercises.


    Good luck!!

    Spam link not allowed. Removed by authority member, Cath111. 5/28/2010
  • Thanks for the information. I did all that was explained prior to surgery. Now after talking to the PA they ran into some less than ideal issues while they were performing the MicroDisc. He said once they cut the bulge away that the disc material just kept ooozing out of the incision. He said they had to remove 30-40% of my disc. He also said this could be the reason I am as sore as I am. He said it was discogenic pain? Could that be the reason I am as swollen out to my sides (love handle area) as well? It seems very noticiable to me since I am in great shape and pretty thin through the midsection? Should I be feeling nervy type pain when I walk around? I am really nervous now if things are messed up because they had to remove so much of the disc material.
  • Good luck, I hope things start to feel better soon! Did you talk to your doctor about your concerns? I am sure he'd be happy to discuss the risks involved with removing so much of the disk.

  • Well I am almost 4 weeks post op and things are ok I guess. After my first follow up with the surgeon I inquired about long term effects of having so much disc material removed and he replied that there is no way to guess. The PA had given me the 30-40% disc removed, the surgeon said there was no way to tell. As far as my pain was concered he said he was happy that the sciatic pain was gone and that only time would tell as far as how well my back healed. How should I be feeling at this point? Any bending or twisting hurts and I am avoiding it but I thought I would be further along in my recovery. It seems like it is taking for ever. And some of the different pains come and go. Is that normal? Any insight or comments are appreciated.

  • Try not to over do it right now and really from now on you should probably be careful about how you move, bend,life,twist, etc. Try to remember the things you learned prior to surgery at PT and use them as a guide for body mechanics or read here at spine health about body mechanics,etc.. I did do too much without knowledge of knowing what I should/shouldn't do so that along with just having alot of bad things going on with my back to begin with I was better for a short time then ended up in worse shape and had a fusion(L2/3/4). Actually, the fusion inproved my life much more than before and I am so thankful I had it! My only regret was I waited too long.

    It's nornmal to worry after surgery because we do want success and don't want the pain back. I think(hope) your micro surgery will be successful if you give it time to heal, don't be in a hurry, and think about what you do and how to do it from now on. Bend with your legs instead of at the waist, etc. Good luck! Keep up the good work!

  • I remember when my doctor told me that he took out more than 50% of my disc at L5S1, I was apprehensive. He didn't give me a positive, encouraging prognosis except to avoid further injuries to avoid a fusion.

    So far my sciatica is gone on the side that I had the problem, but now I have some pain on the opposite side. I won't return to my surgeon. If my pain worsens I will need to find another surgeon for his/her suggestions.

    What does worry me is that since so much of the disc material is gone along with bone spur near the same area, my bones are very close to touching. I am doing core exercising to keep my spine strong and alignment.

    good luck!
  • hi just come across this site and i need all the advice i can get,sciatica started in may 2009 fell really hard on my bottom and have pain ever since,but in 2 weeks the pain well i can only discribe it as hell,went to docs thurs and really flipped,iam not a angry person but my god i was thurs,having mri next week to see whats going on,been on i dont know how many diff painkillers and antinf.at my wits end,i have other health probs but this as floored me x
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