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Horrible Pain! What did I do?



  • I need some difinitive answers. One doc thinks it's scar tissue another thinks it's disk material. Both have looked at the most recent MRI....I dunno. ESI being scheduled.
  • and I think they are helping. I have an ESI scheduled for Friday so hopefully more relief on the way. I actually felt pretty decent today for the first time in a long time. I don't wanna jinx in though,...LOL, so I'm taking it EASY the rest of the day.

    I sympathize with EVERYONE who has back trouble. I've been telling people I know to be very careful with their backs. Problem is, we take our backs for granted too much. I think we as a nation need public service announcements to educate people more about the spine and how it can be hurt easily in certain position and the pain you'll go through to recover (if you're lucky to).
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  • Oh, sorry. For some reason, I didn't notice your question to me until just now.

    I had two appointments on Thursday and each specialist had something different to say about scar tissue. My surgeon told me that it used to be a very popular thing to blame post surgical pain on about ten years ago...mainly because it could not be proven or unproven to be causing the problem.

    Through the years there have been many attempts to deal with scar tissue after it forms, and to take measures to prevent its formation during surgery. Scar tissue in and of itself is not a problem. It is just when it develops and grows around the nerve and/or tethers itself to the nerve or an organ that it can become a big problem. It can also give off a chemical that can cause the nerve to swell.

    There is a period of up to about two months after surgery when you still have an ability to affect the formation of the fibrosis. There are some people trained in doing a certain type of deep body massage that seem to know what to do to help the tissue form in an organized fashion and to keep it from attaching randomly.

    An interventional pain management physician can inject a saline solution into the nerve root...mine said "it might or might not "work." There are more complicated things that can be done to try to regrow the nerve if it is determined to be damaged, but these are not frequently attempted.

    But, in my case, I cannot get any agreement among two surgeons and my PM guy on whether the scar tissue is even a problem. Some doctors seem much more willing to discuss its existence than others. There seems to be little agreement on how to tell if it is the cause of pain and what to do about it.

    What specific exercises are you doing for the nerve gliding??
  • Thanks for responding.

    To answer your question,...I'm drawing my toes toward my shin while doing hamstring stretches. At PT, my therapist does it manually for me and it hurts, but I think it is helping. I do it 2-3 times a day. I think it can "wear in" a groove so to speak. I dunno, I'm trying anything/everything I can to feel better.
  • all over. Tingling keeps moving around my left leg and moving into new areas. Wierd. Pain in hip still like before surgery. Last ESI is already wearing off....

    Maybe chemical injections to soften/deteriorate the scar tissue is next. Otherwise laser surgery may be on the horizon to remove it.
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  • I just reread most of this thread and wanted to add a small update.

    I saw my other surgeon last week. He is the one who told me that everything surgical that can be done for me has been tried. There are some other surgeries that he could do, but there is not any reason to justify doing them. We talked quite a bit about scar tissue and I now understand the reasons for my continuing "sciatic" pain.

    I thought I had scar tissue encroaching upon the nerve root but that turns out not to be the problem. The pain generator IS the nerve itself. The scar tissue is within the nerve, or perhaps a better way to say it is the nerve itself is scarred...so there is no way to cut it out or otherwise deal with it.

    To deal with the scarring would leave me pretty much unable to walk.

    Some treatments have been tried experimentally to protect the spinal nerves during surgery but the results are mixed. There is no data to suggest these methods provide any more protection than when they are not implimented.

    I just wanted to mention that we all have scar tissue if we've had surgery. Some people's bodies make more than others. Sometimes it is clearly visible on an MRI; other times, not so clear. Also, some doctors do not remark on it as it is common and in most cases, not a problem to be concerned about.

    I looked at a new MRI two times with my surgeon. He never pointed out the scar tissue. I freaked out when I saw the written report and it stated "extensive epidural fibrosis at L4-L5"....I got back in touch with my surgeon and he had to explain the whole situation to me to calm my fears. I didn't understand that scar tissue is the body's way of recovering from surgery...if something is removed, a fibrosis will form to take its place.

    What is causing my pain is also scarring, but it is to the nerve itself, within the nerve -- not wrapped around the nerve, squishing the nerve, etc.

    I guess my point is that this is another way that scar tissue can effect a spinal nerve.

    I would like to remind you that you are still early in the recovery process. Most people are still feeling various symptoms from surgery at the point you are post-op. Nerves do not recover immediately. Before proceeding with any further surgery, I would suggest you get another opinion, since the first two surgeons are in the same practice and do not share an opinion of your diagnosis.

    Hang in there. Don't rush into anything. Believe it or not, you could end up in much more pain than you have now. :(

    xx Gwennie
  • I actually asked that same question regarding possible scarring "inside" the nerve sheath and was told it was unlikely, but I agree, it makes perfect sense especially IF there has been nerve compression for a long period of time. Good Point Gwinnie!

    Now my latest MRI is dark in the foraminal space on the left side, so something IS definitely touching the nerve root. Whether it is immobilizing or squeezing it at this point is unknown. So this leads up to where every scar tissue thread goes,...the million dollar questions,....1) Does epidural fibrosis remold over time like other scar tissue, thus neurological symptoms will get better eventually? And 2)When will it stop forming after surgery?

    What treatments actually work?

    Did your doc tell you if the scar tissue inside the nerve sheath would diminish over time as the nerves heal the rest of your life?

    I hope so. Everything else in our bodys are constantly changing, why not useless structural dead matter like scar tissue?
  • Sorry - I just saw that you asked me way back what it felt like when I ruptured those discs. This is a very appropriate weekend to answer that question. It was Memorial Day weekend, two years ago. I hurried home from work on Friday (it was a gorgeous day and I got out early). I decided to get the yard work out of the way so I could enjoy the weekend. I got out the lawn mower, mowed the front yard while watching some new neighbors move in next door. When I finished the front lawn, I went around with the weed wacker and then got ready to head to the back yard. I was rolling up the cord to the weed wacker and it was all bunching to one side of the spool, so I stepped back to get a better angle on the cord. I caught my heel on the front of the deck to the lawn mower and fell backwards onto the lawn mower engine, just hitting the bottom of my spine on the corner of the engine. I was mortified, because the neighborhood was full of people and I felt like a fool! I was aware of some pain, but I pushed myself up and headed for the garage so that I could possibly get away with no one seeing me. Half-way into the garage I realized my legs were not functioning properly and I was in big trouble. I made it into the house and fortunately had an ice pack in the freezer. I got it out and laid down on it on the couch. Within a few minutes, the initial shock wore off and I was in agony. I called the urgent care clinic and got an appointment for a few hours later. I still remember trying to drive there. It was so hard to walk, sit, go over bumps in the road. I guess I had a huge red mark and swelling on my back. Fortunately, the doc knew I wasn't kidding around and wasn't just a drug addict, so they fixed me up with good meds and I spent the weekend on the couch (so much for my expectations of a fun weekend out of doors!). I managed on the pain pills for awhile, but things began to crumble and eventually led me to the fusion. I'll never forget that sensation of falling. It was horrible. Kind of like stepping on a nail, if you've ever done that. You have the initial total shock, then excruciating pain.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • that sux. Sorry you went through that. It's amazing how something can happen so fast that changes our lves that much. We truely don't realize how fragile our bodies really are.

    Hope you are feeling better every day! :)
  • very interesting and promising. the case study sounds exactly like me...


    worth reading!
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