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Old 05-08-2005, 08:51 AM   #1
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lingering pain after surgery.

Hi all. I posted something similar in pain managment but i want all the advise i can get. Heres the scope. 4 years ago i herniated a disc (L4) at work and had tons of pain in my right leg, ankle, and hip. After being misdiagnosed for a few months i saw a ortho surgeon who sent me for an MRI. He saw the herniation right away and put me on vicoden. Then he did a lamenectomy on me that fixed the problem and i heald quick. I stopped taking the vicoden within 3 weeks of surgery with no problems.

Everything was fine untill august of 2004. I lifted something alittle heavy and it reherniated. This time the pain was 5x worse. I went back to the same surgeon and he had to put me on norco (lots of it). We tried so epidurals but no luck. Finally he decided another surgery was the best choise. Did the surgery in november and not long after he started tapering me off the norco. When i stopped in january, the W\D's were really bad for a week but then i slowly got over that.

Heres the problem. It's now may and my back has been hurting me constantly. At the surgery site i feel sore and hurty all day. When i try to sit at my comp. or even just stand or walk it gets bad really quick. I can't work or really do much of anything. I went through phisical therapy and i continue to do exercise daily but i need the comfort of my home so i can lay down whenever it gets bad. I've heard from many people that a second surgery of this nature can leave the body hurting for up to a year.

I am going to see my GP and find out if a pain managment specialist would be appropriate for me. I want my life back even if i have to take something narcotic in order to go out or work. The ortho did another MRI last month and said everything looks fine back there. He seems to think i can live my life like this but its too painful to do anything. Is seeing someone else who might put me on meds wrong? Any opinions would be appreciated.

 
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Old 05-08-2005, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

What was that something a little heavy that you lifted. I am having my first microdiscectomy Wednesday and I want to make sure I never go through this again. I am just curious how heavy what you lifted was.

 
Old 05-08-2005, 05:39 PM   #3
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Hi, and welcome to the board. No, you are not wrong to seek help and pain management might be the way to go. Before you do, though, a few words to the wise. ... Watch out for pm's who want to treat you with one steroid injection after another; unfortunately, there are some of those out there who make a real good living by doing these injections. You should never have more than 3 in a years time and that includes oral steroid. Steroids can and will cause bone-thinning and other major problems. Also, should you have an injection, be sure the dr does it with flouroscopy. If he doesn't then you do not want him for a dr. The idea pm is one who will treat you with oral meds as well as offer other treatments. Dont be afraid to ask questions and find out just where the dr stands on those issues. With that being said, I wish you good luck and hope you will return here and let us know how you are doing.

For Keri....you should not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. And for the first few weeks, you would be wise not to lift that! Let someone else do it whenever you can; reherniation is not unusual after these procedures, so be careful.

Carol
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Old 05-08-2005, 09:31 PM   #4
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Thank you for responses, i really appreciate any knowledge and opinions i can get before moving forward.

As for the heavy lifting i'm alittle embarrased about that. I helped 3 other guys move a pool table (big dummy). It was 2 years after my first surgery and i thought my back was good as new. Being a guy, it's hard to say "i can't help with that because of my back". Well, i payed a hefty price for my ignorance and this time i am being much smarter. Like Carol said "not much more than a gallon of milk".

 
Old 05-08-2005, 09:54 PM   #5
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Yeah a pool table would do it. My initial injury was lifting a treadmill into my house. My husband had the heavy front with the motor on it but the entire thing was extremely heavy and I used every ounce of strength I had to lift it. Bags of groceries can get pretty heavy also. I worry if I have to go shopping sometime by myself. I guess my husband can do all of the lifting of that stuff for several months from now. It is hard because I feel so helpless sometimes. I wanted to go get a folding chair today and set it up in the garage because it was so nice out but I just didn't dare. The metal ones are a little heavy. I guess after a few months of healing I should be able to at least lift a chair like that what do you think?

 
Old 05-09-2005, 10:37 AM   #6
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Doing the exercises the surgern gives you will get you back into pretty good shape. Just take things slow and trust your instincts. Even when i'm fully recovered i won't lift more than a bag of grocerys. I know better now. It's a helpless feeling but thats much better than suffering threw a reinjury. I think you will be ok after reading about mistakes like mine. I did great for two years because i never tried to lift anything heavy. Just remember, 1 mistake like mine is all it takes.

 
Old 05-09-2005, 11:32 AM   #7
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Telvanni,

Welcome to the boards! I would also say head straight to a PM. However, I would advise that you sit down and make a list of what hurts and when. For example, "when getting out of bed in morning my L leg aches, my R lwr back feels tight, etc." You would be suprised what drs can do with a very specific list. Not only will it help with a treatment plan for the pain there is a good chance that it will steer the dr in the right direction for eliminating the pain.

Good luck,

Peach

 
Old 05-09-2005, 07:35 PM   #8
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Thanks for the reply Peach. I had an appt. with my GP today and he was great. Gave me a refferal to a PMS and alittle something to ease the pain until i go for that appt. Your advise is much appreciated as i now need to prepare for the managment phase.

 
Old 05-10-2005, 03:22 AM   #9
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

IF your still suffering with pain, what would be wrong is NOT getting you some relief.
I think if all of your studies, MRI's etc... haven't shown "an obvious problem" then by all means, see a PM doc.
Something is causing your continued pain...and if your surgeon has this attitude, then you need to begin the hunt for a NEW one who will listen to you. A doc who doesn't HEAR their pt...is not a doc worth having.

I wish you well,
BionicWitch

 
Old 05-10-2005, 08:44 AM   #10
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

I agree completly BionicWitch. I think his issue is that he has so much trouble getting most people off the meds. Thats no excuse IMO but so many doctors have issues these days. I actually wanted off the meds but i had no idea at the time how long or how bad the lingering pain would affect my daily life. I think since it was my second surgery to correct the same disc, they had to go threw all the scar tissue from the first round and that has left my back much more traumatized.

Part of the problem is the recreational drug users out there who have abused the medical field for so long. Part is the stupid gov. who would rather see people suffer than get pain relief with a buzz side effect. Of course the last part is doctors and their many hangups. Now that i have a refferal to see a PMS i feel much better about moving forward. Thanks for your reply and support, and sorry about the rant.

 
Old 05-10-2005, 10:21 AM   #11
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Well I think I am going to give the opposite advice since I am in a similar situation to you and am living it day to day. I am 2 1/2 years post op and have had some very painful days both right after the surgery and lately. However I have found that pain killers and passive healing just don't work in the long run. For me, it was weight loss and stretching and gently increasing my overall strength (including core) to the point where I was able to feel healthy again. I still have pain every day, my back hurts when I get up in the morning, it hurts when I stand up from my computer (I work in an office in computers which is the kiss of death for soemone with back problems) and it hurts whenver I exercise HOWEVER it doesn't hurt like it used to. I say be patient, try to exercise at least once a day (stretching counts) and if you are working then make sure you stand up and walk around every 15 to 20 minutes. I know you know how much it sucks being on pain killers and the withdrawal and depression they can bring so I would say do whatever is in your power to rehab yourself and be as active as possible all the time and I promise it will help. Be careful and be healthy, best of luck.
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:54 PM   #12
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

I definatly understand what you mean about pain killers and passive healing Perfik. My goal is to find a happy medium. Doing exercises and streches after my first surgery seemed to help with pain and mental state. This time though, exercise seems to be aggrevating me more so i'm looking to take the minimal meds for the minimal time and be as pro-active as possible. It's hard to find the right balance to achieve my goals and thats why i value every persons opinion here. Thanks for the reply

Last edited by telvanni; 05-10-2005 at 02:55 PM.

 
Old 06-15-2005, 06:37 PM   #13
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Hi all,
I had a microdiscectomy 4/25 (L5/S1 bulging disk) and returned to work part time (computer work) June 1. I am no longer having the pain down my leg as I was before surgery, but am experiencing a lot of back pain - pressure, like someone is squeezing my spine. Sitting particulary aggravates the pain and I actually feel worse now, than I did before I went back to work. I am walking 2-3 miles a day and am able to do that ok. Anyone else have this experience post surgery? Thanks!

 
Old 06-16-2005, 07:13 AM   #14
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Re: lingering pain after surgery.

That sounds pretty typical from what I have read. I am the same way even now 2 1/2 years post op. I find that the more I do, the better I feel but if I lay around one day and watch TV then the next day I am a wreck. In a way I do feel worse after the surgery because I never feel "normal" like I used to. However, I also have not had an episode since the surgery which used to happen at least once every 6 months. I know for myself though that a large part of the problem is my weight, being 260lbs even though it is mostly muscle carries with it a great deal of spinal stress.
I also work in computers and have to stand and walk around, arch and stretch at least every 15 minutes during the day in order that my back doesn't tighten up. You have to be religious about this or you will find your back will always be painful when getting up.
Does this suck? Well, I could be philosophical about it and say that it has taught me a great deal about myself, about my physical tolerances and about keeping my physical ego in check but in reality when I have to lay on my floor some days just to be able to walk properly I would say yes, it sucks big time. However, I am coaching gymnastics, I am going to the gym again and for the most part regardless of the lingering pain my life is somewhat back to 'normal'.
I guess the bottom line is that we all, post op, need to come to terms with our new realities and face them the best we can. I still am optimistic that at some point I will start to have days where I don't feel pain. Whether that is in the next 6 months or the next 5 years only time will tell.
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Old 06-16-2005, 07:35 AM   #15
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Talking Re: lingering pain after surgery.

Why oh why do people think that back surgery will make them a 100%. It doesn't. Your back will be vunerable the rest of your life. I have a friend only it was ten years later another herniation. And why. Because she lifted something heavy thinking everything is fine because she had no trouble up to then.

Pain after surgery can last and this is something that most surgeons neglect to tell you. I had pain in my back for a full year. Backs are tender things and sometimes the nerves take a long time to settle down. Also muscles may continue to spasm to protect your spine. The memory of injury is still there and they act as a splint to protect you long after it is necessary.

That being said please use good sense when it comes to your back. If you must lift use your legs not your back. Don't bend and never twist. Torsion is one bad mother when it comes to backs. My daughter who also has a bad back says everytime she lifts something she can hear me saying bend your knees. I didn't want her to end up like me.

 
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