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Neurosurgeon said I waited too long :(

Justaguy62JJustaguy62 Posts: 4
I first started having bi-lateral leg pain 3 years ago. At the time I was 6'2" and 210 lbs. Over the 3 years, went to 240lbs. I was referred to a neurologistI and was given different medications to help with no avail (Neurontin and couple others similar). A year later, I switched to another Neurologist and under his care, I have been to PT, Chiropractor with none helping. I had two MRI's, last one in October. Both showed disc herniation in L5 area, s2. I,to best of my ability was doing core strengthening, lost 30 lbs, no help. I developed severe left leg pain all the way to my foot. I can literally trace the pain(from buttock back of my thigh through calve to bottom of foot) . I could barely sit in a car for 30 mins at a time as pain was so severe and sharp. I was on Cymbalta, it helped with bi lateral leg pain for 6 mo's, then quit working. I'm currently taking Percocets, 10-325mg.They relieve the sharp pain in left leg, but after 2-3 hours, the pain comes back like clock work. I also take Motrin which along with Percocet, will kill the pain with in 30 mins. I had 9 epidural blocks over year and half. 1st 6 helped ease the pain but the last 3 ending in June, helped very very little.
My Neurologist sent me for a referral today to a well known Neurosurgeon. I know several people who had back surgeries by him and all are doing great. He looked at my MRI and asked why I waited so long. He said I have nerve damage and the surgery would not help. He said pain management is my only help at this time. He said "Epidural Stimulation" is a good place to start and referred me to the same Dr who gave me epidural blocks. I have to wait till Feb to be seen.
Does this sound familiar to anyone, nerve damage? I thought by having surgery and removing the tissue aggravating the nerve was the solution. He says I waited to long and the nerve has since been damaged. Any help or thoughts are welcome!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I had first herniated my L4 and then spread to L5...because of the sciatica and pain I had the surgery and I am still having issues. The surgery relieved my sciatica somewhat. I would still have flair ups but was told that you can have some permanent damage because of the length of time you have had the problem and irritated the nerve but it has no hope of healing id think if the irritation is still there. I had my pain for over 10 years and after a microdisectomy of my L4 and L5 it did slowly disapate but is now back full force ten fold after a facet injection.

    I would assume surgery wasnt offered before because the prior injections worked? I hope someone else has some more info for ypu as I myself am sorta new to this but I do feel your pain and wish you luck figuring it out.
  • The first thing I would do is get a couple more opinions from other well respected board certified neuros. Take all of your questions in a note book & compare what they say. I'm NOT saying search for a surgeon, any surgeon who will operate on you. Just get some other opinions so you're confident with the advise.
    I've seen a LOT of surgeons & they've all told me I have permanent nerve damage. ;-(
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • 1 thing that struck me odd, when I was at my referral with the surgeon, he and his nurse both asked why I was seeing a Neurologist. They both made statements that seemed odd, as if I was seeing the wrong Dr from day one. My primary physician was the one who referred me on. My neurologist told me from day one he was thinking surgery only if all else failed, so last month after 2 years with him, he decided to refer me to a surgeon. Yes, the first 6 injections worked, but last 3 was total failure.
    I have a 2nd opinion coming soon, as my Dr said something wasn't adding up at all. His exact words was I would be excellent candidate. I'm not searching for a Dr to have surgery by no means. Since my 1st referral was from the best and highly regarded in my area, I just want now to be told same thing from the next Dr. As we all know, chronic pain is depressing, and I'm tired of the pills and side effects. Percocets do work, but they have their days where it's not worth it. After seeing 4 friends have this surgery done successfully, (by same Dr), I was pumped up the day of the referral. Listening to him tell me I was too late, crushed my hopes of being semi normal again one day. I will take this advice as I move forward to the next phase, thanks for the input guys/gals!
  • but if it fails to relieve the symptoms, then it is time to send you on to see a surgeon for a consult. In some cases, depending on the findings on any imaging, that time frame may be sooner or extended .
    When there is nerve compression, waiting too long can result in permanent injury, so while conservative measures are best in many cases, there are some that surgery sooner, rather than later is the direction that needs to be gone in.
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