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New to forum, Not so new to back pain and surgery

McBackMMcBack Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi All,

I just found this forum while searching the spine-health website regarding yet another possible lumbar surgery.

In brief, I have had a laminectomy at L/4-L/5 in 2001 followed up with a multi-level facet fusion of L/3 thru S/1 in 2002, resulting in some positives, but also many negatives. It is a long drawn out story, (that which I am sure there are plenty of here), and it will take some time to compose, but it is late and I have to get up early to go have an epidural injection in the AM, so I won't go into it any further right now.

Regardless, I am thrilled to have found this forum. It will be nice to have a place where I can both receive and give advice and counsel with those whom have a much better understanding of what I have been going through all these years.



  • Good luck on the epi in the am and post when you can!
  • Hiya >:D<
    Welcome to spine health . Good Luck with the epidural, i have one up and coming, had them before. Check out the chat rooms on here . Keep us posted ! :)

    Angie x
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  • to SH! Hope the injection offers you some relief. Will look forward to seeing your after-shot post.
  • McB welcome to Spine Health. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. Hope that you got some good sleep.

  • mcback- welcome to forum and hope this epidural will help alot with the back pain..take care..jade
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  • Thank you all for the warm welcome.

    I just got home from the injections. Turns out they were only facet inj at L/5 S/1 to the right side, (which is my most prominent spot, but not my only troublesome one), and my right sciatic.

    I was told to go about my business this week, (which isn't much), and that I would receive a call next Friday. He stated that he is mainly interested in how I felt within the first 8 hours of the procedure, as apposed to what the steroid itself does for me. He explained why, but my cognitive abilities are so fogged these days I'll be damned if I can remember now. Thought maybe others here could shed some light in this respect. Why I don't purchase one of those digital recorders and document these visits I don't know. Something about determining if the pain is a result of the facet or if it stems elsewhere?

    Anywho, a brief history now that I have time.

    I am a 45 year old male. I live in the Midwest. I originally injured my back around 1976 bending and lifting a crate of cabbage while working at the local farmers market. I recall a flash of heat originating from my lumbar shooting all the way up my spine to the top of my head. The next thing I recall is being shaken by my employer telling me I was not getting paid to sleep. Looking at my watch about an hour had passed.

    From that time on, over the years I would be seen by orthopedic docs and chiropractors, being told I messed up L/5 S/1 area and would more than likely need surgery one day, but that I best wait until I cold no longer take it and too to allow technology to advance. Every year I would periodically over do it working/playing and end up on my back for anywhere from a couple days to a week or two, unable to even lift my head without stabbing pain in the lumbar region.

    Then in late 2000 I was bending and lifting and felt something pop in my lower back. I was unable to straighten up without significant pain and also was experiencing shooting pains down both legs to my feet.

    After much PM&R to no avail it was decided in May of 2001 to do a laminectomy at L/4 L/5 on both the right and left sides to relieve sciatic pressure. This did nothing for the dagger like pain in the central lumbar that I had been experiencing over time, but it did help the newer leg pain.....that is until I started rehab. It wasn't long after that the shooting pains returned with a vengeance.

    After more PM&R and several CAT scans, MRI's and a discogram (OUCH!) I went under the knife again in Jan of 2002, this time to undergo facet fusion from L/4 thru S/1. While under it was determined that the disc between L/3 and L/4 was also degenerative and bulging so they went ahead and fused that level as well.

    After surgery my left leg, (the better of the two prior to surgery), felt like it was literally ON FIRE! The pain far exceeded the 12 inch gash and bag of bolts I now had in my back. Another MRI was taken to determine whether or not one of the pedical screws were impeding on a nerve. It was decided that there was no evidence to this effect so I lived like that for the next 18 months popping pain meds and benzos like candy to alleviate the pain and spasms.

    During the latter months of recovery I continually pointed out to my NS that I felt at least one level, that being in the lower right region, was a non-union as I could not only feel the screws grinding when I flexed my pelvis, but could hear it as well. Due to the new burning sensation and my claims of a non-union I insisted that the hardware be removed when it was felt that a solid fusion had taken place and investigate.

    In May of 2003 the hardware was removed and when I awoke I INSTANTLY felt like I had a new left leg. The burning sensation was gone and the left leg felt better than it had in 25 years. My NS claimed that all looked well fusion wise and that he had also performed another laminectomy on the left side of L/3.

    Despite the NS findings, (whom has since left the country), I still feel there is a non-union at either S/1-L/5 or L/5-L/4, or both as not only does it pop and grind in this region, but if I try and do anything beyond mowing the lawn or walking a few blocks this area become extremely inflamed and my right sciatic pain increases. Even without exertion my right leg aches and is numb on the outer front quadrant, and the lower right region of my lumbar feels swollen and aches.

    Over the past year these symptoms above have increased. In addition, recently I am being woken quite regularly by significant aching pain all across my entire lumbar region, I assume muscular rather than skeletal, probably due to lack of activity. At first I thought it was a kidney infection, but test were negative in that respect.

    There is a lot more to my story in regards to medication, dependencies, depression, etc. but I'll spare you the details here. I will add that I am almost 5 years tranquilizer free and I rarely ever will give into any type of narcotic pain meds. Ibuprofen and/or Naproxin is pretty much the strongest meds I will take regularly (regularly being a couple times a week). Beyond that I take nothing but calcium tabs. I have learned to manage my pain in others ways, mainly by not doing much of anything, but at 45 I can't keep idle for much longer. Prior to surgery I was a very active individual and I want desperately to re-enter society and be even half as active as I once was. I have lost much over the past 8 years, including job, my ability to do the profession I love (woodworking), my marriage dissolved, I've put on about 50 lbs, (which is not helping matters I know), and due to lack of income am close to losing my home as well.

    My ambition to return to work and regain an active lifestyle, combined with the increase of pain and symptoms has prompted me to pursue further treatment. This time I am far more educated in many respects, not to mention have a much clearer mind being drug free, and as such I hope to make far better decisions, obtain better medical attention and accomplish my goals in a timely fashion.

    So, it has been about 5 hours since the injections and I do notice a good level of relief locally in my right lumbar region. It has done little in regards to sciatic pain in the right leg though. Again the doc asked that I pay close attention to how much relief I get before the local wears off, so we shall see how it goes tomorrow.

    In closing, I hope finding this forum plays a part in my quest, and perhaps through my own experiences I can help others here along the way as well. Turns out this was not such a brief story was it #o

    Mark (McBack)
  • Hiya Mark,
    I hope you continue to get relief from facet joint injections, i am also waiting to have these done . 8>

    Angie x
  • Hi McB and Welcome!
    Congratulations on getting yourself as educated as possible about your back problems and treatment options. I am sure you will find a ton of help on these forums - I am continually amazed at how much people know here and how wonderfully open and supportive everyone is!
    Hope the ESI does its stuff -
    Best wishes,
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