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L4/L5 Microdiscectomy

From: badensbarkery - on 02/13/2010 12:49pm

I live in Colorado Springs, CO. I am 5'10", 180 lbs, 30 years old and have suffered from sciatica for 3 long years. My symptom is pain that runs down my right leg. It generally hangs around in my right buttock and sometimes goes into my hamstring and calf. I do NOT have numbess, tingling, or drop foot like so many other people. I recently had my first operation to attempt to relieve my pain. The procedure was an L4/L5 microdiscectomy. I'm almost two weeks out from my surgery and have felt very little relief. I used to not like to read these message boards because of the horror stories that people would write out here but now I realize that these boards are not only a source of information that describes the trials and tribulations that people have had with respect to their problems but it also is an outlet for dealing with anger, frustation, sadness, depression, and being scared by the onset of back/spine degeneration. At this point, my story is not much different than everyone else. The pain generated from my sciatica has impacted my life for far too long. Maybe describing here what I've went through will help turn things around for me mentally.

My sciatica started when I was 27. I honestly don't know what set it off. I wasn't in an accident and didn't have a major jolt to my body. One morning I just woke up with pain in my right leg. As I think back to the time leading up to my sciatica, I was having an awful lot of lower back discomfort and my hamstrings felt like they were tightening up all the time. When I'd get home from work, I'd stretch to try and relieve the discomfort. It worked to some extent I guess. I am one that believes that while some kind of accident may trigger back pain, disc degeneration and back muscle degeneration is something that occurs over time. The accident (whatever it is) just brings it to our attention. For the longest time, I didn't do anything about it. I thought maybe I pulled a hamstring and it would just heal over time. Well, it never did. Eventually my wife and I moved to Colorado and when I was 28 my wife convinced me to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with sciatica after he ordered an MRI which showed an L4/L5 disc herniation. First I tried medication (pain pills, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, oral steroids), nothing worked. There was some symptom relief but it never solved the problem and I'd be back where I started the next day. Then I tried a chiropractor. That didn't work. Then I purchased an inversion table. That didn't work. When I was 29 I finally went to go see a spine specialist. Having tried everything else he convinced me to get an epidural injection. The injection worked for about 4 months and I didn't even think about my sciatica during that time. Then it came back. I went in for another, this time the injection wore off over a 2 week period. Then I bought a couple of books, Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein and Healing Back Pain by John Sarno. I really like the book by Art Brownstein and saw some good results using his methods and techniques but after our baby was born my time was consumed by the baby and I got off track. I tried to get back on track but it wasn't working anymore. So all of that leads up to my recent surgery.

On Feb 2 2010, I went in for my first ever surgery. It was very nerve racking for me. The surgeon removed what he described as a baby bottles nipple work of my L4/L5 disc. They ended up keeping me overnight in the hospital because I couldn't keep anything down after the surgery and was in a lot of pain. I went home the next day and started my excercise routine very slowly which I've kept up with to this day. The initial recovery was very painful for me. It sucked trying to get into a chair or bed and then having to get up. When I would walk, I could only take little half steps. Im doing much better with respect to recovering from the surgery now but my sciatica still exists. I'm not in any more pain than I was before the surgery but I've seen very little relief. It's hard to stay positive becuase a lot of people who have this surgery see results right away and I haven't. Im hoping that since my nerve was pinched for three years, it's just taking longer for the sciatic nerve to heal itself. Every time I try to do a search on the internet to find out how long it could take for the nerve to heal, I can't ever find anything concrete. Just the typical message board person that says everyone is different. Nothing from a medical article or something like that. I don't regret having the surgery because in the end, I want to know that I tried everything I could to relieve my pain, if not for me, for my baby girl.

At any rate, that is my story.

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on 02/14/2010 4:32pm

Hello,

I had a disc extrusion at L4/L5 and had a discectomy operation after about 4 months of misery. My relief from sciatica was immediate after the operation. It has now been about three months since the operation and I still suffer from a bit of pain in my butt and ankle mostly, but it is a two instead of an 8 on the pain scale. My Dr. advised that I not do anything for another six months, nothing except for walking -- no real exercizing or stretching and no PT. In fact, I asked him when and what I could lift and he said a coffee cup and a news paper for the next six months, and he was serious. I have two other bulging discs, so that may be part of the reason for the advise. I do notice that the more I seem to do -- besides walking, the more painful the next day is. I sit at a desk all day on the computer -- and this seems to be about the worst thing that I can do. If you have to work at a desk take very frequent breaks and stand and/or walk around a bit. I watch the clock and try to stand up every :30 minutes, all day. Sleeping really seems to help -- laying down really on a comfortable bed -- mornings are always best for me. The only thing I do now are walking and "core muscle clenching" -- when I am driving or sitting I try to clench my butt and stomach muscles and hold it for 30 seconds -- that's it. I have read that it can take a year to fully recover (pain wise) from a disc (and subsequent surgery) injury. I would concentrate on doing less and let your body try to heal. Try to remember what you did yesterday when the pain is worst and cut it out. Or only do one activity a day, so you can narrow down what it is that may be not helping... Please post your progress...jack

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on 02/16/2010 2:04pm

I had the same surgery on L4-L5 about 5 years ago. I had waited to long to my surgeon as well. By the time I got to the surgeon I was dragging my right leg, however I do not have sciatica. I have been told by my doctor that nerve damage can be permanent. My surgery held up pretty well for about two years and then the pain returned. I went to see a pain specialist because there were no more ruptures. After a trial run, I had a spinal cord stiumlator implanted in my back for pain management. It works beautifully. My pain has been reduced by 80%. The stimulator will not have to be replaced for another 6 years. I take very little medication. The procedure was covered 100% by my insurance. It was an outpatient procedure. It was very difficult not to get frustrated when I was in pain all the time; I had a 3 year old and a 9 month old, but the quality of my life is so greatly improved now that it all seems like a distant memory. My device is made by Med-Tronics. Good luck to you!

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on 02/22/2010 10:36am

hello, i understand exactly where your coming from! i am at present in bed where i have been for a week now, feeling totally miserable and not being able to get into a position without pain. I too have L4 and L5 problems. I live in england and our nhs service i feel has really let me down! my appointment to see the consultant is not until May and my medication is making me quite ill, i keep passing out with the intensity of the pain. The pain is from the lower back into my right buttock and down my calf to my ankle. its there constantly and when i move its like a sharp red hot poker stabbing me. I too get very depressed and feel sorry for myself quite alot. I was a community carer for many years and the fact that ive had to give up my job upsets me greatly. now my family have to help care for me. i have 3 teenage children and fantastic husband but i feel im letting them down as how can i be the mother and wife i should be? lets just say the activity in the bedroom is nil as all that is too painfull. as i say my husband is very understanding and is now the main income provider for the home. i had a procedure done in july 2005 where they inserted a needle into my nerve and burnt it out which was a great relief for a couple of years, something you could find out about. Oh im sorry ive babbled on long enough! hope you feel better soon.......mandy.xx

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on 02/22/2010 10:36am

hello, i understand exactly where your coming from! i am at present in bed where i have been for a week now, feeling totally miserable and not being able to get into a position without pain. I too have L4 and L5 problems. I live in england and our nhs service i feel has really let me down! my appointment to see the consultant is not until May and my medication is making me quite ill, i keep passing out with the intensity of the pain. The pain is from the lower back into my right buttock and down my calf to my ankle. its there constantly and when i move its like a sharp red hot poker stabbing me. I too get very depressed and feel sorry for myself quite alot. I was a community carer for many years and the fact that ive had to give up my job upsets me greatly. now my family have to help care for me. i have 3 teenage children and fantastic husband but i feel im letting them down as how can i be the mother and wife i should be? lets just say the activity in the bedroom is nil as all that is too painfull. as i say my husband is very understanding and is now the main income provider for the home. i had a procedure done in july 2005 where they inserted a needle into my nerve and burnt it out which was a great relief for a couple of years, something you could find out about. Oh im sorry ive babbled on long enough! hope you feel better soon.......mandy.xx

Like/Dislike
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on 02/22/2010 10:36am

hello, i understand exactly where your coming from! i am at present in bed where i have been for a week now, feeling totally miserable and not being able to get into a position without pain. I too have L4 and L5 problems. I live in england and our nhs service i feel has really let me down! my appointment to see the consultant is not until May and my medication is making me quite ill, i keep passing out with the intensity of the pain. The pain is from the lower back into my right buttock and down my calf to my ankle. its there constantly and when i move its like a sharp red hot poker stabbing me. I too get very depressed and feel sorry for myself quite alot. I was a community carer for many years and the fact that ive had to give up my job upsets me greatly. now my family have to help care for me. i have 3 teenage children and fantastic husband but i feel im letting them down as how can i be the mother and wife i should be? lets just say the activity in the bedroom is nil as all that is too painfull. as i say my husband is very understanding and is now the main income provider for the home. i had a procedure done in july 2005 where they inserted a needle into my nerve and burnt it out which was a great relief for a couple of years, something you could find out about. Oh im sorry ive babbled on long enough! hope you feel better soon.......mandy.xx

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