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Relapse? and I'm on holiday....

It's been a while since I posted...

I had the op I asked about previously, a microdiscectomy on L4/5 in Dec '12. Seemed to go fine, off work for 6 weeks, ba I to normal, did my stretches, was careful what was doing, lots of walking.

Last 2 months had a few twinges in my back, tightening up of my back muscles. Was little worried but it didn't seem to fully "go/pop" like it used to, pain killers, careful and ok after a week or so.

However yesterday/today, it's gone....I'm in agony. I can hardly walk, stand up straight, and in a lot of pain. Also to top it all I'm a few days into my 2 week holiday abroad with my family, and to be blunt, absolutely sick, and very upset.

I did bring pain killers and am on codine and have just had to take a diclofenic now as well. I'm gutted. Now not only has it spoilt mine and my family's holiday that we save all year for, but now I'm terrified what's happened to my back.

Any advice please? I'm insured, but is it not pointless to even get checked when I'm abroad? They'll just give me pain killers won't they?

What has happened to my back? Have I relapsed? It feels like it did before when I was in massive pain, not able to walk, get off floor etc.

What should I do at this precise moment wrt to being abroad.

Any help/advice as I'm really really at a loss here...


  • I am so sorry that this has happened to you and can understand how worrying and frustrating this must be.

    It is hard to know what to suggest. From what you say, it sounds like it is not just a flare of pain that will settle down in a day or two.

    Really, only you know how bad you feel and if you can manage to wait for a day or two and see if things settle down and improve. If you are in agony, then you can't stay like that.

    Have you tried icing it? Make sure that the ice pack is wrapped so that you don't get an ice burn. 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.

    I hope that it will settle down again. Please do let us know how you get on.
  • MrMrMrMMrMrMr Posts: 25
    edited 08/02/2013 - 12:34 AM
    Still no breakthrough yet. Still trying to fill myself up with pain killers. Unable to get down for brekky this morning. It's a really bad episode this time, I'm really worried. I can't even stand up straight or walk yet. The plane journey although not for a good few days yet is filling me with dread.

    Rest of family have went out today, I made them so as not to try and spoil their holiday.

    I feel a lot of what's happened is my fault. I haven't done enough rehab after op. not enough stretching, didnt go swimming. All I really did was minor stretching and a lot if walking (we have a little dog), least couple miles a day.
  • My advice would be to call your GP today (BEFORE THE WEEKEND). You might need completely different medicines or an additional one. I know you said you have pain killers... I'd start explaining that to the GP. I know that they might want to ad a muscle relaxer, or maybe even a steroid or something.... to at least get you home. I'm sorry this happened on vacation. Another thing, I know when I started having issues I thought stretching was a good idea (and it is) but when I spoke to my PT he said I was WAYYYY over doing the stretching an making things worse, so if you haven't been doing lots of stretching, I wouldn't recommend getting too ambitious with it right now.
    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.
  • I have private health care, it's what the op was done on via work private health scheme. They have a 24hr helpline I can call, even from abroad. I don't think they are GP or health professionals but may be able to give advice on what to do. The way it works via work is though I have to be referred by a GP, so I have to goto GP and basically tell him to refer me. Not sure what they will do when I phone up. Suppose should try.

    I believe I had an open appointment for about 3 months after surgery, but its obviously now over 7, so think I would have to start the whole process again....

    I'm taking diclofenic off what I got prescribed a long time ago, I believe these are anti inflammatory. I don't particularly like taking them as they make me a bit "dizzy" but needs must at the moment...

  • I suggest that you do try to phone your private 24hr helpline and see what they suggest. Are you in a different country or in a different state? You may need to see a local GP so start things rolling before the weekend.

    I believe that Diclofenic is a strong NSAID. Make sure that you don't take it on an empty stomach. I had it after my lumbar fusion and the nurses always made me eat something before I had it.

    I do hope that you will get some help before you have to fly home again.
    Don't blame yourself at this stage, it may just be one of those things that happens.

  • I live in UK but am abroad on holiday in Spain, not the USA. Thanks for the tip on not having on empty stomach, forgot about that! tbh I can't remember what my dose is as all I've brought is the strip, but I've had to risk taking them, my wife had them also and I'm not sure if they are mine or hers!?!

    I will have to phone, but as I've mentioned before the procedure is; GP, referral, private appointment. Also the 1st thing when I get a private app, he'll send me for a MRI I expect to see what's going on.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/02/2013 - 10:40 AM

    At least once you get home you won't have to wait for an appointment on the NHS!

    Perhaps you could contact your GP, or get someone else to, to ask for a referral to be made to save even more time.

    Perhaps you will have to see a doctor our there in Spain. They may be able to give you some pain meds.
    Also there may be things they can do to help on the journey home. If the worse comes to the worse, you could possibly be medivaced home. Then you could stay lying down. That would be a worst case senario and hopefully won't be necessary, but it could be an answer if you are still like this at the end of the holiday.

    How have you been today?
    (I am in the UK too :-) )
  • MrMrMrMMrMrMr Posts: 25
    edited 08/02/2013 - 11:25 AM
    I'm unsure if seeing a Doc in Spain is of any use to me though. Apart from prescribing some more pain killers then I don't think they'll do anything else. I declared on my normal holiday insurance that I'd had the op and a hospital stay so should be covered that way to.

    Haven't been the best. Was laid up all day, got up for evening meal, had hot bath to try and ease. Walking is difficult and sitting harder. I so hope it will ease by next week for the flight home, but really want it to be better so I can at least enjoy some of the rest of my holiday with my family that we've saved all year for. It's disappointing that I can't go swimming etc with my kids in the pool, we were supposed to go on a bus trip next week but have held off booking it so far - gutted.

    Maybe the diclofenic and codine I'm taking may kick in soon, hopefully, to able me to do something.
  • Well back home, pain died off. Back to sort of normal. I seen GP, them consultant who did op, had another MRI and get results soon.

    Not sure what its going to show. It'll be interesting to see what he says about the scans from pre op to now. I'm unsure what he'll say with regard to the relapse. All he said in appointment was, we'll get a scan and said my back muscles still looked in spasm a bit (3 weeks after the occurrence on holiday)

    Anyone had this happen? ie an op, then a relapse, what did the consultant say, and what action happened?


  • I haven't had your problem with recurrance of pain after your surgery, but I thought I would just answer to let you know that I'd read your message and am glad that your pain has died off somewhat.

    Did you have any days on holiday where you were comfortable and could enjoy the holiday?
    How was your flight home again?

    Good luck with the consultant.

  • Yeh was just what I've had in the past. Agony for days then fine. I just had to be careful on holiday. I was very stiff, couldn't drink much in case interfered with tablets.

    As I say I'm fine now, still a bit stiff but that's the ultimate problem. I'm bad, then fine again in a week or 2, but that's why I thought I had the op, to stop this cycle....
  • Well he said new scan was fine. All my discs he said were in poor condition which we knew off last scan. No more protruding disc and basically said just to get on with it.

    I asked why my back "popped" just said one of those things. I said bit thought that's why I had op to stop this. He said no it was to clear the protruding disc on the scan, fix leg pain and any bladder probs.

    So to me altho I've had the op, I'm still where I was almost with the threat of my back popping on me, being off work, getting back on feet and starting again.

    He said to just keep up the excercise. So anyone in a similar situ as me, what exercise do you do? I need to become more flexible, I'm a very "stiff" person in general, I need some more flexibility. Anyone help?
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 09/01/2013 - 11:51 AM
    I walk every day and think that helps. Some days I am in pain when I start out but generally I feel better by the time I have finished.

    I am also starting Clinical Pilates (with the ok from my neurosurgeon). My lumbar spine is coping well with this (I had a L4/5 fusion and laminectomy 3 years ago). I do have to be careful of my neck (I had a C3/4 and C4/5 ACDF done nearly 10 months ago). I have been having private lessons and hope to join a class soon (So does my purse!)

    I do think that Pilates does help to become more flexible and also to strengthen the muscles, especially the core stability muscles.

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