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What Should I Do?

sstbmadsenssstbmadsen Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, new here.

I am at the point of insanity. Ok, maybe that is being a little dramatic. November of 08' I was carrying my 4 month old down the stairs in the morning. I hit the second to last step and my foot slid out from under me and next thing I knew, whammo, I'd fallen and I could barely get up. (thank god my 4 month old was unharmed!)

I went to the doctor's office, who gave me Lortab and told me to take it easy. As I was healing, I notice a lot of pain in the buttocks area. I would tell my friends that it felt like my ass had been stomped by a 300 pounder.

After 3-4 weeks of that pain, it went away and I forgot about it. Several months later, I started having the same type of intense pain, but on my right side. I finally got tired of it and went to see my doc, who diagnosed me with Sciatica, prescribed my some useless muscle relaxant, and Ibuprofen. She also sent me to physical therapy.

I went to physical therapy and started to do the excersises without much improvement. Then, one morning about mid July 2009 (the week of my daughters 1st birthday, of course!)I woke up in excruciating pain in my left buttocks.

Since then I have been in a world of hurt. I went to a chiropractor (helped with back pain, did nothing for sciatica), and finally went back to see my doc, who had me get an MRI.

MRI revealed that I have 3 large disc herniations. L3/L4 herniated bilaterally, L4/L5 herniated to the left and L5/S1 herniated to the left as well. I also have a lot of spinal stenosis.

My doc sent me to see a neurosurgeon. He had me do a bunch of tests in his office and told me that it was up to me, but that in his opinion, because I do not have back pain and only have sciatic pain, that I would be an excellent candidate for surgery.

I am looking for advice on what to do. I am overweight (6'2" 310 lbs) and my brother, who thinks I should avoid back surgery like the plague, thinks that I should try to lose weight before anything else. My issue with that is, if I lose the weight, and the back still hurts the same, I have wasted a lot of time (although realizing that weight loss is extremely important and something that I definitely need to do.)

Should I go see another surgeon? Any ideas would help. Thanks.


  • It's always good to get a 2nd opinion from a Spine Specialist. As for weight loss it could be beneficial and I think losing weight is always a good thing. I gained 50 lbs when I first got my back injury and starting taking meds like lyrica that caused more weight gain I felt uncomfortable. Even after losing 25 lbs while I still have pain I feel better overall being thinner. I fill up with lots of fruit and veggies and water that it stops the cravings for sweets and larger portions. Really it's a lifestyle change and requires exercise and discipline but it's very hard to do while you're having so much pain. Have you seen a Pain Management Dr? Most insurance companies require consersvative treatments while awaiting surgery like injections etc. but it depends on the severity of your condition and always agree a second opinion and further tests may be worthwhile checking out. Ask your Dr if you waited longer if it could cause more damage and his recommendations for you. Since none of us are medical Drs we can't really give advice other than try to get a second opinion. I really hope you can get some relief so you can start enjoying your young family and life again to the fullest. I hope you keep us posted. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • welcome...it's always a tough decision as to whether or not to have surgery. with the info you have provided i would be on the fence. one thing i am sure of is that you should get a 2nd opinion.
    what kind of surgery is dr. recommending? please let us know as that is a major consideration.
    as for weight loss how have you done in the past. weight control and core conditioning might allow you to go without surgery. it will certainly benefit your overall health. i remember when i was your age and i had sciatic pain i lost 45 lbs and the pain subsided. however two years later i gained it back. the pain also came back.
    by the way why not get second opinion from orthopedic spinal surgeon just to get another viewpoint. keep us posted.....pete
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  • 3rd opinions are always smart before considering any type of surgery. I am surprised that your doc did not tell you that you must lose some of the weight before surgery. I wish you luck and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks for the advice, guys.

    The surgeon that I saw thinks that I am an "excellent" candidate for microdiscectomy of all 3 discs. He did tell me that any weight I lose will help. He told me that since I have literally 0 back pain (all my pain is sciatic in nature)that he thinks I could have really good results.

    What he told me about wieght loss is that if I can lose the weight, it will greatly increase the odds that I don't have to come back and have another surgery when I'm 50.

    I made an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. This surgeon comes highly recommended by a co-worker who had microdisc surgery last year and says he is 100% now, or close to it. Any time he has any pain, he knows exactly what stretches will relive the pain immediately.

    What types of questions should I ask him? Any ideas?
  • Hi, There are several links that you can use here on SH to help you prepare for surgery. One is below. For others, just use the search tool in SH home. In addition there are lots of posts about this too. If you search in the forum home, you'll find many previous questions.


    Ask lots of questions! Good luck, Hope you get relief soon.
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