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  • Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

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    Old 04-12-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
    Kymbirle
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    Question Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    I woke up one day, after sleeping in my lazyboy, 2 1/2 months ago, to severe lower back pain (off center, left side.) Over the course of the next day the pain went down the back of my leg to my heel. The pain was excruciating and relentless; 24/7. For sure a 10 on the pain scale. I could find no position of comfort or pain relief. It took about 5 days for me to be able to stand or walk, the pain was still unbearable. I rotated between laying on my couch, floor, and draping myself over a large exercise ball. My leg and foot were numb to the touch and my foot was very weak. The pain felt like someone was stabbing me in the back of my thigh and trying to cut my leg off!
    On about day 10 I was finally able to tolerate walking and standing. The pain was still there, running from back to heel (mostly in my leg) but I could tolerate it. Then I just improved day by day until I was almost pain-fee; maybe a 1 or 2 on the scale. I should mention that I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle (which I greatly regret at this point.) I laid on my couch every time I felt I was over-doing it (alot.) I resumed working. My luck lasted about 4 weeks and then one day (after laying in my lazy boy for a bit) my back tightened up over the course of the day and I was right back to being bedridden and in excruciating pain 24/7, from my lower back to my heel. My leg was killing me!! That lasted about 5 days and then I just started to get better again, day by day.
    I got a MRI. I have a herniated disk at L5S1. The disc herniated and slipped downward. It is pressing on my nerve root. My neurosurgeon wants to do a Microdiscectomy. I didn't schedule the surgery yet because I am mostly pain-free again and have been for about two weeks. It's confusing and I'm not sure what decision to make. I'm so scared to go back to that unbearable pain again...pain I cannot function through. I've read a lot of boards that people mention the sciatic pain after surgery still being there for a while. It seems silly to go into surgery, if I'm not in pain right now. Then, on the other hand, if it is inevitable that I will end up in pain again, I'd like to have it done with and on the road to recovery. I just don't want to regret it and wind up worse then I am right now. I'm also wondering if I wait, am I risking doing nerve damage?

    Has anyone experienced this; where the pain comes and goes?

    Because I'm home all day, I have the ability to lay on my couch whenever I feel worried about my back...which I do alot through out the day. I don't do any walking. Actually I don't do much because I'm too afraid to go back to that pain.
    I have two young girls, I homeschool them and I do daycare in my home. My biggest wish is to have another chance to get myself strong and healthy and be active with my children. I don't want to live on my couch anymore.

    I'd appreciate in input, especially if you've had the same experience of being ok for a while then being in pain, then being ok again.

    Last edited by Kymbirle; 04-12-2013 at 09:27 AM. Reason: added information

     
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    Old 04-12-2013, 11:26 PM   #2
    gmak
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    Dear kim, Have you talked to your spinal neurosurgeon about this? Questions like asked here, is the nerve compressed, disc just touching nerve, mild, moderate or severe compression because the radiologist usually notes this on MRI report. Have you asked NS if he could do surgery pronto if pain returns &/or if he would like to wait with severe pain gone? I know how bad it can hurt ive had 4 lumbar surgeries but my son had a herniated disc go back into place with one epidural steroid injection. Does the NS think that you could try PT because sometimes herniated disc heal on their own. I would say if it isnt broke.... but the dr & you have to decide if there is a risk of causing harm or is this a chance worth taking. I hope that it never returns & that you could live normally without fear or surgery.

    Last edited by gmak; 04-13-2013 at 09:42 PM. Reason: typos

     
    Old 04-13-2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    I cannot tell from your post if you have tried conservative therapies and they have failed? It is always a good idea to exhaust conservative options before agreeing to any spine surgery.

    The fact that you are now painfree indicates to me that the nerve is not compressed to the point that it is being permanently damaged. It may be that the tissue has now moved off the nerve. Twenty years ago it was fairly uncommon to perform a discectomy unless the pain persisted for more than six months/12 months depending on the surgeon. Also research at the time showed that the outcomes five years down the road were the same for those who had a discectomy and those who did nothing surgical.

    If you decide to postpone surgery, there are things you can do to make your back and core stronger. Once you have a disc problem, it is important to continue to do the core and back exercises learned in PT. People get into trouble down the road because they stop doing the exercises as soon as the pain stops!

    Maintain normal weight, use good body mechanics and maintain good structural alignment. Avoid sleeping in the recliner! These are things you can do to improve your odds.

     
    Old 04-13-2013, 04:08 PM   #4
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    Personally I would never have surgery when you are showing such recovery. I had many bedridden attacks for 16 years prior to fusion surgery. In those days surgery was always the very last resort for relentless debilitating pain that didn't improve over the course of 12 weeks or more.

    Except for cauda equina sydrome surgery (which is an emergency) lumbar surgery should be avoided if at all possible.

    I also would never have any spinal surgery without second opinions. Be cautious. You can't go back after you take the surgical step.

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    Old 04-13-2013, 06:09 PM   #5
    deanh
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    When I went to a back doc he said over half experience this within 45 days of onset and that is one reason they don't do fast appointments. Our back is made for our disks go in and out. Therapy often fixes the problem. It more than likely that the pain will come and go till u meet your maker.

     
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    Old 04-14-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
    pasko52
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    You did not say why the surgeon wants you to have the operation as I would ask this question and maybe even get a second opinion. You seem reluctant to have surgery but yet you avoid walking and are being very conservative with your life in order to avoid the pain returning, so is this how you want to live out your remaining life? I experienced the pain and it went after I was given morphine etc for a week BUT the surgeon told me if I did not have surgery then my right leg would get as bad as my affected left leg (muscle loss, buckling knee) whereas if I have the surgery then I have a good chance of recovery, to me it was a no brainier and I took the operation. Four and a half months later and I still have numbness on my left shin and cramps on my thigh BUT I ran for thirty minutes yesterday for the first time in ten years and I feel that surgery was the right choice for me as I am getting my life back and hope to play football and squash in a months time. Overall it is your choice but at least ask why do you need surgery?

     
    Old 04-15-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
    Kymbirle
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    Thanks for your response. I had been doing PT while the pain was severe and not improving. I don't want to give PT a bad rap, because that's just foolish and I know it works for the most part; but I did not start improving until I quit doing PT. I don't know, maybe that nerve just needed time to calm down or the timing just happened to coincide with something else that gave me relief. My surgeon said he does not recommend PT any longer because he thinks that me going home and "being active" will end with the same result....me in pain and calling him and scheduling surgery.
    I'm just so darn confused and afraid to make the wrong choice. Thanks for your advice.

     
    Old 04-15-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
    gmak
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    Re: Microdiscectomy recommended; but I'm now painfree

    The dr did not say that if you waited that you would risk permanent nerve damage, right? If I were in your shoes I would wait & give my body a chance to heal, our bodies are incredibly made & if i got into pain & trouble the surgeon would always be available. I have had four lumbar surgeries & everyday i observe people who can do things like a normal person, without having to consider should or could they dig garden, carry a board, move a wheelbarrow of dirt, even rearrange furniture etc because they never had back surgery. Of course, being careful, cautious, considerate after an injury is smart but if the disc heals on its own there is a chance to be normal again & after back surgery there is a chance to be normal again but i never had that happen to me.

     
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    herniated disk, l5s1, microdiscectomy, nerve root compression, sciatic pain



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