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  • L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

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    Old 12-01-2003, 04:36 PM   #1
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    L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

    Hi, I am hoping for some advice or others experience. I'm 26, live in Sydney Australia, and had a discectomy on L5/S1 disc (left side) 4 weeks ago. Previous to this, I'd had 12 weeks of agonising pain that left me more or less im-mobile, and tried all the conservative methods, voltaren, neurontin, physio, chiro, acupuntucure, hyrdo.... I'm sure many are familiar....

    It got to the stage where I simply could not go on like this - could not get comfortable or any relief either sitting/standing/lying down, even Endone and MS Contin (morphine) were doing no good...

    So I had the discectomy and thought all well....however on the 4th day post surgery I noticed a numbness behind my right thigh (preiovusly the pain was on my left leg only). My neurosurgeon sent me for an MRI a week after surgery (had to wait to have the staples removed), and the report indicated the disc at L5/S1 is still bulging - on the left, but that there is some "effacement on the right S1 nerve which might explain the right-sided symptoms". I was advised to go home and relax...stop stressing....

    Now 4 weeks later, its still numb - and I get occasional twinges of pain down the right buttock and thigh.... My left leg if fine - no pain whatsover. . I return to work in a couple days, and I am petrified that a return to nomal activity - ie driving, office work, shopping will irritate the nerve and I will have the same problems again - this time in my right leg..

    What can I do????

    Has anyone else had this problem and did it subside? Is it all just part of the "healing process"?

    How do you cope with that constant "fear" of it re-occuring and catapulting you back to that constant, nagging, unforgiving pain?

    I'd appreciate any comments.

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    Old 12-01-2003, 05:03 PM   #2
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    Re: L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

    Hi Becky, welcome!!! I'm sorry but I can't answer your question 'cause I've never had this pain subside for even a second in 7yrs!! I guess you'll just have to try it back to work and see? If it comes back, then you'll know for sure whether or not you can actually return to work! I hope for you sake, you won't have any reocurrence and this pain's gone forever, take care!!

    Old 12-01-2003, 08:17 PM   #3
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    Re: L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

    Hi Beckyboo.... I feel you!! I am 24 and had a discectomy on the disc right above the one that you had surgery on a year ago. It is definately hard not to be scared and paranoid that even the slightest movement will re-injure your back. At first I was scared to do things but then found that restricting my movement and being so cautious was actually making me worse.

    One thing about the discs in your spine is that movement provides them with blood flow and hydration. This is why exercise (for one with a healthy back) is so important to keeping the back healthy. From experience and studies, it is still important to move around and get back to fairly normal activities as you heal from your surgery. Yup, there is a chance that getting back to these activities might make things worse, however if your actions are restricted, it might make more of your discs not feel so good. In the long run I think it is more beneficial to get back to normal activities so the discs can be as healthy as they can to help your "hurt" one.

    I guess the bottom line is that I have had to learn to do things in moderation, listen to my body (if it hurts badly when I do something then don't do it again) and realize that in the midst of all the pain and the injury I still have to live life. I have tried to learn correct lifting techniques and different more careful ways of getting in and out of the car (even though I look and feel like I'm 90 sometimes and get frustrated). I am faced now with a re-herniation of the disc they operated on also, however the surgeon warned me it might happen since the disc above and below are also herniated and were not available to "help take up the slack" since they too are herniated.

    I hope this helps and that you adventures back into the working world to well. Just remember to take things slowly and easily. You don't have to be back to normal in a day, but you want to push yourself just a little each day. Best of luck and I will be thinking about you!

    Old 12-01-2003, 08:32 PM   #4
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    Re: L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

    Just want to say that is great advice from Ribbit. I'm someone who has avoided surgery so far, but I live with the same kind of fear--that doing the "wrong thing" will bring me back to where things were 16 months ago (sustained nerve damage at that time). Indeed, I've had ups and downs and have overshot the limits at times. But that's the only way you know where the limits are. After a while, we develop a reasonable "feel" for what kind of pain is work-throughable and what kind is a big fat stop sign. But it takes some "living with" to get there.

    I wish you the very best!


    Old 12-08-2003, 02:00 PM   #5
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    Re: L5/S1 disc reherniated after Discectomy

    THanks so much for your insights Ribbit.

    I am now a couple days back at work, trying not to sit for too long at any one time. I think the little 'twinges' down my right leg (the one that was OK prior to surgery) are getting a little more frequent and stronger in intensity, but its still minor, and I hope it subsides. Even if it stays how it is, I can live with this - just not to the stage where I was.

    I'm going to start swimming a little tonight (i'm now almost 5 weeks post surgery) so am looking forward to moving about in the water.

    This really is a matter of taking it day by day

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