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Microdiscectomy or not (please help me decide please please please)

Hi everyone!  

I'm Pierre, 34 years old male from Québec Canada (yes, i'm a francophone)

I'll try to make this short and sweet.

Injury :
           1st : injured my back in the summer of 2015 lifting a canoe for a portage.  MRI shows a small herniation at L5-S1.  crazy back pain, went back to work (teacher) after 1 month in bed.  Started               to feel better in december (drinving was now alot more easy)

           2nd : February 2016, had the flu and reinjured my back coughing.  New MRI shoes a moderate herniation squeezing the S1 root.  Now My foot is all numb (small toes) and I can't walk for                  more than 500m.  Back pain is gone, foot pain only.  Especially when lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds and/or sitting.

So here's my progress : 

         FEB - MARCH 2016 : Can't walk, they got me hooked on dilaudid (but that's another story hehe) (off work until september 2017)
         APRIL 2016 : Slowly start walking again without too much pain and starded to go out once a week (sometimes verry hard to stand for more than 30 min)
         MAY 2016 : Now I can walk for about 1km, but still no lifting.  I'm doing physio once a week with little to no progress.  ***Saw the neurosurgeon, he said he wanted to wait and see my progress
         JUNE 2016 : back on the road bike for short rides about once a week (5km).  
         JULY 2016 : no change
         August 2016 : now I'm able to do a little more of everything, but I always get that pain in my foot after biking/sitting/lifting
         September 2016 : Back to work, can't really sit more than 5 min.
          October 2016 : Commute to work (cycling) about twice a week 30km round trip.  Still can't sit for very long or lift or bend...
         November 2016 : no more cycling (too cold).  verry little to no progress with the pain in my foot. ** Second MRI (s1 nerve still compressed but the mri shows a nice progress) Second appointement   with neurosurgeon and he told me that I had to decide if I wanted the surgery or not, I said yes, but i'm very anxious about it)
         December 2016 : Same
         January 2017 : now i'm able to walk for about 4 to 5 km every 2 days but still get pain in my foot during and after. AND I LEARNED THAT I WAS GOING TO BE A DAD! (yay) and I started loosing weight.  (im at 252, 6'3'')
         February 2017 : I can now sit for 15 minutes... but pain comes really quickly and does not go away easily. I feel I can lift maybe 15-20 pounds, but thats about it (now at 242!)
         March 2017 : no progress (now at 238)   CALL from the hospital for pre-operatory examination.  Failed because of my asthma. They tell me that i'll be operated in april if I follow the medication they gave me (symbicort 200mcg)

Now, the big question.  Am I doomed???  

but seriously, 

With the baby coming in september 2017, my general condition sloooooowly getting better and my fear of general anesthesia, do you thing I should get the discectomy done?  I mean, I really do want to be able to get on the bike, play hockey, sit, hold my baby, etc, etc, etc, but damn I'm scared of going under.  I wish I had more pain, seriously, I'd have to do it.

I read that they do percutaneous local anesthesia discectomy...but WHERE in canada?????  That would save my soul.




  • LizLiz Posts: 8,964
    edited 03/20/2017 - 4:05 PM
    Hello Pierre
    There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
    The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.
    Please click on the link for useful information
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Pierre,

    You explain good progress over the last couple of years. It has been very slow progress but at least it is positive. Prior to my discectomy I had over 12 month with no positive progress and eventually L5/S1 gave way suddenly.
    I would not have ridden a bike with back pain but then again my injury originated from bike riding.

    I understand your dilemma, especially with new born due. Maybe get a second opinion from a professional would help if you are unsure.

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  • catapamcatapam AustriaPosts: 157
    Are u albe to walk on your toes and on you heels without foot drop?
    If yes then your nerve is not affected as much that u need surgery 
    This simple thing I know from a neurosurgeon 
    I will also avoid bike but do walking and swimming.
    In biking your lower spine is moving too much
    I would recommend you Steuard McGill and Peter Egoscue books in this order for simple exercises with no bending, twisting, lifting that can speed up the heeling 
    Surgery will not make you as before accident. Your disk will still be a broken disk.
    Surgery is just a quick fix in case of nerve damage danger 
  • I'm seeing an Egoscue specialist in the UK and have had 2 sessions thus far. The excercises seem basic, but you get to see postural changes fairly quickly so you can see some improvements. It's fairly expensive at £100 per session - but I will continue with it for a while to see if it helps. All the best Pierre 
  • Thank you for your comments.  For those who were in my situation, how long before you could sit again or do simple things like do sports and bend/lift?
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Reminder....please know....when reading member's responding are not medical professionals and not allowed to give out medical advice.....
    Members shared experiences does not take the place of your doctor's advice and doctor's orders.

    Thank you....
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Please, PLEASE make sure you try everything you can before you jump to surgery. My disc pain did get better until surgery. But I felt that I needed to go ahead with surgery to completely rid myself of pain. Bad idea. I understand the desperation of spine problem pain, but surgery is permanent. 

    Some things to try:
    -Prolotherapy / injections
    -Botox injections

    Please do some research on these. I wish I had known about them before I went under the knife. The majority of the time, it turns out the disc IS NOT the pain generator. It can be a mix of strained ligaments, muscles and inflammation. I'm hopefully having the botox done in a few weeks on the surrounding spinal muscles. We'll see how that turns out. 
  • I had similar injuries as you, and my protruding disc at L5/S1 was not that bad where they wanted to do surgery, but it was enough as it was pushing on the S1 nerves.  For 2 years I tried everything and nothing helped.  So I had a discectomy at that level and a foraminotomy as the L5 nerve roots were affected as well.  3 months post of so far and doing better, but still have a long ways to go.  I have numbness in both feet but leg weakness has improved and the pain level has improved a lot, especially when sitting!
  • Hi Pierre. I am Sami from Montreal. I am also francophone, and living in Quebec I am familiar with the very few solutions to back pain offered here.

    I am sorry to hear about what happened to you. While I can't give you any advice on what to do, I can share with you a bit about my experience and two things that have helped me a lot.

    I hurt my back 10 years ago (Herniated L5-S1, degenerating L4-L5), and in the past three years, things have become worse. In 2014, I could barely sit for more than five minutes and I had to quit my job. I went back home to New Brunswick and I was on Lyrica + regular steroid injections. It's helped a lot. At the same time, I used a device called a "posture pump" that I bought online and it has provided some mild relief. Using that in conjunction with physiotherapy,  a regular swimming routine and a lot of hydration I was able to improve my pain and regain my ability to sit down for more than 30 - 40 minutes.  

    Later in 2016, I had the Regenokine treatments in new york and it also provided me some relief but it was relatively short. Early this year, I went to a Regenexx clinic for Platelet Lysate injections and this has really helped a lot. I've done a lot of physiotherapy and core work these past few months and this really changed things for me... until last week when I got overambitious and re-hurt my back. Now I am waiting for my stem cell treatment at the end of august. Hopefully, that will help a lot too. Don't give up hope and try to delay surgery as much as you can. Bon courage.

  • tjlazer I wish you the very very best
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