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Next Steps for Herniation with Sciatica

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
I posted this message in New Members but thought you all in this forum would be really helpful! Thanks.

Hi My name is Angela. I am 37 and living in NJ with husband and 12 year old son. I am glad I found this site with lots of valuable information but especially this forum since I really could use the support.

My back issues started in 2002 and at that time I went for PM and got three epidurals that worked for about a year. Then after a move to CT and a new job, the pain started coming back. So I tried Chiro. It worked for quite awhile (about a year) and then got real bad real fast. New MRI indicated a herniation at L5/S1 and surgery was thought to be best option. Had a laminectomy in 12/05. Recovery was good PT, etc and I did really well with occasional sciatica up until this past December 07. Went to non-surgical back specialist and had another MRI which indicated scar tissue (which my surgeon had already told me was the reason I had occassional sciatica over the previous two years since the surgery) and a re-herniation in the same area! So, the new guy suggested a series of 3 epis and PT. Worked well enough but still needed naprosyn occas. and he also had me taking tizandine to relax the muscles around the herniated. I was okay up until June when I started with achy back (which as an aside I didn't have in the past.was always just sciatica) off and on. Then about a month ago (late July) I could barely bend over..and two weeks ago I had such bad pain in my back and buttocks I kept waking up all night and started taking pain meds. Went to Dr. and saw a partner in the office (after having to take off work due to pain) and he gave me a shot in the butt. It didn't do a thing and called my regular guy who scheduled me for an epi. I had two (one at L5 and one at S1) on Friday August 29th with minimal relief..but it worked really well in the butt area and my back pain is gone but now my sciatcia is back. Then this Friday I work up with searing pains in my calf and aches in the top of my legs and butt. Took Oxy and finally after an hour fell asleep on the floor (too much pain in the bed). In the morning I started taking my husband's darvocet (since my pain med is all gone..never got a new script since I didn't need it)..every four hours with Tizandine and naprosyn twice a day and getting barely any relief. I am laying on the floor mostly. Having horrible tingling and numbness in foot and calf when I sit..etc. etc. etc.

Sorry this is so long but I know all of you will understand because no one else in my life (although supportive) really does! I am so scared that I have to get surgery again and the impact on my work and my life that this back problem is causing me. I am seeing the non-surgical back specialist again tomorrow and want to come super prepared with questions..etc. about what to do next. Any thoughts from all of you would be greatly appreciated?




  • Hi Anglelanic,

    I am so sorry you are having all these pains again.

    If I were you I would keep a diary of triggers, meds, reliefs (i.e. sleeping on floor) as all can be useful for the doctors.

    How long do you sleep? where? position?
    Lifting?, Driving? stairs - up or down worse?
    pushing / pulling
    Pain meds tried, heat? Alcohol? Others?
    Treatment had before and your back pain story from beging to now as well as this recent episode. This way if the past medical history is relevant they got it, if not no prb.

    I suspect they will poke you about and then order some scans if they are worried. Fear not, it may be simple. Good Luck and let us know how you do.
  • Hi

    Appreciate your and other feedback. I saw the Dr. tonight after three nights sleeping on the floor and had tons of questions based on the website. He put me on Lyrica, and a steriodal pack. I will also continue my Naprosyn, Tazanidine and oxy. God that sounds bad! He also scheduled me for a consult to talk to one of his colleagues about an endoscopic discetomy. Any experience here? I figure i will see what he has to say and then make a decision. I do agree with him that another epi shot probably isn't going to make a difference and I know PT is a waste of time (ok..a fix but not going to solve the problem).

    thanks again.

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  • Are you working with a surgeon yet?

    I hope the new meds help.

  • consult tomorrow.I will keep you posted.
  • Hi All,

    Went to see pain management surgeon today. Going to schedule a laser hardening of my two bad discs. See how it goes for a month and then probably get the endoscopic discectomy. I can't believe how much time is cut off the recovery. With my laminectomy I was off for six weeks. This time it should be a couple days with the lazer and a week with the endoscopic. Any of you had these procedures done?

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  • Hi Angelanic!

    Sorry to hear about your probs.
    Can more or less understand your distress.
    I too had sciatica but for a much shorter duration than yourself and mine was not a so-called "Failed back". I opted to go for microdiscectomy and got it done 5 days after a repeat MRI showed a sequestrated disc. Was sick and tired of being bed bound like some invalid and having to fear showering due to the pain and having to literally crawl back to bed after a shower.
    But I do understand you're in a different situation. Yours was a laminectomy (why? you're young right? was it more than just a prolapsed disc?). Plus yours is of a different pathology now.
    But I certainly know exactly what you mean when you describe the pain you experience. It's hell.
    I'm being very opinionated by saying this, but I have little faith in "conservative" management in such cases. I had my slipped disc for over 10 years and initially had bad nerve root symptoms but it resolved steadily. "Conservative" treatment was the right decision. But when my disc became sequestrated, I knew almost immediately that I needed surgery. (I guess being kinda in the line helped). And modalities like laser and epis crossed my mind but I eliminated them quickly. To me it's simple. My body could deal with the initial slipped disc - I improved slowly but steadily. After the second episode, it was clear to me my body was not gonna cope. So if it's a disc fragment screwing with my nerve, it's gotta go. I don't wanna muck around with trying to buzz it with a laser. A microdiscectomy when done right is so safe and involves little surgical trauma. The advantages of a laser procedure is not significant enough for me.
    But that's just my opinion. I'm no world authority on this. Keep us all updated and all the best! Things always work out for the better!
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