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newbie L5 S1 ... surgery sched. for end of Dec

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi. L5 S1 disc herniation ... complicated by a "old" cracked vertebrae at the site.

I've had 2 spinal injections. Last one was 5 days ago; a nerve root block. It seemed to decrease the pain quite a bit. Feel it coming back again last night/today. Got one more injection scheduled.

Also have surgery scheduled for Dec 30th (Docs are taking the "have a plan A and plan B approach).

Due to the cracked vert., operation will require "fusion". Guess that's my story.



  • Welcome to spine-health..good luck with your surgery.
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so you are planning on surgery! have you gotten more than one opinion? the more information you have the better. :? have a look around and make yourself at home. check out the "Back and Neck" surgery section for some more input. good luck and i look forward to seeing you around the forum. Jenny :)
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  • Good luck on your upcoming surgery and please take a look at the surgery section for the list of things that you will need post op. It will be very helpful. Please keep us posted.
  • I'm glad the nerve root blocks are giving you some relief. I also had a fusion around the holiday a few years ago. Hubby was able to be home on break and more family around to help do things. I felt like I had an easier time recovering than when I had my 2nd surgery in March.

    My biggest advice? Strictly adhere to the no lifting/bending/twisting and weight restrictions your doc gives you. It's surprising how easy it is to bend over or twist simply putting dishes in the dishwasher.

    Good luck and welcome!!

  • today i'm walking around without a cane. my wife asked me how "it" felt last night because i seemed to be moving around better.

    they moved up the 3rd injection (i've got to become better versed...i don't even know what they're injecting) to dec 2, tuesday. not sure if this will be another nerve root or not, but it will be the last one. 3 seems to be the limitation on shots without an interval (need to ask, think it's 6 months)

    if this continues to improve, i'm wondering if some sort of exercise (yoga, pilates) might allow me to postpone (cancel?) the surgery and still see improvement. that's what brought back here this morning.

    reading the info under your name; i can't imagine how some people endure the long-term, ongoing pain and physical limitations. one day at a time, i guess. was the s1 nerve damaged during a surgery? or a result of compression over time? my wife asked the surgeon last week about long-term nerve damage; i hadn't given that much thought. good luck with the SCS trial.
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  • Thanks. I'm feeling better than when I first posted. I'm cautiously optimistic.

    I was scheduled to see a neuro-surgeon for a 2nd opinion (surgery is scheduled with a orthopedic surgeon 12/30) Dec. 24th. They called and canceled the appointment a couple of days ago...he now performing surgery that day. So, now I have to find another.

    And that's become even more important, because, I'm feeling a bit better. My next spinal is Tuesday 12/2; actually stopped in this morning to see if there is any information about "gentle" exercise (yoga, palates); and "red flag" indicators -- other than the obvious -- PAIN.

    Your nerve damage; is it the result of long term "bulging discs"? Or something else ... surgery; other treatment?
  • :) it is inspiring to hear of such a great improvement. now just don't overdo. you may be feeling better and want to conquer the world but please take it easy, alittle at a time. perhaps talking to your doctor and a physical therapist would lead you in the right direction about using Yoga or Pilates as a form of rehabilitation. :-C it may be you need to start with something more like swimming to get you started. it is so gentle on the joints and so good for your general well being. =D> anyway, keep up the good spirits! <:P Jenny :)
  • Glad you are doing better and better.

    We don't know what caused my permanent nerve damage, although I've had it from the very beginning, just is worse now. I didn't have a major compressed nerve, but it has been decompressed and looks great on MRI's, etc.

    Looking back, we always wonder if I should have had any of the surgeries, but the details are that the first one, I had a major, blown L5-S1 disc. That surgery was the laminectomy/discectomy. Never was totally better, and had numb feet that I didn't realize. (Weird, I know, but I just hadn't realized how bad it was.)

    Then I fell on a move to another state in a parking lot. Due to the numb feet, I was dragging them or not picking them up enough, and uneven pavement "took me out". That wasn't pretty. I then had a large extruded disc piece floating in my spinal canal.

    My true mistake was the surgeon I chose for my second surgery. We had moved to rural nowhere, and after the fall, I was in severe pain. Closest civilization was a 2 hour one way trip, and I wasn't up for it. There was a doctor with great bedside manor, and lots of patients that I went with. That 2nd surgery was a fusion at L5-S1 with BMP, but no hardware. I was never better and in fact, worse. He told me I was doing great, healing just fine. When I asked why I was in terrible, horrific pain with my nerve burning 24 hours a day, he offered me an epidural steroid injection. I declined and walked out to get all my records to leave his practice.

    After 6 months, I was convinced to go see a neurosurgeon (other 2 surgeons were orthopedic) for the first time, and he could see from Xrays (not even an MRI) that I had a missing facet joint at L5-S1, probably broken off accidentally in the 2nd surgery but not mentioned in any surgery notes. MRI confirmed the diagnosis, which meant I had tremendous over-rotation and shearing at that joint. My 3rd surgery (in 12 months at this point), we a 360 PLIF with rods, screws, cages, and BMP. The works. I felt immediately better.

    For several months, I felt like I was really improving, and I was walking a lot like that doctor required. I would suffer at night after the walking, but was happy I was getting some mobility back.

    Then, my graceful self fainted in the bathroom last February. I went from standing to laid out on the floor. Not a good idea. At the ER, I found out I had the double flu (strains A and B, cause I say if you're gonna get sick, do it right! lol), and that had caused me to faint. It appeared that nothing had happened to my back stability with that fall - by the grace of God. But.....

    I have never been the same since that fall, although all tests - MRI, CT mylegrams, everything show my back stabilized and my nerves not compressed. By November, I finally convinced them to check my nerves specifically - a nerve conduction study and an EMG. That was not pretty - my S1 nerves are shot, with acute and chronic damage (as of 1 year ago this month.)

    That doctor immediately offered me the SCS, but I just wasn't ready. I just knew I would get better. HA! I kick myself now, as I've lost an entire year of my life to a recliner, but I had to be ready. Now, I am happily awaiting the trial on Thursday and pray I get my life back.

    So overall, no surgery took care of the nerve pain that started in August, 2005. Ugh! Yes, it is one day at a time, one hour at a time, and thank goodness for the Internet and my laptop caddy that scoots right up to me from a fully reclined position!! lol


  • Welcome new spiney :D , I had fusion at the same lumbar last year, with instrument. Is your surgery Minimally Invasive? Where do you live? If it is really cold outside during winter, do be prepared, because the cold can make pain harder to cope. I remember using a rice sock; I filled it out with rice on a crew sock, tie it on the top, heat it in the microwave for 45 seconds, then place it where I want. It really helped me a lot then.

    All the best to your upcoming surgery.

  • It seems to come down to ... what's the right thing to do. I just came back from my 3rd spinal (still forgot to ask what they're injecting; I was just happy it was a "normal" epidural and not another nerve root.

    Anyway...the nurse (nice lady) gave me a lot of "inside" information. She assists on the injections, she's been working at pain mgmt for 8 years, and is also a home care nurse -- so she's seen a lot. Two of the many things she told me...

    See a neuro-surgeon for the 2nd opinion (I mentioned two, and she knows and "approves" of both) even if it means postponing the surgery (now scheduled for 12/30 with an ortho-surg.)

    Don't let the orthopedic surgeon do the surgery, if it is still indicated...go to a neuro-surgeon.

    As a home-care nurse, she works with many patients after surgery. She gets a different perspective on the surgeons in post-op situations. Some of her stories weren't "pretty". It seems some of these people just move on to the next surgery...post-op issues are an annoyance.

    Anyway...I feel better each day...but I'm concerned about the nerve damage issue. My wife first got me thinking about it; she constantly brings it up. Now, reading your history, I'm even more focused on making sure the nerve is doing well (in addition to the lessening of overall pain). I had to "google" SCS. Spinal cord stimulation ... I've read a little on the 'net at http://www.poweroveryourpain.com/sb/learn_about/index.html
    plan to read more. You've also got me reading about "BMP" and PLIF (vs TLIF) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/445060.

    Lots to learn, and better before than after. I'm going to call and make the neuro-surgeon appointment for whenever he can see me in January. Not sure how I explain canceling the 12/30 surgery at work (I teach ... but not lately), but I'll deal with that later.

    Let me know how you make out with the SCS. My niece is a Chiropractor...and her husband is a DO / Chiro. They live 1 1/2 hours away, so there's no family suggestions to see them. They get into spinal manipulation, of course, and have a couple of machines that sound like they match up with processes I've read regarding SCS. But, they're not the same though, right? Chiropractic is ... different?

    Anywya...take care. Stay in touch, and thanks for getting back to me.

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