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back surgery, back pain

shazzasshazza Posts: 66
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
ive joined here to have some advice on back surgery. ive just been put on the waiting list for tlif fusion surgery of l1 .... i havent been offered injections though, and didnt know anything about them. i wonder how disabled someone should be before going ahead with surgery, as i am able to do most things, and though my back always hurts and makes me miserable, im not actually chair bound or anything. i do have trouble standing up with out leaning on anything, but can walk and am able to work part time, even though after 4 hours things get very painful, i still do manage to work through it.i am allergic to most of the painkillers out there that work well, so i cant really manage my pain that way. one bit of advice ive been given is that i shouldnt go ahead with surgery until i am immobile, as the surgery may not even help. ive got a severely degenerate disk l1...i fractured l4 and 5 over a year ago and crushed a disk, which is what the mri scan was for..and the l1 disk problem was found then,its been painful for 15 years ???



  • hi and welcome.

    usually drs try all other consecutive treaments before surgery is a option. once back surgery there is no turning back. and your right sometimes it makes it worse , sometimes it fixes the issue. depends on the persons problem, the surgeon etc.
    did the surgeon mention anything about addressing fixing the fracture and crushed disk????
    the best test to figure out exactly what disk is causing your pain is a discogram. not the nicest test but it tells the dr the exact location of pain instead of taking a guess.

    i went through pain managment, physical therapy and had a epidural injection before decideing on surgery.
    i did not let it get to to the point of numbness and tingling in my legs due to the fact of perm nerve damage is always a possiblity if a nerve is being impinged or pinched with those symptoms.
    there are several options besides surgery. unless your dr does not think you will benefit from them..

    i will be straight with you i had the surgery on L5-S1 then a revision on L4-S1 due to a non-fusion of the bone, and have not had relief at all. i am still at square 1.

    disk deng is normal aging of the spine.
    i have a disk out in each space. not one disk is ok. but they are all small protrusions. except for the large herniation at T1

    so i would discuss this with him/her more in depth. ask more questions.
    also if able and allowable get a few opinions from different drs.
    as 1 is not going to say the same as the other.
    or they both may say the same..

    good luck and let us know how you make out! ;)
  • my frature has healed ok, crushed disk appears smaller on mri but is hydrated, my pain though was lower down (fracture l4 l5) and mri showed severely degenerate disk l1, which is exactly the site of pain. went for a discogram, but when i was told the needles would have to go in through my side about 15 cms due to low position of disk being tested, i was mentally unable to go through with it...paniced. doc though is sure its the source. im 37 years old and active, remember pain in my back starting 15 years ago when pregnant, always been there varying from bedridden to being mobile but sore...we dont really go to different surgeons in britain, just get put under a consultant and trust what they say. had physio but doc stopped it as i was unable to do the exercises, and was put swimming pool instead, that only lasted 6 weeks. im curious why ive not been offered any injections, maybe its not valid in my case.

    i dont take painkillers unless im really crippled cos im allergic tomost and some i can take make me very spaced out.

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  • Really sorry...cant even get the positions right...

    I fractured L1 vertebrae, had herniated disk L1 which is appearing thinner on scan, but hydrated and not the problem my surgery is for

    I have severely degenerate disk L5 which is the one to be fused with TLIF surgery!!!

    perhaps it makes more sense now!

  • Really sorry...cant even get the positions right...

    I fractured L1 vertebrae, had herniated disk L1 which is appearing thinner on scan, but hydrated and not the problem my surgery is for

    I have severely degenerate disk L5 which is the one to be fused with TLIF surgery!!!

    perhaps it makes more sense now!

  • don't be sorry O:)
    yes that does make more sense now ;)

    of course you explaining where you live also helps.
    there are a few brits on here. so mabye they can relate to your healthcare. as its totally different here in the U.S.

    it is very possible that the dr does not feel you will benefit from injections.
    i know my dr said here for my neck that i could do a injection or get surgery. that the injection would only mask the issue. so that is a possiblity like i said..

    yeah 15yrs is a very very long time to suffer with pain.
    so mabye you and your surgeon are on the right track of the surgery route.
    it also helps us a great deal that you eplained what therpies tests you had done.
    i don't blame you on the discogram as i won't let them do it on me either :''(

    in the end the decision is yours. there is a ton of successful surgery stories.
    problem is alot of people have moved on with their life so you don't see them on here.
    you can go into the archived sections to see old postings if that helps you at all understand everything.
    it is a long recovery and you have to learn to become very a very patient person during it.

    i mean i cannot say my second surgery has not worked as i had another major medical issue i was dealing with and was not able to get my walking in like i was supposed to...
    so in a year i will know.

    just remember some people may feel great when they wake up.
    some a few months later , some up to a year or more.
    we are all unique individuals when it comes to spinal surgery.
    we are here to support you through the good and bad days.
    REMEMBER AFTER surgery there is always a few steps forward and a few back. good and bad days...


    CLICK on this link. in the post you will see in big blue letters archived posts. click on that. you will be able to read alot from the old site. i hope this helps you!! ;)

    GOOD LUCK!!!! O:) O:) O:)
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  • My back issues sounds similiar to yours. I had one doctor say to wait till I was in a wheelchair for fusion (but he agreed it would happen)and the other said that was silly and would be a much worse recovery with the possibility of permanent damage. I couldnt imagine recovering if I was another 50 pounds heavier because I waited.

    I had conservative treatments for 8 years with no real lasting relief. Chiro and PT was great if I was going 4 days a week and not doing anything at home or work. Pain management injections didnt help me, because they couldnt really hit all of the levels of pain. During this time I gained 80 pounds, lost jobs due to pain, my home turned into a disaster area because most days I couldnt pick anything up and I lost many years with my young children. I did have afternoons that I felt OK, but most days were bad, I would come home from work at 6pm and go straight to bed, but I was functioning for the most part because I had to, I didnt have a choice,lol.

    I feel your descision to have surgery or continue with conservative treatments needs to be made by weighing all of your circumstances with your family and doctor. Can you afford to take off of work (for an undetermined amount of time)? Future plans? Do you have help at home if you have surgery? Insurance? Can you have permanent damage if you wait? Will this get better if you wait or only worse? These are just a couple questions we asked ourselves with the help of the doctor. I could have waited a few years till I had more nerve problems, but my result would have been the same.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. The group here on SH is great and always willing to lend and ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on!

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