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Successful Discectomy T8, C3, C5. Now what?

pepeguapoppepeguapo Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Had three bulging discs 'discected'. I had been out of work for about a year, in pain for almost three. Started with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and got worse and worse. Now my back and rib cage pain has gone down significantly, with some relief in the neck. I am eating and sleeping more, less depressed and angry, so although I still feel horrible I know my pain is a lot better. I was crying after the thoracic surgery because there was such an immediate difference. However, it has been a month since surgery and my neck still feels worse than before overall. I know I am in too much of a hurry and that even with minimally invasive surgery it is still a lot of trauma on the nerves and everything else. And also that the nerves have been pinched for so long that they don't calm down all the way right away. I just don't know how much more I am going to get better. I can't stay on the computer for almost an hour until my neck feels weak and hurts. I am unable to do things I like or hang out with my friends (who haven't been supportive or understanding in any way.) I bought a breadmaker, tend to my garden, and watch lots of tv, but I am still very lonely and feel isolated and without meaning other than getting myself better. I do PT 3 times a week but beyond that I feel powerless except to wait and see how much I improve. At this point I feel doubtful that I will be able to work full-time for at least another year, and even that feels like a dream. Luckily I have loving parents that are taking good care of me and do not blame the victim. I am just frustrated because I excpected to be better sooner, and my neck still hurts more than I can bare. It is wearing me down, my hope is running thin, and it's starting to feel reminiscent of the last few miserable months before the surgery. I am worried that my neck is unable to support itself like it used to and that it will stay weak and in pain. If things stay the same I feel like I'll be unable to attain what I desire most, a career and someone to share my life with. Sure all this pain has turned my head around and made me rethink what's valuable in life, but now I'm freakin ready to put my newfound passion to work! I'm not on disability cause I expect to get better and have a clean record. But now I'm starting to entertain the idea that I might not return to 'normal'. Funny how you don't realize the magnitude of the situation until long after it has effected you. Can I find enough meaning in life to counterbalance this misery, all while at home alone and with no safe place to go? Has anyone else felt like this, and gotten better later, only to be that much more thankful to God for giving you a second chance? Should my neck nerves, now unpinched, still be rapping away with malice, or could it be my disc, which has had quite a bit removed from it, which is now causing me pain? The x-ray spec mentioned artho orthography or whatever and seemed alarmed at the exagerrated curve in my neck, one more thing to worry about. God this is almost too much to handle, why must I always be angry at everyone and everything just because I am in constant chronic pain? Anyways, thanks for listening, hopefully you're not a 26 yr old male like me, cause it's not easy thinking that this is the rest of your life, I need less pain or more meaning or I am gonna break.
By the way I would recommend my Doctor, helped a lot and was very respecting/professional, looks like I nicked myself shaving where they went in, flew home the same day as two cervical operations.

Edited by Tamtam for Doctors name and institutions naming.


  • HI Pepe,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. I had to edit your post as we don't permit the naming of doctors on this site, good, bad or indifferent. Have a look around and you will many whom are in the same situation as yourself.

    It is obvious that your still in a great deal of pain. How long did the doctor think you would be in this much pain and what are they prescribing for the pain? What type of films have you had taken sense the surgery? I see also your doing therapy which is a good thing. Is the therapy helping or making the pain worse. If your not already you might want to start journaling the pain to get a idea of what your doing at the time that make it's worse or what your doing that makes it better. How long did the surgeon say it would take to recover from this procedure. By the sounds of it, they only removed parts of the disc, but didn't put anything in place of them or add in any hardware? Was that surgery performed from the front or back?

    I know it is hard to understand why your still in pain, but it sounds as though you are about 4 weeks post surgery and you need to decide if the pain was better following surgery and is getting worse or the pain is getting a little less each day. It is normal to have incision pain, acute in nature from the surgery itself. But you should begin feeling better by now I would think, if my assumption is correct with just the partial disc removal. What has your surgeon said about any of this and when do you see him/her again?

    Give us a little more information and we will see if we can help out. Welcome once again to spine-health.
  • Did the original injury happen before you got into BJJ?

    Are you doing any aquatic PT?

    I'm going to tell you a story.
    After my L5/S1 micro-d 2 years ago, I was in bed for a month in terrible pain due to post-op complications. I was basically immobilized. Like you, I was stuck in a room/house with nothing to do all day but think. My thoughts became very very very dark. I thought about not living anymore. It was really bad, man.

    Pain, surgery, anesthesia, and medicines can mess up your mind! Anyways, my doctors and I finally got my situation taken care of. Today I am pain-free now and try to live as best I can.

    I'm 38 now, but like you, I was in BJJ and kick-boxing throughout my 20's. I can't do that sh!t anymore; running, lifting weights, carrying heavy objects, do heavy work, lift a person(girlfriend) in my arms etc etc, judo hip throws, suplexes, but life has to go on.

    Just take the small victories and one day at a time. You have to believe that you are tougher than this injury. Fight it tooth and nail.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Doc didn't really specify when I'd get better. He said not to do any lifting for 6 weeks, but beyond that, I think I had the impression that I'd be better right away. I take the same pills as before the surgery, 8 norco a day, cymbalta, lyrica, lunesta, and trazadone for to get to sleep. I haven't changed anything and don't want to until I get more relief. I haven't taken any films since surgery. Therapy hurts but I am getting more movement and feeling stronger each time I go. No hardware, went through the front on my neck, no plans to travel and see surgeon anytime soon. They told me today that I should still be in some pain, and to keep watch for numbness or worsening conditions in which case they'd like to see me again. I still twitch a lot from spasms and shots of pain, in fact maybe more since the surgery, and I feel a lot of weakness and pain in my neck and upper back. What I would most like to hear is that nerve pain takes a long time to heal after it is no longer impinged and stuff, that would make me more confident that I'll keep getting better. At this point every week I feel a bit better, but I'm worried I'll get my strength back but with the same immobilizing pain. Thanks for recommending a journal, I'll try it promise. I know that massage, ice, heat, and hot baths work best for pain management, that and getting sleep which wasn't happening until I started trazadone. Peace
  • It happened while I was doing BJJ and kickboxing, had to stop hitting the pads cause of shoulder and upper back muscle spasms but was able to keep on with jiu jitsu. I'm a big time guard player and at first doctors thought it was muscle imbalance, picture me on my back with my head and arms reaching forward. Spasms were on and off for years, weight training helped temporarily, continued rolling hard like an idiot, even got to go to Manaus in the Amazon to train. Finally gave up training and just worked, then 8 months later ended up not working. No aquatic PT, should I try? I'll keep fighting, although making bread and picking tomatoes ain't nearly as gratifying or fun as getting choked out (-:
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