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Failed back surgery?

Hi. I went through almost 7 months of severe back pain, before anyone finally told me what exactly it was from- a hyrneated disk. After repeated doctor visits, I finally gave in and said look, this pain has gone way too far now, I had to quit my job (doing what I always dreamed to do, owning and operating my own in home daycare). They did two cortisone shots, the first I was in the ER three days later with severe pain, and the second with no success of improving the pain.

In December of 2011, I had a discectomy, on my L5/S1. Despite the expected pain from the surgery (so I told myself), I thought things were going okay. In April, pain started up again. I had a check in with my neurosurgeon, and he said that the surgery wasn't supposed to take care of the back pain, it was for the leg pain. Hello!! Are you kidding me? With so much PT, I decided to try seeing a chiropractor, as I have heard success stories all the time, for all different reasons. I did constant chiropractic care for three straight months (which of course soaked a hole in my wallet up to three times a week). After that, I thought great! things are healing just fine! So I stopped going there. The summer passed by so quickly. In November, I was experiencing a little discomfort, but not too bad. By Christmas, I had the pain back in the same spot where my surgery was, to the point that I could barely walk at times. After the holidays, into the middle of January, things were okay again. By the first part of February, I developed worsening pain, though this time, on the opposite side of surgery. I went in to see the chiropractor, told him about my story, and started getting treatments again. He told me it is now L4. Three and a half weeks later, no improvements. I went to see an MD, because I only had a few pills that I had left from surgery. He refilled the prescription, plus gave me Tylenol with codeine to get myself to sleep and a muscle relaxer. He said that it is too soon to do an MRI, but that if pain persists in a month, to go back in to see him. He said that one can only take enough PT, so don't do PT, or go back to the chiropractor. I swear, whatever it takes for them to take all my money. I've been on all these prescriptions now, and it is bothering the heck out of me!! Can anyone with similar issues please give me some feedback on what you think I should do? It helps to talk to someone who knows the pain we are in. Thank you.

tired of back pain


  • I guess about all you can do at this time is wait until that month is up and request the MRI. I'd also suggest after the MRI making an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon since you didn't have as good of fortune as you'd like with the neurosurgeon.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.

  • Before my lumbar fusion, I was told that spinal surgery tends to be more helpful with leg pain than with lower back pain. I found that my leg pain was gone as soon as I woke up and was lucky to have a lot of help with the lower back pain too.

    I know I have read that sometimes discectomies can reherniate and the pain return. Sometimes they need to be repeated. While in the recovery phase, it is adviseable to follow all instructions and take care not to over do it and risk reherniating. If you have a different level causing problems now, then you sound like me, you are just unlucky to have a rubbish spine! :-( I do know how frustrating this is and had a lumbar fusion 3 years ago and then had a 2 level cervical fusion 4 months ago.

    I do suggest that while you are waiting to have your MRI scan done, that you read on Spine Health to inform yourself about your condition and the possible treatments for it. That way when you next see your surgeon/doctor, you will be able to understand what they are saying and ask useful questions.

    I hope that they will be able to deal with your painful symptoms without resorting to more surgery.

  • Something you may want to try while waiting on your MRI is go to a swimming pool (YMCA or somewhere else) where you can put swim noodles under your arms where you can "hang". Taking pressure off my spine in a pool felt like heaven if only for a short while. I would try to avoid over doing it in the pool, but aqua therapy is a great thing especially after surgery.

    As always, check with your doc first just to make sure your condition doesn't contraindicate getting into the pool.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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