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What to Expect?! During and after Surgery...

rwcurtrrwcurt Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello All. I'm a 25 yr old active guy who's been suffering from spinal stenosis, sciatica and herniated disks in my lower back for about 7 years now. I'm scheduled to have a Discectomy done in 3 weeks (May 11th, 2012) on my L4-L5 as the disk is bulging more than 1cm. I was told by my family physician to either live with it or have surgery..
I began going to a physiotherapist and also a chiropractor to seek relief from all of the pain and intense symptoms. I found little to no relief with my physio however did find tremendous relief from pain by seeing my chiro. I still have the symptoms of numbness, tingling, burning, etc. down my left leg and into my foot. This has not subsided from physio or chiro.
Now my doctor, the surgeon, my physio all say I am going to find relief from these symptoms after my surgery is completed. However, my doctor has mentioned that because of scar tissue and that I may have to have additional surgeries in the future or that additional problems may arise.
Also I talked to my chiro about it and he totally went off on me. Telling me to save the surgery for someone who needs it. He feels very strongly against me having this surgery as he said I will just end up having more problems down the line that he will in turn have to deal with. He told me that the surgeons don't have to deal with me after the surgery is done and that they won't ever see the damage that will arise in the future.
I guess is what I'm looking for is what should I be doing?? Continuing with these symptoms and trying to correct them without surgery or should I be trusting the other doctors and hope I get relief from the procedure??
'm just very confused and the LAST thing I want to do is make things worse. I'm active and love physical activity and going to the gym and working out. I also work on board cruise ships and I can't make this condition any worse than it already is or else I can no longer work in this field.
Please share personal stories and opinions, thanks!


  • i tend to agree with your chiropractor.its very common to have to have more and more back surgery as the years roll on .i started with a simple laminectomy back in 1997 then as things got worse i needed a redo of the same operation and S1 had gone too .that was 5 years ago ..since then things have gone from bad to worse .i recently had to have a fusion {ALIF} at L4/L5 and that was a massive operation and i have never felt pain like it post op.i take a massive amount of oxycontin to deal with the daily grind that is my life .so trying to control the post operative pain was hard work for the medical team .the laminectomy was easy as far as operations go and i walked out of the hospital with hardly a pain .but as the years went on ..about 8 i needed the redo then life became very hard i have not slept in my bed for over 7 years for more than 2 hours at one time due to pain .the recent ALIF was needed to strengthen the spine but as for pain relief i don't see any difference ..spinal surgery is always serious and should never be taken lightly .if you can get away with out an operation ..then do so good luck
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I agree with Tony and your Chiro. I would try everything I could. I had a good friend tell me back surgery was the best thing he had ever done, I wish I would have never listened to him. Everyone is different and three back surgeries later I am in so much pain and looking at having to take a medical retirement and I am only 45. It is life changing and can never be undone. Best of luck
  • And you can also look at it, a surgery being succesful, chiro not needed that much anymore. At least not for your problem area.

    The deciscion is yours and in my opinion your chiro needs to support ANY deciscion you make and adjust his treatment plan accordingly.

    No one should tell you what or what not to do, considering these life changing decisions.
    You need information and support to move in the right direction.

    The mere fact that you are questioning your deciscion at this point, is maybe hinting that mentally you are not quite there yet, as in having surgery? When you are ready, you kinda now, because you cannot imagine living like you do anymore and you are willing to take a chance to get better.

    Best of luck,
    Cause: car accident & genetics
    Effect: herniations C4-7, stenosis, osteoarthritis, myelopathy, neuropathy
    Non-invasive Treatment: everything under the sun
    Invasive Treatment: 2 level ACDF, C5 & C6, May 2012
    Moving Forward: SCS
  • Anyone else out there have anything to offer? any advice/personal experience would be major helpful! thanks!
  • has his good and bad points. This is something that you and only you can make. I can say from my experience and outcome it was not a good choice for me, but doesn't mean it's a bad choice for you. I had a LOT done and the chances of getting a good result is reduced. You will not neccesarily need more surgeries down the road. That is just speculation from the Chiro. Remember, all surgeries including getting a tooth pulled has it's risks, but it could also be a life changing surgery that would me you feel a lot better. I wish I could say more, but it's up to you to get different opinions from OS and NS and you have to make that decision. The best to you, Kevin
  • I am another who thinks what your Chiro has to say should be taken lightly. That profession is generally against any type of surgery. From what I know about the pratice what they deal with is bone alignments. Can't see how that is going to help you out with your problem. I also feel that once you have had a back surgery that the chances of having to have another are increased. Its more a matter of how much time you get from the surgery.

    No one has mentioned that it may be time for you to change what you like to do...aka.. gym. At your age I can not help but wonder if your activity and work outs have not caused your problem. This I can tell you and that is you need to protect your lower spine while doing any type of work, or work out. This is the one thing that Dr.'s don't like to tell you. Just about all of them tell you that you can go back to what you were doing which in my opinion is wrong. Your body is telling you that you have done to much and it isn't up to the task. It is up to you on how you handle it and how you look at it. Now, or after you decide how you are going to move forward is a great time to go to a PT person, that works a lot with spines, and change your work outs to include core strenghtening exercises to get your core muscles as strong as posssible.

    It is sad to see that you are only 25 and having to start down the surgery road. From having to have some surgeries and the experiences I've learned from this I can say you need to look at everything you do with a eye towards protecting your back. My opinion only and I'm not a Dr. but I do have a bunch of experience in back surgeries and the ups and downs that can come from them.

    Good luck in your decision.
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