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  • with tons of pros and cons. By the time I had my surgery I had dealt with sciatica for over 2 years, and the 6mo pre-surgery it was severe. There was no choice for me, the pain was unbearable. If you are 2nd guessing, I would postpone at least a few weeks then see where you are at. But only you know your body and you life situation. Ill tell you this, its not something you just do & then everything is fixed & normal.If you have any specific ?s about surgery or recovery feel free to DM.

    Good luck.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • This is not something you do just to do cause there could be some effects, positive and negative afterward. I would believe that your feeling better because you are healing. When I was out on disability all summer, there were days that I forgot why I wasn't working....well, I lay around and did entirely nothing!!!! But the days where I decided to do something or pushed myself more than usual, I had to deal with it for the next 3 days!! But mind you, I dealt with this pain 4 years before saying enough is enough! Is the surgery what you need? Probably so.... But I would never do anything this big with doubts on your mind.
    Lumbar DDD
    TLIF 1/2/13
  • I had a similar experience. In Dec'11 I had an episode that essentially crippled me for a few weeks - sciatic pain from buttock down to calf with all my muscles from my hammy to calf tightening and remaining knotted for days, calf and toes got weak immediately. Did not have an MRI then but started PT and by March was back to 90%. Went all summer with no issues, then flared up in mid-August - MRI showed a herniation and small rupture/extrusion but pain was manageable and restarted PT for a few weeks. Then another excruciating episode on Labor Day weekend that again literally floored me. A 2nd MRI did not show much change, but the small rupture/extrusion was clearly almost completely broken off the disc and pressing S1 nerve root. Deciding on MicroD...in about a month's time (Oct 3). First two weeks I was literally bedridden and sure of my decision, next two weeks the pain subsided considerably, although my calf and foot got more and more numb.

    By a few days before the surgery, other than the numbness, I too wondered if I was on the mend and if surgery was the right thing....??? Very doubtful of going through with it.

    Here is what I and my wife talked about and why I decided to have the surgery:

    1) Although the pain was subsiding, the numbness in my lower leg was actually increasing, or certainly not improving which indicated the nerve was still being affected.

    2) With being essentially bedridden for two weeks, and then MINIMAL activity for another two weeks - and plenty of Percocet and Flexeril in the interim, it made sense the pain had subsided...

    3)...but we reasoned my condition had not changed - I still had a rupture/extrusion that was almost completely seperated for the disc and was not "going back into place."

    4) my surgeon, and a 2nd surgeon, basically said that the only chance for that rupture to resolve w/o surgery was for the body to slowly break it down &/or re-adjust to it - which they said could take 1-3 YEARS!

    So at last I figured I could skip surgery and be in limbo for a long time, afraid to move, work, exercise for fear of aggrevating what was already there, and just "wait and see" if it got better - really better. I decided Id be living day to day just waiting for another serious episode and weeks/months of pain and immobility again. At least with surgery, I knew the rupture/extrusion would be removed and I could start with a new baseline.

  • If your herniation is causing a moderate to severe spinal stenosis (displacement or impingment) and after two months of treatment you are still in pain I would strongly advise a micro discetomy before things get worse ie incontenence or worse irreversible paralysis. I had mine last August. Checked in Sunday, operation Monday and home Tuesday with no pain! no siacticia! and was able to stand straight with no pain. Didnt drive for a 10 days and now feel 20 years younger. Im back working out, swimming and going on long hikes. Only regret that I didnt have an MRI sooner.
  • mangupatimmangupati Posts: 4
    edited 01/11/2013 - 12:59 PM
    I spoke with my surgeon and he wants to postpone the surgery and prescribed PT instead. He said "surgery is for pain" and since I'm not having much pain right now, he does not recommends the procedure. However, I am now feeling numbness and a "pain and needles" sensation on my left ankle were there was none before, but hardly any buttock pain or down my leg. I will follow docs advice and proceed with PT and see what develops and how I respond. Last PT sessions I did last month were actually giving more pain, so I had to quit them. I agree with NHback that the condition's still there and only surgery can fix the herniated disc. I'll do PT but now this numbness is starting to worry me.
  • storehousesstorehouse Posts: 3
    edited 01/11/2013 - 2:20 PM
    Pain is pain but numbness is an absence of pain as a result of pressure on a nerve or nerve damage which can lead to neurological deficit or irreversible paralysis . Continual numbness is reason for immediate re assessment by your Surgeon.

  • catfishmanccatfishman Posts: 185
    edited 01/11/2013 - 2:40 PM
    just curious storehouse, i see that you just joined, glad to hear it went well for you, but wondering why you happen to just join up here now? i am going thru the same problems, debating a microdiscectomy.
  • As an example of neural impingement, my right calf has shrank (shrunk?) a bunch when my L4-L5 herniated and compressed the right nerve root. It was pointed out to me by my surgeon. Had he not, I probably would not have noticed.

    I sent you a private message with a link to really helpful info.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I appreciate you sending me the link. The website is loaded with useful information and a must-read for every sciatica sufferer. Thanks immensely!
  • Hi Craftsman. I happened to be reading over the blog as I had previously tagged it before my surgery. I was particularly concerned by a member who was experiencing continual numbness but felt the pain had lessened. Continual numbness is not a good sign and may indicate nerve damage due to compression. Nerve damage is for the most part irreversible . So pain management due to herniation is one thing but when there is numbness that is continual a reassessment by a Neuro Surgeon is important.
  • I had a buldging disc, with a compressed nerve,so in 2009, I had to have the microdisctomy, they also could see spinal stenois, and some degeneratice disc. I went for physical therapy after the recovery period, and I was out of work for like 3 to 4 months, I went back to work pt/ and then would go to therapy, because my left leg was always cramping and numb, and tingling. The therapy started to help, so I went back to work f/t. Well, litlle by little my muscle spams, cramps and pain traveled from my back to my thigh, and my calf and foot. Every single night waking up in pain with severe cramps in my legs and feet. So I started to go for the Cortizone shots, and that helped for about a year, now the pain is all coming back, and I am wondering why I had this surgery to begin with, because I feel worse. My pain runs from my lower back into my sciatic nerve, and down my left leg. The only way I feel okay, is if I am standing and walking more, when I sit or sleep, it gets worse. I do not know what to do at this point, Not only that, my whole left side feels numb tingling, and in pain from neck down. My neurologist tested me for lime, and multiple sclerosis, and I do not have it. He is also doing an emg on my left arm/hand, because I have pain going down my arm numbing tingling and wake up with my hands asleep, he thinks now it could be carpal tunnel. In meantime my legs keep cramping and spasming. I will probably have to go back for shots. I feel worse after the surgery than I did before. Is anyone else having these issues, I refuse to go thru a Pin/fusion surgery, hearing horror stories about it.
  • This thread is right up my street so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Suffered a L5/S1 herniation back in April (confimed by MRI in August). Had courses of three different NSAIDs (Difene, Ponstan and Naprosyn) and some PT (amatsu, not physio - it's useless - don't waste your money on it).

    The pain became really bad during September. I was put on Naprosyn (NSAID) and a heavy dose of Tylex (codeine based pain killer) and they just about kept me mobile. Even with those I went a period of a few weeks though without getting more than 3/4 hours sleep a night due to the pain.

    Saw a neurosurgeon (my doctor referred me to this guy after the MRI and said he sends people to him as he only goes for surgery as a last resort) 4 weeks ago and he recommended microdiscectomy as he saw little possibility of the problem resolving itself due to location and case history. He said injections/PT would have less than 5% chance of success ("a waste of time" to quote him directly and by the way this guy is regarded as one of the best in the country - I did my research on him!).

    I saw no improvement in the 2 weeks after seeing him and was still chomping on NSAIDs and painkillers like there was no tomorrow. Then 2 weeks ago it suddenly improved. Straight away I reduced my painkiller intake to the point where I've only taken them maybe two or three times in the last 10 days when I've had some pain before bedtime. Sleeping through the night without any problems.

    I still have some pain (locally in my back and a bit through my buttock / down leg - worse the more active I am) but I have recently developed quite a bit of numbness in my lower leg / foot, quite frequently with pins and needles also. Straight leg raise test has not improved at all to be honest. I appreciate that my pain threshold has probably risen somewhat over the past few months but there's no doubt the last 2 weeks have seen a significant improvement. Things have gone from being really sh**y (pardon my french) to being manageable.

    Anyway the surgery is on Wednesday morning (36 hours) and I'm wondering what the hell to do!!! My wife is an occupational therapist and thinks I'd be mad to cancel. She's discussed this with colleagues and they agree. But they aint nerosurgeons!

    All advice / stories similar experiences would be greatly appreciated!
  • After being in a lot of pain for a looong time, right before my surgery I started to feel a bit better and have 2nd thoughts. Thankfully I had a bad pain day while still working in the week before my surgery, . Was it mental?? I don't know for sure, but my herniation was pretty bad, and I def needed the surgery.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Hello.... Here is the short version if my issues... Im a 40 year old active female. I had a work accident and caused a 6 mm herniation in l4/l5/S1. I tried all the usual methods, PT, accupinture, chiro, and 4 epidural injections. I had severe sciatic pain and loss of use in my left foot. I had a microdisectomy im july of 2013. I had a re- hernaition in August of 2013 and had a correction of L5/S1. I was doing really good and thought it worked. I just found out a week ago I have re-herniated in my L4. This time its worse than when i started. I have a 10mm herniationI was shocked especially since I have been so careful with both of my recovery's from surgery. I saw 3 Dr's all said to have a correction Microdisectomy on my L4. Despite the large hernation i feel pretty good, although i have numbness in tingling iny left foot but I have had that since my first surgery. Im currently doing PT which has helped alot. Anyone have insight on leaving it alone and seeing if there is a chance it may shrink a little. I have a feeling if they do the surgery its not going to work and having a 3 rd surgery in less than 15 weeks will kill me. im still recovering from my last 2. I feel how many micro's can you do. It seems like a fusion is inevidable! I have regrets even having the surgery! And worse I may not be able to return to my job! Im so lost! Any input would be appreciated!!

    Feeling helpless!
  • I am not the normal case... but 4 weeks post, I feel 100%. The recovery was easy (off pain meds after a few days). The before was pretty horrible. Just do what you can to get in shape before. You will need to use upper body strength to move around and times without bending twisting etc... Just don't get scared off. There is prob plenty of risk of perm nerve damage waiting v.s. just doing it.
    Gymnastics, Martial arts, then 24 years of bodybuilding catch up... 1 ruptured disc, one bulging.
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