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advice and expectations

cslumpccslump Posts: 1
edited 01/02/2015 - 10:29 AM in Lower Back Pain
New memeber and somewhat new sufferer. I'm 42 formally very active sports individual that injured myself roughly a year ago and in March had a lumbar MRI that showed L4/L5 was a full rupture and S1/L5 was severely herniated. Delayed surgery and opted for conservative therapy, which resulted in further damage and nerve problems. By May was unable to walk regardless of the meds taken, but continued to work and carry on with life (I'm a bit hard headed). At this point RN wife made me see neurosurgeon who said we had to fix this before permanent damage was done (rheumatologist confirmed, as I also have psoriatic arthritis). Scheduled surgery, continued to work and even took the family to Disney in June (scooter rental is by far the way to do Disney!). Had surgery July 8th (double laminectomy), and at first follow up I had full range of motion back and was off all meds, although the nerve damage (numbness and weakness remained). Continued PT and by 8 wks out was released to full activities. I did not go back to my usual gym activities(I'm 6'-1" and was 240 withless than 10 percent body fat. I don't say this to brag but to show my level of fitness and knowledge of my body and what I expected to return too) but focused on making sure this was behind me for good. In October while camping in our rv (no ground for me) I woke up in pretty severe pain. Finished our trip, but was getting worse. By the time we made it home I couldn't move and barely made it to bed. Called the surgeon and he said the only thing he could do was order another MRI which I had in early November. He called me to discuss the results and said there was nothing wrong and that I just needed to work out. Not acceptable to that, I took the MRI disc to my rheumatologist who said your L5/S1 is herniated again. Sent me to PM dr and they were visibly annoyed by the surgeon's comments (they know him and said they would be placing a call to him). So this past Monday I had my first ESI and as of today I'm having zero relief and would say it's getting worse. Over Christmas all the prior nerve pain has returned and a new nerve pain has begun which is in my groin and feels like my male parts are being continually hit or squeezed.

Sorry for the long post, but wanted to provide all background info before asking advice. So with my current condition, and with the severe levels of pain I'm having, I'm having serious issues working or just being up and moving. My question is what's next for me if these injections don't work? Also at what point does disability assistance make since and would I even qualify? This is all new to me, and with having 6 prior orthopedic surgeries(knees and shoulders etc) that I recovered from and never slowed down with, I'm beginning to get nervous that I won't bounce back from this.

Any advise or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


  • 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
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,863
    edited 01/03/2015 - 3:32 AM
    1 - Double laminectomy Remember, a laminectomy only removed a PORTION of the affected disc, not the entire piece. So that same disc can herniate at a later point in time

    2 - Disability - Wait, as you indicated you are hard headed and wanted to continue to work. Don't short change you career because of your current spinal condition. They may come a time and perhaps never when you can not longer work at all

    3 - Options. Always take the conservative route. Spinal injections acupuncture, tens, voodoo doctors, whatever it takes that will help you. I've turned a bit to eastern medicine to help me with my chronic pain. Together blending western and eastern medicines, I am getting along.

    No question that as we get older, its harder to bounce back from surgeries. I had my 7 spinal surgeries from the age of 28 until I was 50. Each time, it was a bit harder. I then had both of my shoulders totally replaced in 2010, which took longer, then one hip totally replaced in 2011, the next one in 2013. With each year, the recovery gets a bit tougher. Right now, I am facing total reconstructive surgery of my left Achilles tendon. I just know, now that I am 64, recovery is going to be that much longer and harder.

    But when it has to get done, it should get done.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • You probably need to see a different surgeon. If several people are saying you have re-herniated, you probably have, which is awful and I am sorry.
    I had pretty good success from my 2 ESI. I'm not sure why because I read so many times over about people who did not get relief. (I have a large/severe extrusion (fancy way to say ruptured) disc in my L5/S1- like you very athletic.) I admit one funny thing. I had one ESI and got better enough that I could return to my desk job...The second one made it somewhat better than that, and then about 4 weeks after the second one, after I scheduled surgery, i started to be able to actually return to some regular function (as in I can now do "baby" workouts at the gym. So give it a bit more time, maybe it can provide some relief. I am extremely lucky and grateful that it provided me the partial relief that it did because I was quite depressed.

    As far as what's next there will be several options. One is the ESI that you are having done. Another is a return for more surgery. I think I would seek out a new surgeon, and just be aware that many surgeons do not enjoy "cleaning up" another surgeon's work, but given that your surgeon is not addressing your issue, I'd visit a new one anyway. Good Luck. It is not very fun to feel the way you are feeling.
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