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Sciatic foot pain from L5-S1

Hello to All

Am a 61 year old male, Have had foot pain from L5-S1 bulged disc 21 years now, last 5 years have been bad. After having tried so many meds and PT, yoga and massage I get little relief. Taking Lyrica, tramadol, Ibuprofen and Ambien to sleep. Tramadol is the only drug that really seems to help, but I have to take 3 times the prescribed amount to feel any relief.
Had professional instruction in therapeutic yoga and have been very regular for 2 years doing it an hour a day. It helps some, but still need drugs to cope.

Had microdiscectomy, no help. 5 injections, no relief. Surgeon says only surgical option is lumbar fusion. Primary care Doc says no, I'm scared as hell of a fusion. Read lots of horror stories on lists like this of failed fusions.

Seeing a therapist, and it feels pointless. We go around in circles talking and I am tired of talking about it. I hate my life
and want to die. The only reason I don't blow my brains out is my wife and daughter who despite me being a grouch love me
and would be devastated. Besides, I can't stand the thought of leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.

It's getting to the point where I don't even want to try anything new because I'll just be disappointed when it doesn't work.

I don't expect an answer, I just wanted to vent.


  • Nick_MurphyNNick_Murphy Posts: 171
    edited 05/16/2013 - 11:49 PM
    Dave 1952 said:

    Had microdiscectomy, no help. 5 injections, no relief. Surgeon says only surgical option is lumbar fusion. Primary care Doc says no, I'm scared as hell of a fusion. Read lots of horror stories on lists like this of failed .
    Hi Dave, sorry to hear about your situation, and that you need to vent, but then again don't we all!!!!!! I just wanted to reflect on your comment regarding fusion option. I appreciate that there are many horror stories on here regarding complications and lack of success, however as has been mentioned in previous posts we often don't see / hear the positive stories because these people move on and enjoy the new life that the fusion has provided.

    I myself have undergone a fusion of L4 through S1 in February of this year, and am well into my recovery phase. I had previous surgery back in 1997 that eventually failed me, and after 2 years of trying lesser invasive options, finally had to go for the fusion. Yes it's been tough at times, particularly for the first 6 weeks, however having stuck with it and found the right medication, I feel I am well on my way to recovery, although I am not foolish to think recovery in full is likely!

    I guess, when all is said and done, the choice to go for fusion comes down to whether you feel comfortable in your current position. Apologies if I am talking out of turn, however your statements above lead me to believe you are certainly not comfortable, so I wonder if fusion even with its risks is actually something worth reconsidering.

    All the best, Nick
  • lastnervellastnerve Posts: 68
    edited 05/17/2013 - 3:07 PM
    I had the L4-L5 fusion. I still have foot pain. A sort of burning almost raging athelete foot sort of burn. Granted my S 1 hasnt been worked on, I think I have read that L4-L5 can also generate pain there too.

    I would do the fusion again and do consider it a sucess. I needed a cane before due to extreme weakness on rt. Foot. I had a Neurologist do the fusion. Considering that they may be more nerve concious, you might wish to seek one instead of an Orthopedic surgeon. ( big debate some say same education anyway)
  • Hi Dave, and welcome!

    Dealt with the pain for over 15 years here.......so I more than understand the frustration. Good to know that you have family that supports you, and that's really a great thing.

    I'm failing to understand why your primary care doctor thinks a fusion would not benefit you. Certainly other treatments haven't cut it.

    For what it's worth, my fusions have fused rock-solid but I have degenerative disc disease. There are a whole lot of success stories here, too. Just food for thought.

  • pandqmamappandqmama Posts: 175
    edited 05/17/2013 - 6:49 PM
    I agree, why wouldn't you go with the fusion surgery, nothing else has worked yet. I'm convinced, our spines do not forget these injuries very easily, if at all. The longer you wait and carry around the injury, the longer it will be (or if at all) that your brain/spine decide to forget that pain.

    I walked around with a collapsed disc after a microdiscectomy for a year. I even though am mostly mechanically fixed, i still have the pain, its called failed back surgery syndrome. My nervous system doesn't know to stop sending the pain signal. I recently had a spinal cord stimulator implanted and am getting some relief (now seven years post fusion).

    I am sorry that you are feeling so bad. Please know that you have just found some friends who understand this chronic pain shit life we all struggle with. We are here to listen to you vent. Take our advise or leave it, listen to our similarities or don't but please know we understand that you are not alone and are we are always here.
  • Welcome to Spine Health.

    Can understand what you're going through. I'd had unbearable pain for many years and wanted to die. Had been to doctors who minimised how I was feeling but eventually found one who took me seriously. Went through all the non-surgical things to see if my pain would improve and had read quite a few horror stories about fusion. For me, fusion of L4-5 has given me back my life. I'm just a little bit older than you and have degeneration in other levels of my spine which give me pain (nothing like what I used to have), but I cope with medication, walking, Tai Chi and Chi Kung.

    I fused within 6 months. The recovery phase is not "a walk in the park" and can be very frustrating and there are activity restrictions. Support from family and friends is important. I live on my own and had two large dogs when I had surgery three and a half years ago and there were many difficult days, but I'm so happy that I had the fusion. There's lots of good articles on this site as well as success stories. It's worth talking to a neurosurgeon (Board certified) and perhaps get a couple of opinions.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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