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  • L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

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    Old 09-11-2007, 11:50 AM   #1
    frey51
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    Unhappy L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Hey all,

    This is my first post here, and so far I have been able to pull out a good bit of information about my symptoms but I need a little insight here. First off, I am a 26 yo male. In March 2007 I had an L4 L5 Laminectomy. The disc was herniated, and had been for a few years although the pain became intolerable and I had to do something about it. I had my MRI and the needles in the leg to test nerve conductivity (?). The MRI showed my disc was extremely degenerated, well beyond my years. The best course of action was to get a laminectomy to remove the bulged portion of the disc, while in surgery they also removed a few bone spurs from the l4 and l5 vertibreas. My pain after surgery was quite intense, more so around the wound and mainly muscle and ligament pain resulting from the stress of surgery. After 3 weeks I was to my normal self and I returned to work after 5 weeks.

    For the first month I had no buttocks pain, very limited left leg and toe pain, but my ankle and top of my left foot were numb. The surgeon said it was from the nerve rebuilding or waking up from the stress of the herniation. Now, 6 months later, my foot randomly becomes numb, not completely but to the touch. I can feel the pressure of the touch but the skin is numb, kinda like Novocain at the dentist. At least 3 times a week I will get intense pain on the front of my left thigh, like a hot knife is being sunk into my flesh. I no longer have any noticeable calf pain, but I have become pretty tolerant of minor pain, so it may actually be there. A few times a day, I will get intense pain in my big toe, like it is on fire or a throbbing pain. Also my other toes will randomly have similar, yet less intense pain, to the big toe.

    Prior to my surgery my lower back almost always hurt, and that feeling has started yet again. I can liken it to 'feeling the nerve'. I mean it kinda feels like I can feel the entire nerve root coming from my spine, then I loose feeling just above my buttocks. My lower back is always bugging me and I cannot seem to shake it.

    I am at a loss. I feel as though my back is slowly getting back to its old self, and the benefits of the surgery are fading as the pain increases. What does it seem is going on. I know I could have scar tissue, but that shouldn't be causing these issues, could I have herniated again, or could it have collapsed.

    I have an appt with my nerologist on Nov 7th, and we will see what he has to say.

    Any input.
    Thanks
    Mike

     
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    Old 09-11-2007, 01:57 PM   #2
    ms_west
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    Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Mike sometimes when a laminectomy is done it will become unstable and cause more problems then when you started. I don't want to scare you but it is good that you are seeing a neurologist soon so that he can do a complete work up.

     
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    Old 09-11-2007, 02:07 PM   #3
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    Unhappy Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Hey Mike,
    Sorry to say this is a lot like my case and the surgeon today said that scar tissue can cause the same pain that you had pre-op. Scar tissue can also pinch the nerve and cause leg and foot pain. Unfortunately, another surgery may give you temporary relief but eventually you'd be back where you are now...more scar tissue. My doc just today is setting me up for an ESI and started me on Lyrica for nerve pain, may or may not help. Bummer....I know how you feel. I would not have had surgery had I known this.

     
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    Old 09-11-2007, 04:06 PM   #4
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    Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Hi, i am sorry that all that pain is coming back. It could be due to more herniation(s) and like the others said, it could also be due to scar tissue. I found out I have alot of scar tissue after my laminectomies plus I also keep having disc herniations. I even had a piece of soft tissue broke off & lodged in a lateral recess and OMG that pain was horrific...but it seems you know what it feels like. And when you have scar tissue around or near discs, when the disc herniates, then its pushing hardened tissue in front of it, leaving even less space in there, and maybe the hard tissue is being pushed into nerves. I am glad you are seeing the doc again and make sure you tell him everywhere that you are having the pains.

    All of us know and can relate to your situation..so please feel free to ask any other questions or just to vent, like we all do. It wont help your nerve pain but it'll help knowing that others understand what you're going through.

     
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    Old 09-12-2007, 06:41 AM   #5
    frey51
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    Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Thanks for the responses, they are much appreciated.
    It is kinda weird, I can go two or three days with almost no problems and I feel great. But then I will go through a stint of pain again, which will fluctuate in intensity. I am thinking I may have herniated the disc again because of my job. I do computer work and have to move very large server, 120lbs+, and no one at my office will help in moving these, and my doctor wouldnt give me a note to say I couldnt do it. I have been lifting very carfully and using crude ways of finagleing the machines around so that I do not have to exert too much force on my lumbar spine, but I may have popper her open again. With how degenerated my disc was, I am sure this is the case. I guess I will have to wait until the Neuro Appt to find out what he thinks.

    Thanks
    Mike

     
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    Old 11-13-2007, 12:23 PM   #6
    frey51
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    Unhappy Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Well, just wanted to give you guys an update. I saw my neurologist last week, and he decided that I should have another MRI done to see if things have changed. I am going in this Thursday for the MRI, and then back to the neuro on Dec 3rd to hear the results and see what the plan may be.

    I explained all my symptoms to him, and he kind of seemed not so interested in my problems. More or less taking my word for what my symptoms are and just running with the MRI. Is this normal, is he just waiting to see what the images tell him, or does it seem he might be blowing me off. I really wanted to request some pain medication because some days are just unbearable, but I was reluctant too due to his blasť attitude. FYI, I cannot take NSAIDs because I am severely allergic, so narcotics are my only real option to quell pain. Also, for my follow up, or review of the MRI results, he scheduled me with his Nurse Practitioner. I am worried that he is not taking my pain and symptoms seriously.

    Obviously I am going to wait until the follow up, but how can I tell if this neurologist is taking my best interests into account, or if I need to look for a second opinion or merely bypass the neurologist and go straight back to my surgeon and see what his ideas are?

    Thanks
    Mike

     
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    Old 11-13-2007, 01:18 PM   #7
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    Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    Hi Mike. I am sorry that you are still suffering and I think that you really owed it to yourself to be honest with this doctor concerning your level of pain. I highly recommend that when you go in give very specific examples of your pain. For example: When I walk 200 ft to the mailbox, my sciatica pain begins down the leg and into the toes. By the time, I make it back to the house I am in tears because the pain has climbed to unbearable levels that I have to lay down for one hour to recover or bring back down my pain levels.

    If you truly needed pain meds and did not speak up, he probably thinks the pain is not that bad. REMEMBER you are your own advocate and if you do not speak up how is your surgeon to know how you are truly feeling?

    I also do understand that surgeons can be intimidating and have a flipant attitude, I have run across that too. But as patients we have to put that aside and speak up to them in my opinion.

    You might call and ask for some meds - tell them that you thought you would be okay but the pain is just to much and you can't take NSAIDS could they give you something or recommend something other than Tylenol.

    Good luck, I pray you find some relief, and keep us posted. We care!

     
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    Old 11-13-2007, 01:37 PM   #8
    frey51
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    Re: L4 L5 Laminectomy in March, Pain increasing, need help

    [QUOTE=123dietdrpepper;3305084]
    If you truly needed pain meds and did not speak up, he probably thinks the pain is not that bad. REMEMBER you are your own advocate and if you do not speak up how is your surgeon to know how you are truly feeling?
    [/QUOTE]

    That is what I was thinking. I mean they can only interpret what you are describing, and even though I have explained all my symptoms, causes, and limitations I can understand why he wouldn't 'offer' me a script without my request. Depending on the outcome of the MRI, I will probably request a script of some sort on the 3rd at my MRI results follow up. I am also thinking if the MRI results show no re-herniation, worsening DDD or disc collapse but merely scar tissue buildup, that he may send me back to the Pain Management Specialist who performed my initial epidural injections.

    Thanks,
    Mike

     
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