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ready for surgery?

jace66048jjace66048 Posts: 1
edited 01/04/2016 - 5:13 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone. I have read many posts about back pain and surgery options on this site and decided to join up and reach out for some help. I am 44 years old and have had back problems since I was 16- I had been to the chiropractor and had done some PT, RICE etc for years and usually the times my back "went out" would eventually go away and the crooked walk would go away, however, last year I started having intermittent to consistent numbness and tingling in my left foot, toes, calf.. and then my back went out again- literally not able to move without help- had my first ever MRI and low and behold I have a couple of herniated disks in my lumbar spine including a MASSIVE herniation between L5-S1 ( ER doc said it was the worst he had ever seen). I opted out of surgery at that time, tried PT and injections, which helped a little- changed jobs ( went from being an RN in a surgery setting to teaching) and thought I could prolong a surgical option

Injections have not helped, my left leg and foot continue to be numb and tingling and now my right side is starting with shooting pains, tingling sensations. I can no longer enjoy many parts of my life including work and recreation. Getting in and out of the car, out of bed, off the toilet and getting dressed can be exhausting sometimes.

So I am ready for surgery I think- I am having difficulty finding a REALLY GOOD NS that I trust and I am not sure if this will help me in the long run or hinder me- I want to be able to work, fish, garden, drive etc etc eventually after surgery, but if surgery isn't going to help then I guess I can just live with this.


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-- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 01/04/16


  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    All of us here have put off surgery for various reasons... but it's the only way you're going to resolve your back problems. A massive herniation is NOT going to reabsorb on it's own... and by delaying surgery you are risking permanent nerve damage that surgery cannot fix.
    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
  • I can tell you from experience, I'm 38 and in excellent health (except for my back). Had a fusion done almost 1 year ago, started having pain/numbness in my right leg through the foot. Waited a few weeks and it turned into weakness. Saw my Ortho and had a fusion done the next day (very large herniation at L5/S1 that compressed the nerve root). I can't stress enough to NOT delay seeing either a NS or Ortho. Your body is telling you something is wrong, I wish I would have listened sooner as I still have weakness in my leg but no longer in pain. The nerve damage is probably done, but I'm at least happy that I'm no longer in pain. Best wishes and keep us posted.
  • I am one of those that did not put off back surgery. I studied everything I could before so I could try to keep up with what the doc says.
    I had my first MRI in Jan 2014 after complaints to the doc about my left leg and hip. I had also slammed my big toe months earlier so off the foot doc and bone doc. I left the foot doc with a date for toe surgery for a crushed toe and next I left the bone doc to find out I had congenital spinal stenosis and two herniated disc L3/L4 and L4/L5. The bone doc wanted to do a microdiscectomy by using a small incision and running a rod up my spine to file down the herniated disc. Between the atmosphere of the office (felt like a cow in a slaughter house) the bone docs bedside manners and some of what I read on the internet I immediately began a search for someone else. What I have found if you want to find a great doctor find a great nurse (hopefully OR experience) and ask the nurse for a recommendations. I found a NS that came highly recommended so I researched him and had a consultation. Keep in mind this will take time, I joke with people for every move you wanna make it takes a month to get there. I ended up getting a laminectomy to relieve pressure on my spinal stenosis and the filing down of the herniated disc. Yes, I chose to get cut, don't worry about the incision. Find the right doc first.
    My second back surgery came almost a year later after new pains showed up in my left hip and leg. What happened to me after my first surgery, two synovial cyst showed up in my spinal canal at two levels and of course they were putting pressure on nerves too. The cyst could be removed with a needle but they just grow back. The body sent them to help as my disc are so degenerated. Doc says I needed a fusion for S1/L5, L5/L4, L4/L3, L3/L2. I could have gotten away with just a 2 level fusion but doc and I both agreed I would probably be back in a few years to do the other 2. I am now in week 9, I have been out of and will be out of work for another 4 months. I will tell you, the pain from a laminectomy was mild in comparison to the fusion. I was in hospital 4 days, moved to rehab home for 6 days until I got fed up with them and signed myself out.
    I spent two weeks in bed taking 12 percocets a day. I used a walker or a cane for a few weeks to get my walking in. I am just now getting to feeling better without taking pain meds (reduced to hydrocodone a few weeks ago)

    I will tell you at your age I would say fix your back while you are young. I am an active 54 year old male, owner of a small business. I did not see that you are taking meds for the pain. I was up to 5 percocets a day before my first surgery and just a few a day prior to my second surgery so I was in severe pain prior to both surgeries. My final decision to do both surgeries was very motivated by the pain I was in. Some people live thru this, I could not. My biggest suggestion before you have surgery is to have your team to help assembled ahead of time and assign responsibilities ahead of time, you will need all the time you can to heal properly. Someone else will have to do your duties for you. I wish I could recommend my NS but there are rules. What area of the world are you? Whatever you do, research everything, get more than one opinion and prepare for a long recovery. I have been down for 2 years between my 2 back surgeries and 2 toe surgeries. Hvills is right, a badly herniated disc is not going to go back in and yes, putting it will just make it harder to fix.

    I know I am rambling but in closing; my roommate in the hospital was in for his second fusion because all the hardware was coming loose. He did not know why so make sure you do your homework before making a decision.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 158
    Some of us have to get it done or face being paralyzed. Some just want to be free of pain. This is stuff you need to talk with a NS over this. With you being an RN in surgery. Im sure you have friends that can help you. Or even doctors that can help you.
    They should know who you should be talking to.
    Greg fisher
  • I had a laminotomy/foraminotomy on 10/23/15 and have been on disability ever since. Doc said I now have a unstable spine and wants to do a spinal fusion(TLIF, He told me this on 12/15 and I'm still waiting for a date . I called surgery scheduling and they are telling me its about a 12 to 14 week waiting period. they put me on the priority list if someone cancels.lol, I hope this is worth the wait. I have constant right leg pain and shooting sharp pain that shoots down my right leg when I walk and that causes my leg to become weak and causes me to lose my balance sometimes when walking. Also have a very sore back that I did not have before the 1st operation. So fingers are crossed hopping to get a sooner date and that the fusion will get rid of the god awful pain I'm dealing with. I hope all of u that have had this surgery done are recovering and are pain free. :)

    Dave Zayas
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