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Old 09-29-2008, 08:19 PM   #1
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how bad was your results before they did surgery

I have a question rather than an answer... not sure how to find the answer but I'll try... as I'm new to this board/site.

I am seeing an orthopeadic surgeon Friday. I posted my results here under mamaomany. My question is how bad was your results before they did surgery? Mine started last year and I did PT, now it's been back for almost 2 months and it VERY painful. I've NEVER had back pain like this! I can't stand in one place and I can't walk. I have very few minutes without pain all day long. What can I do before seeing him? What do I do after seeing him as I'm sure he can't cure me that day... what do I do? I'm to the point I want surgery as PT didn't make it go away, I've been taking NSAID's and muscle relaxers and am starting to take 1/2 of a Vicodin for pain to sleep. Please let me know how bad yours was before they would let you have surgery... if you can, read my post with my results and let me know what you think. Thanks so much and God Bless!

 
Old 09-30-2008, 05:17 PM   #2
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

Your post has been moved into a thread of its own. Always start your own thread for your own problem/question.

Thank you.
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:07 PM   #3
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

I am going to see about having surgery Monday. My pain has gotten so bad it is hard to work. I said I would never had surgery but now it is so bad I want it.

 
Old 09-30-2008, 09:47 PM   #4
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

It all depends on how the symptoms have progressed and how you choose to move forward with treatment. Years ago when I was diagnosed with lumbar spondylolysthesis I had the doctor at a University hospital tell me that I could put off surgery and try some more experimental type treatment. When I went home (I was in college) the orthopedic spine surgeon I saw basically said "at this point it's up to you. you clearly have a significant abnormality and I can't force you to do surgery. you can wait - but it's a quality of life issue". And I chose surgery.

This past year I faced the same thing. After neck surgery in 2006 I had a recurrance of the symptoms. My OSS told me that he could offer me a foraminotomy (to relieve pressure on the cervical spine nerves) or I could continue with pain management and wait. I tend to want to take action so I went forward with the surgery.

Make sure to list out for the doctor how your symptoms have changed or worsened - and what you have done to try to alleviate the pain. Ask him/her to lay out all of your treatment options and then there's the question "If I was your sister/brother -what would you reccomend".

Often people are afraid of surgery (and somehow are willing to live in severe pain and incapacitation) but personally I can't see living in pain when there is a possibility that a surgical procedure could help and if it's appropriate.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:46 PM   #5
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

I had done the physical therapy, had an epidural, did the vicodan and the linocaine patch and I still hurt. It got to the point I wanted to cut my leg off, the pain down the leg was so bad. Sometimes I didn't think I could get up off the couch because my back hurt so much. The surgeon said he could do something for the nerve pain down the leg by taking care of the stenosis. He said the back pain would probably still be there because I also have arthritis. He sent me to another surgeon for a second opinion. The second surgeon also wanted to do a fusion. I went back to the first surgeon and said I wanted surgery, no fusion. It was a total of 3 years to get the surgery. (workmanscomp insurance carrier also kept screwing up) It has been almost 6 months since the laminectory, discectomy on L3,L4 and L5. I am really glad I had the surgery but it has been tough. No pain down the leg. I do have alot of aching if I sit or stand too long. The leg is my biggest problem big time. My back is much better but it definitely swells up if I do too much.

 
Old 10-01-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

My pain was really, really bad. It all started when I was working full time, I had a really great promotion coming my way and I was super happy all over the place, everything was going really well. THen my back started to get really bad at the age of 20. I had to step back, not take the promotion as it involved a lot of travel. long hours and a lot of work. I had to tkae care of myself before I could go any further. I struggled for 3 years. I had all sorts of diagnostic testing done, saw many doctors and sepcialists. They all said the same thing. All my tests showed was a hairline fracture at L5S1. THey all said, you are fine, go back to work and get back to your life. Well. I would have loved to have been able to do that but it was not possible. Eventually after doing PT, accupuncture, ESI's etc, I did EVERYTHING that I was told to do. Finally I was put on the list to see a spine surgeon/specialist. It took a year so during that time I did more PT and all sorts of stuff. Anyhow first appt came a year later, the surgeon said the same thing and that I should do this rehab/PT program. I eas so frustrated because all the PT that I was doing was making it all worse but no one understood that. Anyhow I agreed to go ahead with it. It was a 6 week program, I was to go for a minimum of 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. I did it but it was torture, and I mean torture. THey called it a back to work program. THey had me lifting weights in different ways, doing the treadmill, the bike,, the elliptical, and all sorts of core stregthening stuff. It was horrible. I was in tears a lot and brokedown a couple times but they did not care and told me to suck it up! Eventually about 5 weeks in I called my surgeon and told him I needed to see him, he agreed to it. At that appt he saw that I had tried all non surgical procedures. Over 3-4 years I did everything! He agreed to do a fusion.
Once my surgery day came he opened me up and was blown away. I had broken bones throughout my entire lumbar region, 2 slipped discs, a gap in my spine, my nerves were crushed like he ad never seen before and my lumbar spine was significantly curved. He was shocked and felt bad that I had suffered so many years with no one believing me. I lost most of my friends, my family did not believe that my pain was valid, the doctors certainly did not believe it, it was awful. Anyhow after that surgery I was fixed. I knew it, I felt it very shortly after the surgery. I could walk without pain in my feet, my sciatia was gone, and my back felt pretty good, minus the surgery pain of course. However about 2 weeks after my surgery I was started to feel really bad. I found out at my 2 week post op appt that I had a broken screw. My surgeon had put 2 rods and 4 screws in my spine and one of the titanium screws broke! So needless to say I then required another surgery. This one was going to be 10 hours. He had to take out all the existing hardware and re-do everything plus more. In the end I had much larger and stronger screws. HOwever after this surgery at some point one of the discs that were replaced, also broke! Unbelievable! THis should never happen, nevermind twice! Faulty hardware apparantly. SO now I sit here in terrible pain, way worse then it was when all this crap started! I am waiting for my 3rd spine surgery and it's very difficult, I am 27 now and I have missed out on a lot. At this point I don't even care if I can't work. My fiancee will be more then able to support us and our family so that is a huge relief. I want to work very badly but if I am never able to at least I know we will be ok financially. My biggest problem right now is the pain and other problems that come with all this. But we just got engaged in March and we want to get married. I can't plan a wedding until I at least know when my surgery is and then I would have to give myself a good year to recover, do rehab adn what not. But we want ot have a family so badly. I love children and am soooooo ready to be a mother. I obviously know that, that is impossible right now and I can except that but I just get scared because if I don't get much better then this then I won't be the mother/wife that I desire to be. It's sad. However I have to try to remain positive and just dream of the day when we get married and then start our family.

Anyhow my point is, you will know when it's time. You do need to exhaust ALL non surgical procedures. Get your core strethghened, very important. It's hard especially because after all we are suffering with back problems. Get a certified trainer/specialist to train you on this techniques, there are many and it is crucial. Even if you end up having surgery, you will still need a strong core because it is what compensates for you "lack" of spine!. It doesn't sound to me that you have done too many non surgical procedures and you may want to talk to you surgeon about that, see how it goes and then see him again afterwards. PLEASE understand that surgery does not always fix things and it most certainly can make things worse. I am a terrible exception to that so don't be turned off by my experiences, just be aware and hopefully by me telling you this, you will realize that it is worth it to take the time and try all non surgical procedures before jumping into surgery. It's the rest of your life so take care of yourself

What diagnostic testing have you had done? What were the results? And just how long had this been going on? What are all of your symptoms? I know you answered some of these already but I already don't remember, sorry
Take care of yourself. This things can get better but you have to be pro-active but also very careful at the same time, very fine line.

I hope I didn't scare you or anything but I just want you to hear all aspects of this very crappy situation of back problems. I wish it was as simple as going in for surgery and then being fixed, that is just not the case for all people. However remember I know I was fixed prior to the screw breaking, had that not happened I probably would be fine these days.

Take care and I look forward to hearing from you.

Beachgirl

 
Old 10-01-2008, 05:37 PM   #7
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Re: how bad was your results before they did surgery

"My question is how bad was your results before they did surgery? Mine started last year and I did PT, now it's been back for almost 2 months and it VERY painful. I've NEVER had back pain like this! I can't stand in one place and I can't walk. I have very few minutes without pain all day long. What can I do before seeing him? What do I do after seeing him as I'm sure he can't cure me that day... what do I do? I'm to the point I want surgery as PT didn't make it go away, I've been taking NSAID's and muscle relaxers and am starting to take 1/2 of a Vicodin for pain to sleep. Please let me know how bad yours was before they would let you have surgery... if you can, read my post with my results and let me know what you think."

I was miserable before my back surgery. MRI results-wise, my lumbar ones were not good, but not awful (not like my neck results were --those were scary bad, apparently). I had 3 messed up discs, but none were fully flopping out (one was black, though, no spinal fluid left in it). I had 3 areas of stenosis, but only one of them was 'moderate to severe' and that's the one that was compressing on both sciatic nerves... so horrific pain down both legs. There were also bone spurs. Nothing was 'dangerous' in my MRI, but it did show why I was in so much pain and experiencing immobility from the pain. Physical "results"-wise, I was in agony when walking or standing more than 5-15 minutes (at my worst). I ended up eventually using a cane, then a walker (seated walker that I could use as a wheelchair when I truly couldn't walk any further even with the help of the walker). My first pain started quite mildly around March 2007, then went away with PT and meds by June. It wasn't that bad, but was just enough to need the PT and meds. I had more trouble, mild at first by August -didn't even realize it was sciatica again and kept thinking I just pulled a muscle (butt muscle). I took OTC meds to help. It worsened and then went down both legs. By mid-October I was miserable and realized it was sciatica. I started on Rx meds and was back in PT. My Dr was talking about epidural steroid injections if the PT didnt' work. I knew the PT wasn't going to work, knew it before I started. The pain was just so excruciating and so much worse than before. Still, I thought it was temporary and something that could be fixed fully with an injection or two. My Dr mentioned surgery while I was in PT, but neither of us thought it would be needed (I hadn't had my MRI yet, just an x-ray). After a month+ of PT not working, I had the MRI (in December) and my Dr referred me to a NS after getting the results herself. I didn't get the results until I saw a NS in January (my Dr wouldn't tell me). By January, I was using that cane and using the scooters at stores (otherwise I couldn't shop for groceries, whatnot). I also knew it wasn't 'something temporary' by then, had learned about DDD and all. By February, I had a 2nd opinion and knew I was headed to surgery, thought it would be summertime and I intended to lose weight beforehand. I also was expecting an injection, epidural nerve block, the next month to help me get through to summer. The 3rd NS and 3rd opinion I had in March (also had a 4th opinion in March) made me bump up my surgery to the following month. My neck was too urgent an issue to wait and we were going to piggyback (haha, piggy"back") my neck and back surgeries. By March (1 yr since I first had problems and 5 months since my problems had become unlivable), I'd started using the walker and had a temporary disabled placard for my car --and wished I hadn't been so stubborn about using one and getting one. It would have helped me tremendously if I'd started both months before, but I left myself give in to feeling 'funny' over it. The meds I'd tried before surgery were various pain killers (norco, vicodin) and flexerill for muscle relaxant. I almost tried Lyrica, but became too nervous about the initial side effects, at that time. I took Motrin/ibuprofren like candy, too, way over the dose I was suppose to be taking. My pain ranged about 5-10 with meds, without meds a 7-off the charts. I was eager for surgery.
I can't interpret your MRI results, but I can tell you that sometimes even if an MRI doesn't seem 'too bad', the pain the patient feels can be awful (and vice versa, believe it or not). What matters is both combined -the results of the MRI and the 'results' of your actual pain level and how it effects your daily living.
Good luck!
Meghan

 
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