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Old 12-30-2003, 02:32 AM   #1
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Kamden HB User
Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Hi, I will try to make this short. I am looking for help from people who may have had an experience similar to mine. I have a history of back problems, and had a laminectomy at L 4-5, 2 years ago for a herniated disk, at the same time I was told I had spinal stenosis and DDD. The laminectomy took my leg pain away and i no longer walked with a limp. However, I have never been able to stand for 20 minutes or more without pain and pressure in my low back and legs, I am guessing because of the stenosis. Before x-mas I was doing more walking and standing than I normally do and woke one morning with horrible low back pain that also goes into one leg. I can only walk with my legs very close together or the pain turns my foot out and either way causes me to limp. This seems to be different than the herniated disk pain so when I looked it up, it sounds like sciatica. I also have trouble sitting, and if I am not carefull, have a stabbing pain in my front upper leg where my leg and pelvis meet. Do you have any suggestions, opinions, and treatment options? Does this sound like sciatica or a reinjury of my back? Also, I posted on 2 other boards and received no replies. I already know that this does not sound too promising and do not have unrealistic hopes, I just want opinions of people who have been in my postion. Thankyou so much. Kamden

 
Old 12-30-2003, 06:27 AM   #2
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Patmg HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Hi Kamden: I had the exact same L4-5 laminectomy in March, 1993. I, too, have DDD and spinal stenosis. In fact, about 14 of my spinal disks are degenerating. I am a 55 year old woman who did a great deal of lifting over the years. I still have pain and I always will, due to the fact that once the spine is damaged, it tends to "tweek out" and send pain messages, even though damage is not being done. The disks themselves, as they degenerate, actually are "burning their proteins out" (like a dying star, sort of) and this also causes pain. It also depends upon how deeply your nerves are embedded into the disk material. zi cannot stand or sit long either. It is simply a fact of life with lumbar spinal troubles. If I am waiting in a dept. store line, I must shift the weight of my body from leg to leg, slowly swaying my hips back and forth. To sit, you need a lumbar roll in the curve of the low back. You can use a rolled up towel; make sure the seat you sit in has back support and use the roll at all times. I no longer could work as a secretary/data entry/word processor once my lumbar spine gave out. That was at 43 years old. Laminectomies are done to decompress nerves to save them from permanent damage and to remove leg pain. They don't help the back pain; spinal surgeries are done to save your nerves from damage. What you need is pain control and a physical therapist to go over proper lifting (which you most likely have already had). You and your doctor must keep on top of your spine, looking for changes in pain level and new numbness and tingling. Also, be aware of the "saddle area" being numb (that is usually L5-S1), the disk below the one you had the laminectomy. If you get total numbness in saddle area, you have 24-48 hours to have emergency surgery done to save your bowel and bladder nerves; otherwise, they could be damaged permanently. My entire lumbar spine has torn, damaged disks. I can still walk, but I take opiate pain meds to give me somewhat of a life. Take care, Patmg P.S.: If you have further questions, please ask. I am dealing with a possible complications from a gall bladder surgery done Nov. 6th, so if I drop out of sight for awhile, that is why.

 
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Old 12-30-2003, 07:46 AM   #3
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rlcowboy HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

I just came home from surgery #2 a few days ago, I also have DDD. The first surgery was a spinal fusion L5 to S1 with rods and screws inserted. Had to have that done cause I also have spondylothieses and had a bad slippage, so I had to get the fusion done, but after that surgery I was still in much pain so I had to have more surgery, this time having my stomach cut open to get to my back to totally remove a disc and have a artificial one put in. Now I got to have a third surgery in three weeks to extend the screws to hold the disc in place. I really hope I get some relief soon cause all these surgerys are so painful, just hope I do recover well! Right now I am really having to depend on pain meds every day but I really hope to do without them one day soon, I am 33 year old male and never really had any health problems in my life so this has become very hard on me and my family. One thing I would recomend to you is maybe going to pain managment, just dont keep having any injections if they dont work for you because they dont do that much for alot of folks with chronic pain, when they didnt provide any long term relief for me I told them to stop, because to me the injections themselves were pretty painful, some folks just have to take some long acting pain meds, dont know if thats what you need but I would make some calls to a good pain managment clinic! sorry so long but good luck to you and I really feel for ya cause I can relate to your pain. Good luck!!
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Old 12-30-2003, 10:26 AM   #4
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carol632 HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

When was the last time you saw your doctor? If it has been a while, it sounds like an MRI is in order. You could be experiencing several things...reinjury, scar tissue, or more likely, the stenosis is putting pressure on the nerves causing the symptoms you describe; they sound a lot like mine and stenosis was the cause, as well as scar tissue trapping nerve roots. I would call and set up an appointment as soon as you can. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
Carol
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Old 12-30-2003, 07:23 PM   #5
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jodawa50 HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

[QUOTE=Kamden]Hi, I will try to make this short. I am looking for help from people who may have had an experience similar to mine. I have a history of back problems, and had a laminectomy at L 4-5, 2 years ago for a herniated disk, at the same time I was told I had spinal stenosis and DDD. The laminectomy took my leg pain away and i no longer walked with a limp. However, I have never been able to stand for 20 minutes or more without pain and pressure in my low back and legs, I am guessing because of the stenosis. Before x-mas I was doing more walking and standing than I normally do and woke one morning with horrible low back pain that also goes into one leg. I can only walk with my legs very close together or the pain turns my foot out and either way causes me to limp. This seems to be different than the herniated disk pain so when I looked it up, it sounds like sciatica. I also have trouble sitting, and if I am not carefull, have a stabbing pain in my front upper leg where my leg and pelvis meet. Do you have any suggestions, opinions, and treatment options? Does this sound like sciatica or a reinjury of my back? Also, I posted on 2 other boards and received no replies. I already know that this does not sound too promising and do not have unrealistic hopes, I just want opinions of people who have been in my postion. Thankyou so much. Kamden[/QUOTE]

Hows it goin Camden, I waited awhile before replying to this, and realized we're all in the same boat no matter how you look at it. Anyway, I'm comin on 18 years post op ACDF C6-7 and 3 years post ACDF C5-7 w/hardware. Have experienced many different painful symptoms in the last year and absolutly nothing visible to diagnose. Dr's won't say (artifacts on MRI and they can't see)but I'm pretty sure its stenosis (or scar tissue, or bone spur, or fusion gone bad syndrom, or who knows what) and from what I've read in the last year the symptoms can come and go and be wide and varied. Not to mention, they can happen just about anywhere on your body no-matter where (level) the stenosis is. The biggest (and the hardest) thing I've learned over the last while is to slow down and listen to what your body is telling you. Oh, and you have to agree with it too. My every move has to be thought out and deliberate, or I screw up and turn too far or do too much increasing that wonderful thing we love so much. Radiculopathy is what I think its called. Something happening to the nerve here but it hurt WAY over there. Its taken three years to realize what is causing the pain, and thats getting out of bed in the morning(or afternoon). Presently my three greatest allies are faith, hope and determination w/this board coming in close behind. I never thought I'd hear myself say this but I'm starting a pain mangement course in a couple of weeks and I am really looking fwd to it. Theres a wide variety of thing to do for yourself out there and it up to you try them until you find the one for you. I too am on opiates as they afford some relief. Anyway, good luck for now, and may the pain fairy dry up and drop dead.

 
Old 12-31-2003, 06:26 AM   #6
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out2lunch HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Morning Kamden, I would suggest going back to your dr and ordering a CT scan or MRI!! I know atleast one of them can be done when you have hardware too!!
It sounds to me like you have sciatica (I do too) with the pain down the legs. Anything (DDD etc) can cause the nerves to be pinched, which is what sciatica is!
It could also be a reinjury, and the only way to find out for sure is an MRI or CT!!
Let us know how things turn out!! I wish you luck, take care!!

 
Old 01-01-2004, 08:14 AM   #7
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Kamden HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Thankyou to all of you for your help. I appreciate hearing other peoples stories because i know we are all in the same boat so to speak. I also had a good laugh over the pain fairy! I do know I need to get to the doctor, as I was hoping it would get better with rest and anti-inflammatory meds., but it has not. In the meantime I put it off again as I have a relative who is in the hospital with not long to live ( they are also out of state and we need to go there ). I believe in physical therapy more than any other treatment as I had years and years of many treatments and that is the absolute best I have had. I do plan to go to the doctor very soon and I am going to keep you posted. I am just hoping I can get through this without another surgery as i just can't take the thought of another one. To put it bluntly, I am just tired of dealing with my back. I read up all I could on what I have and it seems to either point to another surgery, or living on pain meds. anti-inflammatory meds and physical therapy. I will come back on here when i get a diagnosis and let you know what the docs recommend. Thankyou, Kamden

 
Old 01-01-2004, 10:28 AM   #8
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acme HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Hi! I had 2 Laminectomies over the years. 1st in 1987. 2nd in 1992 BOTH WERE CONSIDERED "FAILED BACK SURGERIES"!! So I limped.......took Meds for pain.....Went to Chrio.....Did actupunture.....You name it , I tried it!
Finally in 2001 I had L-4/L-5 Fusion Surgery! It fixed me!! 14 yrs. of suffering ......GONE!!
I went to the Cleveland Clinic! Got out of these local Butcher shops they call Hospitals!! What a difference! Real Docs that care.......explain....& follow up! Well worth the 6-8 hr. drive!!!
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Old 01-02-2004, 04:04 AM   #9
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Kamden HB User
Re: Help with pain 2 years after surgery

Out2lunch, Thankyou for your reply and advice. Also, Are you on disability?
Acme, I am so happy you have found relief, I think down the road I may not have a choice and have to have fusion surgery also. I don't understand why so many laminectomies are done only for the person to return with problems later. I think if things had been explained fully to me in detail, I may have chosen a different way of treatment, maybe a different surgery, since this had only taken the pain and my limp away, yet I still am very limited and 2 years later, having problems again. Thankyou for your help, I appreciate hearing other peoples stories. Kamden

 
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