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Surgery or not to surgery!

dondons1ukddondons1uk Posts: 1
Hello All

Thanks in advance for reading. Just looking for some other people's experiences really and how you decided what treatment as I'm at a bit of a cross roads.

Pain started in left knee after running. I usually run 10k no problem so not new to sport at all. I thought had run oddly. Rested a week, ran again, pain again. Kept resting. No good. Went to osteo, physio etc. The pain, far from getting better, just got worse. After several weeks felt like someone was punching me in the ass and toes were all tingly.

So after about 3 months I saw GP who referred me and they found herniated S1/L5 disc which seems pretty common.

I had one injection. Was great. For about 3 weeks. Then I "over did" it by swimming and pain came back. Having lots of physio sort of calmed it down so not on pain killers anymore but not normal.

Then as muscles wouldn't relax tried some stretching. Worst decision ever. Couldn't get up and down stairs for 2 days. Leg just kept giving way. This was 10 days before my wedding, and 6 weeks post first injection. Had second injection to get through wedding.

5 weeks after second injection physio going well. Muscles strengthening well. Ran to catch a train (literally a few seconds along a platform) searing agony for 5 days, couldn't lift leg, stand on toes etc. Loss of reflexes. Gradually calmed down after 10 days to random shooting pains and occasional limp.

So this has now been going on for several months. Injections calm the pain but if I try to do anything at all beyond the norm and get back into my fitness it sets me right back. Difference is with the injections it does eventually calm itself down now but it isn't healing to the point I can rehabilitate and train.

So the doctor says 3 strikes and you're out and wants to try another injection. I am frustrated and miss training and want this done. But equally I am not in agony anymore, just can't do any fitness, which I love. Does that justify an operation and will it work?!?!?

Sorry for long message. Thought more info may help and any response appreciated.


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--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 09/01/15 22:34 est



  • SpineyKD23SSpineyKD23 IllinoisPosts: 89
    Sorry to hear of your troubles. Of course we cannot tell you what to do on here, but I will share my story (there is a brief history in my signature, but you can also view my profile for more info). I also tried 3 injections prior to my first surgery with the same results as you. I was a super active person too and the injections just didn't work well enough and I didn't want to just mask the problem. 2 out of my 3 surgeries gave me complete pain relief (sciatic pain- I occasionally would get sore from activities, but nothing big). They worked very well and the recovery was pretty easy. I have had so many surgeries because I wasn't being safe with my back. That being said most people find relief from surgery and can return to being active. To prevent future surgeries it is important to be careful when lifting, limit high impact activities, and rest when your back tells you too.
    I was not scared of surgery itself and have been very happy with my results. You have tried other options, so I do believe your doctors would consider surgery, but it also really depends on the level of pain you have. I have been in your position before where the biggest effect of the pain is on your fitness activities- some will say that's not enough for surgery, but other surgeons will agree to it. This is your life, and if your inability to to do those activities lowers your quality of life then I would recommend at least consulting with a surgeon.

    Best of luck to you,

    25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.
  • KynserchiefKKynserchief Posts: 1
    edited 09/10/2015 - 11:08 PM
    I ad a similar story to yours,I'm a 30 year old male,was two weeks away from my wedding when I herniated my l5 s1 in work (I work as landscaper)
    I was big into running and cycling but couldn't even walk with the pain,I got an MRI
    Immediately and the doctor recommended surgery straight away,got the injection to get thru wedding and had the surgery 2 weeks later,all in all 5 weeks after it happened.
    Within 4 days of the surgery I had very little pain,just a bit of nerve pain in my calf if I overdid the walking.
    I'm now 5 weeks post op and have no pain whatsoever,started pt last week and she says I can start back running and cycling within the next 2 months!
    I know it's different for everyone but m surgeon said the longer u leave it pinching the nerve the longer the nerve takes to heal!
    You should defo go for a consultation anyway.
    Hope it works out for you
    Best of luck

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