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Is surgery inevitable?

Starting to think that surgery is most likely going to be an option sooner rather than later. As previously posted I have had 2 microdiscectomies on my L5/S1 disc. I have renherniated the disc once again based on my MRI without contrast and my symptoms. My neurosurgeon put me on Decadron that worked wonders, but now has since worn off. I am having a repeat MRI this coming Tuesday with the contrast and I start acupuncture this coming Wed. If I do go into surgery again, my surgeon said it would have to be a fusion since this will be my third herniation. Scared and frustrated. The pain was so bad this morning when I woke up, I just wanted to cry. I can't cough, sneeze, or pass gas even without excruciating pain. I feel like I'm 80 years old not 37. I'm not taking anything for pain other than 800mg of Ibuprofen as needed. Frustrated and just wanting to vent to those that understand. Prior to this I was an active 37 year old female running 4-6 miles 4 days a week. Now I can hardly stand to do dishes.
Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
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Comments

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,048
    edited 01/10/2015 - 2:58 AM
    But before it comes to that, I would want to exhaust every possible conservative treatment available. There are so many and if they dont work initially try them again and gain.

    The only time I think surgery has to happen now, is when your doctor tells you because of a nerve being impinged. That you dont want to hold off on

    After all my spinal surgeries and before my joint replacements, we were looking at some T-disc surgery. That was back in 2006 and the surgery was pretty barbaric. I worked with my physiatrist and we came up with some eastern medicine attempts.

    I went to see Osteopaths, I tried multiple sessions of acupuncture, got involved with aroma therapy, relaxation and meditation. All helped to an extent. But what kept me from additional surgery and more than likely out of a wheel chair was this little Thai master.
    It was his form of Thai Deep tissue massage, worked in with Sports medicine massage, soft tissue massage. An art he learned in Thailand . For 6 hard months he worked on me, the sessions were extremely painful, but in the end, it all helped.

    So my point is that do not give up on treatments besides surgery. Look, research, talk to your doctors. There are so many things to try. But when the time comes that there is no other option, at least you know you've done everything you could to avoid it.
    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
  • dilauro said:
    But before it comes to that, I would want to exhaust every possible conservative treatment available. There are so many and if they dont work initially try them again and gain.

    The only time I think surgery has to happen now, is when your doctor tells you because of a nerve being impinged. That you dont want to hold off on

    After all my spinal surgeries and before my joint replacements, we were looking at some T-disc surgery. That was back in 2006 and the surgery was pretty barbaric. I worked with my physiatrist and we came up with some eastern medicine attempts.

    I went to see Osteopaths, I tried multiple sessions of acupuncture, got involved with aroma therapy, relaxation and meditation. All helped to an extent. But what kept me from additional surgery and more than likely out of a wheel chair was this little Thai master.
    It was his form of Thai Deep tissue massage, worked in with Sports medicine massage, soft tissue massage. An art he learned in Thailand . For 6 hard months he worked on me, the sessions were extremely painful, but in the end, it all helped.

    So my point is that do not give up on treatments besides surgery. Look, research, talk to your doctors. There are so many things to try. But when the time comes that there is no other option, at least you know you've done everything you could to avoid it.
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I will talk with my doctor after my MRI this week and like you said exhaust every option possible before going under once again. It is very helpful to have a place like this. I feel less alone knowing there are others that are going through similar changes and situations in life.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • Not trying to push pills or anything but you sound like a pain management candidate, especially if you want to avoid surgery.

    edit: what do you do now to releive pain? Does anything help? Good luck in acupuncture. It never helped me, but I hope it helps you.
    Grade I Spondylolisthesis L5-S1, bilateral pars issues
    Mild Scoliois double curve
    Arthritic activity in SI area and L5 through L3
    Chronic headache
    Nerve pain
    Gabapentin
    Opioids
    etc
  • Aero123AAero123 Posts: 37
    edited 01/17/2015 - 10:58 AM
    Satchel said:
    Not trying to push pills or anything but you sound like a pain management candidate, especially if you want to avoid surgery.

    edit: what do you do now to releive pain? Does anything help? Good luck in acupuncture. It never helped me, but I hope it helps you.
    I'm actually not taking anything for pain besides an occasional 800mg tab of Ibuprofen. Definitely have my good days and bad. Right now I'm feeling good. Acupuncture started this week and I've been able to get in the pool to swim which can only help me. I speak with my doctor this coming week about my mri. Apparently it may just be scar tissue that is causing me pain from my surgery in 2014 . I really hate medication and take the ibuprofen only as needed.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • rishelpatrrishelpat Posts: 7
    edited 01/20/2015 - 7:30 AM
    Hi Aero, from my personal experience, I have to agree with Ron in that if I had it to do over again, I'd exhaust almost every conservative treatment before agreeing to surgery. Having said that, I would get a 2nd, and then a 3rd opinion as well. My surgeon, who is one of the best on the west coast, refused to perform any surgery until I had done that. The spine group that he founded also insists upon a psychological evaluation as well, because he will not operate on a patient whom he thinks he cannot help. Personally, I can't emphasize enough the need for a good surgeon, who is performing your surgeries for the right reasons. I would run away as fast as I could if a surgeon made ANY promises about the final outcome of a surgical procedure!!! To my misfortune, a microdiscectomy and a subsequent multi-level fusion (from L3-L4 down to L5-S1) ultimatel failed. Interestingly enough, the most successful surgery was a breast reduction. Even though they only could remove just enough to make the surgery payable by medicare (a polite way of saying that I wasn't all that huge to begin with), I have had great and LASTING reults from that surgery, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! I'm wondering though, why you're so anti-medication? That is another, often very successful, conservative treatment that is a "life saver" for many, my self included, as no further surgical options remain for me. My biggest mistake was a number of epidurals. They didn't work for me, and created a significant amount of scar tissue, that along with the severe narrowing of my spinal canal now make paralysis a very real possibility for me. Again, that doesn't mean they won't help you. Trigger point injections are fairly non-invasive, relatively speaking, and worked very nicely for a while. Best of luck to you, and please feel free to e-mail me if you feel like a private cry/moan/complain session, as I'm always happy to lend a shoulder. Pat in NorCal
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1 1999
    Spinal Fusion L3-4 to L5-S1 2001
    Breast reduction 2002
    Medications are rather high dose, and because that can get controversial, I'd rather discuss in private


  • rishelpat said:
    Hi Aero, from my personal experience, I have to agree with Ron in that if I had it to do over again, I'd exhaust almost every conservative treatment before agreeing to surgery. Having said that, I would get a 2nd, and then a 3rd opinion as well. My surgeon, who is one of the best on the west coast, refused to perform any surgery until I had done that. The spine group that he founded also insists upon a psychological evaluation as well, because he will not operate on a patient whom he thinks he cannot help. Personally, I can't emphasize enough the need for a good surgeon, who is performing your surgeries for the right reasons. I would run away as fast as I could if a surgeon made ANY promises about the final outcome of a surgical procedure!!! To my misfortune, a microdiscectomy and a subsequent multi-level fusion (from L3-L4 down to L5-S1) ultimatel failed. Interestingly enough, the most successful surgery was a breast reduction. Even though they only could remove just enough to make the surgery payable by medicare (a polite way of saying that I wasn't all that huge to begin with), I have had great and LASTING reults from that surgery, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! I'm wondering though, why you're so anti-medication? That is another, often very successful, conservative treatment that is a "life saver" for many, my self included, as no further surgical options remain for me. My biggest mistake was a number of epidurals. They didn't work for me, and created a significant amount of scar tissue, that along with the severe narrowing of my spinal canal now make paralysis a very real possibility for me. Again, that doesn't mean they won't help you. Trigger point injections are fairly non-invasive, relatively speaking, and worked very nicely for a while. Best of luck to you, and please feel free to e-mail me if you feel like a private cry/moan/complain session, as I'm always happy to lend a shoulder. Pat in NorCal
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1 1999
    Spinal Fusion L3-4 to L5-S1 2001
    Breast reduction 2002
    Medications are rather high dose, and because that can get controversial, I'd rather discuss in private
    Thank you for your response. I am not against medications per se. I'm actually a prescriber as a Nurse Practitioner and have seen great results with my patients. I personally do not like the way they make me feel. I'd prefer Ibuprofen or Tylenol over anything stronger. Too many side effects with the others. Of course, if I was on the verge of pain that interfered with my daily life I'd reconsider. For now I'm taking the conservative route and actually am feeling good. I feel that I have alot of things going on that could actually be mimicking spinal pain. Having been a runner for 15 years, I've dealt with si joint instability and piriformis tightness that can also cause sciatica. Fun stuff. Fortunately, my surgeon is great and very honest. It also helps that I have the medical background and knowledge.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • So sorry to hear that meds haven't helped thus far. Tylenol has never been a biggie for me, as it has little or no anti-inflammatory properties, and of course, the liver damage it can do with long term use. My dad (who IS an M.D.) says that acetaminophen would never make FDA approval today for that reason. Heat, swimming, and acupressure have all worked for me, but always in combination with one medication or another, usually an opiate/muscle relaxant/anti-inflammatory combo. Lidoderm patches work well for me. They are simply a numbing agent in topical (patch) form. That may be worth discussing with your doctor. My best to you, and please keep me (us) updated, Pat in NorCal
  • Well, a month has gone by and I am feeling well and like myself again. My MRI came back clear and its more like my SI joint/piriformis. I've had 2 acupuncture treatments, gone swimming a handful of times, can clean again like I like to and I'm not in pain. I start physical therapy next week to get a bit stronger. I believe that prayer, patience, and taking it one day at a time has gotten me to this point. Thankful for every pain free day.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • Hello,
    I was in a car accident on 3/15/14 and have L4/5 and S1 herniation. I have been getting progressively worse have pain in buttocks down leg into left foot with extreme pain and cant lie down long, sit or walk very far. I was on FMLA at work and to avoid losing my job, I have to wait til March to reapply for FMLA and currently have accommodations as I cannot sit at work very long so miss two days a week also waiting on lawyers to settle the accident case before I can get surgery first was told by the Ortho Dr. needed fusion now its the microdectomy, I have to wait til case settles before can get second opinion from Neuro Dr.. I am on 10M percocet, tizanidine, gabapentine, visteril to cope with the pain but it is getting unbearable. My foot is getting worse by the day. Am I permanently damaging myself by waiting to get surgery? Will it take longer for microdectomy to relieve pain from the nerves since I waited so long?
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