Hello! Very glad to have found this site and forum...now if I can figure out how to post... :S
I'm 10 days post-op from my first back surgery, and looking for advice, e.g., is my level of pain normal at this point?
I've had lower back pain for 20+ years, treated on and off when really bad by various methods, including chiropractic, acupuncture (neither of which helped me), prednisone/ Norco/Flexeril/rest, which always did the trick after a couple weeks. However, 11 months ago, I woke up and turned wrong - the pain almost knocked me off my feet. My primary M.D. tried the ususal 3 drugs mentioned above, but this time they didn't work. He then sent me for x-rays, which showed nothing of significance. Finally, off for an MRI, which showed much wrong, and my M.D. sent me to a Pain Clinic for epidural injections, a total of 3 in 3 months. They did help somewhat, but during the last one in June, the doctor discovered many bony growths, and told me she was sorry to tell me I needed surgery, and soon. What a shock to me that was!
I then consulted several neurosurgeons/orthopedic surgeons, all from different hospitals, all conservative doctors, and their opinions all matched! Get surgery, and asap. Shocked again.
In the midst of this, there was a female cancer scare and minor surgery (no cancer, thank God!), and then my pre-op EKGs showed I'd had a heart attack in the past (!), so I had to have an adenosine thallium stress test, which showed my heart to be quite strong, so my back surgery didn't have to be cancelled after all.
I wound up having surgery January 24, 2011. I had a laminectomy, diskectomy, fusion at L4/5 of both transverse processes and 2 vertebrae, much (mysterious) scar tissue removed. (Mysterious because where did the scar tissue come from, since this was my first surgery.) My instrumentation: plates, a cage, rods and screws. It was a 5-hour surgery, and they used my blood I had banked. I wear a custom-fitted brace when I'm up; I can take if off while in bed and while showering. I had 22 staples removed 6 days ago, which helps somewhat since the brace was pressing hard against the lower staples, making the area slightly red and swollen.
I'm now on Flexiril and Norco; told not to go back on my gram of Naproxen per day until further notice. (Was on Naproxen for a few years because of trouble with hands, plus the back pain.)
I'm looking for help/advice/personal experience re the pain level I'm in, and the brace. I have much pain in my lower right back, increasing daily. Is this normal for 10 days post-op? Could the tight back brace be contributing to the pain? Should I be using my walker or cane? Also, I have a numb left upper leg now, since I woke from the surgery. Numb from the knee up, mostly front and side of leg. I have pain in lower right leg, as before surgery, and some at top of right leg, as before surgery.
So I guess what I'm saying is I seem to be in more pain now than I was pre-surgery. Is this normal?
I've searched and searched this site for days, but can't seem to find an answer to my specific questions. Any ideas on members' part would be most welcome!