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silverbeamssilverbeam Posts: 32
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in New Member Introductions
hello everybody,

a little background on me I'm 41 6 feet tall and around 209 lbs. I don't smoke drink or do drugs. I have had back problems most of my life, and in feb 2000 I had a laminectomy to fix a ruptured L4/5 disc and give me some pain relief, it worked great been for the most part back pain free until last year(Dec 2008/Jan 2009) started getting the same pains down my leg. I knew what was going on so I had an MRI and it confirmed that I ruptured the same disc again. Well I was told by my surgeon that if I was to have surgery again it would have to be a fusion, I decided to get a cortisone shot in hopes of relieving the pain and hopefully give the disc time to heal on its own. The shot worked to get me out of pain for about 4-6 months but in Nov of 2009 it started to wear off and the pain came back with force I didn't have insurence to get another shot, due to being laidoff so I suffered for the winter. I started back to work in April and got my insurence back made an appointment with my GP to get another referal to get another cortisone shot and also an updated MRI, which still shows the ruptured disc at L4/5 and now a central bulge on the L3/4 disc.

I don't have major pain all the time and for the most part it tolerable, I get some sharp pains in my calf (like someone jabbing me with a pin) and other milder pains in both legs. I get pain in my buttocks if I sit too long or if I stand too long, especially in the tailbone. and while sitting or laying down if I raise my leg I get a nice sharp pain in my back along with groin pain. I haven't had time to get a cortisone shot yet due to work. and i've never been one to take pills.

I can do most things without too much pain, I work about 8-10 hours a day driving truck( I get out about every hour).

I have a few questions that I would like some opinions on.

1. If I don't have surgery will I end up with nerve damage?

2. Since its been ruptured for a year and a half any chance it will heal on its own?

3. Would you consider surgery if the pain was daily but mild most of the time?

4. Would you have surgery to get back the quality of life you had before the injury?

I know nobody here is a doctor I just want other peoples opinions.


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Get a second opinion from another surgeon.

    I don't mean to avoid your question(s) but this is the BEST advice I can give in the open forum.


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • The decision is really personal and no one can tell you if you will get back to your former life and/or if you do nothing if it will hurt your chances later on.

    I had typed a big response but decided to change it.

    I think your questions are a great way to approach this.
    I opted to have surgery but opted against a fusion. I based it on my daily pain, my goals in life, and my situation. I had a revision microdiscectomy (2nd attempt on same disc) because before the initial surgery, I had an immediate significant strength and sensory loss and was fearing losing control of bladder/bowel. The surgery failed and my choices were to do nothing, try the microD again, or fuse.

    I knew at this point, my former life was just that. I wouldn't be running or as highly active as I was. So, that being said, I decided to try the revision with revised life goals. I wanted to be active and wanted to avoid a fusion until there was no other option. But the fusion decision (to avoid it) was really one based on my personal medical situation. I know I may eventually need a fusion but am hopeful the 2nd surgery I had 3 months ago will buy me time for technology to offer other options.

  • You will find that most members here do have opinions and you will also find that they will vary greatly.

    I personally would never ever opt for surgery with your symptoms UNLESS a doc told me that if I did not have the surgery I would risk permanent nerve damage.

    The thing about surgery is
    1. It holds no guarantees
    2. It could make the pain worse
    3. It can not be reversed

    I am a huge believer in trying every safe conservative measure before any type of surgery.

    Of course this is only my opinion and you really should talk to your doc about the pros and cons before making a decision.

    Good luck to you and please keep us posted.

    BTW- If you do opt for surgery a good rule of thumb is to get at least 3 opinions from 3 different spinal specialists.
  • i have had 2 lots of surgery and i am still in pain and i have not been able to work for over ten years .again in my opinion and my experience surgery did not give me back my quality of life and its generally known that once you have back surgery you will almost certainly need more back surgery later in your life .i would avoid surgery for as long as you can .as for as a fusion or ADR is concerned this is major and very risky surgery and should not be undertaken unless you have tried every thing else to help with your pain .as for as permanent nerve damage .from what you have said you already have it .the time to consider surgery is when your pain keeps you from sleeping /working/having sex/going to the loo/and is with you all the time .if you can get by on pain killers and lead a normalish type of life i would not have surgery ..and if you do remember surgery is only a repair and you will never be as good as you were before your back needed surgery ..its not a cure .....please think long and hard before jumping on to the surgeons table .its not the best part of their body to be operated on and as websites like this one prove many thing can go wrong and people have pain and problems long after the memory of surgery has faded.....{to balance things .there are a few that have a good result with back surgery but for the most its a negative experience
  • thanks for the replies:)

    I will be seeking the opinion of a neurosurgeon as to what he thinks, a fusion is out of the question for me, from what I've seen on the MRI report and what i've read it would have to be a 3 level fusion in order not to have another surgery in less then 2 years( L4/5, L5/S1, L3/4-all either blown, flat, or bulging.) a microD might be in the future if things get worse. the last one I had went well and lasted quite awhile.

    anyone having cortisone shots? how many times were you able to get them before they no longer worked for you? I've heard they quit working after so many.
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