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19yr old with ALIF surgery...scared, in pain, needing HELP

Hi... so this might be a bit lengthy, but I want the readers to be able to fully understand my situation.  When I was 17, I had a bulging disc, it got back into place on its own, but I was still having pain. Turns out I had degenerative disc disease.. and the bulging disc (l5, s1) accelerated the degeneration in my disc... I was told I could never dance again, and I started treatments immediately to help my pain... 

over those next two years, I did physical therapy (3 months), went to chiropractors (6 months), acupuncture treatment, had three epidural injections, and one facet injection. I saw at least 4 doctors and I tried everything I could to stop my pain. 

Finally after exhausting all options I went back to three doctors for their opinions.. they all said fusion. Ultimately it was my decision because they all had some apprehensiveness to preforming this surgery on me since I’m so young. fed up with the pain, I decided to go for it

I had an ALIF, through my stomach because they predicted I will need another one on another disc down the road and they didn’t want to go through scar tissue / there was less risks with the nerves.


December 15, 2017  I had the surgery, my doctor said it went smoothly and everything was perfectly in place. It was the worst pain that I have ever felt... after the surgery I noticed a few odd things..

1. My left leg (on the outside of my leg from my knee to my pinky toe) it was completely numb and I had no mobility ((still numb to this day, but i was able to build mobility back in my foot))

 2. I had terrible / insane neuropathy about 1 month after in my feet towards my toes on the outside of my feet. 

I did every post op requirement, followed all directions to a T, physical therapy for 3 months, tried another nerve block injection to stop the neuropathy... eventually I went on lyrica and It went away 

I’m 5 months out now, and I’m getting VERY VERY VERY SCARED. I’m off ALL medication, doing my physical therapy exercises on my own, icing my back multiple times a day.. and I feel as if my Back pain is just WORSENING... It was better around month 3, but I feel like I’m going backwards and I don’t know why. I’ve seen my doc 3 times and he took x-rays and said there isn’t a problem and everything is in place . 

I’m just  scared because I don’t know if I made the wrong choice by doing this surgery and maybe I’ll never recover, or if something else is wrong. I started noticing  that whenever I bend forward just slightly it causes INTENSE pain to straighten back up. 

I am only 19 years old, and I am extremely worried, if you took the time to read this whole thing, 1. Thank you so munch! and 2. Is this normal? Has anyone else experienced this? ADVICE???? 

Please help :( 

Thank you  



  • Hi, have you had any new mri’s done? Im 27 female and am 8w post alif for L5S1. I too was nervous for surgery because of my age. But im now not pain free but definitely better than i was pre surgery. Baby steps for progress! I think you need another opinion....

  • RatSquadRatSquad Posts: 116
    edited 07/03/2018 - 5:02 AM

    Duplicate post ... Oops.

    View my history for all the gory details.
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  • I had/have the same problem post surgery that you have with the numbness and neuropothy. I still have it after six years, but I have learned to work with it. The best I can figure is, all the pain I was experiencing from multiple ruptured disks was masking some of the stuff I experienced post surgery. Swimming as often as possible has helped greatly.

    I could tell you to not be scared and you made the right choice, but that would be presumptuous. Being scared is normal, especially when you are in pain. But here is something I have noticed over the years. When I am depressed due to being in pain, the pain just keeps getting worse. It is a viscous cycle, but one you can get a grip on. Or at least minimize it some.

    I wish I could do or offer something more substantial. But you are not alone. And do not be afraid to seek another opinion like nikkibee suggested.

    I wish for you a pain free day.

    View my history for all the gory details.
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