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My Pain Story

tamjamttamjam Posts: 3
I've had issues with low back pain with mild sciatica for several years. Have been told my L5-S1 disc was buldging. 3 weeks ago I bent over to pick up a pair of shoes in my closet and heard a pop. I have a Chiropractor that I trust and have used for years...he's always been able to get me better. I was able to make the short drive to his office and walked in....life hasn't been the same since! Before I even went back to a treatment room I was screaming in pain and could barely walk. I had extreme pressure and pain in my low back and shooting pains down both legs. He put me on a table that lowers you down and put ice on my back and did a songram treatment. He raised the table and I couldn't put weight on my legs w/o screaming. He called a Pain Specialist in our town that agreed to see me right away....his office mgr had to drive me to his office. They admitted me to the hospital and ordered an MRI. It showed I had herniated L5-S1...both sides. The next day I received injections in my spine. A Minimally Invasive surgeon was called in and I was told if the injections didn't help I would need fusion surgery. By the third day I started coming off the morphine and was able to go home.

I really thought that was the end of it...but oh no....just the beginning! 4 days later my back was feeling much better and I began to move around and walk more. Then I woke up the next day and when I got out of bed it felt like I had a metal rod going from mid hamstring to my foot that was on fire and SO painful. I couldn't sit b/c I couldn't bend my knee. This was unlike any sciatica pain I've ever had...much more intense and relentless. I decided to get a second opinion before having fusion surgery and the second neurosurgeon I went to said NO WAY did I need fusion surgery. He said the MRI (second one) didn't show that anything was pressing on the nerve(s) so he has ordered a Myelogram.

Does this sound like a good plan? I'm so confused by one telling me I would HAVE to have it fused and the other say NO WAY did I need that! I do NOT want surgery but I also can't stand to live this way. HELP


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of useful and great information on this site and the members of the forum are very helpful, knowledgeable and supportive.

    I would suggest getting another opinion. Any time you have two totally opposing opinions, you need kind of a tie-breaker.

    My personal preference would be to find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, either ortho or neuro, but one that only works on spines. Mine happens to be an ortho, but also specializes in serious cervical problems, as that's my worst area.

    In any case, getting another opinion would be a good idea. You can take the same MRI to a different specialist. But be sure that you have complete confidence in the surgeon you finally choose. And for the record, seeing a surgeon who is a spine specialist does NOT always mean surgery. They often try conservative measures first unless they find that there simply is no other choice.

    Take care and please let us know what you decide to do.

  • Thank you Cathie. Both doctors seemed to have impressive credentials but the last one I saw finished his training at EDITED in Dallas. I'm a big fan of XXX since I just had brain surgery there last year and it was a huge success. Never did I dream that a little over a year later I would be facing possible surgery again!
    I'm anxious to see what this myelogram will show. I'm really hoping that this pain will be GONE by the time they set it up and I won't need it. This is a great site...I've read lots of posts....some give me hope but some scare the crap out of me! I just want my life back....and it's only been three weeks.

    Standards agreement and posting rules.
    Naming a specific institution is not permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.
    Edited by Authority Member Cath111.

  • So sorry to hear this. I agree you need a 3rd opinion for peace of mind. Also, for now PLEASE do not bend, lift or twist. With a current bulge, bending will just make it worse. Pull up a chair to brush your teeth, do NOT do the dishwasher(twisting), get grippers/grabbers to do housework/laundry. Just for now, give your back a break.

    Do the log roll when getting in and out of bed (keeping your shoulders and hips together). Keep your shoulders and hips together when you get in and out of cars.....you get the idea. Do not let your hips to something different from the rest of your body.

    Until further notice. You will find this does help and will avoid an increase in damage from bending over.

    Surgeons all have different approaches. I had one my 2nd surgeon tell me I was fine and did I want another ESI when the 3rd one, my first neurosurgeon, could tell from a regular xray I was missing bone!! I was one wrong move from a wheelchair - scary. The neurosurgeon saved my back - I'm full of metal but stable. The nerve damage however? Permanent. I delayed 4 months going to a chiro/friend and that was all it took for permanent damage.

    Now have a SCS (spinal cord stimulator) and doing well at age 44. Nothing hurts like radiating sciatic nerve pain - I feel for ya!

    Take care,

  • Cheri has some very sound and good advice. I'm glad she posted.

    I wanted to tell you that when you read around the forums, please keep in mind that there are many members who have had successful surgeries and because they're now out living their lives normally, they no longer post here because they don't need the support they did before surgery. So don't use these forums as a guide to how successful surgery is, don't let the stories here scare you.

    Of course, you'll find some of us that are here without any further significant problems, but choose to stay to help those like yourself.

    Take care of yourself like Cheri said and please keep us posted as your journey continues.

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