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    Old 01-04-2004, 03:56 PM   #1
    aerorules
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    four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Hello, I am new to the board and was wondering if anyone has had nucleoplasty. I am 4 weeks post and still have leg and hip pain, but my back pain has improved. At 2 weeks post NP, I felt great with virtually no pain, then I returned to work and all the pain started to come back as it was before the procedure. Any input would be appreciated.

     
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    Old 01-05-2004, 12:40 PM   #2
    standingman
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Aero--If you use the search engine, you'll find lots of experiences and discussion of nucleoplasty here. Of course, one can probably expect that the people for whom it works completely and consistently--however many there are--may be less likely to participate in a forum like this one than those who are left with questions.
    In any event, you will certainly find very mixed results here, probably in the direction of more disappointments than successes. Needless to say, that can't predict the outcome for any individual. I don't recall an instance of someone who had a "honeymoon" period as you did soon afterward, although there are such descriptions with other procedures (discectomies, etc.) Did you wear a brace or follow a specific protocol afterwards? My sense is also there is a lot of variation in what docs recommend about this as well.

    Good luck,

    Standingman

     
    Old 01-05-2004, 02:56 PM   #3
    aerorules
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Standingman, thanks for the info on where to search for outcomes. I did not wear a brace and post surgery instructions were quite vague. No lifting more than 10 lbs. for 48 hours and no walking my dog (very large dog) for 48 hours. That was pretty much it. I have found that the limitations after nucleoplasty do vary quite a lot depending on the doctor. I have a 6wk appt coming up with my doctor and I have called to let him know that the pain is back. He said to continue taking over the counter naproxen and decrease activity for a few days and see what happens. As of now, nothing has happened.

     
    Old 01-06-2004, 02:16 PM   #4
    successtory
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Hi aerorules and welcome

    I accidentally erased my wonderful reply to you and am mad at myself. grrr hehe ah well. I was just saying you need to change "your ways". The reason you were hurt and aren't getting better is because you are back to doing what you used to do before your back got hurt......right? Well, you are different now. You must realize this and adjust accordingly. After my nucleo and IDET I am no longer able to return to the line of work I used to do. But I must deal with this. Sit less....stand up more (or visa versa if that feels better for you). The key is to vary your activities. Variation is good and will keep you well a lot longer. It is the repetitive and monotonous stuff that gets us all in trouble. And a sedentary or sitting job is the WORST for bad backs!

    ICE ICE ICE your back. That is the BEST thing in the world for your back. Never put the ice pack on skin, but put on your back for 20 min wait an hour then repeat until you are sufficiently numb.

    PELVIC TILTS. Do them correctly and they will become your best friend. After the nucleo it's like you need that little bit more room in there and the pelvic tilts give you this. Your PT will instruct you on these.

    WATER THERAPY. Ask for it. It is the best thing for recovering back surgeries especially the nucleo.

    Watch out for the "burn". When you feel like the surgery site is on fire... YOu must STOP immediately whatever it is you are doing that is causing that feeling. This is NOT a good feeling to get (this is a warning sign you must listen to).

    Once again....don't fall into the "same old trap" of what you used to do pre-surgery and pre-injury. This is a trap we ALL tend to gravitate towards because it is something we already know. You can still do much of what you used to....but differently. Discover your weaknesses and approach them at a different angle, you might find your life changes won't really have to be too drastic....or they may. Nobody bothers to tell us this information, which is why I love this website so much. You WILL get that information....which is not what you will find in a websearch. I hope this info helps you out. Good luck to you!

     
    Old 01-07-2004, 03:22 PM   #5
    aerorules
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Thanks for the info Successtory! It is very helpful to me. Is it standard to go through PT after nucleoplasty? I have been doing the pelvic tilts already on my own and it does help. My job is mostly on my feet, walking alot and bending (bad). I have found that when I am at work and on my feet for 10 hours that my foot and leg get tingling and numb. Then when I go home to relax and sit of course my leg starts to really hurt. I guess you are right in saying that I have to change what I do and how long. I just haven't come up with the right solution yet. I am encouraged when I hear success stories with nucleoplasty as yours and I am far from giving up hope on mine. Thanks for your help. Aero

     
    Old 01-07-2004, 03:31 PM   #6
    Standingman1
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Aero--I'm with SuccessStory--I think we have to learn to stop _short_ of that point where the worse pain is provoked, or we end up treading water.....or worse. That can be a moving target, but we do our best. Taking things to the max with full work days, lots of sitting, etc., is probably not what the old disco needs right now. Keep it happy; it should pay you back!

    Standingman

    P.S. Some docs who nuke require a back brace for two weeks and almost none of the kinds of activities you describe. So it gives you a sense of how little we really know and how much on the "learning curve." Trust your own _safest_ instincts.

    Last edited by Standingman1; 01-07-2004 at 03:32 PM.

     
    Old 01-07-2004, 07:44 PM   #7
    successtory
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Hey Aero...no problem.

    PT is usually prescribed about 6 weeks post-nucleo (or thereabouts). Generally though, land therapy is first because stabilization techniques must be "mastered" first (gotta be able to get outta the pool) hehe. Then water therapy. Your doctor will let you know...but protocol is the approx. 6 weeks post. I did PT for prolly 4-6 months. Vocational Rehab after that. I have been VERY strict on myself in keeping up with my home PT. I truly believe it is contingent on keeping me in the "successful category"....2 years post surgery.

    I have since moved from one place to another and have had to do things I should never have done. But I planned them all out very carefully and took my time and have also learned the correct way(s) to carry things, get in and out of a car, a chair, a bed, a tub shower, etc. etc. etc. I am also able to do most things again if I give myself the TIME. What took me 10 minutes before (say, vacuuming a room or rooms) will now take double that. Most everything I do takes me twice as long. Remember this and account for it (or however much longer it takes you to do stuff). When you start stressing out your back, it will let you know very quickly what it will and won't take.

    One lesson to be learned with chronic back pain is listening to your body. We are all trained to "overlook" our pain. And unless someone has had back pain, they just have NO CLUE. We have forced ourselves to turn off parts in our bodies so that we can at least tolerate the constant pain. This is dangerous because then we ignore other signals our body is sending. Someone once told me to just sit (or lay back) and be quiet. Listen to your body. Where are the signals coming from and what do they feel like. You have experienced several levels of pain and can draw from that experience....then write down all of this stuff. Trust me on this. That is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself. This gives you a running log and actually brings a picture to life of how your back reacts to different situations.

    Try different positions, timing periods or any of the myriad of other helpful things you do for your back. Oh yeah....BTW....ask your doctor for a TENS unit. They are FABULOUS post-surgery (especially with the nucleo) units. It may double your sitting time or walking time or whatever. It is a lovely thing, my TENS unit.

    OK....hope this helps you out. Gotta run. Take care.

     
    Old 01-17-2004, 05:31 AM   #8
    aerorules
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Thanks for all the tips. I had my 6 week post nucleo checkup yesterday. My doctor said he expects me to continue to improve. I am under no restrictions, except for common sense of course, and I am not supposed to go to physical therapy. So as we have discovered, the route of treatment after nucleoplasty does vary greatly depending upon your doctor. He feels sure that he did the right disc, since my back pain has improved quite a bit and my leg pain has "changed". I am supposed to do whatever I want for six more weeks. If the pain gets worse or does not improve, he will get another MRI to see if the other disc (L5-S1) is the problem or the L4-L5 herniated again. I have decided to try to get back to my normal activities as much as I possible can within reason. I am 32 and have been missing alot of things over the past 3 years because of the pain and fear of the pain. The one common question among all the doctors seems to be, are you working now? It is kind of irritating because as long as I am able to work, the concern of the amount of pain is irrelevant. I have not missed any work, except for the 2 wks after the nucleo, throughout this whole back ordeal. I went when I was in extreme pain right after the herniation occurred. I know that is my own fault, but I wish some doctors would realized that there is more to life than being able to work! I am sorry to ramble on, but I needed to vent to people who would understand.

     
    Old 01-17-2004, 06:34 AM   #9
    ktshobe
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Hi there everyone. After I had nucleoplasty on 1 Dec, I was out of work for a week, and then went back - another interesting difference between docs and how long you should take off of work. I felt decent the day before heading back to work, and on the day I went to work finally, boy did the pain increase! It hurt for the whole week.

    My job involves a lot of sitting, but luckily I can get up whenever I want and walk around. Yet, since the Nucleo I haven't had any benefit of decreasing the pain.

    Going in for IDET next Friday, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that for this last option before surgery - it'll work!

    It is true - everyone's experience is different and the way in which people respond to the same treatment varies so much. That's what makes it so difficult, that you never know if the next procedure/surgery will work.

    I am also 32 with 3 yrs of back pain. Used to run marathons, and now I can't work out at all. It's hard to let go of something that was part of how you defined yourself...and to see the runners on the side of the road!

    Best of luck to everyone-
    Katie

     
    Old 01-17-2004, 09:39 AM   #10
    Standingman1
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Aero--power to you; I hope your improvement continues. It certainly sounds promising.

    Regarding work questions, yes, I agree. As a college prof, my own work allows for a great deal of flexibility, and so it has been affected, but not radically. But if I did anything that required significant lifting, sitting, or continuous standing, I would have been out of commission. So I can answer that question semi-positively, but, by itself, it is not an indication of what's going on.

    Standingman

     
    Old 01-18-2004, 06:00 PM   #11
    Tiasmom
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    [QUOTE=aerorules]Hello, I am new to the board and was wondering if anyone has had nucleoplasty. I am 4 weeks post and still have leg and hip pain, but my back pain has improved. At 2 weeks post NP, I felt great with virtually no pain, then I returned to work and all the pain started to come back as it was before the procedure. Any input would be appreciated.[/QUOTE]

    I am also new to the board and I am scheduled for necleoplasty for Feb 6 if my insurance approves the procedure. My doctor said I could return to work in 3 days post procedure. Is this unrealistic? I am not having the Deit or however you spell it. I had surgery on L5 three years ago and am in more pain now than before the surgery. I have had 3 epideurals and have a large numb spot on the right side of my leg above the knee. When I walk for any length of time the spot burns and can be very painful. I have had physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractic and lots of exercise and nothing seems to help. At this point I feel like it can't get any worse but I do remember feeling that way before the surgery and look at me now. I am 56 years old and can not believe how delibitating all of this has been to my life. I do still work 40 hours a week but I feel if I were to go on disabiltiy my whole life will crumble befor my eyes. Please tell me this procedure is helpful! Once I lay down at night I can not turn over at all. I am praying for good results. Can anyone give me some good results from their surgeries?

     
    Old 01-18-2004, 09:15 PM   #12
    Standingman1
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Dear Tiasmom--If you look through the threads (via search engine) you'll see a very wide range of experiences with nucleoplasty. It may be that people who end up here are more likely not to have had successful experiences; hard to say. But there are some good experiences as well.

    One thing that is clear is that there is an enormously wide range of aftercare guidelines. Some docs insist on wearing a brace for two weeks and no return to normal activities for a few beyond that. Others--like yours--suggest and follow an entirely different scenario.

    I _think_ what this suggests is that this is still too new a procedure to know very well what is best for the majority of people. So, in general, I would take it slow and conservatively; err on the side of caution and certainly trust your own instincts. Needless to say, I'm sorry to hear your earlier surgery did not help. I hope this one will!

    Standingman

     
    Old 01-19-2004, 05:58 AM   #13
    aerorules
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Tiasmom, Definately make sure you are ready to go back to work when you do. You will be able to tell, not the doctor. Before my nucleo my doctor said I would be able to return in 2 days. I was skeptical about that, so I asked again before I had the surgery. I explained what I did at work and then he said 2 weeks. I was definately not ready in 2 or 3 days. The soreness just from the surgery had not subsided yet. I would say you need a week anyway before going back to work. I pray that the nucleo helps you and takes some of your pain away. Good luck!

     
    Old 01-19-2004, 03:07 PM   #14
    successtory
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    Hi Tiasmom,

    Protocol post nucleo is 4-6 weeks. Depending upon how long too your nerve has been pinched and/or irritated will depend on recovery time too. There is also most definitely a 10 day period where your surgery site is tender, let alone the deep-down pain. I'd say 3 days is so overwhelmingly inaccurate, it is scary. Do they feel you will be able to return to full duty no restrictions in 3 days? If 3 days were actually the case....don't you think people would be FLOCKING to get rid of their pain AND return to normal activities in only 3 days? Jeez, I sure would...in a heart beat. So something's gotta be wrong with the picture they are depicting...3 days, my foot. Sorry, it just erks me when doctors have so little feeling as to say you'll be as good as new in 3 days. I wonder, just how many of their patients truly walk away in 3 days...pain free? hmph, that's all I got to say about that.

    The IDET would add another 3-4 months onto the 4-6 weeks for the nucleo. I had both. and I'm still not able to return to normal duties...nor work. I can't do any one thing for more than 2 hours....sitting is good for only 20 minutes (still) and I'm post 2 years surgery. I am "legally" disabled right now, and would agree if I were an employer (I would never hire me with all my stipulations). Yet I can still walk around, do grocery shopping, take care of my kids, etc. Any innocent bystander would think nothing was physically wrong with me...until they got close. But this is me and we are talkin' about you. Maybe you WILL feel up to going back to work in 3 days. But the odds are just not there friend, in real life anyway.

    Our backs require MUCH MUCH MUCH longer than any other part of our anatomy. There is no blood supply going to the disks and that is how our body heals itself. The life-giving nutrients and oxygen required to repair broken parts is not there in our disks...it is no wonder back injuries just "never heal". They can't....unless there is lots and lots and lots of time of inactivity. The only way the disk can heal is thru inactivity (sleeping). We as a people just can't hang with that unless we are drugged. It simply isn't an option for any of us (sleeping our lives away).

    Do a search on nucleoplasty on this website and see all the different outcomes of people who have had the nucleoplasty. There are also some great suggestions for post-surgery aid as well.

    Good luck to you.

     
    Old 01-19-2004, 10:01 PM   #15
    standingman
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    Re: four weeks post nucleoplasty pain

    what she said!!!*

    *Successtory is my hero(ine)!

     
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