Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 9/25/2004 5:03:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2004 6:55:15 PM EDT by thompsondd]
I have been having severe lower back pain for quite awhile. This is due to two ruptured discs in the extreme lower lumbar section (L5-L6 & L6-S1 I think). I have been going through a series of epidurals (full of steroids for all you pervs out there). They helped a little for awhile, but I recently started having severe pain and numbness in the left leg again, almost, but no quite to the point of being immobile. I took my third and final epidural, but it barely put a dent in the pain. I guess the next step is some type of fluid compression test of the disc itself and then, probably, removal of the discs which requires fusion of the vertebrae. I really need some advice/support right now. I have to go out of the county on Tuesday for a couple of weeks so I won't be able to follow up with my neurosurgeon until I come back to the states. I am afraid to take pain pills with me where I am going for fear of getting locked up on some f'ed up drug charges.

This is something I have dreaded due to all the horror stories that I have heard.

Anybody out there been through this before?? If so, I would appreciate some advice on what to expect, how long will I be immobile/recovery, does it really help, etc.

For those of you who haven't ever had back problems, thank God and consider yourself lucky. It is one of the worse pains I have ever had and there is NOTHING that seems to help alleviate it. You can't get any from it. It is with you 24X7. Unbearable comes to mind.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 5:08:10 PM EDT
I had C5, C6 and C7 fused July 19th of this year. This was the result of an auto accident that cause two severely bulged discs that were compression the nerve to my right arm and my spinal cord. I still have pain if I lift anything over 25lbs and I have pretty good range of motion. I'm still in Physical Therapy which is working but slowly. They used bone from my right hip to place in between the vertebrae and used a metal plate and screws to hold the three together. It will still be awhile before I can return to work. I hear the lumbar surgeries are much more painful.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 5:22:00 PM EDT
I can't give any first hand experience, my back is fine. I can pass on the secondhand experience of clients though. About 30% of them are fusions. (I work for a workers' compensation firm.)

The surgery, for most of them, seems to be a last, last resort. Doctors don't recommend it much for young (read under 50) people. I have clients in thier 20's & 30 getting them, though. Even under best case conditions, they are going to be in some significant pain even after healing out.
They have to stop smoking to be eligible. The heal out time is a bummer, they have to wear a brace that looks like a cross between between body armor and an IMac. The meds are so addictive many of them have problems with it. Many of them have a lot of depression involved with it. One of them had complications that I won't be able to discuss for a long time, as they may lead to another case.

100% of them seem glad to have it done, but 0% of them expected it to be as rough as an experience as it truly is. Again, none of them are pain free, but they all pretty much scoff at their pain level now compared to what it was 'before'. All of them seem to have the same attitude that actually get it done, none of them wanted it, but felt like they truly had no other choice.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 5:50:46 PM EDT
I'm 35 yrs old and two years ago I had to have a fusion. Before that I had a microdicetomy. The epidurals suck too. Email me this week (cant talk tonight or tomorrow) and we will trade numbers. I cant type well thats why I dont post much.

It completely changed my life, and although I will never be the same, there are benifits to feeling my feet and not cringing in pain every minute of the day. My doctor gave me a 50-80% percent chance I'd get better and I think I'm lucky.

I'm thankfull of how well I am but I miss my mobility. Before this I had hiked 275 miles of the AT in section trips and had an active job and lifestyle. I'm thankful that I still have a job at all, but I had to take a 17% pay cut. Now I'm stuck inside all day watching other people do the job that I want and would love to do.

I would recommend a microdiskectomy if it would help in your situation. Ask the neurosurgon. Its not as invasive and does not have the lasting effects.

ALSO!! GET OFF THE OXICOTIN as fast as possible. That stuff is HARD to get off of. It takes hold of you bad.

PS If anybody in the Greensboro NC area wants a hard working, motivated, honest, cripple to work for them for a decent wage, give me a email.
Yes my spelling is bad.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 5:54:46 PM EDT
Before you have the fusion, get another opinion from another neurosurgeon. If you are a candidate for a microdiscectomy, do it.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 7:34:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2004 7:35:57 PM EDT by xcell]
it a new surgery that will let you be 100% again.
my BRO IN LAW just signed up for it.

that is of course if you cant get the disk shaved down.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 7:57:52 PM EDT
Thanks for all the replies and advice. I really don't know what the next step will be. Surgery of some form is definately looking more likely. I'm not living much anymore. Just kinda' existing. Living off pain pills and muscle relaxers. I'm angry at everyone around me because the pain has pretty much consumed me. I guess I haven't found a way to cope with it too well yet. Like I said earlier, you can't get away from it. My short term memory is taking a huge hit. Between the pain and the drug induced existence, I do well to remember my own name.

I appreciate everyone who has replied. Thanks. For those who have gone, or going, or will go through this or something similar, I pray for your fast and continued recovery. Remember that you aren't alone in your pain.

Stay strong.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 8:08:51 PM EDT
There's part of your problem. You have an L-6. Your a freak!

My brother in law had a fusion on L3-4-5-S1. He was out of work for 5 months but he was being way conservative and milked it for all the time off he could get. His job and lifestyle is on a 1-10 scale of difficulty, about a 3. Plenty of money and gravytrain job. His pain was extreme before surgery and light- non existant now.

I'm due to see the neuro mext month for my two of my disc. Let us/me know how yours turns out.

Good luck to you.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 8:23:21 PM EDT
I had L4,L5,S1 done December 02, after an auto accident. All three vertebrae were shattered. I am a police officer and have since returned to active duty as a street level narcotic investiator. I am 37 now, still am active with our emergency response team, and can jump fences and do the foot pursuit thing as well as some newer 20 year olds. My weight before was around 225, I gained about 15 pounds durring my year of recovery/physical therapy.
If you are serious about doing your p.t. religiously, and continuing to go to the gym every day, I say go for it. Not for weight training, bu cardio and core exercises. I have made a comitment to not get pensioned off, and refuse to sit around and get out of shape. Some days it is VERY hard to motivate, but I find a way. The pain pills were not too bad, no addictions. The benefit of less pain was very noticed early on after the operation. I did notice a loss of flexibility, but, I was never a contortionist.
I did hear good things about the disk replacement, it was not applicable in my case. It all comes down to how dedicated you are to recovery, and your lifestyle/career. Let me know if you have any questions, I am sitting out a bad dog bite, (did not shoot the dog) that got infected.
Top Top