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  • Pain after multi level e- spinal stenosis

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    Old 08-20-2018, 09:43 PM   #1
    Audarah's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2018
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    Audarah HB User
    Pain after multi level e- spinal stenosis

    Hi there,
    Long story short- I was diagnosed a year ago with spinal stenosis caused by bone spurs. The diagnosis was severe central canal stenosis and moderate bilateral stenosis from L3 to S1 with DDD at l4 and l5.
    I was in the most god awful pain imaginable for a year with sciatic pain, neuropathy, etc from the waist down to my toes. A year in, I could no longer walk. I went back to my surgeon and we decided on surgery and pretty immediately as I was no longer able to hold my bladder.
    I had the surgery on August 1st. I woke up feeling cured ( except for my back was giving me all kinds of hell).
    And fast forward to now. There are days I wonder why I even HAD the surgery as Im pretty much in pain again. Today has been the worst pain though as its pretty much just widespread again. I keep bouncing around from 90 percent better to "omg the surgery failed and I want to die" at 40 percent better. I feel like I am reverting, not getting better.

    I had my staples taken out last week ( I had open back surgery, not a micro) and my doctor was ADAMANT that its two steps forward, one step back and that this nerve pain WILL go away. He reminded me it wasnt disc issues, which can be an iffy fix- it was bone spur issues and that he removed them all. Now on the day he took out my staples, I was having a great pain day but still had those questions.

    The last two days, I just have wanted to jump off a bridge. We did take a two mile walk through the park the other day as my surgeon says walk walk walk and we went to a couple stores. It seems like ever since them, it has been downhill.

    I am absolutely terrified of the pain coming back.
    Anyone have a lamectomy? Were you better right away or was it really a process? My doctor said "Put a couch in one spot and leave it there for a year- on the carpet. Pick it up after a year. Are the carpet fibers just automatically going to bounce back to their natural state? NO. After some time, yes.

    But I mean this is nerves.... if he took out the offenders, I just dont understand how I can still be in pain!


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    Old 08-23-2018, 10:24 PM   #2
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    Re: Pain after multi level e- spinal stenosis

    Welcome to the board. I'm not clear what specific procedure you had, but am assuming it was a laminectomy since that is what you mentioned.

    First of all your expectations regarding recovery from spine surgery are very unrealistic. I have had four lumbar surgeries, 3 were open and the last one, which was a laminectomy this past Sept., was a minimally invasive procedure. It was also the smallest procedure I had. I am still experiencing some episodes of nerve pain, pain I did not have prior to surgery but which is a direct result of the nerves being tugged on to free them up during the surgery.

    There are several possible reasons why people continue to have nerve pain post surgery. One can be residual nerve damage from a nerve or nerves being compressed too long. Another reason is that when one has stenosis, the surgeon often has to work to free the nerve. This can involve some touching or even tugging on the nerve which can result in the nerve becoming irritated, inflamed damaged.

    Nerves are notoriously slow to recover. It can take a good year or even longer before you can begin to assess whether nerve damage will be permanent or will gradually fade away.

    Second, you way overdid it on the walking. I assume if your pain prior to surgery was as bad as you say, you have not been doing much walking or standing. To go from minimal exercise to walking two miles and then adiditional walking and standing while shopping is more than enough to cause nerve flare. You are only a couple weeks post surgery. Most likely there is still some interior swelling which has now been aggravated by doing too much before your body is ready.

    Some surgeons say "walk, walk, walk" but neglect to tell patients that what they need to do is to take frequent, short walks. The purpose in walking at this point is to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to prevent scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills in during the first twelve weeks post surgery. Walking for a few minutes every hour or two is enough to stretch out the nerves.

    Open spine surgery takes a lot out of you. Your body needs rest and it is important to avoid any movement or activity that has the potential to cause nerve flare.

    I would suggest you cut back on your activity, limit exercise at this point to short walks taken often, drink lots of fluids, rest. Limit the amount of time spent sitting to 15 minutes. Then get up and move a bit. No bending, twisting...careful when reaching up or to the side as well. Be sure you limit the weight of anything you carry. Have them pack your groceries light. Do not try to push or pull anything.

    While the above may seem restrictive, and it is, keep in mind it will not last forever! Be really careful with your body and really give it a chance to heal and recuperate fully. Once nerve flare comes on it can be very difficult to get it to quiet back down. Easier to avoid the flare in the first place.

    Learn to be patient and to listen to your body!! If pain persists, the surgeon could prescribe a steroid taken orally to reduce inflammation and get pain under control.

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    Old 10-09-2018, 05:14 AM   #3
    Join Date: Oct 2018
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    mookerific HB User
    Re: Pain after multi level e- spinal stenosis

    I wasn't aware about the need to walk to ensure no scare tissue attaches to the nerves. This was very helpful to me. Do you thinking slow cycling on a stationary bike would do the same?

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    Old 06-20-2020, 04:49 PM   #4
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    Re: Pain after multi level e- spinal stenosis

    One thing I have learned about Doctor's and my health is to never choose to follow their advice if it doesn't sit right with my own thoughts and feelings. I just had a Laminectomy with discectomy have been recovering for two weeks. I've been told to start walking 15 minutes everyday and slowly build up to 40 minutes. I HAVE NEVER LIKED HIKING AND WALKING STRAIGHT FOR FORTY MINUTES. I never timed myself but I would bet that walking forty minutes straight would be tantamount to at least 2 miles. I wouldn't do that even if I never had spinal stenosis. Short walks is the way to go ... getting up frequently and walking from one side of the house to the other, or in your back yard. And cycling would definitely be a better alternative for me than walking. Having the right cycling machine at home where you are slightly reclining with your back in a comfortable position where you and not sitting upright works well. Easily one could cycle for 40 minutes (building up to it slowly) than walking 40 minutes. I have such a cycle machine and have slowly been using it with little to no resistance. As I feel better I will increase the resistance. For now, I just use it for movement.

    Hope this helps

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