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Laminectomy... L5/S1

bellaapiratebbellaapirate Posts: 1
edited 12/03/2015 - 2:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello! My name is Ashley. I am 26 years old and recently (4 weeks ago) had my first back surgery... L5/S1 laminectomy. I have spinal stenosis and possible degenerative disk disease. Yes, I have all of this at "such a young age". My family has had a long history with back issues, so I expected it... but not so soon.

It all started when I was 21. I was working with kids and one who was a little bigger for his age jumped on me and twisted me wrong. I remember hearing a pop and feeling a bit off. A few hours later, I was practically paralyzed and couldn't move without killing my back. It was probably one of the scariest times in my life. I was too young for that! Anyway, turns out that I had severely dislocated my lower lumbar region... specifically L5/S1.

Since that incident, it has happened 3 times and each time it was easier to do than the last. This past time that led up to the surgery polished off my lovely herniated disk between the L5/S1 region. It was bulging so terribly that it was crushing my sciatic nerve. So, not only was I in a lot of BACK pain... my thigh, leg, ankle, foot, and toes on my right side were constantly killing me. My foot and toes would go numb a lot. I couldn't work and ended up having to take an extended, if not permanent, leave of absence from my job (it is very strenuous).

I had surgery about 4 weeks ago and am just needing to be able to talk to people who have had similar incidents as I have. No one around me except my mother understands what I am going through (and she went through hers 15 years ago, so she doesn't remember much).

I'm 26 and had a laminectomy 4 weeks ago and I'm just wondering if what I'm feeling is normal?

Before the surgery, my herniated disk was crushing my sciatic so badly that I couldn't do ANYTHING at all without causing more pain than I was already constantly in. Walking, sitting, standing, etc. Now, the pain in my leg is practically gone... I have a few times during the day that it aches just enough to be annoying, but it goes away fairly quickly.

For the past 2 days I've been feeling a little "odd" in the spinal area... it just feels like I am more conscious of my spine being there, if that makes sense! It's like I can feel every vertebrae from the middle down, which is odd. I have also moved wrong a few times... nothing that caused pain, but it still makes me feel a certain way considering that the surgery team specifically said not to bend or twist for 6-8 weeks. It's been sore, but no more than it has been since the surgery on a daily basis.

Is this "feeling" I'm having something to be afraid of? Or am I just crazy and overly-particular about this?

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that 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
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    - 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 :

You still are so very fresh out of surgery. Any spinal surgery takes time . During the recovery process there can be a number of ups and downs.
Take a look at Recovery The most important phase

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/03/15 07:43 est



  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    From my experience what you've described seems pretty normal. The surgery did a good job of solving your nerve pain but it did NOT cure you. Your spine and more specifically your L5-S1 disc has been compromised and it will never be 100% again. The portion of your disc that the surgeon cut out will NOT regrow... it will only scar over. It also means there will be some degree of instability in your spine depending on how much of the disc was removed which may cause "funny feelings" in your spine from time to time. You will need to be "kind to your back" for the rest of your life or you may end up with further problems with the disc and have to have fusion surgery like me. You should talk to your doctor about a PT program as a stable and healthy spine must include good back and core muscles. Hang in there...
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Ashley seen your post a few days ago and thought about what I should say carefully as my op was over 24 years ago. Firstly I want to echo what Harry has said. Your nerve pain has gone but this is another injury inflicted on the original one and the effects of that will be there for good. I had an accident when I was 18 and my laminectomy (L5/S1) when I was 20. After a few months i felt great, especially considering all the sciatica I had for two years. However, I didn't look after my back and it caught up with me when I hit my mid thirties with regular bouts of chronic back pain. I also started to get neck problems.

    This year I had an accident in the sea where i landed on my neck and damaged two discs in it. The MRI and Xrays showed significant disc protrusion and disc disease. The disease was caused by poor core strength due to my laminectomy putting pressure on my neck for many years. I was tested by my phsyio and i only 40% of the core strength i should have. Maybe if I had looked after my back more the disc wouldnt have shot out. I was lucky, it missed my spinal cord by less than 1cm and I "only" need two discs removed and a fusion four weeks ago. Ive been off work for three months and wont be back to January.

    Moral? Dont worry about what you are feeling now...youve had major surgery so thats normal. But once you are through that, focus on your back. Do yoga, or pilates and really try and strenghten your core. If you do, there is no reason why you cant lead a normal life.
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