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skhawkin 07-16-2015 11:14 PM

One week post L4-L5 and L5-S1 discectomies and so heavy and in pain
Hi everyone,

Last week I had discectomies and laminotomies for my L4-L5, L5-S1 disks. This is the first surgery I have had for nerve pain. I had considerable sized disk herniations per an MRI I had in June.

Yesterday, after a marathon of non-responsive phone calls to my neurosurgeon, my husband trekked his way to my doctor's office for additional pills for pain as my pain has yet to be managed to the point where 4 days worth of pills following surgery would have sufficed. I expected the possibility of pain afterwards and I am following my body's lead but am managing to get up and walk some. But, I am doing worse now than when I first came home as far as mobility is concerned.

I am constipated beyond words and I have problems with voiding (I don't go often and when I do I have to help my bladder empty by bending over or pushing down on my lower abdomen to fully release the urine). This problem preceded my surgery, but not to this level of severity (I live off of colon cleaners and such).

Most significant to me though is that I have gained about 15-20 pounds (not sure, can't make it down stairs to the scale - pain is too bad here recently) and I am SWOLLEN beyond belief. I know some post operative pain is to be expected, but my lower stomach and my legs are filled with fluid. I went in for pinched nerves and pain relief from the same, but I am concerned.

My doctor is difficult to put it nicely and that is a new finding of my that appeared right after surgery (I am thoroughly disappointed and after the numerous amount of calls put in to his office Wednesday for pain relief - I was indeed crying, I don't feel confident I will get help for my problems with elimination and relief of the swelling that seems to be getting worse.

I am taking stool softeners and laxatives and a diuretic. My nerve issues may be causing the increased issues I am having with using the bathroom as well. In the days leading up to my surgery I was having more trouble discerning when I needed to use the bathroom. Now I just don't have the feeling to go at all. Indeed, only by use of an enema did I obtain a small amount of relief last evening. I don't eat much but I just know I must have to go more than I did last evening and my body was in no rush to find relief after the enema was administered. I'm sure the pain pills aren't helping with the constipation. But the fluid retention has me nervous.

Please let me know if anyone else has had considerable water retention following discectomies/laminotomies. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

teteri66 07-19-2015 10:49 AM

Re: One week post L4-L5 and L5-S1 discectomies and so heavy and in pain
Welcome to the board. I didn't see your post until today as I usually hang out on the "Back Problems" section of Healthboards. What has happened with you since you posted this a couple days ago?

Please take some time right now and read up on several different websites on Cauda Equina Syndrome. Urinary and/or fecal incontinence or inability to urinate are “classic” signs of cauda equina compression, as are loss of sensation or burning pain in the pelvic “saddle” region and the inner thighs. This is one of only two issues with the spine that are considered a true medical emergency.

Usually it occurs prior to surgery and it is important to get the nerves decompressed as quickly as possible to avoid permanent nerve damage. Your situation is a bit different, but I think you still need to get this checked out ASAP if you are still swollen and having the issues you described in your post.

Today is Sunday so If you cannot get hold of your surgeon's practice, I would go to the ER. You may have to insist that you are fearful of CES and be prepared that they may not be familiar with it. This is why you need to read up on it before you go to the ER.

I am going to post this now even though I have more to say, in hopes that you will see it right away!

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