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Three Steps Forwards, Two Steps Back


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Old 09-28-2018, 08:53 AM   #1
barterr
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Three Steps Forwards, Two Steps Back

Hello,

I had a Revision Discectomy at the end of June 2018 (just over three months ago) on my L5/S1 - having had the same Op on the same disc 19 years previously. The Op went well.

Post surgery I've had intensive Physio and aquatherapy - all went well, and I definitely got quite a lot better.


Now I seem to be on a rollercoaster ride of good and bad days; I can have a few really good, mostly pain free days (even though I'm still a bit weak in my right calf)...but then I have horrible, hugely painful days - when I can't even take off my own shoes.


On the bad days, my pelvic area seems to turn to jelly, and any mis-step,
jolt or sudden change in position causes what feels like an electric shock - either in my lower back (on both sides) or my stomach/pelvis (again on both sides). Oddly, if I make the same movement very slowly, all is fine. I am reduced to shuffling during these days.

I'm still on quite a lot of medication - full dosage of Pregabalin, half to full dosage of Co-Codamol, full dose of Naproxen - and then when things get bad...Diazepam and Tramadol.

I've recently seen my surgeon/consultant - and he says this is par for the course...especially with Revision surgery. But how long is this going to go on for? Most of the time I am unable to exercise, cook, do DIY, garden, etc

Fortunately, I have a great family - who look after me well...but I am starting to go stir-crazy! It is also affecting my work (my employer is superb, so I am very lucky there).


Sorry for the long post - but is there anyone else out there with a similar sad tale? More importantly, is there anyone who has come out the other side and can give me some tips?


Thanks in advance,

Robin

 
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:30 AM   #2
teteri66
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Re: Three Steps Forwards, Two Steps Back

Welcome to the board. Even though it may not seem so, you are still early in recovery. On the good days, we tend to do "too much" which results in nerve flare, and a few not so good days. The key is to find what you can do...just up to that point where it turns into "too much." It is a balancing act and one does have ups and downs.

Revision surgeries are never as clean-cut as the original surgery. The body has changed and there is probably some residual scar tissue left from the previous surgery. Depending on how long this disc has been a problem, there was nerve compression. The surgeon was able to free it up but this can be traumatizing to the nerves!

As you probably know, nerves are notoriously slow to heal...which is why I say you are early in recovery. Depending on how long the nerves were compressed, it can take 12-18 months.

I had a small procedure exactly one year ago today, at L2-3 to open up the central canal and to decompress the neuroforamina. It was a minimally invasive procedure but the surgeon had to tug on the nerve to free it up. I awoke with intense nerve pain in the front of my thighs, which is always disheartening when that pain wasn't there prior to surgery! It took a good six months for it to lessen and then another six for it to gradually resolve. I still have days where there are some symptoms that weren't there before. You just have to be patient and find ways to deal with it.

It does seem like you are on quite a lot of medication. Were you taking it prior to surgery?

 
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:55 AM   #3
barterr
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Re: Three Steps Forwards, Two Steps Back

Thank-you for coming back to me so quickly....and apologies for being so tardy in replying!

I was only taking Pregabalin prior to surgery, as I had prolapsed my disc around 2 years before my revision discectomy - with a fair amount of nerve pain during this time (and severe numbness in the smallest toes on my right foot).


4 months after the Op, I'm still having random pain - with little or no connection/trigger to any other activity. Some days my thighs are on fire, some days my hips, some days my pelvis...and even some days I just have a sore back(!).

My right ankle is still very weak - making me feel a bit wobbly (and needing a cane to walk). Uneven ground is a nightmare. I do fall over too often!


I've recently started using a Tens machine ("Med-Fit 2" - wireless gadget) and it really does help to take the edge off...as well as (hopefully) giving me a bit of muscle tone in the general vicinity.


I'm really trying to wean myself of the Meds - I still need Pregabalin for the nerve pain, which comes on (noticeable) strong when I'm getting near to needing a top up. The Naproxen really does help with inflammation - and therefore some of the stiffness. I need to stop taking the Codeine.

I also know that I need to do more exercise - even walking more - but most of the time I just feel completely trashed.


One odd thing is that the scar area in my lower back is still really tender - painful even, when lying in the bath, or one some hard surfaces (even chairs). After 4 months I was expecting this to have healed better by now. Has anyone else suffered from this? It's almost as if they've left something inside the wound!

Anyhow, it is a little reassuring to hear that it's still 'early days'; I just wish my Surgeon had been a little more forthcoming...

Last edited by barterr; 10-25-2018 at 06:57 AM. Reason: Update

 
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discectomy, pain, post -op, revision



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