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Pain after L4/L5 laminectomy, discectomy & cauda equina decompression

Mink2389MMink2389 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:02 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I am a 23 year old female, who due to a fall 3 years ago injured my back severely. It got progressively worse, settled for a while then 6 months ago came back with a vengeance. I had an mri which showed 3 slipped discs, protruding so badly into my spinal canal i had approx 5% nerve function remaining. I was told due to cauda equina syndrome one more fall/slip/violent sneeze & i would have no control over anything from the waist down. So here i am today 3 weeks 2 days post lami/discectomy/decompression. And i was feeling FANTASTIC with no pain except from the muscles & incision site, until 2 days ago. I woke up with a dull ache on the right side of my back, that hurts with movement such as getting up & lying down... Since my surgery ive done nothing but rest & try to stay patient! But i am absolutely terrified that i may have twisted in my sleep & caused some sort of injury!!! Currently im taking oxycontin SR 5mg (just been changed from
10mg by gp) as well as oxycodone 5mg every 4 hrs as required & meloxicam (anti inflammatory).
If anyone out there has any words of advice or similar stories please tell me! Im facing another sleepless night because of the pain in my right side & i think mentally its more tolling on me than physically!
Thankyou in advance!!!


  • Welcome to spine health.

    I would imagine that the sugeon bathed the area with an anesthetic and it finally wore off. That is what happened to me when I had my lumbar fusion. Of course I was in the hospital with much stronger meds for about 5 days before coming home and then I was heavily medicated as well.

    My advice is to take your meds as scheduled and follow the advice of your doctor. If you pain is out of control let the doctor know. I found it handy to keep a journal and a basket with my pills next to my bed so I wouldn't loose track of when I could take them.

    Hope you start feeling better soon.

  • Hi
    Having had a re-do of a lumbar deCompression on Monday morning, I came home today!

    I'm worried about every pain & twinge I get as was told I had a sub dura tear which they think caused me to have vomiting and headache for 2 days post op and kept me in hosp til this morning! I still feel nausea and don't wanna eat much at all.

    Am sure you'll b fine but make sure you contact your GP if your worried - did the hosp give you a number to call?

    The lady in bed next to me was also 23! And skinny! So much for me thinking this was an older persons problem and my mum telling me to lose weight! (she's 86 and thinks I'm now cured!)

    Doc said next op for me will b a spinal fusion but he's hoping I'll get some relief and time b4 that's necessary - me too!!!:)
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  • Wow, i was in.my early 20's as well, acute cauda equina double lami, discectomy l4-5.

    Bee over 20 years and im still sore fro time to time and i just tweaked it on the weekend. Not an old persons thing at all i guess.

    Hope everyone has a speedy recovery!!
  • Thankyou so much for your kind words & advice, its definitely not an old persons or overweight persons issue! Im healthy & fit!!! Its now 6 weeks post surgery & im honestly feeling fantastic!

    Im taking it really slow as thankgod i have the luxury of being able to stay at home! I drove for the first time since surgery yesterday & no pain or stress on my spine! My wound is looking really good & will eventually age into a pencil line!

    But i must say to anyone out there reading this, if you're put in a similar situation & need surgery - DO IT - i cannot stress that enough, googling my injury before surgery made me panic as all i read were horror stories & failed surgeries! But do remember that its unlikely for people who have had success with their surgery to post about it!!!!
    (much like how its much more common to read a negative experience than an amazing one!)

    For the first time in years now - i am pain free & feeling amazing, i owe my life to my neurosurgeon & cannot wait to get started!

    If you have any questions please dont hesitate to message me, i felt so alone when i found out & none of my family or friends knew how to react but knowing there are so many people out there who have been through or are going through the same thing helped me to believe & get through the bad days!!!
  • It is really reassuring to hear your story! I'm recommended surgery for a severe rupture at L4-L5 (even by the pain management anesthesiologist who did my injections!), and I'm a nervous wreck about it. Many people are telling me not to wait too long, because the nerve issues in my lower left leg may become permanent. I'm trying very hard to wait, though, and give much less invasive methods a chance to work, first.

    BTW: I'm just 29! Definitely not an old person's thing! LOL
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  • I appreciate your post & can completely understand what you're going through it is a truly terrifying thing to be fronted with. After my injury my osteo & physio told me surgery was always a last resort & i knew no better, so I waited 3 years & someone must have been watching over me because even my neurosurgeon had said it was a miracle my spinal canal was as wide as it is because otherwise paralysis would have already occured. If you want to wait, i definitely recommend getting either a ct scan or mri every 4-6 months just to make sure that your condition isnt worsening!
    Surgery is a last resort - but if i had put it off any longer, id most likely be a 23 year old in a wheel chair with no control over my bowel or bladder & sexual dysfunction!

    So i feel for the scary tasks ahead of you!
    I'm always here if you need advice :)

    * my advice is only from my own experience as i am not a medical professional*
  • Hi mink. Just want to say I am real happy for you and your successful recovery. If you dont mind me asking can you tell me how well you did in weeks 3-5? I just had a bilateral laminotomy/microdiscectomy in L4/L5 three weeks ago. The surgeon removed a disc fragment that was crushing the nerve and dented it. I had some incremental relief initially but symptoms have been getting progressively worse since then. Seems like surgical pain being replaced by sciatic pain - in buttock, hip, and sometimes leg. Am concerned this is a failed surgery . Doc has me going in for a MRI with contrast as a precaution t make sure noherniation because of severity of symptoms.

    If anyone has had similar experience and has anything to share it would b greatly appreciated. I really wish everyone who is going through a painful situation that they have better days soon.
  • Hi Greel,

    I am sorry to hear about your pain, I was perfect after surgery (just with general surgery soreness) UNTIL week 3, when i woke up with pain...Just out of the blue, Your surgery sounds alot like mine I also had a disc fragment removed. Weeks 3-5 were uncomfortable but settled! My surgeon told me it was completely normal to have pain for up to 8 months after surgery considering that decompression of the nerve is major work. ( thinking about it, and knowing how sensitive nerves are, just imagine how much it must irritate them when during surgery they touch & move them!!!.) I didn't drive for 6 weeks after surgery or bend, i pretty much lay down every day & gradually increased my walking ( at the shops & around the house).

    Fingers crossed you haven't had a reherniation! I am now in my 8th week after surgery & have just gotten back into Pilates & walking, and although i am starting incredibly slowly i still get pain at night time. (minor , but slight sciatic pain to just above my knee)...pre surgery it was into my foot). I do wish you all the best, please keep me updated on your progress!!!

    This website was what gave me hope when i was having pain, so if i can help in any way i will!
  • Thanks a lot mink. I am starting to suspect that I have irritated the nerve by overdoing it. I thought I would be able to get back to work after two weeks so I pushed myself to walk every day despite the pain that started in my low back and radiated to my legs after 2 minutes. I have been standing and typing on my computer five minutes at a time and. I have also been walking a lot as I have been worried about scar tissue and been trying o help my poor wife around the house. I will talk to doc again about that, to anyone reading this post pls make sure you get clear instructions for post op. I have asked the pts and surgeon numerous times what it means to not "push it" and they say if you feel pain stop. I do that, but the problem is I get pain so quickly that by the time I get to the bed the pain has doubled from the walk. And I was clearly told it's notvgood to lie down all day so I tell tge doc I get up a lot and he said good. He said I wont be able to stand for 10-14 minutes but he didn't say not to. And he has tiold me to try to sit for 10 minutes at a time and he seemed surprised that I cannot sit for 2 minutes.

    You know, as I read my own post I wonder if I am being a complete idiot and i have complicated my own recovery with my routine. Sorry, enough rambling, going to bed.
  • I only just saw this post now, so sorry for the delayed response. The one thing i clearly remember my surgeon & doctors saying was 'BE PATIENT'. And it was one of the hardest things for me, i lay down for 30 mins at a time then got up for 5 mins and lay down again.... You need to remember that its all raw in there & fresh! So your body just needs time to heal. In my situation my Doctor said the only worry they had recovery wise was that i didnt lie down for 4-5 hrs at a time! So please dont over exert yourself, i cant imagine going back to work after only 2 weeks. Your body has been through alot & you owe it to yourself to just take it easy... And more than anything listen to your body!

    I hope your pain is settling & you're feeling better!!

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