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Old 06-12-2009, 06:43 AM   #1
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Question L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

hi all,
just joined today so best give a bit of history:
10 weeks ago I had a disectomy and wallis implant inserted at level L5/S1,
2 reasons why I had the surgery; unbearable back pain for a year and severe leg pain (left leg running all way to foot causing numbness etc), surgery was a last resort as im only 26 and have had a disectomy 4 years ago.
After a year of pain and 4 failed lumbar epidurals I finally opted for surgery, 10 weeks on and the back pain has improved but the leg pain is constant, I cannot sit for longer then 10 mins, the pain is really wearing me down and Ihad really hoped for good results from the surgery. It was performed by a neurosurgeon who is at the top of his field here in Ireland and I am confident I choose the right person for the job but i had hoped to feel a lot better after the surgery. I have been in bed since early february, have not worked since aug 08, have no social life and I have taken so many different types of pain killers that have not worked I feel like I have hit a brick wall at this stage. The surgeon said the leg pain will subside gradually over time as the spinal nerve recovers, on a good day the pain is at a 7 and bad day it is at a 9. my mobility has improved since the surgery but the leg pain is very debilitating.
I just wonder if anyone is in the same boat as me and still has nerve pain post op and how long does it take to improve? My concern is that 4 years ago this happened and it was the same spinal nerve root being pinched and that this neuralagia (as the surgeon called it) may be permanent???

any thoughts or similar stories would greatly be appreciated, feeling very down and worried about my recovery.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

[COLOR="Navy"]I'm sorry that you're suffering from nerve pain. It can be debilitating. I have permanent nerve damage and will live with it the rest of my life. Did your doctor not prescribe any specific meds for your nerve pain? Three are several out on the market that are specifically for nerve pain that will make a world of difference in your life.

The pain will take time to subside. The fact that you are only 10 weeks out from surgery it is not surprising that you are still having pain. When they operate on your back, they move the nerves and muscles around and they don't take kindly to being moved. Nerves get irritated at being moved and it takes time for them to settle down and get adjusted to their new home and location. You lived with it for over a year, you can't expect it to go away in a few weeks. This was major surgery that you had done and it takes time for you to hear and repair. I know you would like it to be gone, but give yourself time to recover and heal.

I had three discs replaced and fusion takes 6 months...it isn't an easy road and we tend to expect our body to heal and recover faster than it does. But I would ask your surgeon for some nerve pain meds...Neurontin is one of the old ones, Topomax, Lyrica...there are several...good luck and keep your chin up![/COLOR]

 
Old 06-12-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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Re: L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

Hi
thanks for your reply, I am taking Lyrica 150mg per day, and 800mg of ibuprofen a day also. sorry to hear you are living with permanent nerve damage, may i ask how that happened? how do you manage your pain?
I feel lonely in the sense i feel no one around me understands how debilitating nerve pain really is and after being in bed since early feb, I guess i just find it hard to visualize myself pain free.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:28 PM   #4
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Re: L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

Wow you have been through a ringer. I am now dealing with L5/S1 problems and sciatica in both legs running to my feet as well. Just had double epidural (both sides) and it looks like it has given me some relief, even if temporary, I will take it!

From my prior experience with nerve damage and surgeries, it can take a very long time for nerve pain to get better. You should prepare yourself that it can take 1 - 2 years to see your full recovery - after that time, I think you might expect that to be the best it is going to get. Over time your brain and body also seem to adjust. I suffer significant nerve pain problems from my cervical, thoracic and lumbar, making my arms and legs very difficult to use. I totally understand what you are going through and how disabiling and disruptive it is to your life. Without a good support system it is frustrating! You need to find a good coping routine and supportive therapies that work for you long term. Like using icing and heat regularly, stretches, massage, proper posture and positions - even examine your bed. Ice has been a complete life saver for me.

With so many surgeries for you and them being in that area operating multiple times I can imagine those nerve roots are pretty angry.

I was curious if you have ever tried Neurontin (gabapentin)? For some people Lyrica works and for some people gabapentin works better. Neurontin gets me through the toughest times, I don't stay on it year round, I take it in 3 month cycles on and off.

I do hope you feel better each day, good luck NP

Last edited by PNo; 06-12-2009 at 06:29 PM.

 
Old 06-13-2009, 05:01 AM   #5
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Re: L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

Hi NP
thats great to hear you are having some relief from the epidurals, i only have pain in left leg and left foot i cant imagine having it in both legs! I have not been prescribed Neurontin / Gaba before, I was on a much higher dose of lyrica before the surgery and it did provide me with some relief but now on a lower dose I am finding it doesnt do anything, i take the ibuprofen every 4 hours aswell, maybe on my next visit to the doc i will ask about Neurontin, it is worth a try. Is it very strong? is that why you do not take it all year round? My doc is back from holiday next week i need to ring him in relation to an MRI, the thoughts of having another scan this year, but it has to be done and its all part of the long road to recovery.
hope the epidurals are still giving you some relief today.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:48 AM   #6
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Re: L5/S1 disectomy post op nerve pain

If the Lyrica was working for you maybe you need to talk about upping that dose again for a while as you increase your activity. You probably brought the dose down while you were less active after surgery, now you are probably doing lots more than before. Lyrica and Neurontin are very similar but different. I am medication sensitive and so we have to do small bursts and get them out of my system when we can. I am a person who tends to get the side effects from medicines. Good luck, sounds like you are making progress even though it doesn't feel like it! NP

 
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