Hi everybody! I am new here. Like others on here, I am at my wits end with my sciatica problem. Sorry this is so long, I just need to get this out of my head.
Back in August, I had a bad ache. Unfortunately, I had to take a long trip to drop off my nephew at college (no heavy lifting involved). My back bothered me throughout the trip, but I made it through. A day or so later after I got back from my trip, I developed severe sciatica pain. I could not do anything without being in incredible pain. I got up the following morning and ended up passing out from the pain. After sitting a while, my husband helped me up to get to the living room chair. I passed out again. Ended up in ER and they said that I had a possible herniated disk.
I made an appointment with a neurosurgeon and had an MRI. MRI showed I had a disk bulge in L4 and a herniated disk in L5-S1. I also have spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease. We tried oral steroids and a little later, a steriod injection that did absolutely nothing for my pain. We did 3 weeks of PT where the my physical therapist said it wasn't working and I needed to return to my doctor. I meet with the neurosurgeon and he gave me 2 options: live with the pain or have surgery. I took a couple months to thing about it and decided I did not want to live with the pain. I had a laminotomy almost 6 weeks ago.
Almost 6 weeks post-op, I still have sciatica pain. The pain is about the same as before the surgery. The neurosurgeon seemed very pleased after the surgery and did not have any problems. I went back to him 3 weeks after my surgery and told him that I was still in pain. He kind of looked perplexed (his nurse had told me beforehand that she did not know of any person that had not had relief from one of his surgeries). He went on to tell me that nerves are the slowest healing tissue in the body and that it could take up to 3 months for it to heal properly. Then, he said that likely if I did not feel any relief at that 3 month mark that most likely I had permanent nerve damage. He said at that point he could do a case study on me.
I am just so sad. I really thought my pain would be gone. My sciatica had only been acting up for 4 months before I had surgery, so I did not think it would be permanently damaged. For permanent damage, I thought the nerve would have to be pinched for a longer period of time or that I would have had to have done some strenuous activity causing injury. All I did was take a long trip and then follow doctor's orders.
I have been doing my walking everyday (he said I needed to walk at least 1 mile a day) and I took another round of oral steroids. Also, Advil does seem to help with the pain (I wouldn't take the narcotics he prescribed because they made me sick). I don't think the pain is as bad as it was right after surgery, but it is still there and awful when I get up in the mornings. Standing and walking are best for me. Sitting is not comfortable and definitely getting up after sitting is very painful. The weird thing is I can lay on the couch and watch TV, but in the mornings right before I make myself get up out of bed, my leg hurts laying there.
Is there any success stories out there? I am just so scared to have to live with this pain and hate that I had back surgery and it's not fixed. I feel like I just keep looking at the calendar and watching the 3 month time creep closer with the continued pain.