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Worse pain after surgery

Painful regretsPPainful regrets Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Chronic Pain
I am writing this for help from anyone who has been through this. I am 9 weeks after surgery to shave down a herniated disc on L5, S1. I spent 11 months trying every form of therapy known to man, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, decompression, etc...to no avail. I had my first round of injections in June of 2011. The first little relief, the second was miraculous! No pain for about 35 days, the third lasted only 2 weeks. The pain eventually came back.( sorry, bad sciatic, left leg). Iwas functioning ok with the use of ibuprofen three times a day. I wanted it fixed. My neurosurgeon, one of the best in the region assured me this would be an immediate difference in my pain and mobility. I had the surgery In early Dec and felt a little pain for 2 days after. Since then, my pain has tripled from the original pain I felt year ago. I'm watching a company I started 12 years ago go down the tubes because I can't sleep more than 3 hours a night, I cant sit in chairs or my vehicle more than 5 minutes at a time without intense pain. I now cannot function without pain killers every 3 to 4 hours throughout a 24 hr day. I just started another injection set and the first shot 10 days ago Hasn't made any difference. I've heard about my nerve being upset, give it more time, all the excuses from my doctor. I don't think he's hearing me. I'm in the process of getting another opinion, but would like to know if there is anyone who has found comfort after surgery for worse sciatica?


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    9 Weeks post surgery is really not that long a period of time.

    Generally speaking the 3 month period is when people really start to notice a difference. However, there are so many different variables that come into play here.

    Why is your doctor starting you up on another set of Spinal Injections? There has to be some sound reason here.

    Is the doctor telling you, that your current situation and discomfort is to be expected?, Is it a new problem?, etc.

    Sciatica is such a broad term condition. I think we all know that one of its causes is from nerve impingement. If there were problems in this area, recovery from nerve problems can take up to a year and for some longer.

    Has your doctor recommended any nerve pain medications? Talking about medications, what are you currently taking?
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • You need to make your doctor understand how bad your pain is and make him take you seriously. If he won't, then YES, go see another doctor ASAP.

    I was about as far as you are out from surgery when my pain suddenly got a lot worse. Fortunately, my neurosurgeon is awesome and he took it seriously. Labs were drawn which showed an elevated white count, sed rate, and CRP. He then sent me for an MRI the same day, and it showed an area in my spine that was suspicious for an infection. He immediately put me back in the hospital and did another surgery to clean it out. I had a PICC line placed before I left the hospital and had to get IV antibiotics for 4 mths. The pain started getting better almost immediately after I was on the antibiotics. But then the infection came back again almost a year later and I had to do another 3 mths of IV antibiotics. Once the infection gets into your bones (osteomylitis) it's difficult to eradicate. That's what happened with me.

    So please tell your doctor to draw a CBC and inflammatory markers and order an MRI for you. If it's not an infection....that's wonderful. But if it IS and he does not do anything about it, it could kill you. I'm completely serious here.
  • In 1988 I had Laminectomy surgery with resulting nerve damage. Since then I have suffered with chronic pain. Have gone through Pain Mangement (spent 3 weeks in hospital) and various other methods of pain managment. When the pain became acute I had to have injections of demorol. The decreased active lifestyle has resulted in the blood clots in my left leg to increase, had to use a compression unit daily to increase blood flow.and lessen clots formation.
    Now at this time the pain has increased and a recent MRI shows the following:
    L.1-L.2 2mm disc and superior endplate reptropulsion 30% height loss with severe endplate compression facture.
    L.4-L.5 2mm herniation
    L.5-S.1 Mild herniation
    C.1-C.2-C.4-C.5 posterior subcutaneous edema posterior soft tissue
    At this time I am on Warfrain for the blood clots in the left leg..
    My history follows:pulmonary emboli (2X) use oxgyen daily..allergies,(drugs and other causes), asthem, TIA, MI and high BP..and other problems related to aging...am 77 years old. I am not a good subject for more surgery and am attempting to explore the various options available at this time..My age is more reason not to have surgery if I can help it..

    I would like to know what is out there and what might be an answer for my situation which I could discuss with my doctor which may aid us in finding a Doctor that would address the chronic pain, back problems, while working with my present Doctor who is addressing the DVT problem..
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Welcome to S.H. forums. Yes It could be this, could be that, and it could be the other.
    As Ron said you really aren't that far out of surgery. You sound pretty panicked. Everyone here including your Dr. have covered many of the possibilities. Including an angry nerve. But honestly if you're 3 times worse. Then cover all of the bases.But I just can't see injections and all of this without some proof. So if your going to get a second opinion be sure that you have new imaging, blood work and anything else that the Dr. could use to diagnose your problem.
    Good luck,Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • quite a spine warrior and know what all you have had to experience leading up to the surgery and getting updated with how u are doing....your triple + pain post-surgery, so sorry to hear...

    Have you gotten any further with dr on getting some level of pain relief?

    Just wanted u to know my heart-thoughts/prayers are with ya man in this chapter and so hoping as Ron supported you, time and more healing is truly going to unfold.

    p.s. Im in my second collision 2007 broadside into my minivan (left) & now delivery truck into same minivan (restored well) but now right quarterpanel - wrenching neck (fused mobility right trying to get van into a left turn avoiding front -end collision) van getting fixed - - I wont be :(

  • Hi! I had almost exactly what you are experiencing, and it turned out my l5-s1 disc collapsed after surgery, which can happen in about 10% of cases my surgeon said. He ended up having to do a disc replacement of l5-s1. I'm still in pain, but my sciatica is mostly gone and it's better than what it was. Good luck!
  • Welcome,
    I had a plif, "lumbar fusion" on 03/13, so I'm right behind you. I too had major issues with swelling and it causes havoc on the system, making a lot of us think there are new issues.
    I have one thing to say. "ICE, ICE, ICE" okay, well that's 3 but I can't stress it enough that ice is the savior for post-op issues. The incision / operation site swells, pushing on nerves, bones, and all the fragile things in the back. I would do these 3 things.
    1) use a muscle relaxer(Change it if you don't feel any relief.)
    2) Ice, Ice, Ice.
    3) Keep walking - it's the best back strengthener

    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • You need to be taking nutrional supplements to help you body heal....

    glucosamine, vitamin c, e, a, magnesium citrate, drink lots of water,

    Live to Pray
  • I am three weeks out from having a L5/S1 Laminectomy. Im 47 and have gotten out of shape from lack of exercise over the last three years due to back issues. Ive had various issues since my teens off an on due to racing dirt bikes off road and have been told I actually fractured my back at one point. I definitely get where you are coming from with the pain. I am much worse now consistently than I was before surgery. I have no pain meds and repeated requests from my surgeon is answered with nothing but a steroid pack from the Nurse Practitioner that is there. Its a very frustrating experience considering I was told this was going to make me better. The only time it feels better is when I walk but I cant walk all day because I have to work. I realize that being three weeks out isnt much but I wasnt really informed it was going to be like this before hand.
  • My experience is that it got worse before it got better. I had less nerve pain for 2-3 months post surgery but then it returned like you worse than before surgery. Possibly because that was when I came off the morphine. There was no bulge in disc so was told the nerve had been damaged and would take time to recover. Went back on lycra and it got better and over a period of 3 years improved massively. Nerves get irritated easily and can take a long time to recover. At 9 weeks I was nowhere near ready to return to work. Everyone is different and I don't think it's unusual for people to have vastly different recoveries. I was also not properly informed about recovery prior to surgery and was a bit of a shock. I was in too much pain to sit at all for 4 weeks post surgery and although I did get up and walk from first day of surgery, it was slow and I increased it very slowly. I'm amazed that I've seen people on here talk about walking 6 miles a day 3 weeks post surgery. Maybe that's the norm but certainly not my experience!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
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  • NVSmithersNNVSmithers Posts: 2
    edited 11/28/2015 - 1:07 PM
    Im at week six now and I felt compelled to return to let people know it does actually get better. Its been mentioned several times that those that get better fade off and all you hear are the horror stories. I still have issues with certain things and can not set up for extended amounts of time but for the most part I dont feel like im dying like was the first few weeks afterwards. I am going to be doing another mri at the end of next week to make sure everything is good but other than that I am going to start focusing on doing core exercises and continue to keep walking. Just wanted to drop by and give reassurance to those who are wondering.
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