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L4/L5 Laminectomy

hayley lynhhayley lyn Posts: 1
edited 07/17/2015 - 4:37 PM in Lower Back Pain

On April 2nd of this year I injured my back and suffered a disc herniation in my L4/L5. I'm a healthy 21 year old girl and I have always had back problems my whole life but never anything this bad.
I woke up the next day and could not walk and could barely move. It was like this for several days but the pain slowly started to get better. Now over 3 months later the pain is still pretty bad. When I get off work every day the pain is very bad and after walking short distances my lower back/butt goes numb and tingly down to my knee area.

I had a CT scan on may 5th and when I saw the neurosurgeon on July 2nd and got the results he informed me that not only do I have a herniated disc but I also broke a piece of my vertebrae off! So because of that PT is out of the question. I also now have nerve damage down to my foot. He scheduled me for a Laminectomy for the end of summer/early fall but now I am having it on August 12th (less than a month away!!!)
Every day is a struggle. As soon as I wake up I can feel the pain and it doesn't go away until I go to sleep. Bending even a small amount is painful as well as sitting, so I have to extend my leg to sit comfortably.

I'm very nervous, I've never had any kind of surgery except for getting my wisdom teeth out. I don't really know what to expect or roughly how long I'll even need to be off work. I work at a drug store so I am on my feet all day but I also do some office work there so I do get to sit for a little while each day. Obviously everyone heals different but can anyone tell me roughly how long I should expect to be off work?

The pharmacist at my work thinks I should not have surgery since I'm so young, but my surgeon's office tells me I'm a perfect candidate because I'm so young and healthy so I'm getting very mixed signals! I guess I'm also nervous because its suddenly a month away and I feel like I'm rushing into it, even though it is not improving and deep down I know this is the right decision (I think???)


Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that need members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 07/17/15 22:41 est


  • Give you information regarding post op limitations, recovery and expected time off. Typically, there are restrictions post op for several weeks, depending on the type of surgery and how extensive it is.
    You should make another appointment with your surgeon to go over any questions and concerns you have, along with discussing restrictions and for how long.
    In the FAQ section on the left hand side is a list of questions you might want to read through and bring with you to ask your surgeon.

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