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Pain has subsided--do I still need surgery?

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Old 12-08-2003, 12:22 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 50
dexter24 HB User
Question Pain has subsided--do I still need surgery?

I posted a few weeks back with the results of my MRI (basically herniated disc, L4-5, etc.) and that I had done the epidural cortisone thing (twice), PT, etc.--and ultimately 2 docs recommended surgery (micro discechetomy).

In another thread I asked about Neurontin, which my Pain Management doc had recommended almost as an afterthought.

Well, here I am almost two weeks later and basically no longer in pain. I still get the occasionaly tweak of sciatic pain but really nothing that I couldn't live with--hell, out of necessity I actually shoveled snow this w/e (15 inches!) without any pain--that being said, I did use proper technique.

So, here I am with a Dr. appointment set for the 22nd to basically set up my surgery and I have to ask, do I need surgery if I'm not in pain?

I'm concerned that the neurontin is only masking the severity of the situation but I am equally concerned about having unecessary surgery.

I'm sure that if I ask the ortho he'll reply that I still need the surgery, while the PM doc tells me, if you feel good, don't have surgery.

I am scared that I am risking permanent nerve damage by foregoing the surgery, but then again if I feel ok....

I suppose I could stop taking the neurontin and see what happens--I'm actually gearing up to go back to the gym and do some cardio to work off some of the weight that I've gained due to inactivity.

Any ideas?

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Old 12-08-2003, 06:23 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Spring Lake, Mi. USA
Posts: 234
acme HB User
Re: Pain has subsided--do I still need surgery?

Oddly enough before my Fusion on L-4/L-5 my back felt Great! After suffering for years.......It quit hurting! The leg numbness went away! It was Nuts for it to quit hurting!!
I had to think about it real hard! I finally figured ...........I'm so worried about Surgery my mind turned off the pain!!
I asked the surgen.....He said your mind can play tricks on you!
Anyway.....It's yor call!
I had the Fusion & have been doing Great for 26 mos. Glad I did it! I don't shovel snow.......But I do run a Big Walk behind Snowblower!
Good Luck!

Old 12-08-2003, 08:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 408
standingman HB User
Re: Pain has subsided--do I still need surgery?

Dexter--Agree with Acme, but it's also true that things _do_ get better. Do you have objective signs of nerve damage from EMG, strength-testing, reflexes? Your doc may want to repeat the MRI if it's been a while to see if there has been some shrinking back of the disc. The key question, of course, is whether the there is any real _risk_ in waiting longer vs. the risk of surgery itself. If you're working out and shoveling snow with minimal discomfort, you don't "sound like" a surgery candidate to me. You may want to get yet another opinion--perhaps from a neurologist--on the whole question.


Old 12-11-2003, 09:54 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Jacksonville, AL USA
Posts: 997
siren1024 HB User
Re: Pain has subsided--do I still need surgery?

I'm going through the EXACT same thing, Herniated L4-5, but I'm only 23 years old and a mom.... I know some people who have had surgery and felt great, but 50 % of them had worse problems a few years after surgeries, and I'm so young. My 1st doctor wanted to recommend me for surgery, so I sought a 2nd opinion (I have a 5 month old, and can't take the time off my feet) who said that if I felt okay on most days (which I do) and if medication helped on bad days (which it usually does) that I should just try PT to get rid of the lower lumbar neuropathy and leg stuff (I too have had terrible sciatic nerve pain) and forget surgery unless I really became disabled. PT has helped some, and I don't have unbearable pain most of the time, so for me right now, surgery is out of the question.
Married 09/28/2002
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005

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