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Old 03-30-2004, 06:30 AM   #151
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Pippin HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hi everyone,

As many of you know, I decided not to have a laminectomy. Instead, I had a less invasive MISS surgery called a transfacet-laminoforaminoplasty at left L5 nerve root. I'm just 4 weeks post-surgery. Here's how I feel:

1) The nerve pain in the left leg is mostly gone, though there's still some tingling. However, the limp is gone! Can walk with both feet going straight forward, and do a real heel-toe walk.

2) Muscle spasms in the left buttock (along the coccyx) have caused a lot of trouble. Microspine prescribed a muscle relaxer and ibuprofen for that, and that helps tremendously (pain went from an 8 to a 2 with the first pill). My recommendation to anyone having lumbar surgery is to obtain 1) a small lumbar pillow for use when sitting, and 2) a walker, which will allow you to use your arms to get up from a seated position. I'm convinced that my muscle problems were caused by using the muscles in my legs and hips incorrectly in the first few days after surgery as I was trying to guard the surgery site.

3) Incision is completely healed and is just a faint purple line.

4) Shopped at a Super Walmart AND a grocery store on Sunday - about 2.5 hours on my feet. Haven't done that in well over a year.

5) I did not realize how weak I had become over the last year. I have a lot of work to do in getting back muscle tone in the left leg.

6) I am now aware of minor S1 nerve pain in the left leg. I hardly noticed it before because the L5 nerve pain was so much more intense. I suspect I will need to have another decompression surgery for S1 in a few years.

7) Still sleeping a good deal, which is, I think, my reaction to the muscle relaxer medication and my body's way of healing. In between naps I am back to working on the computer 4-5 hours a day.

8) Am driving now with no problems.

All in all, a pretty good report! I'm certainly feeling better emotionally because now [B]I'm working towards recovery[/B], not just standing still with my life.

Cordially,
Pippin

 
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Old 03-31-2004, 10:48 AM   #152
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hi Greg and Pippin!!! Good to see you both back on the "old threadstead"!

In many ways, your progress sounds similar, with different time frames, of course, given when you had your surgeries and what you had done. The primary issue sounds like getting strength back for both of you, and doing what you can do--within the limits of what is "prudent"--to work on that. In the meantime, you have a lot more of your lives back, which is fantastic!!!

In an odd way, I feel I'm doing much the same as you, even without surgery. Pain has never been the big issue with me (haven't used more than ibuprofen in more than a year). Rather, it's been working on the weakness that came at the beginning and also trying to increase sitting time (which _does_ get painful after a while). I've been working very hard on treadmill (at least an hour/day) for some time, as well as being more demanding on myself re: core stabilization, weight loss, etc.. I am not ready to declare "progress" because I'm still too afraid of reversal. Still, there is definitely a plan and, let's say, the hints of movement. I am now sitting 2-3 hours/day, sometimes more, which is better than it was. Strength progress is hard to measure except over the long term. But, based on lengths of time on t'mill, speed and grade, and similar things (I go up and own flights of stairs fairly often)......well, maybe.......

As Pippin suggests, knowing one is working toward recovery and has some sort of reasonable plan may be the key, with or without surgery as part of the "action."

Best to you. Please keep us informed as you can.

Standingman

p.s. Greg Dude, re: golf, I envy the thought! Obviously, be careful. When I first saw my neurosurgeon, he suggested I avoid golf as long as weakness was still an issue. That has meant avoiding it entirely for me. Perhaps that's more conservative than one needs to be, and your own situation is just that. But take care!

Last edited by standingman; 03-31-2004 at 10:51 AM.

 
Old 03-31-2004, 07:24 PM   #153
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Karmon1974 HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Good idea to start this thread! I am having my surgery in 3 weeks, lumbar pedical screw fusion w/ cage. (Laminectomy w/ metal?) Anyway, I have suffered from this herniated disk for approx. 5 loooong years. I just turned 30 last week. I have tried it all, and am now at this point, and for me there is no turning back. I am tired of the fear I have to just move sometimes, and am so sick of the meds, I am praying that this option has good long lasting effects. I am not kidding myself about the risks or pretending it will be a magic cure, I just hope for the best! I wish that for all of us in this position and others. There is back pain, and then there is back pain. How I long for the days a couple of advil got me through!

I am so glad that there are others who will share their experiences, and at least I know I can count on these boards the whole way through! I was here before, under a different user name, but took a while off and could not remember it! (Blame it on the drugs!) I am back for support and thank all who have it to give! If I can help with anything ever, just ask. It has been a very long time since I felt helpful to anyone though. I do have 5 years experience unfortunately, and would share any of it that may be useful.

Thanks again!

Karmon

 
Old 03-31-2004, 08:28 PM   #154
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Karmon--Welcome! I saw Carol's response to you on the other thread, which makes great sense. You will find fellow travelers on the "Good fusion outcomes wanted" thread also, as well as the post-surgery tips at the top of the Board. Most of us on this thread haven't had "instrumentation," although a few have. As you well know, a pretty good percentage of people who have lamis eventually get "screwed" as well (in the best sense of the word!), so it's all part of the same deal.

Keep us informed of how you're doing, etc..

Standingman

 
Old 04-12-2004, 09:38 PM   #155
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

OK, roll call--Greg, Pippin, Carol, Mistina, others--how are you doing? One last bid to keep the thread alive, yes! But very much wish to get the latest. Hope you are well.

Standingman

 
Old 04-13-2004, 06:47 AM   #156
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Pippin HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Pippin checking in here with a 6-week post-surgery report.

Life is getting much better. I am on a low-dose, round-the-clock muscle relaxer (Flexeril), which has helped with the muscle problems in the left buttock and low back. My PCP wants me to stay on a restricted activity regimen until the muscle pains are completely under control, so I still take care not to bend, lift, or twist. (Actually, I DO bend sometimes, but only when there's something nearby where I can put my hand so my arm takes part of the weight and adds balance.)

The tingling in the left foot has stopped! The left and right feet now feel equal. My husband tells me there's now a spring in my step.

Sleeping less and walking more. Able to stand for over 30 minutes (before it was only 5-10 minutes), and enjoy cooking again as long as the pans aren't too low to reach!

I really think I've turned the corner. Another few weeks, however, for full recovery.

Best to all,
Pippin

P.S. S'Man, you must be a night owl. Your posts are always done late at night.

 
Old 04-13-2004, 07:01 AM   #157
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onthemendnow HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hiya! I'm 7 weeks post op tomorrow. Had a laminectomy/fusion of L-5/S1. Fusion included rods, screws and bone taken from my hip from a separate incision.

Doing well at this point. I still some Ultracet pills but going many hours between pills these past several days. However at week 6 I was still taking them at the 4 to 6 hour mark; funny how healing seems to occur (for me) in "chunks". Like I'll feel [I]much [/I] better one day, then coast with that same feeling for a bunch of days then BAM!, much better another day ... like that.

I'd read that the incision for the bone harvest (thru my buttock) could hurt more than the back surgery site. It's just bothersome, kinda sore.

I take about 2 or 3 walks per day, about 2 miles total. Still taking it very easy (I can't believe how much I'm sleeping, how will I ever go back to work?!). Also no BLT here. I carry my long-handled reacher everywhere to keep me from cheating; I love that thing!

 
Old 04-13-2004, 11:58 AM   #158
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hi Pippin and Onthemendnow--Good reports!!! Pippin, I've followed your own experiences in much more detail, so it's particularly good to see the development. That tingling going away a very big deal. Likewise, the standing. And the spring in the step may be the best of all!!!! You'll probably want to let others know who are considering MISS in some of the other neighborhoods!

Actually, I'm a night owl, but not as much as the posts suggest. I think this board functions on GMT (Greenwich time). Thus, from the perspective here on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., they appear on the board at five hours later than the local time when they go out.

Standingman (from EST!)

 
Old 04-27-2004, 05:56 AM   #159
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gdbreedlove HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

The thread that was too tough to die!!! Thought I'd give everyone an update. I'm about 4 1/2 months post-op and have made some very good progress...just in the last week. Basically back pain has not been my problem, post op, but weakness in the left left due to the nerve being compressed for so long. The strength is coming back slowly, but I've noticed some huge improvements over the last week. Soccer practice with my 7 year old and baseball practice with my 10 year old, it occurred to me that I was getting around alot better. Last night I was sitting watching TV and decided to get up, put my running shoes on and run around the house. Not a huge accomplishment, I know but it was for me. Back has held up very well, I do have pain but mainly when I overdo it! Take care everyone, it's nice to see that everyone is on the road to recovery!
Greg
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:27 AM   #160
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Greg Dude!!!!! Great to hear from you. And the good news as well. Does that mean running _inside_ the house or outside??? Not that it matters; running is running is running.....Sounds like you're still well on the way. Are you continuing with PT? Doing things at home? All the above?

Thanks for reawakening the thread. I actually was looking for it last night with the same thought, but didn't track it down--it was at the back of the bus! But I hope we may get further updates from others. Stillwater, are you out there? Christina? Others? I have heard some from Pippin in other contexts, and she also seems to be doing well.

Greg, your message reminded me I had a golf dream last night! I was just beginning to hit the pitching wedge with comfort.....in my dreams! But I think the 8-iron broke!!! Well, one step, one club, at a time. If I could play par 3's again, I'd sure be thrilled.

Here, not much news one way or other. Everyone with an M.D. after their name (and a few with as D.O) are still advising against the knife. So I tread on. Still doing a _lot_ of walking--some days, 2-3 hours, with a fair amount of up/down hills. Seems to help more than anything. Sitting remains a challenge, although I have gotten through 90-120 minute stretches with relative impunity. That's it for the day though, so certainly many limits. Have some old sciatica that's come and gone (otherwise, my twinges are always at higher dermatome), so I hope it doesn't mean another level acting up. My sense is that everything is compensating for everything else in rather complicated ways. I just hope it "settles out" in some viable place. I'll be doing some Feldenkais at the end of the week, and some other new approaches, to see it I can squeeze out a little more butt time.

Again, thanks for checking in, keep on runnin', enjoy the spring, and keep us informed. The thread lives!

Best to you,

Standingman

 
Old 05-22-2004, 06:46 PM   #161
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StillWater HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hey, everyone! I had to hunt for a long time to find this thread. I'm wondering how all of you are. It's been a long time since I posted. I'm still at about the same place, undecided. Or rather, really hoping I can avoid surgery, but not sure. I thought if I lost weight, maybe it would help. I wasn't a [I]lot[/I] overweight, but weighed about 15 - 20 # above the "ideal" weight according to the charts. So I lost the weight, and for a brief time, I thought it was helping. I'm having a lot of pain again now, though, which is discouraging. The sciatic pain down both legs and in my lower back is bad, the numbness and weakness is worse in my left leg. I'm also having a lot of pain and stiffness in my hips. It's especially bad if I've been sitting more than about 5 minutes. The whole situation is discouraging, because the surgeon said surgery, either a laminectomy or a fusion, may cause instability and necessitate more drastic surgery. I don't know if living with the increasing pain and numbness is the best option -- but it doesn't sound like a [I]good[/I] option! I'm still managing to walk regularly, and actually walking seems to help. Walking outside with the dog is very different than walking inside around the office or house or a mall. When walking outside, taking long strides and walking fairly briskly, the pain gets less after about a block. The weakness kicks in by about the third block, though. I can keep going for a while, as long as it is not uphill, but not for long. I love being outside, though, as long as it's not too hot.

I hope all of you are enjoying the longer days, and maybe some good weather.

StillWater

 
Old 05-23-2004, 09:37 PM   #162
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standingman HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hi Stillwater--It sounds like you and I are the "holdouts"!! Greg and Pippin had their surgeries, and, from what we've heard, they seem to be doing well! In any event, very good to hear from you. Maybe we can revive this thread a bit.

Sorry to hear that the weight loss didn't help as much as you'd hoped. That is also part of my own strategy, but I'm not putting great stock in it. On the other hand--speaking of stock--I think I have more weight to lose than you do!

I'm roughly the same, perhaps a bit better. Doing a lot of walking--1-2 hours/day at least--and up and down hills (I actually do better on hills than flat--very strange). Like you, walking usually makes me feel better rather than worse, unless I've _really_ pushed it. Sitting time is up to about 2-3 hours/day, some days better than others. It's expanding that that is my real goal.

How far/long are you actually walking?

Besides walking and continuing ab working, I've found a PT I think is a better fit for me than anyone so far. We're doing mostly the Feldenkrais approach, which people don't seem to know much about on this board, but which is better known in Europe. In any case, it seems to be helping me more than other approaches have.

Keep us updated. And best to you. How about the rest of you?

Standingman

 
Old 05-26-2004, 06:25 PM   #163
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StillWater HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

How did you find out about Feldenkrais? I looked it up online. It looks interesting, but there is no one listed who does it here.

Have you tried accupunture? I haven't, but I've thought of it. At the time I was looking, the only ones I could find who did it were 2 chiropractors. I saw one, but she was not willing to do accupuncture without chiropractic adjustments. I was not willing to do that. Today, in a health food store, I found a pamphlet from a licensed accupuncturist who is not a DC.

The pain has been a lot worse lately, perhaps because of the storms. I need to find something that will help. I'm hoping that when I retire a month from now, that with less stress, the pain will be less.

As far as distance walked, it's really not far. In the mornings, I walk about 4 blocks. In the evening, it's anywhere from 3 blocks to a mile and a half, depending on how hard it is. After I retire, I think I'll probably walk 3 - 4 times a day, and get in more total distance that way. Perhaps that will help build strength.

Take care.

StillWater

Last edited by StillWater; 05-26-2004 at 06:50 PM.

 
Old 05-27-2004, 07:32 AM   #164
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susanlynne48 HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Hey, everyone, I'm a newbie to the boards as of this week, and was asking for experiences with laminectomy also. Mine is scheduled for Tuesday, June 1. I'm very positive about it. My DX is severe central and lateral lumbar stenosis, causing great back and leg pain. I've tolerated it for over a year, and I think, although it is degenerative in nature due to osteoarthritis (I'm only 55), the problem became severe when I fell on my deck last year and sprained my ankle. At the time, that was all I was concerned about - getting my ankle pain resolved. Stillwater, I'm from OKC. Did you go to Tulsa for surgery? I'm at the Neuro Science Center at Mercy in OKC, and my surgery will be at the Oklahoma Spine Hospital (that's ALL they do). After PT, NSAIDs, epidurals, etc., that have not had any affect, I have opted for surgery to "fix" it. As my doctor explained, as along as I can tolerate the pain, fine, and I shouldn't have an unreasonable expectation for 100%. He said it can happen, but if I could accept even 50%, and be okay with that, he thought surgery would be the best option for me. I love him, plus he reminds me of Jeff Goldblum! LOL. So, I will keep you all posted as to the outcome. I'm concerned right now because my daughter is allergic to my 4 cats, and she planned to stay with me, but now cannot. She'll be in and out, but not here all the time like I thought. Wish me well. I'm single so I'm pretty independent and have taken care of myself following mastectomy and aneurysm repair (all in the last year). Finally, in my aneurysm repair, the nerves did not like being messed with, and this was a minimally invasive procedure. I think it just takes time for the nerves to adjust. It took 2 months with the aneurysm, so I expect it will take much longer with the laminectomy. I do hope to go back to work 8/1. My doctor said 4 weeks, but I'm going to take a little extra time.

Signing off....

Susan

 
Old 05-27-2004, 07:37 AM   #165
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onthemendnow HB User
Re: Good laminectomy outcomes wanted (really, all experiences)

Good Luck Susan!!!

 
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