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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Hi,
I am also so glad I found this board. There are people out there with a lot of the same symptoms as I have and I don't feel so alone. I have had back pain on and off for years. A few months ago the pain came to stay. I am 42 years old and I started to feel like 80. So I decided I would have surgery.
I just had a foraminectomy on Thursday. The MRI results were DDD and a herniated disk and a bulging disk at l4 l5. The option was a foraminectomy or a spinal fusion. I had the nerve block for a diagnostic tool to see if it was a pinched nerve and it worked for a few days. I felt like a different person. My mood was better and my outlook on life improved in just three days, but unfortunately the pain returned with a vengenece. The l5 nerve was pinched. We scheduled surgery. My surgeon ended up shaving the bone to release the l5 nerve and he said the s1 nerve was (as he put it) velcroed to my vertebrae so he released the nerve, injected it with steroids and put a lubricant on it to prevent it from sticking to the vertebrae. I had the surgery on Thursday and was home that evening. I have surgery pain, but the pain I had before is almost gone. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will work. He did say if this doesn't work there are other options. I am very optimistic about the surgery and now I am glad I had it.

Thanks for listening.

Judy


[QUOTE=sydney girl]Hi there

I came to this website a couple of years ago, as I was trying to weigh up whether or not to get back surgery. I promised myself if I did, and my surgery was a success I would return to the message board and share my story, as all I read here are tales of woe!

I had a bulging disc at L5-S1 which was compressing my sciatic nerve - this resulted in me not being able to walk or stand for more than a couple of minutes without pain or total numbness down my left leg.

I spent months trying other options, (acupuncture, physio, chiropractor, medication, osteo, exercise etc. etc.) as I believe surgery should always be a last resort. However it became evident that my particular problem had been there too long to be changed by these alternative methods and surgery was my best chance of recovery.

I had a discetomy at Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney in August 2002 and my symptoms completely disappeared. It did take me months to return to a 100%normal fitness level, but this is expected. You do need a lot of patience - after years of a bad back and chronic pain, it is not going to be fixed overnight. I still swim, visit the physio, and do regular back strengthening exercises, but all in all I feel great.

My advice to anyone contemplating back surgery is:
1) EXPLORE ALL YOUR OPTIONS - some back problems can be helped by alternative methods if they are a recent problem or cause by injury.
2) RESEARCH YOUR SURGEON - ask your GP to refer you to a conservative surgeon (one who is only likely to recommend surgery if absolutely necessary). I went with a neurosurgeon (nerves) rather than an orthopaedic surgeon (bones) as they deal with such fragile nerves around the spine. Try to speak to nurses at the hospital, other patients in the waiting room, your physio may also have patients with experience you can talk to. You will soon discover who is a good or bad surgeon.
3) GET A GOOD PHYSIOTHERAPIST. This is extremely important - not just for rehabilitation after the operation, (it is crucial to gain proper muscle function and eliminate the scar tissue) but many disc problems are caused by some weakness already there in the spine. This needs to be addressed or the chances of needing a 2nd or 3rd operation are increased. A good physio can help with this.
4) DONT LOSE PATIENCE. Accept that a back operation is not a 'quick fix' and may not be the end to all your problems. If you have had chronic back pain for years, it will take months for you to get back to normal. You can be 100% better again, but it will come gradually. If you take it easy, keep seeing a physiotherapist and do the daily exercises they prescribe, and you will recover. And your chances of needing surgery in the future will be dramatically reduced.

So many people come to this message board in despair and pain, looking for answers, but rarely do you hear of any positive feedback. This is because most people who have had success and aren't in pain anymore usually get on with their lives, and don't need to return to the message board. But I think it's important for those of you contemplating surgery to realise there are just as many (if not more!) success stories out there as there are failures.

Good luck![/QUOTE]





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