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    Old 02-05-2019, 08:22 AM   #1
    panko789
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    over a year post op

    I am over a year post op and my back is still not even close to 90%.
    I would say maybe 60%. The doctor told me I would be back doing what I was doing before and I aint even close. Walk all the time, try core stuff and a few days later back kills me. Back hurts sitting at a basketball game watching or in car rides even if I stand up every 15 minutes or so. I was wondering if anyone has ever had an MRI sitting? I feel like the best my back feels is when I am lying on my back because no compression on the spine or disc. Would a sitting MRI produce better results of the nerve being pressed. When I went back for a post surgery MRI about a month ago, doctor said he didn't see any issues. I know though that I am starting to feel burning in my lower left leg nothing too bad but it feels like it did when I first ruptured my L4-L5 disc about 7 years ago. I am pretty sure I will end up with debilitating sciatica again down the road. If you want my honest opinion about piriformis stuff and syndromes and all that crap I think its a waste of time. Hell even most Physical Therapy is, just get up and walk... Start moving your body and see what happens. Don't do anything crazy, if you feel pain in your butt or legs stop immediately and do something else or take a break.
    Adjustments, and eating certain foods and supplements isn't going to fix real sciatic nerve pain. Your body is going to do the best it can to heal itself, but if it doesn't and the pain is really bad then you need some type of surgery. Stretching to some extent will help if you don't over do it, mediation might help to deal with some pain or discomfort but it aint going to heal your body. Get off all the drugs but if you can't deal with the pain you have to have some type of surgery. Epidural shots what a waste of time and money... I did those got no relief pre surgery, here is the biggest issue I have with my back and doctors. When I first hurt it, I knew something was wrong. I had and MRI it revealed a disc rupture. They said we can do a shot for pain. I said will it heal the disc? NO... then why would I want to have no pain in an area that is trying to tell me there is an issue. Then I hear if the disc pushes on the nerve too long you could have permanent damage... Guess what I do now. Because they would not operate because the pain was not bad enough. When I finally re injured it so bad I could not sleep or walk or do anything but think about ways to end the pain, they finally did the surgery and I woke up pain free. So am I 90% no.... will I ever be, probably not. But I can at least work... sux doing little stuff like picking up groceries and even 10 pounds or so... I believe I have another disc L5-S1 that is causing issues but neurosurgeon does not want to do surgery, I respect that but I would like to be at least 75% of what I was before. I sound butt hurt I am sure but honestly there should be better ways to diagnose back issues than what they have now. Part of me wants to just go back out and start doing what I was doing and see what happens, I am sure I would end up back on the couch in serious pain, sort of like Tiger woods after his first surgery. Hope you guys all get back to pain free drug free and doing what you love. That is the most important thing. Good luck and thanks for listening to my rant.

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    Old 02-06-2019, 01:04 PM   #2
    martinb8034
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    Re: over a year post op

    I just got done reading your thread and I can really relate with what you're going through. I am 9 months post-op and experiencing severe sciatica on my left side. I have done PT, lost weight, walked every day the first five months and usually do some walking each day after that although I don't do as much as I did when I first had the surgery. Like you, the only time I feel comfortable is just laying down on the bed three pillows underneath my legs. I can't sit for any measurable amount of time, 10 minutes or so and I have to stand up. Like that all day. I love musician, drummer to be exact and that entails a lot of transporting, setting up, and tearing down drums. I can't pick up all the drums like I used to, and have to rely on other members to help me. It's really change things in my life. I seen my surgeon yesterday and this is the second time he's told me that my back was really bad and actually was one of the hardest surgeries he's ever performed. It's pretty complicated. I've already had one cortisone shot, and you offered to give me another one. But I see no using it because it's just a temporary fix. My surgeon has ordered a CAT scan for me so I will be going in next week for that to see if there is any issues with the hardware irritating a nerve. Or explain could be a muscle near the hardware that could be pressing on nerves. So he suggested on taking the hardware out. God I don't want to have another surgery. He said the recovery wouldn't be like it was with the first surgery and usually around six weeks of recovery time. Says all they would be doing is taking the hardware out. But I know it would take much longer and I can't afford the downtime anymore. I'm very frustrated with this back because I've been trying to find a job, and to be honest most of the jobs require that you pick up a a measurable amount of weight and I can't do that anymore. So I don't know what I'm going to do. Only time will tell and see if the sciatic conditions going to clear up but I have a feeling like you said it's probably a permanent situation that I'm going to have to just deal with. I hope you get some relief as well as myself.

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    Old 02-06-2019, 05:45 PM   #3
    teteri66
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    Re: over a year post op

    I would think it more likely that if something is pressing into the nerve, it is scar tissue rather than hardware. I would be hesitant to have hardware removed as well. Every time they go into the spinal area, the chance for infection increases, and there are always the possibilities of unwanted outcomes...like a nerve gets nicked, the dura tears, whatever. However, patients do say that the recovery from hardware removal is a much easier recovery. Couldn’t say from personal experience. I just don’t see the point in risking another surgery unless you are fairly certain that the hardware is causing a problem.

    I did have hardware removed when I had a revision and add-on (L3-S1) to my original L4-5 PLIF. My recovery from that surgery was actually somewhat easier than the original surgery...but it still was a good >15 months before my symptoms lessened and I felt better.

     
    Old 02-07-2019, 04:46 AM   #4
    panko789
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    Re: over a year post op

    I would say something has to be pressing a nerve and if the sciatic pain is that bad it is better than not doing anything. I don't know or remember your age but if you are say 50 you might suffer for another 10 years with this pain before you do something then the rehab is always harder as you get older. I say do it now, but maybe check around and get some other opinions on what might be touching that nerve. Its interesting they said it could be a muscle? I have been trying to find a definitive answer on what really happens when you bend over and your back pops and you can't stand for a week or so. That was one of my first symptoms of my back issues. I always felt like it was a really bad pulled back muscle, but the time my sciatic pain went from a 1 to a 10 was bending over picking up something, baseball off the ground, pop and that was it. So something popped and something was pressing on a nerve. Anyway good luck and I bet they missed something and when they go back in it will be a night and day difference. Everyone I workout with have told me how great they felt after their fusions, able to train again, do everything they were doing, I am just trying to carry a bag of groceries up the stairs a few times without having to sit in a recliner the rest of the day. Good luck

    Last edited by Administrator; 02-07-2019 at 09:08 AM.

     
    Old 02-07-2019, 12:12 PM   #5
    martinb8034
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    Re: over a year post op

    [QUOTE=teteri66;5492129]I would think it more likely that if something is pressing into the nerve, it is scar tissue rather than hardware. I would be hesitant to have hardware removed as well.

    This is a question I asked him about the scar tissue. He says that's more of a fallacy than it is actual truth. But it's just common sense once you cut something open and do it again you're going to have some kind of scar tissue. I and just going to get a CT scan and see where I stand first. One step at a time. I'm not going to do something impulsive and make a huge mistake. I've heard too many horror stories about second surgeries. I can't afford the downtime even if it's shorter. I am still not over the hump. I've already had about eight surgeries in my lifetime and by far this is the worst.

     
    Old 02-07-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
    panko789
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    Re: over a year post op

    I agree I think scar tissue is just something people say. Sort of like people that say they can work the scar tissue out of muscles. A lot of mumbo jumbo surrounding the body and what people don't actually know. I like the one they use for sciatica sometimes phantom pain. Are you serious are you telling me I am remembering pain from before. I got upset with one chiropractor one time. I said look I know my body very well. I have had several injuries in the past. Torn ACL's both knees. I knew right away it was torn completely not partial. Broken Bones I could tell. Same with my back I can feel exactly where the disc popped and when and when I lean over I feel it touching the nerve because that is when the pain goes down my leg. I guess I just believe if the nerve is hurting, something is touching it. I have heard stories of doctors missing fragments of disc in there as well. After going back in and removing it, no pain. Good luck and keep me updated.

     
    Old 02-07-2019, 06:18 PM   #7
    teteri66
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    Re: over a year post op

    I guess I as a lay person shouldn’t disagree with what your surgeon said...but it flies counter to everything I have read and been told by numerous medical personnel, etc. I agree that “scar tissue” has become an easy catch-all phrase when a patient is still in pain and their symptoms haven’t resolved post surgery. But we know every single surgery produces scar tissue. It is nature’s way of filling in a vacuum.
    It only becomes a problem when the tissue wraps itself around a nerve, pushes into a nerve, clogs up a foraminal opening, etc. Furthermore, in many cases, scar tissue is visible or can be seen on MRI.

    Scar tissue is not usually noticeable until after the first twelve weeks post surgery. If someone has been relatively pain-free prior to this point and then begins to have issues, it is reasonable to suspect that scar tissue may be at least partially responsible.

    Surgeons have been trying for decades to find a way to counter the adverse growth of scar tissue, including the use of gels and other products at the time of closing the incision.

     
    Old 02-07-2019, 06:36 PM   #8
    teteri66
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    Re: over a year post op

    Regarding sciatic pain and nerve pain in general as it relates to spine surgery, I think it is helpful to know that a nerve can develop scarring that can have an effect on its function.

    When a spinal nerve is compressed due to a herniated disc, stenosis, arthritis, etc., and left in a compressed state for a period of time, the nerve itself can develop scarring. When the nerve is finally decompressed, the scarring can still have an effect on the functioning of the nerve....In other words, you can end up with the same or similar symptoms that were there prior to surgery. The surgeon orders an MRI to see what is going on, only to find “nothing.” The patient is told this news, that everything looks good and that there is no apparent reason for the recurring pain...Often the person is referred to pain management at this point.

    Sometimes when this type of scarring occurs, it is like the nerve has a “memory” and keeps signaling to the brain that there is something wrong...even though it is no longer compressed. This may be a similar process to what occurs with “phantom pain syndrome.” In the case of scarring, some times the nerve regenerates or recovers, but it can take a long time...like up to 18 months or so...but sometimes the damage is permanent.

    Also, “sciatic” pain has become such a catch-all for any lower back pain that radiates down into the buttock/hip/leg when in reality there are many causes for this type of nerve pain. Sometimes the reason for the pain shifts. Mine was caused initially by a spondylolisthesis at L4-5. After that was taken care of, I developed SI joint issues which caused the symptoms to continue. Then there are muscle imbalances, issues of structural alignment, damaged fascia, etc. that contribute to the nerves flaring. It can be never-ending! I’ve been dealing with it since 2004...through four lumbar surgeries.

     
    Old 02-08-2019, 05:01 AM   #9
    panko789
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    Re: over a year post op

    Thanks for those definitions of sciatic pain and nerve scarring and nerve being compressed those all make sense. Would you agree sometimes the disc bulges or ruptures again and the pain is caused by that disc pushing on the nerve again.

     
    Old 02-08-2019, 08:42 AM   #10
    teteri66
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    Re: over a year post op

    Definitely! Once there is a weakness, once there is some degeneration, it is common to have the disc herniate again. Anything that takes up space that would otherwise be occupied by the healthy, functioning nerve can cause nerve impairment...and recurring nerve pain, tingling, numbness, etc. Sometimes simple inflammation can push on a nerve.

     
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