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In Pain and Opting for Surgery

In Pain and Opting for Surgery

I just joined this forum and feel support from hearing from other spine sufferers.I have been in pain on and off for 6 yrs. The first steroid epidural lasted 6 months, the second for 2 yrs in 2006. Then I was OK with occasional pain. Last year in August 2011, I had another epidural and lasted until May of this year when I had another one. This time it only lasted 3 weeks. My back pain is relentless and the sciatica has the pain going down my left leg to my foot. I have numbness and tingling in both feet plus Fibromyalgia and other health problems. I have 2 bulging disks, L4-L5, L5-S1. The MRI showed some disks were dessicated. I have spinal stenosis with spondylolisthesis with degenerative disk disease. I have decided to see a neurosurgeon, not an orthopedic surgeon as advised by 2 doctors, one my own cousin. I have found the perfect pain cocktail: 1200mg of gabapentin with 1/2 tablet of percoset. I am 61 yrs of age.I know several friends and one cousin who have had surgery with fusion with a neurosurgeon and are doing fine. One acquaintance is having a second surgery after his 15 years of no pain. I am very hopeful that a surgery will stop my pain, In the morning the back pain is better and at night it gets worse. When I lie down I have to take pain meds and an Ambien sometimes to get to sleep when it's 2am and I'm still in pain. A chiropractor I went to one time wanted me to try VAX-D where they stretch your spine gradually, but it is a temporary fix and requires many visits with no guarantee. If anyone has had this kind of pain, please answer me. Thank you and may God bless us all!

Laminectomy L3-L4, L4-L5, no fusion


  • to the site! Sorry that your pain brought you here. My issues are also lower back as well as coccydinia.

    Surgery is a very personal decision and can be a hard one to make. I finally mad the decision after trying many conservative measures...physio, meds, ice ,heat, tens, accupunture, ESI,Caudal block, facet inj. I still use most today.
    Have you had more than one opinion from a fellowship trained surgeon? Do you have a date set for your surgery? Are you having a fusion?

    Glad to hear that you meds are helping you, that can be a long time battle to get the right combination to bring some relief.
    Wishing you all the best! Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing leading up to and after surgery.
    >: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
  • countyfanccountyfan Posts: 61
    edited 09/01/2012 - 2:41 AM
    Hi Ouch & MariCarmen31,

    Just thought you might be interested to know that your experiences sound similar to mine, apart from the fact that my worst problems are in my neck. I too have been diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia and have tried a lot of other things (Facet joint injections, Physiotherapy etc) before finally realising that surgery may be the only option. Trouble is the thought of having the operation really scares me, as there are so many things can be affected when they do an anterioir disc replacement and fusion (Oesophagus or voice box can be damaged!) Howeve, my hands are so numb all the time that I can't hold anything for more than a few seconds. Also I have been getting facisl numbness and tingling on the side which is worst affected. The final straw was when I got acute sciatica too, so feel that the disc must now be compressing the spinal cord itself as the actual nerves which emerge at C6 only cause me the shoulder and arm pain/numbness.
    I have an appointment with the spinal surgeon next Thursday so hopefully he will get things moving. I did ask, last time, if I could go for further nerve block injections but Doc said they are only short term solution and as the pain/numbness returns worse after their effect has worn off, it is a sign thet the actual disc herniation is getting more pronounced.
    Would welcome your advice re the surgery. I live in the UK so cost is not a problem but have heard there are artificial discs available, which don't require fusion but am not sure that is what my surgeon is offering and if not I can't afford to go private to get one.
    Thanks in anticipation for your help.
  • Welcome to spine health! I have sent you a private message regarding a site and a doctor. Wishing you all the best!
    >: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
  • i had anterial approach, two corpectomies and fusion on c4/5/6 so have 2 cages, 1 top plate and 6 screws, surgery may this year. i had obvious compression of spinal chord, i had the usual pains, in arms, hands, wide unsteady walk, along with other symtoms, i had been treated for 5 years for a bad shoulder, then got a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, i instinctively knew that diagnosis was wrong and asked to see the surgeon who had operated on my shoulder who then organised an mri where the problems were obvious. i sailed through the surgery, 6 hour op but still home the next day!

    i do still have a lot of my symptoms but that is because the chord was compressed for so long, now have myleopathy, the op was to prevent further damage and paralysis and hopefully that is what its done. talk through with surgeon both risks of having the op and also risks of not having the op, for me the choice was easy. op or paralysis from neck down. op everytime. i usually bounce back from things and this time it is taking time for me to recover (not as young as i once was!)

    whatever you decide, good luck, there is lots of support here, but remember that most people who recover dont come on here as often as those who have complications.

    (am in uk too) Tina ann
  • Today is one week since my surgery. I am well and recovering in my bedroom! I want to say that the pain: spinal stenosis and radiculopathy that I had before the surgery is gone. I was in the hospital from Nov. 5 to Nov. 9, and back home on the 9th late afternoon. I hardly had pain in the hospital but the morphine made me sick. Last night, however, I had intense pain which I battled with 2 oxy's every 4 hrs and Ambien got me to sleep for 8 hrs. I am also on Gabapentin. It seems that my back is waking up NOW and I feel it! It has been a week since the surgery and I feel so much better than before the operation. I have some numbness in my feet from the surgery, but I can move just fine, using a walker to get to the bathroom and back. I am confined to my bedroom since I live in a 2 story house with 4 bedrooms upstairs.
    I had lumbar laminectomy on L3-L4, L4-L5 and my neurosurgeon found a degenerative cyst on L4-L5which he removed. ne I did not I have a fusion. The second opinion from a neurosurgeon I visited said I needed a fusion. This being my first surgery, I opted not for the fusion so I would recuperate quicker. The doctor told me if you ever need a fusion because of your DDD, then I will do one in the future. My surgeon is excellent here in Atlanta Brain and Spine. He has been doing spinal surgery for over 20 years. He told me not to bend, extend, or twist my back. I am being a good patient and will soon take my Oxy's cause my back is talking to me now!

    Laminectomy L3-L4, L4-L5, no fusion
  • A one level ALIF/PLIF at L5/S1 on 10/29/12 so it has been a little over 2 weeks. I am recovering well and anxious to get back to some normal activity. The hip and leg pain I had before the surgery is gone. I still have bouts of numbness around my left hip, but it is nothing I cannot handle. I also had a neurosurgeon do my procedure and he is highly recommended here in Vegas. Ultimately the choice is yours and you will here many stories of bad outcomes interspersed with some good. Just remember that most people who are not in pain are not on this site. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
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