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Old 02-11-2007, 08:32 AM   #1
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Not sure what to do

Hi, I'm new here and have been reading threads for the past hour or so and many of them have been very helpful. I think I've looked thru just about everything but I still have a couple of questions. I may have missed something though so forgive me if these questions have been answered before.

Okay, here's what's going on: I work a physical job which I'm sure caused my problem....right now I'm on disability and workmen's comp. I haven't had surgery yet but I've seen a neurosurgeon who recommends a lumbar laminectomy. I started having severe sciatica pain around Thanksgiving which eased on it's own after a couple of weeks and I was able to get around just fine with no pain at all at any time. But, worried about what had happened, I went for an MRI which showed herniated disks at L2 & L3 pressing on nerves. The pain had been awful at night after working all day but in the morning and throughout the day I was fine. After seeing the herniations my Doctor recommended steroid injections and PT. I felt very good at the time...completely normal...but followed his suggestions. I had an injection on Wednesday, Jan 17th and saw the PT for the first time 2 days later. The PT gave me an excercise which had me kneeling, bending forward and walking my hands to each side as far as I was able and then holding the position for 5 seconds.

Within 2 days of doing these excercises the sciatic pain came back with a vengeance. It hurt [I]all [/I]the time and by Thursday, Jan. 25th I couldn't make it into work and have only worked 2 days since (light duty). At that point I stopped seeing the PT. The following Monday I woke up and couldn't move an inch without excrutiating pain and had to be rushed to the hospital where I had a 2nd steroid injection. After that I forced myself to get out and walk - with a cane - which does help quite a bit. After a few days of walking farther and farther each day I started to feel almost normal during the day, walking unaided and without pain, but mornings are still quite an ordeal. I need 2 vicoden plus a muscle relaxant and it takes nearly an hour before I loosen up. Once I'm able to move around I feel very unstable...as if the slightest wrong move will set off the pain again. But I'm able to get around pretty well - as long as I keep moving and don't rest for too long at any one time.

I'm scheduled for a third injection on Tuesday and if that doesn't help I suppose surgery will be the only option left. So here are my questions:

- Is it possible that the first steroid injection inflamed the nerve and will another injection just cause more problems?

- How likely is it that the pain and instablity will ease without surgery?

- Is using a back brace for stability a good idea with pinched nerves or will it cause further nerve compression?

- I realize that it's different for everyone but about how long after surgery are you able to get around fairly well?

- I'm 49, otherwise healthy and normally active...what's the likelihood that I'll ever be able to return to previously normal activities?


Thanks for reading all this. And thanks for whatever info/opinions you can provide. Advice or ideas from people who've been thru similar things will help so I really appreciate it.

Sue

 
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:58 AM   #2
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Re: Not sure what to do

Welcome to the boards, Sue! I am 10 days out from a fusion of l5/s1. In 1982, I had a fusion without hardware at s1/s2 and a laminectomy of l5/s1 in May 2006.

- Is it possible that the first steroid injection inflamed the nerve and will another injection just cause more problems?

[B]Personally, I did not receive any relief from the injections and after 2 which increased my pain, my physician said no more. [/B]

- How likely is it that the pain and instablity will ease without surgery?

[B]The only way that I know to cure instability is thru a fusion. I had a laminectomy in May of last year to reduce the compression of nerves. I had 2/3 months of partial relief until I reinjured myself by emptying the dishwasher. Apparently, when my doctor did the laminectomy and removed the bone spurs my spinal column it became unstable resulting in my need for a fusion. [/B]

- Is using a back brace for stability a good idea with pinched nerves or will it cause further nerve compression?

[B]I think a back brace depends on each individual case. My doctor never prescribed one until after my fusion.[/B]

- I realize that it's different for everyone but about how long after surgery are you able to get around fairly well?

[B]With my laminectomy, I was down for 6 weeks completely. With my fusion, my doctor has stated I will not be able to lift, bend, do laundry, clean house, drive, twist, for 12 weeks. I must say that my fusion has been easier than my laminectomy which according to my doctor is highly unusual for a patient to say. But according to my huby I am not normal anyway.[/B]

I wish you good luck and hope that you are able to resolve your pain without surgery.

Last edited by ms_west; 02-11-2007 at 08:59 AM.

 
Old 02-11-2007, 09:04 AM   #3
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Re: Not sure what to do

Thanks! And you just answered my question to you in another thread. Good luck to you.

 
Old 02-11-2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Re: Not sure what to do

Just another opinion:

- Is it possible that the first steroid injection inflamed the nerve and will another injection just cause more problems?

[I]My steroid injections were all different. The first one worked for 3 days, the second one did not help at all, and the third helped the most...getting me into PT. They were all Lumbar Inj. I had 2 Thoracic Inj and they caused God Aweful pain. It was unreal the pain directly related to the Inj. So, its possible that the Inj inflamed a nerve.[/I]

- How likely is it that the pain and instablity will ease without surgery?

[I]My Lumbar hernations were rather large and I opted for No surgery. I went with a lot of Traction ...once the pain radiating down my leg subsided, I thought I could live with the pain located in my lower back...which I have with limitations set in my life's activities...one being my nursing job...had to switch to something less crazy - I was a L&D RN prior to the injury. But that took 10 months of traction and PT to get there. And I continued to be a RN ...still running around like loon, and my back weakened in other places..I just had fusion surgery for my thoracic herniations. and YES, my lumbar area still hurts throughout all of this. I'm thinking I should have just had the Lumbar fusion they suggested 5 years ago...but oh well.[/I]

- Is using a back brace for stability a good idea with pinched nerves or will it cause further nerve compression?

[I]Using a brace is always agood idea for short term...but not long term...the muscles will weaken. But using it short term is a good idea bc it gives your back a break. I don't think it interferes with nerve compression though. I am not sure, however.[/I]

- I realize that it's different for everyone but about how long after surgery are you able to get around fairly well?

[I]For my thoracic fusion I am almost 4 months out and still struggling a bit...but thoracic is a bit differsent than other areas. It's also very relative...each person has a different experience.[/I]

- I'm 49, otherwise healthy and normally active...what's the likelihood that I'll ever be able to return to previously normal activities?

[U]As for me...as soon as I got my first herniation, my life changed forever. It's been 5-6 years and I am still not quite mentally adjusted to that statement. LOL....but some people do very well...so, you have to see what YOUR BODY tells you. U]

[B]Good luck![/B]
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Babs

C4-C7 Herniations
T5-T10 Herniations
L3-S1 Herniations
Thoracic Fusion via Thoracotomy 10/06

 
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