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When Can I Expect Relief?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm new to this forum, but I'm looking for some help or encouragement. On 11/26 I had back surgery, a Lumbar Decompression. Prior to that I had 2 injections that did absolutely nothing for me. I won't go into great detail, I'm sure you've heard it before. I was told that I would have instant relief from the leg pain after the surgery. Didn't happen. My surgeon told me that it ended up being more difficult than he anticipated. He said that it had herniated on the outside and he had to go through many nerves to find the one that was compressed. He said that since all the nerves were disturbed, I may have pain for months. When the meds wear off, the pain is almost as severe as it was prior to surgery. The only differene is that before surgery, not even meds would relieve the pain. Now I get relief as I said, until they wear off. for pain I'm currently taking Norco, Lyrica, and Carisoprodol. The last one is for muscle spasms. I'm starting physical therapy on the 22nd. I just can't see if happening. I also need knee replacements on both knees, which I don't intend to have until I can't walk anymore. I'm on the verge of throwing in the towel. Any encouragement would be appreciated. I actually just filed for disability, since I have no income coming in. Don't know what to expect or what to do. HELP!


  • When I had my back surgery there was a lot of muscle and nerve repair that they had to do. That was more painful than anything. Since it has been 3 weeks for you, you are definitely coming close to the time that I was finally able to start sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. It only gets better from here but you will feel different pains each time if it is anything like I went through.

    I now know what is meant by the phrase "last nerve".

    The physical therapy will help majorly with the nerve and muscle pain. They will teach you different stretches and positions that will help ease the pain. I know that it is hard to imagine, but within the next few weeks this will all seem like a bad dream.

    My favorite phrase that I say now is "childbirth is NOT the worse pain ever felt" I had 3 kids and I would rather go through that pain again than the pain that I went through after the surgery. It was all worth it though!
  • so don't know what to say to you about your lumbar recovery except it seems they take much longer to heal. It sounds like you are on the right meds for your pain and situation but if the relief does not last as long as they said-you should tell your surgeon if something else might work better.

    It's been less than a month since your surgery and I recall my father's lumbar surgery and him being in pain for at least 4 months-but with slow, steady improvement. Your added knee issues may make it slower going, but there is no reason to give up hope :) There are plently of other drugs, doctors and options for you to try when the time in right, For now-give your body and mind a chance to heal.

    All the pain hormones may make you feel depressed and hopeless but don't allow it-someone in a previous message said she fought taking Lexapro of months because she was NOT depressed-but she started on it and it has made a difference in her outlook. Accept the help-in whatever formit takes -from a smile, to a hug, to a pill, to a pray, to the good wishes!
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

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    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    Recovery from lumbar surgery can be a touchy area. Much more so than cervical surgeries. I've had both and from my experience, recovery and less pain came quicker with the cervical surgeries. For some of my lumbar work, it was almost 9 months before I started feeling back to normal.
    Its very difficult to identify a period of time when you
    should feel better. There are so many variables:
    - How long was the disc damaged prior to surgery
    - Was there nerve impingement involved
    - How long was the actual surgery
    - What type of physical therapy are you on
    - How do you normally recover from wounds,etc

    If you have doubts as to where you think you should be postop, then call your doctor and discuss it with them. We can only provide information based on our own personal experiences
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks for the reply. That makes me feel a little better. It just seems that eeryone thinks I should be able to do Christmas shopping and etc. I have a hard time walking most of the time, and they just don't get it. I remember the pain I went through after knee surgery at physical therapy and I really dread it. I know I have too. Even if I am fortunate enought to get disability, I'm still young enough to enjoy life. This is certainly not enjoying anything. Thanks again for the hope.
  • Welcome to Spine Health :H I understand how you are feeling and I hope you get to feeling better. I had the same surgery last year and I was told the same about my pain being gone when I awoke. No, it wasn't that way for me either. I was told the nerve was very inflamed and swollen and it's take time to heal. I felt terrible and my pain felt the same prior to surgery. I had 2 post op injections, making it a total of 5 in all, and they didn't help. I went to a pain specialist after that. Now I'm about 7 months out of a two level fusion and decompression surgery because I developed more problems. I'm on several medications because of the chronic pain.
    Well, that's my experience so far. You are still early in your recovery and it's true that everyone heals differently. It's hard when you have other problems like your knees having to be replaced. I hope this surgery is successful for you, just give it some time. Is your medicines helping you any? Take care of yourself and keep us posted.
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  • Thanks again for reply. You know how I feel then. Like what's the use. When I called for my last refill, they told me that on my next visit, he is sending me to a pain management specialist. I'm not sure what they do. I can't imagine enduring the pain I have in my hip, leg, etc. without any meds. I hope that his intention is not to take me off the pain meds. We'll see. My next appt. is the 29th.
    Thanks again,
  • I'm glad they are referring you to one. There are people here that aren't able to get a referral. The best ones are integrative pain clinics where they offer a variety of services like pain medicines, spinal injections, psychological support (how to deal with pain), PT, and implantation or management of neurostimulators and morphine pumps. There are however some clinics that don't prescribe narcotics and all they do is injections. Did they give you a refill? It shouldn't be an issue, since they are sending you to a pain specialist anyway.
  • They did give me a refill, but I noticed they changed it from every 4 hrs. to every 6 hrs. Plus they gave me less pills. I'm wondering if they think I'm lying about the pain. In which case, I will be furious. When it wears off, the pain is almost unbearable. I do believe that the Lyrica helps as well. I hope the pain management helps, regardless what they do. Thanks again for your reply.
  • I'm sorry about that. I know you're feeling bad and I hope you're able to hang on til the 29th. If the pain gets too much, go the ER. You shouldn't suffer needlessly.
  • Thanks again for the reply. I know what you mean. Before I had the surgery, I was on pain meds until the scheduled surgery. I tried to cut back and not take so many. Before I knew what was happening I was in so much pain that nothing would stop it. I called the surgeon and he said to go to the ER. I was hurting so bad that I didn't even feel like going, but I had to do something. Anyway, at the ER after they called my surgeon, they started an IV and put in what looked like a whole syringe of morphine. It took the edge off just a little, but severe pain still there, so they came with another syringe of morphine, and that eased the pain. Before I left, they also put in a syringe of Demerol. The physician at the ER said that since I had put off taking the pain med, the pain had gotten out of control. He said never to do that. It's better to take it as scheduled. So, since then, I take them as scheduled. The problem now is that they changed the Norco to every 6 hrs. rather than every 4 hrs. I can't wait that long. I still have to take it every 4 hrs. I just don't know when it will get better. Thanks again for the reply.
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