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Microdiscectomy at 23, I'm horrified

Weston693WWeston693 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone,


I am brand new to this site and I just need a way to reach out to people that know what I'm about to go through. I'm scared of the long recovery and the unknown of this surgery. I mean this is a lifestyle change for me and I'm a stubborn guy.

I just got back from my 6th neurosurgeon appointment. On all the previous, we tried going as conservative as possible just to avoid the surgery. He oroginally didn't want to do it since I'm young. We went through doing Flexeril, Prednisone and Hydrocodone to manage pain, but symptoms never went away. They got worse. Now he has me on Lyrica (nerve pain med), Hydrocodone and a really strong steroid dose pack until the Posterior Cervical Microdiscectomy on the 16th.

I've scheduled my posterior microdiscectomy on my c6-7. I was able to postpone the surgery as long as I could with a steroid dose pack, but pain only continued. I turn 23 in 5 days and I am a very active individual. I'm 5'10 and 165lbs at 6% body fat. I weight lift and train 4-5 days a week. (I do NOT mean this in an arrogant or self-absorbed way at all.. I just couldn't play sports in college because of knee issues) This is a total change for me and scares me because my dad has back issues after he fell from 40 feet and went through multiple spinal/leg/foot surgeries. So I know how back problems are and they always come back. This injury has absolutely devestated me. I can't lift, I can't sit without pain. I can barely even type this because of the pain/numbness in my index finger and triceps. My doctor said I won't be able to lift like I did prior to the injury. Basically I can't do any over head presses/chest press ecercises (pushups, bench press & etc). Is this true? I can't imagine that. I'm just glad the surgery is coming so I will finally have relief in my arm and can begin the road to recovery.

Please help me out if you all have any advice on what is approaching me or how to gain my strength back, etc. Or just anything to keep me going.. This has thrown me for a loop. Did I mention I'm graduating 3 days before surgery? Perfect graduation gift right?!

BTW thank everyone that read this long/rambling post. I just have a lot of jumbled thoughts about this whole situation in my head.

Thanks everyone!


  • I have been lurking for years on this site and have never responded. So I thought why not start now with a response to your post as it struck a cord with me. I originally injured my back at 16 years old in a car accident. I went on for years being extremely active - tennis, running, long distance back-packing, strength training, etc. You name it, I did it! I had some pain off and on for years, but it did not come to head until I was 26 when I ruptured my L4/L5.

    After 6 months of trying everything under the sun I had a microdisectomy, just after my 27 birthday. I was immediately pain free from the nerve issues in my leg as soon as I awoke. I finally had my life back. 2 months after surgery I started back with yoga, Pilates, and minimal running and 6 months later I started back with tennis. For years I would have minor pain episodes for a day or two, but nothing significant and was able to do almost everything I did before. Now 5 years later I have re-herniated the same disc and I am going down this awful road again and are currently trying to figure out what to do.

    Would I do the surgery again - yes, as I really had no choice. Did I go too hard after the surgery - maybe. Did my activity cause the re-herniation I have now - we don't know as I have DDD, stenosis and a couple of other issues.

    The surgery itself was not a walk in the park, but was really not too bad. I was up and walking an hour after getting to my room and was released that night. I took the full 6 weeks off work and followed instructions exactly as provided.

    Some people have those surgeries and don't have issues for years and years after and some never again. The surgery should definitely help - you just have to take care of yourself like never before after.

  • I'm 35 and I need a discectomy on my L5 and I've heard that once you have back surgery, you will always need back surgery. I am also scared to have it done. August will be 2 years for my leg pain and it is now getting worse. I had 4 epidurial injections which work great until it wears off. My last one was Feb. 28 and it wore off by April 9th. I'm not looking forward to a recovery but I am getting desparate. I haven't heard any good yet about the surgery.
  • the choices out there, choices we have to make for our back health... they can be scary. I have found a couple of things:
    1-information... without all information I can find, especially on this forum... it has made me more of an advocate for myself.
    2- keeping my mood "up"... fighting depressions etc.. when I feel the black cloud coming in.. I force myself to do a few things... listen to uplifting music... having a 'pity' party.. a quick 2 minute maximum pity party-- then I tell myself to put on my big girl panties and get going. (sorry to be so literal.. but it is what I do.). Humour... a lifesaver for me too!
    3- Support... without it... I am lost like being adrift in the sea. I have had little dr. support.. and family/friends.. they are great, but really don't get it... (most of them.. two do.. but they are in their own physical hell of pain). This site has really been amazing. the people. The support. the understanding.

    I know I have babbled a bit here.... this back stuff... it is like being dropped in a foreign country, no money, no language skills, and make it out there on your own. bounced from dr. to dr. All different opinions. and it all comes down to... this is MY life!! My future!!! it doesn't seem like others care... but they do..
    the more independent you are... living alone, making your own income etc... and WHAMO.. one day life is drastically changed. You are in a foreign country.
    BUT... the days do get better... (some worse.. but then again, can't appreciate the good ones if you don't have the bad ones eh??? ).
    Everyone responds so differently to it all... the treatments, the meds, the PT, the chronic pain... so.. I try to think of myself as a perfect cookie and need to find the right combo of ingredients. Still working on it... :)

    Ok, I am off to make tea now.
  • is one of the better spinal operations to recover from and being at a C level rather than L level means you should have a lot less pain {as your not doing as much weight bearing on those particular disks} so if you look after it and by that i mean no stupid extreme sports no bungy jumping you should be fine .lumbar spinal injuries are notorious for being painful and recurring .so providing you have a top end surgeon and follow your recovery plan you should be fine .good luck it's not the end of the world as spinal operations go is a small one
    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
  • Weston,

    I recently had a fusion. My L4 / L5 - L5 / S1,and I know I made the right choice. I had chronic pain for years, and it was getting much worse.

    Just a little insight, because I fought that battle, of surgery, no surgery, etc...???

    Here was the bottom line for me: Did I try all non- surgical treatments like: PT, medications, stretching, injections, etc, etc. The answer was YES for me on all the non-surgical treatments.

    I did not hear you mention all of these other treatments. The injections and different non-surgical treatments should be ruled out before surgery. Good Luck.

    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)
  • edited by tam as spam
  • edited by tam as spam
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