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Decisions to make

oc714ooc714 Posts: 54
7 weeks of this Sciatica. Had my 1st ESI and Nerve block and I did get relief bit still having pain in the calf. I still have the numbness and weakness. I've notived my knee is starting to crack and hurt more since this whole problem started.

I'm scheduled for a laminectomy on 10/13/2011 and even though I feel it's a Good Neurosurgeon scared to death I will come out worse.

I a able to sit and lay down with no issue but have a hard time walking maybe 10-15 minutes tops with the ESI and nerve block. I am doing PT annd tried accu.

My biggest concern is the numb feeling I have in my calf and the biggest toe.

I have very weak leg, i noticed in the beggining it would be very hard to lift up the leg or the reflex in the ankle area was very weird feeling.

I just don't want to prolong it too much and having nerve damage.


  • Hi there...

    Did you get a 2nd opinion?
    I only ask b/c sometimes that 2nd opinion can give the peace-of-mind you are looking for OR it can answer more questions to help you be confident in your decision.

    I also suggest this because surgery is very personal. And lumbar surgery is a slippery slope so I always suggest you know the risks vs. benefits even if it means pushing the surgery off by a couple of weeks.

    By no means am I telling you to delay the surgery, I'm just saying be sure you are comfortable with the decision and the surgeon (sounds like you are comfortable with the surgeon).

    My surgeon encouraged me to get another opinion...he said "I'm human, I would hope you'd get a 2nd opinion".

    Good luck! Keep us posted.
  • The 2nd opinion is very conservative and he started me on PT and I even had an epidural. I have seen some improvement with the ESI and Nerve block but it's wearing off already. I do notice that my leg stretches outmore he said that a Laminotomy and Discetomy but after we try these things. He made me an appt for 2 more wks so we can discuss further if surgery is the way to go.

    My only concern is that the DR that suggested I do a laminectomy is a Neuro and the other is an Ortho.

  • Well you sure have a sympathetic audience here... we all know what you are going through! So sorry!

    I can only give you my own thoughts based on my experience. I herniated my L5/S1 about 6 years ago. After months of pain (and trying all the epidurals and pain meds), I had a laminectomy and made a full recovery. A year later, I reherniated the same disk. The second time the pain was even MORE intense, which I wouldn't have thought possible! Like a 9 out of 10. This was partially b/c there was more "pressure" in the interdisk space due to scar tissue from the first surgery. I only lasted a couple months before I had surgery again. I made another full recovery.

    Fast forward another year: yep, herniated the same disk a third time. The only option was fusion and a titanium rod. I opted to wait and see what could be done with time and healing. I was in intense pain, but I found a PT who knew the McKenzie Method and this helped enormously.

    I am now pain free.

    I wish I hadn't done any of the surgeries and found the right PT person and a pain management doctor the first time around. These days, my issues are all wiht scar tissue from the two surgeries.

    If you look at the studies, LONG TERM results are the same whether or not you have surgery! I really think the body can heal itself. REad up on McKenzie Method -- simple extension exercises you can do at home. it's worth a try. HOpe you get relief!!

  • Thank you very much. I just received my EMG results and it showed nerve damage. Not sure if even with surgery it will makes diference or not. I am just feel hopeless at the moment not knowing what to do.
  • Kirsten...great insight.
    I try not to sway people b/c surgery is so personal but I really want to convey that back (especially lumbar) surgery is a slippery slope.

    I am 1.5 years out of the 2nd micro-discectomy.
    First one failed immediately - I suspect a piece was free that came out of the spinal column as soon as they flipped me back over but since you can't prove it, it's stated that I reherniated.

    My new surgeon actually had me wait a bit but I was not getting better and he felt it was worth a try (different surgeon by the way) to do the revision MD b/c of my circumstance.

    I won't say the 2nd one is a failure but won't say it's a success. I am doing better.

    I like the idea of the Mackenzie method....I think I'll check it out to see if it can help me improve even more.
  • Well today has been a wicked day with pain. The epidural fully wore off :( pain is intense but it brought s new friend severe hip pain. DNice and kristen do you have numbness with your symptoms?
  • Sorry that the epideral wore off, and now on top of it all you are dealing with hip pain.

    I had a discectomy/lami 3 months ago, and unfortunately I still have herniations and disc collapse etc. I also get a lot of hip pain, the worst is at night, since I sleep on my side. I have to get up, turn over, repostition every 1.5- 2 hours due to the pain.

    I have numbness in my calf and foot, the worst being my big toe, no feeling or movement there. Since my surgery it has developed into foot drop. I have been using a muscle stimulator to try to get things moving again.

    Good news for you is that they are addressing your issues early. The longer a nerve is compressed the greater chance of permanent nerve damage.

    Have you decided on the surgery, and if so did you decide which surgeon you would go with?

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Yes, I decided on the surgery hopefully it's the right choice and the right person. I'm going with the Neuro. He has a lot of experience and I feel pretty confortable on how for sure he is.
    The ortho I seen was good but he had PA's and it takes so long to see him. I waited 3 hrs the 1st time and over an hour the 2nd time. It seems like he sometimes doesn't know what to do like he question's himself look. I've been working hard on my foot and it seems to be getting a little stronger compared to when it first happaned.

    I'm sorry to hear about your drop foot. I have a very weak big toe but I can stand on my toes but not on the heel.
  • Hey there,

    Sorry I only make it here a few times a week.
    Yes, I do have numbness.

    My situation is a bit different. I had back issues for years and was told I probably had a bulging disc. Well, 2 years ago, the disc ruptured when I stretched waking up one morning. I can't even describe how bad the pain was. I tried for hours to get out of bed but each time I tried to stand up, I nearly passed out from the pain. I ended up in the ER and they gave me something...everwhere I hurt, went numb. My buttocks, perineum (groin) left side, back left thigh, and left foot to outer toe. I also lost ankle reflex. They said I lost a HUGE piece of disc. I was at risk of losing bladdar control which scared the be-jesus out of me.

    I was tempted to try ESI but they said highly unlikely to work. I got a couple of opinions and they all said, do the surgery b/c I was not going to get better.

    The first surgery didn't work. I think I had a 2nd piece loose that came out after they sewed me up. I had a revision that seemed to help somewhat.

    Now, that being said - if the ESI works, I'd try it again. My brother in law had that and is happy! He did have to go for 2 rounds but he's doing well.

    And, that being said, a cousin had the MD after trying ESI and getting very little relief and she is doing wonderfully (she's about 5 months out).

    I wish you well!
  • ....7 weeks of sciatica...... I'm exactly at 2 years of severe sciatica. I can't even get in to see a nerologist, the wait list is so long....:(
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering . Where are you from that the waitlist is that long?
  • Nova Scotia, Canada.........:(
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