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rescuegreen3 09-13-2010 09:52 AM

Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
It's been nearly three months (12 weeks) since my lami discectomy for a herniated disc L3/L4. I am going back in for a check-up in two days. I still have the severe sciatic pain in my glute, still running down my leg and sharp pain in my toes. I have been on Gabapentine for the last month, not much help or noticable relief. I currently take 2400mg of Advil daily (12 pills).

As some of you may remember if you're following my threads, immediately after I woke-up post operating room, I told the neurosurgeon that I could still feel the sciatic pain, right there. They all said "oh don't worry, that's just swelling. It'll be gone shortly." But... How much shortly??? Three months out, it still lays there, just waiting for me to bend beyond a few extra degrees. It just lays in wait.

I will demand another MRI and insist on a CT too. This is not normal recovery for a 180lb/ 6'4" totally healthy non-smoker. I have been following the post-op directions to the letter.
Stretching, PT, light yoga, prednesone, Advil, Gabapentine, short walks, staying mobile, changing positions, sleeping with pillows elevating the legs... you name it. I have been forward facing on my recovery.
Something is not right. It will have to be faced and addressed.




[I]btw... This it the thread chrono:
For those who are googling, searching or following my other thread titled ([B]one month post op[/B])
http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?p=4289947#post4289947

Here is where I was at: open [B]discectomy / lami 2 months post op[/B].

I am currently flat on my back, feet elevated with 4 pillows, typing on my iPhone 8 weeks since my laminectomy/discectomy L3/L4. The disc was severely ruptured, I probably waited too long, dreading and procrastinating the eventual surgery. All the while gobbling up Advil and tramadol thinking I could keep on toughing it out. Looks like all I was doing was eventually delaying recovery and creating more serious (potentially permanent) nerve damage.

So... At week 5 I started light PT to open up the facets, begin the mechanical aspect of repair. I actually was able to lay on my stomach for 10 minutes! Something I hadn't done since last April/May. I believe PT has been good. However, I still have the sciatic pain. Its probably anywhere between a 2-8 on the pain scale. I just had a 2 month follow up with my doc who said that at 2 months, it is somewhat a-typical that I still have sch sciatic pain. I take no narcotics or major meds anymore, just Advil & 1 tramadol per day. So, he just put me on Gabapentine for nerve neropathy. It hasn't really helped or hurt thus far. I do t feel anything quite yet but will be increasing my dosage gradually (I guess this is how it is prescribed).

So, that's where I am. I walk 3-4x per day. Take 10-12 200mg advil for swelling per day, can't sit in my office chai for more than 15 minutes without having to either walk or stretch for a bit. I have much better range of motion as a result of pT, still have soreness at the incision area, the sciatic pain still lingers but I am constantly aware of where it's at and manageable. I am still optimistic. It seems lime this is going to take a while to recover.

8 weeks... Tadaa! I hope this helps some of you. I'll check in at three months post op.

Best & happy healing[/I]

maltluver 09-13-2010 11:59 AM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
>>>>>> I think you are right to insist on some tests at this point. The nerve pain has continued for too long. It sounds very familiar. I had a lami at L5_S1 in 1981, and while still in the hospital, I told my doctor and the nurses that my pain was worse than before the surgery. I got the same answer you did.

Well, after complaining for 3 months, the mighty neurosurgeon ordered an MRI. Lo and behold, I had ruptured more of the disc, so he went in and did a second laminectomy. Problem was he removed too much disc and within 3-4 months, I started with pain running down my leg and a burning sensation. He told me it was just post op pain. Finally, after messing with him for another 6 months, I made an appointment with an Orthopedic Spine Specialist. It took him about 2 minutes to diagnose me as bone on bone at the L5-S1 site. Mri confirmed it and a month later I had a fusion.

I tell you this not to scare you, but to urge you not to let this dr. blow you off. If he does, if you have to fight him to get tests, then maybe you should consider finding another doctor. I wish you the best and hope you will stay in touch.

Carol

bogeyfree 57 09-13-2010 01:10 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
rescuegreen 3, follow the advice of maltluver. I'm going through the same thing as you. I had a microdiscectomy in march of this year and had t he same problem after surgery as before. The only thing about mine is I did get better for 1 month. At the 2 1/2 month, my nerves (according to my nuerosurgeon) calmed down. That was only for 1 month. Then the same burning in my back (at the incision site) and extreme weakness in my right leg. This week it will have been 6 mos. since surgery. My doctor did order other mri's, ct-scans, mylegram, x-rays. According to him everything is fine. He said there is nothing else surgically that can be done. Said I might need to consider SSD. I don't want to be disable. I was always very active, played sports,walked long distances to stay in shape. When I went in for my surgery, the doctor said that these types of surgery help 90% of patients.
I called him the other day and ask to go to pain management to see if they can help me in anyway. Imagine that, I had to ask the doctor instead of him suggesting it.
I'm also going to a nuerosurgeon in my hometown this wed. I'm taking all my records, pictures, and what the doctor performed on me. I also have a appointment with another nuerosurgeon on oct. 1st.
So rescuegreen3, if your not satisfied with your surgeon or do not get any better you might want to let other spine specialists take a look at your back. Acquire all the records and pictures you can. That's what I'm doing.
Good Luck and keep us informed.

maltluver 09-13-2010 03:57 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
[QUOTE=bogeyfree 57;4326423]rescuegreen 3, follow the advice of maltluver. I'm going through the same thing as you. I had a microdiscectomy in march of this year and had t he same problem after surgery as before. The only thing about mine is I did get better for 1 month. At the 2 1/2 month, my nerves (according to my nuerosurgeon) calmed down. That was only for 1 month. Then the same burning in my back (at the incision site) and extreme weakness in my right leg. This week it will have been 6 mos. since surgery. My doctor did order other mri's, ct-scans, mylegram, x-rays. According to him everything is fine. He said there is nothing else surgically that can be done. Said I might need to consider SSD. I don't want to be disable. I was always very active, played sports,walked long distances to stay in shape. When I went in for my surgery, the doctor said that these types of surgery help 90% of patients.
I called him the other day and ask to go to pain management to see if they can help me in anyway. Imagine that, I had to ask the doctor instead of him suggesting it.
I'm also going to a nuerosurgeon in my hometown this wed. I'm taking all my records, pictures, and what the doctor performed on me. I also have a appointment with another nuerosurgeon on oct. 1st.
So rescuegreen3, if your not satisfied with your surgeon or do not get any better you might want to let other spine specialists take a look at your back. Acquire all the records and pictures you can. That's what I'm doing.
Good Luck and keep us informed.[/QUOTE]


>>>>>>>>>> Bogey3, may I suggest that one of the 2 more doctors you plan to see be an Orthopedic Spine Specialist? I have found them to be much more likely to be helpful than any ns I have met. You know if you are having pain, everything can't be "normal". The ortho spine spec's I have seen have always dug hard to find my problems or, lacking that, to send me to pain management for pain control. I have had 2 nsurgeons that totally blew me off. May just have been the luck of the draw, but that's been my experience.

Either way, I wish the both of you the best of luck in tracking down whatever the problem may be. If an MRI isn't showing anything, I don't know why they haven't tried doing a myelogram followed by a ct scan.

Please stay in touch!

Carol

bogeyfree 57 09-13-2010 05:51 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
Maltluver, I tried to get in and see my orthro but he has divorced me. Will not see me anymore ( for my back).
If I don't get any satisfaction from this nuero I will look for a orthro near me if I can fine one. Most of them in my hometown are all in together at the same place. My regular orthro would not recommend me to any other orthro in the same building. They are alittle funny after they fill that they were your only surgeon only to find out that I had a nuero do surgery on me.

maltluver 09-14-2010 12:51 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
[QUOTE=bogeyfree 57;4326587]Maltluver, I tried to get in and see my orthro but he has divorced me. Will not see me anymore ( for my back).
If I don't get any satisfaction from this nuero I will look for a orthro near me if I can fine one. Most of them in my hometown are all in together at the same place. My regular orthro would not recommend me to any other orthro in the same building. They are alittle funny after they fill that they were your only surgeon only to find out that I had a nuero do surgery on me.[/QUOTE]


Bogeyfree (sorry I got it wrong the lst time), are these orthos Spine Specialists or just orthos? A world of difference. Even if you have to go out of town, it would be worth it to find an OSS. From what you are saying, I wouldn't want one of those in that group to touch me! Sounds like quite a litle "clique" they've got going there, and I just don't trust that kind of group.

Please let me know if you have any luck finding someone new.

Carol

bogeyfree 57 09-14-2010 01:05 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
I sure will. I go on wed. to a local nuero.
To answer your question; The orthropedic surgeon is a orthropedic surgeon even though he performs alot of spinal fusions and back surgeries.

rescuegreen3 10-07-2010 10:25 AM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
For those of you who have been following up at home & encouraging me to keep with the updates..... Here we are.

nearly 4 months post back surgery. Back surgery was open discectomy with laminectomy. 40yr old. healthy male. 6'4" 180 no other outstanding med conditions.

[B]3-2010[/B] –Pain in Glute
[B]4-2010[/B] – severe pain in glute now running down thigh to toes
[B]5-2010[/B] – darnnear debilitating pain, sleep is difficult & spotty. Pain is very firey & mobility is an issue.
[B]5-4-2010[/B] Was told at appointment that I should take 4 advil every meal (up to 2400 mg). Call in 10 days time to see where we are at.
[B]5-14-2010[/B] s/w dr
[B]5-19-2010 [/B]was prescribed prednisone.
[B]5-20-2010[/B] began prednisone pack steroid orally
[B]End of 5-2010[/B] did an epidural injection
immediately after injection pain became worse afterwards…:mad:
severe pain & damnear unable to walk it was agreed to do a [B]Laminectomy/open discectomy 6-21-2010 / 6-22-2010[/B]
Still very painful with much swelling, pain was worse post op – [B]July 2010 [/B]was absolutely miserable & painful
[B]7-2010[/B] –limped back to Post Op follow-up. Dr (neurosurgeon) suggests incision looks good, doubts any infection or internal issues. Removes staples. The pain is debilitating. However dr does note that swelling is quite heavy & prescribe a prednisone pack which did help & enabled to walk. :cool:
[B]8-2010[/B] after prednisone run, did PT for 3 weeks – did increase flexibility & helped regain mobility- however, leg pain & sciatic still persist painfully lingers. Incision area still very sensitive
[B]8-15 to 9-15-2010[/B] did a 30 day run of gabapentine to see if nerve neuropathy... nothing but make me fuzzy
[B]9-2010[/B] did steroids for 14 days – also used 1 or 2 advil to help with pain & inflammation supplement. this does help mobility
[B]10-6-2010[/B] sciatic still persists so Dr referred me to re-meet the neurologist to refilm MRI with contrast to see if there is bone fragments or cysts etc. we are all curious as to why is there continued sciatic pain
[B]10-13-2010[/B] Appt scheduled w/ neurologist: I will have new MRI done sometime at the end of next week. I will update results at that time to see what outcome is. Hang in there everyone!:angel:

dispite pain & the disruptions of life, I am very impressed and pleased with the American healthcare delivery. Many colleagues in other countries who have had this situation complain of waiting months for MRI's or second opinions while I am feeling very fortunate that I can get scheduled for the top neurologists & imaging centers to fit [I]my[/I] schedule (within days or even hours!). Probably not true for everyone but for the time being, feeling grateful, thankful & hopeful.

parman 10-07-2010 06:57 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
Rescuegreen3, it's good to hear from you again. Sorry to hear that you are still experiencing pain. Hope your MRI shows what causing your pain.
Since my last post I have been in alot of pain. L3-L4 is burning feeling and also right leg heaviness. The same as what I went for to my nuerosurgeon back in march. I'm not seeing him now. Going to PM tomorrow and then on the 18th I will see a orthro spine specialist. Heard alot of great things about this doctor.I to have gone on predisone. Sleepless nights and weight gain. I said I would not go on them again two weeks ago. But my pain level is so great from inflamation that I really have no choice. Hopefully after seeing this new doctor I will get something done. Probably a fusion. Even though I don't want it. I want my old life back but I guess that's not going to happen.
I know all you are going through.Glad you keep your spirits up. Good Luck with your neurologist. I will keep you informed on what happens with me.:)

rescuegreen3 10-22-2010 07:04 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
We recvd the new MRI. Good news, surgery was clean, no scar tissue, no cysts, no bne chips /fragments, the laminectomy is wide enough, no reherniation of disc, incision area is clean and a clear picture shows everything where it needs to be. :)
Bad news, why do I still have the lingering sciatic?
Well... It is getting better very slowly week by week. I can sit, stand, drive, etc longer than before. Actually, now that I know mechanically everything is good & sound, I believe that I can mentally and emotionally begin to "get better" too.
It's just going to take longer to heal up this leg pain/sciatic issue.

From May to now (end of October) seems like a million lifetimes away... What a journey huh?!?!

I'll check-in in two months.

Be well

asdfman 09-15-2011 07:36 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
Any news on your progress? I just had my second microdisc in May this year and am in a similar state as yours. Here's to hoping you're doing well.

parman 09-16-2011 06:50 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
Hello Asdfman,

Since last October I've had a 2-level fusion at L3-L4,L4-L5. Had a knee scope in March and am scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand on Oct. 3rd.
I've had complications with pain after the back surgery that has gotten worse in the past few weeks. I see my spine specialist on the 22nd of this month. He will probably say it's inflammation and give me steriods which will keep me awake.

What's your story? I've had microdiscectomy, discectomy, and laminectomy in the past, but they were only band-aids. They eventually lead to bigger surgeries. How's your pain? Hope your doing fine.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Keith

asdfman 09-20-2011 09:07 AM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
wow...well that's uninspiring!

I was attacked by a 'friend' out of the country in Dec 2009 - took a fall which herniated L5/S1. After conservative therapy led to no results, I had a microdiscectomy in Oct 2010. Surgery was a success but I reinjured a month later.

Reinjury was pretty bad - again conservative therapy failed. My doctor said the decision between fusion and microdisc was a coin flip - I went for a microdisc again which I underwent this May.

After a month, I could notice the really painful numbness start to dissipate and I could feel my muscles again. That said, there was still some numbness lingering. For that, I'm taking gabapentin which is doing a phenomenal job.
I had one post op MRI which showed a small herniation though my surgeon said it was normal and not to be concerned(!?)

I'm 25 - I've given up soccer and mountain climbing which I love. I doubt if I'll ever be able to return to them...

Anyway - I had pretty bad carpal tunnel years back. I changed my lifestyle right around considering surgery: bought ergonomic wireless keyboard/mouse, reduced computer use when possible, changed sitting positions frequently, etc. After a year or so it all but disappeared. I did get steroid injections, but they didn't help at all.

parman 09-20-2011 06:21 PM

Re: Discectomy/Laminectomy post op... 3 months
 
[QUOTE=asdfman;4846076]wow...well that's uninspiring!

I was attacked by a 'friend' out of the country in Dec 2009 - took a fall which herniated L5/S1. After conservative therapy led to no results, I had a microdiscectomy in Oct 2010. Surgery was a success but I reinjured a month later.

Reinjury was pretty bad - again conservative therapy failed. My doctor said the decision between fusion and microdisc was a coin flip - I went for a microdisc again which I underwent this May.

After a month, I could notice the really painful numbness start to dissipate and I could feel my muscles again. That said, there was still some numbness lingering. For that, I'm taking gabapentin which is doing a phenomenal job.
I had one post op MRI which showed a small herniation though my surgeon said it was normal and not to be concerned(!?)

I'm 25 - I've given up soccer and mountain climbing which I love. I doubt if I'll ever be able to return to them...

Anyway - I had pretty bad carpal tunnel years back. I changed my lifestyle right around considering surgery: bought ergonomic wireless keyboard/mouse, reduced computer use when possible, changed sitting positions frequently, etc. After a year or so it all but disappeared. I did get steroid injections, but they didn't help at all.[/QUOTE]
Sorry about the uninspiring comments.
At 25 yrs. old, you are young enough that you can recover from these surgeries and live a normal life.
Talking about carpal tunnel. When I was laying in the hospital back in march waiting to be taken for knee surgery, my right hand started burning so bad. Never had that before. When the doc came in before I went to surgery, I told him about it. He did this little test of pressing against palm for 30 to 45 sec. and my fingers all went numb. He said I had carpal tunnel and that we would deal with that later. For the last 3 months, my right hand is on fire when I lay down. Had a EMG.:eek: They are not fun! Tests showed I had a severe case of carpal tunnel. Doc says, I need to do something about that before long or I could end up with irreversible nerve damage. So that's where I'm at.Since I'm almost paid up with my out-of-pocket expenses for this year; I decided to go through with this surgery on 10/3/11.
Oh, if gabepentin ever stops working, try lyrica. I use to be on gabepentin before I went on lyrica back in 2004.


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