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Surgery - Need Advice

hartlbbhhartlbb Posts: 28
I have had back problems for the last 8 years. It started with picking up a towel out of the bathroom and going to my knees when an almost feeling of being electricuted ran down my legs and back. Ever since then I have had issues.

I started with a chiro, then eventually got injections in my back and it seemed to "fix" the issue.

About 5 years later the issues started again, after going to a Dr (orthopedic) and getting chiropractice type stuff + steroids I eventually went to a PT. The PT did nothing for me (6 mos) in fact I felt a little worse by the end of it.

I ended up going to a Chiro that someone had suggested. He had me doing exercises, stretches, plus typical back cracks, etc. I felt I was feeling a little better, but ended up suggesting another round of shots. So I did two more rounds and then got busy. The shots really did nothing. So I went back to my Dr, he is now suggesting I get surgery.

I am terrified of this. I am in pain 24 hours a day. I do my best to ignore it, but the mental aspect of ignoring pain is often worse than the pain itself. I am a fairly active guy, not obese or anything, and am unable to do many of the things I love. I have severe sciatic pain down my leg, with some numbness at times. The mornings are by far the worst, then the late evenings. Ibuprofen helps, but I don't like taking drugs, so I limit it.

I am rambling, but does anyone have any advice. I have heard nothing but bad things about back surgery and am terrified of going down that road.



  • Oh BTW I have disc bulges in L4/L5 and L5/S1 (yes both) :(
  • I had a C-5,6 fusion in 2002 and still have some stiffness and EDITED, but it isn't as bad as before surgery. Do your stretching exercises the way your physical therapist directs and the pain will at least be bearable. You need to strengthen your back muscles to help support the lumbar region.

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    Please note that Spine-Health reserves the right to edit any messages posted or submitted or e-mailed to the Company and use them for content on the website or in other company materials. No e-mail solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.

    Post Edited by Moderator Numbskull
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    You certainly have a lot to think about re' surgery.. treatments for your spinal situation.

    Only thing I can think is to get another doc opinion before surgery..just to double check.

    I haave not had surgery so can't really speak to that. But wanted to acknowledge your pain...and let you know you found a great site for info, articles, videos..and the search bar on this site may lead you to former posts discussing your issue.

    Good luck to you!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • The more I read different forum entries the less convinced I am that surgery is the best route. I keep reading horror stories of people getting worse 1-6 mos after surgery. Does anyone know what the % of people that have completely successful surgery would be? Yes I know "completely successful" is subjective.
  • Welcome to spine health,we are glad that you are here, but sorry that pain brought you.

    The decision to have surgery is a huge and scary one.I, like Savage would definately recommend getting a couple of opinions from a fellowship trained orthopedic or neurosurgeon.

    What surgery is your doctor recommending?Do you have other issues, such as DDD, stenosis, facet issues etc?

    Have you tried ice/heat or a tens unit to help ease the pain?

    We are all here to support you with whichever decision you make.

    >: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
  • 1. My doctor is recommending a diskectomy (the one that you don't take the hole disc out)
    2. What is DDD? I have had the stenosis feeling. I am not sure what facet issues are. I have numbness from time to time. Mainly pain in the morning is the worst. Anti-inflamitory drugs (IBP) work well for a few hours, but I try and stay away from them.
    3. I have not been good about heat and ice. I should do it more.

  • Hi there,

    I also have a disc bulge at L5S1 and have been dealing with it for almost a year now. I did have surgery in August of this year- a decompression surgery where they opened up my nerve hole a little bit. It was a 20 minute surgery- I was in and out very quickly- same day. Recovery was fine but the nerve pain I had prior never went away. My dr said it can take a year for nerves to heal. SO I am giving it a little more time I guess. I have severe constant nerve pain in my left leg and a bulging disc at L5S1. I am a college student and this has been very difficult to deal with. I am only 20 years old. I now have some tingling in my feet-- I think scar tissue but who knows? I will have to see.. I do not plan on having anymore surgeries as you all know- they are very risky! But a disketomy is a pretty safe and successful surgery so I would go for it!
    Hannah Mueller
  • Is discemtomy synonymous with decompression surgery?
  • Hey hartlbb,
    You have a ton, of options. The first is take control of this situation. You said this has been going on for years. I have been dealing with back issues for over 35 years, and you are your best advocate. Take a look at my blog at EDITED
    and you will see what I mean. If you do not find something to help let me know. I will email you personally.



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    Please note that Spine-Health reserves the right to edit any messages posted or submitted or e-mailed to the Company and use them for content on the website or in other company materials. No e-mail solicitation or advertising of other companies, products, services, or web sites is permitted in the Spine-Health.com forums.

    Post Edited by Authority Member Numbskull
  • hi there,

    i had a disk bulge at L4/L5 and had microdisectomy surgery to remove the bone spur causing me pain.

    'discectomy' operations are to remove the part of the disc that is producing the nerve pain down the leg (the bulge).

    'decompression' is to remove bone or soft tissue compressing the contents of the spinal canal.

    so no, they're not synonymous.

    it's been a month post op and 90% of my pains/numbness are gone. there is still some stiffness but it's getting better day by day (as long as i watch my postures).

    i still can't do any heavy lifting, hard kicking nor bending over, but the doc said my strength and mobility are going to come back within the next couple weeks and i should be back to normal within 3-5 months.

    i do recommend talking to a couple neurosurgeons before deciding on surgery as there are risks associated with it. (i had a minor post op infection, it hurt like hell and i can't even stand up right, luckily i went to the hospital, got some shots, stayed overnight and it passed. this is of my own fault however for extended sitting in front of my work computer)

    i hope this little bit had helped and i wish you the best in dealing with the pain.


    p.s. this is a great forum for discussion, asking questions and getting support for what you're going through :) keep us posted!
  • I have been dealing with the same symptoms as you have for 22 years! I have DDD (degererative disk disease)with no disks left at any lumbar levels.

    I have been to countless chiroprators, four spine surgeons and 3 times to a pain clinic for numerous spinal injectons. Also spent a week at a spine rehabilation program. October, 2010 I had spinal decompression surgey at levels L-4 & L-5 that seem to help for about 3 months. When the pain increased again after surgery it has gotten to the point where lying down makes it worse then standing or sitting. I now need narcotic pain meds to function at all! I am scheduled for lumbar fusion surgery in 2 weeks. They will be fusing L-4, L-5 & S-1. They will go in from the front, do the fusion and then go in from the back to attach screws and rods to keep things in place.

    By all means, try every option available to you before you undergo surgery! I have managed to function somewhat normally for 22 years after being told I would probably end up in a wheelchair due to the severity of my DDD.

    Good Luck & keep fighting!
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