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Old 03-14-2005, 08:37 AM   #1
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Location: South
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Stageevie HB User
Unhappy Surgery...to have or not to have? Help!

[FONT=Book Antiqua]Good morning,

I have a herniated disk at the L5-S1 -- seen with MRI & X-rays. Neurosurgeon diagnosed me with Lumbar Radiculitis -- sciatic nerve involvement. For 5 1/2 weeks, I have been experiencing severe pain when I stand, cough, sneeze, get out of bed, or bear down. I experience the pain occasionally while walking.

My regular doctor said I would need surgery because the bone of the disk was pressing on the nerve root, so he sends me to the neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon said I had three options:

1. Pain Management, but since I have been on vicodin for 5 weeks without much improvement that is not the answer. He said only about 50% of people have pain resolution through pain management, and that when the ultimate pain resolution might occur is quite variable.

2. Physical Therapy -- according to him, he believes physical therapy has an almost zero chance of helping me, but he still scheduled an appointment for me to see a physical therapist tomorrow.

3. Surgery (microdiskectomy). He said in and out the same day (felt a little like McDonalds' drive through service , it alleviates leg pain in 97% of patients. The best way to go, but it's my decision based on my pain level.

I have experienced very mild improvement some days. How do you really decide about surgery? It seems so scary, and yet both my internist & neurosurgeon seem to believe it's the best option.

Any advice would be appreciated!!![/FONT]

 
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:51 AM   #2
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kaybee HB User
Re: Surgery...to have or not to have? Help!

It is a tough call but sounds like your neuro has some pretty solid estimates. My husband went through all those options, only to find that surgery was the only way for him to have relief from the radiculopathy. As it turned out, the disk at L4-5 which was herniated, had broken off and was floating up and attaching to the cord. PT, and epis didn't have a chance of helping and he wasted a lot of time and pain going that route. The surgery did stop the radiculopathy, however. Now he's facing some additional huge obstacles - none of which have very favorable options.

Good luck! You'll find that others have found relief via therapy but please keep in mind that nothing is generic and each situation is extremely delicate and unique. I think your dr. knows what he's talking about.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 09:21 AM   #3
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South
Posts: 52
Stageevie HB User
Re: Surgery...to have or not to have? Help!

kaybee,

Thank you for your encouraging words. Are there more problems with your husband's back? It must be so difficult. I didn't realize how debilitating spinal problems could be. It's hard to have a normal life. I am a stage director and teach theatre workshops for children in the summer. I am required to be on my feet for hours at a time. This pain is completely disrupting my life -- and I'm 46, too young to be elderly quite yet.

 
Old 03-14-2005, 09:40 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 47
Disc HB User
Re: Surgery...to have or not to have? Help!

[QUOTE=Stageevie][FONT=Book Antiqua]Good morning,

I have a herniated disk at the L5-S1 -- seen with MRI & X-rays. Neurosurgeon diagnosed me with Lumbar Radiculitis -- sciatic nerve involvement. For 5 1/2 weeks, I have been experiencing severe pain when I stand, cough, sneeze, get out of bed, or bear down. I experience the pain occasionally while walking.

My regular doctor said I would need surgery because the bone of the disk was pressing on the nerve root, so he sends me to the neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon said I had three options:

1. Pain Management, but since I have been on vicodin for 5 weeks without much improvement that is not the answer. He said only about 50% of people have pain resolution through pain management, and that when the ultimate pain resolution might occur is quite variable.

2. Physical Therapy -- according to him, he believes physical therapy has an almost zero chance of helping me, but he still scheduled an appointment for me to see a physical therapist tomorrow.

3. Surgery (microdiskectomy). He said in and out the same day (felt a little like McDonalds' drive through service , it alleviates leg pain in 97% of patients. The best way to go, but it's my decision based on my pain level.

I have experienced very mild improvement some days. How do you really decide about surgery? It seems so scary, and yet both my internist & neurosurgeon seem to believe it's the best option.

Any advice would be appreciated!!![/FONT][/QUOTE]


Can u detail in which parts you have pain more and what type is it ie numbness ,tingling .

 
Old 03-14-2005, 10:48 AM   #5
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South
Posts: 52
Stageevie HB User
Re: Surgery...to have or not to have? Help!

Disc,

I have aching pain in the back of my right thigh and lower back. I have experienced just a little numbness, but only very occasionally.

Consistently, I have excruciating shocks of pain that shoot down the back of my right leg, but I feel it most acutely in the side and back of my right thigh, when I stand up, cough, sneeze, or strain (having a BM is miserable). Often times these shocks of pain cause me to involuntarily call out, and sometimes the shocks of pain are so bad, I feel as though I am going to pass out. I also get a bad cramping pain in the back and side of my thigh.

I haven't ever felt any pain in my foot, but occasionally have pain in my hip. Also if I sit for very long I get a tightness in my calf and thigh that can be quite uncomfortable.

Thank you for your help. I just want to do the right thing and it's all so scary.

 
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