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Am I a candidate for surgery?

Hello, I was wondering if anyone could help as I am struggling to achieve any progress with conservative treatments.
I fell off a horse in September 2012 with a small amount of intermittent back pain until May 2013 when I began to experience extreme sciatica to the point where I could barely walk. At the end of June i had an mri scan showing a prolapsed disc at l5s1 touching the s1 nerve root. I was sent to a chronic pain consultant who did a root block and epidural injection. This did help slightly but at the same time I was given 300 my tramadol, 300 gabapentIn, 50mg nortryptiline and 50mg Diclofenac per day. After this I have had hydrotherapy, physio, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and chiropractic treatment. None of these have really had any effect other than themedication but even with this I still have severe back pain although the leg pain has reduced. I had another mri scan done in june 2014 showing facet joint hypertrophy and again the prolapsed disc although slightly bigger touching the s1 nerve root. Today I saw the pain consultant who told me that there is nothing that can be done other than to continue taking all the painkillers for the rest of my life and that I need to get over it and learn to accept it. I disagree in that I cannot live like this for the rest of my life when I am limited to being able to do only the most basic things and I have no quality of life. I am only 23 and was a rider previously and work with horses although I have not ridden since May 2013. I struggle to do much also because of the side effects of the medication but without all of it I am unable to move due to the severe pain.
Would I be a candidate for surgery? I am hoping to find a neurosurgeon to see what they think but I really don't know what to do any more.
Any ideas, suggestions or thoughts would be massively appreciated. Many thanks in advance :-)


  • horselady21hhorselady21 Posts: 175
    edited 08/01/2014 - 5:18 AM
    It sounds like you need more aggressive treatment. The meds aren't working for you, and neither are the shots,etc. Get a couple of opinions..one from an ortho, one from a neuro. You can't be expected to live like that! I rode also (and it was said to be part of the reason for my poor disc condition!), and had a discectomy in 09 and a fusion in 2012.
  • I first experienced chronic back and referred sciatic pain when I was 23 (now 48). I spent 18 months in and out of hospital, having physio....with little improvement. It was then when I decided to seek a range of other opinions from orthopaedic and neurosurgeons. Subsequently a more aggressive form of treatment (surgery)fusion l4/5, L5/S1 resulted in a more positive outcome. You are to young to be told that this is your lot on life. Good luck
  • I am not an expert, but I've been done this road before and tried every conservative measure and none of them worked for me either. I'm 35 and the prospect of living like that the rest of my life would have been hard to handle. My neurosurgeon told me that a microdiscectomy/laminectomy would be a great option for me and he was absolutely right. As far as surgery goes, it was a very simple recovery. In my case, I did turn out to be one of the small percentage that reherniates quickly and so I have now had two microdiscectomies in less than 3 months' time. Still, I know it was absolutely the right decision for me.

    I think you should meet with another specialist (Orthopedic or neurosurgeon) and see what your options are. Your injury sounds very similar to mine, so I think you could be a good candidate for surgery. Best wishes!
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • Hi

    I am 47 and recently had MicroD in July on my L4/L5 disc for a broad-based disk herniation which re- herniated shortly after I had the surgery as confirmed by MRI. I went back to the doctor who recommended either a revision MicroD or TLIF fusion. So far by pain, although constant, is not unbearable so I have decided to wait as long as possible before having another surgery.
    microdiscectomy 7-2014
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