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Back pain - Post Laminectomy 9 months - Regrets.

Hello All,

I am a 43 yo male and am 9 months post 2 level Laminectomy. I regret this surgery each and every day. I suppose I had the surgery for the wrong reasons. I was a runner with sciatic pain and my back would spasm when lifting certain things (i.e. my kids) and wanted to run and remain active. My leg pain is only slightly better, and now I have left lower back pain (possibly the facets). This pain was not present pre surgery! I've been to countless physical therapists and am going to a pain doctor. No relief.

Until about 2 weeks ago I was on 80 mgs of Oxycodone a day. I was totally hooked. I am completly off now, but my pain is much worse.

What would be causing lower back pain this long after?? My back feels so weak.... Pain doc says its a mechcanical shift since ligaments where cut out of my back during the lami. Working toward a rhizotomy of the facets.

So many regrets.

Thank you.



  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    I am a 53 yr old and was a runner too! Had surgery also 9 months ago, l3-4 microdiscectomy for a piece of ruptured disc sitting on my main L 4 nerve root. My leg pain is much better but I too have back pain in the lumbar region that I never had pre surgery. I also wonder what is causing this?
    I can walk but can't run and feel worse as the day progresses. I continue PT and acupuncture but nothing makes it go away. I am so frustrated because my life has changed so much and it is just not fun to have continued pain that won't go away.

    Not sure what to do to find out a way to make it get better?
  • Have you gone to physical therapy since your surgery? Are you walking and moving each day or do you spend the majority of your time sitting or being inactive? The problem is that the inactivity reduces your stamina, your ability to tolerate pain, and ongoing muscle weakness and loss of core strength...
    I suggest that it might be wise to read this thread and to talk to your surgeon about getting back into physical therapy and start with some conditioning.


    Surgery should never be done in hopes of pain relief. It is supposed to be done to repair a mechanical or nerve compression issue, and any pain relief is a bonus. You, like many others have found that having spine surgery can increase the pain levels, rather than decrease them.
  • [did you have an open surgery] or laparoscopic] back in 1987 I had an open laminectomy and the consultant cut too much material away .weakening my spine and causing problems for later on in life it sound like you have had the same thing done to you .I have had 2 more operations since and each one had made things worse .I started on 10mg of oxycontin a day {that 2.10mg] I am now on 4 times 80mg of oxycontin and 6/8x 20mg of oxynorm a day and sometimes that's not enough .I sleep for maybe 2 hours a night and despite having a super comfy electrically adjustable bed pain still wakes me every night my life has been destroyed by pain ..I did try to get of the pain killers but the full weight of the pain came back and it was like fire down my right leg and the back pain was too much to stand ,I would rather drug dependant with less back pain than off medication ..there is no way I could come of pain killers the pain is far too much ..and its not just pain since my fusion {ALIF[ my legs hurt and swell and so do my feet I have just had an MRI and it look like I may need more spinal surgery /since the ALIF I have had bladder and bowel problems and need bladder surgery too .it gets worse with every operation .I can spend 20 hours in my recliner the altered sensations on both my legs and feet are so bad that I can't wear normal clothing I have to wear baggy shorts as I can't stand anything on my legs .its been this way for over ten years .so that's no social life as I cant get comfy anywhere but my recliner and as for a sex life ..impossible due to permanent nerve damage done on operation number two back in 2007 ..I am 47 and married .90% of my life has been destroyed due to back issues .9 months is not a long time to recover from a spinal operation ..but it doesn't sound good either ,I think another opinion would be a good idea most consultants won't reoperate for a year after your initial operation but remember it tend to get worse with every operation as the consultant has to work with what the other guy has done and make the most of a bad job my last guy said that he had very little usable spinal material to work with and the operation was hard work but I have been so much worse since the last operation .backs are hard work to recover from and tend to a be a life ling problem and unless the original surgery was done by a top end guy and you are super healthy there is a good chance that you will suffer ..I wish I had better news
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • fdgrantffdgrant Posts: 7
    edited 02/09/2014 - 7:48 PM

    Thank you for your responses.


    What you say about having back surgery is so true. Unfortunately, I had a very confident, very sales like surgeon, who said I would be back to running marathons in 6 weeks post surgery. If you ask Liz53 or any other serious runner, they will tell you that they will do almost anything to keep running. Although I cannot run at all anymore, I can cycle short distances. 10-15 miles at a moderate pace. I also do core excercises and weight training (all on a recline bench). I know it sounds like I must not have it so bad if I can do the aforementioned, but I push myself really hard and pay for it big. When the endorphin rush is over, I'm really really hurting. Constant pain. Weird thing is my pain is very near the SI joint and the symptoms are spot on with SI joint problems. Having a nerve block on my SI joint Thursday, and seing a new surgeon on Tuesday for a second opinion. crossing fingers.


    Hang in there, you will figure this thing out. I'm confident, but very impatient too. Hav you considered a pain management doctor to do some injections/blocks. There are some options available. My freind was having seroius lower back pain and had a rhizotomy of lower lumbar and is 95% pain free right now 8+ months. It gives me some hope.


    I feel for you bud. I know firsthand the effects constant pain has on a marriage and family. My pain, albiet intense, is not even close to what you are going through. If I were at your level I would definitely still be on the PK. I will be very honest, although the oxy helped the pain significantly, and taking them helped me be a better father/husband, I was getting seriously addicted. I would wake up feeling as if an elephant was sitting on my chest in the morning. 2 pills and 15 minutes later I was good as gold. Now my pain is worse, but not significantly worse. The pain meds will cause your pain to spike hard after cessation. Its almost like it purposely heightens pain to get more meds. It took me two weeks, and I'm depressed and in pain, but feel way way better. Not having to constantly check I had my meds in my pockets all the time (counting pills). Anyways, if you ever want to try stopping for a short period of time to see, I can recommend a few things to help. There is such a stigma attached to pain meds, and anyone who doesn't understand the need for them in cases such as ours is just ignorant. I too almost had an ALIF (it was scheduled). Glad I opted out... Keep your head up bro.

    Thanks all,


    PS - Went to the pool today because it has been recommended. Flared up my back pain big time...
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    Thanks for the positive comments. I initially saw a pm person but have not followed thru at this point. Afraid that what they have to offer is only temporary but I am thinking I might try again. Maybe if I can get rid of some of the pain I could function a bit better.
    I also have tried to swim and run a bit in the water and found it irritated my back a bit. Hard to maintain core strength in the pool. I do think over time it might help replace the endorphin high I haven't felt for a year! Boy I miss that feeling and have not yet found a way to get it with low level excercises.
    Let me know what success you get from injections.

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