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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I just had to comment on this question -- my answer is a resounding YES!

From the time I was about 25 I had awful recurrent episodes of totally disabling back pain -- couldn't move, couldn't sit, couldn't walk, nothing... Went to physio, did traction, whatever they wanted. Each episode would ease, but I lived in fear of moving the wrong way or sleeping the wrong way or anything that could possibly cause the back to go again... As the number of episodes increased, the leg symptoms started too (sciatica, weird sensations). A CT scan showed a bulge of S1/L5 to the left.

Then one day I was shopping in a local warehouse grocery store, and my back started up. I thought it was due to concrete floors, and when it got worse and worse as I went around, I gave up and went outside to wait for my friend to finish. She brought the vehicle around to the door when she finished as I was in so much pain and as I went to step up into the van, it felt like I had been hit by lightning down my left leg -- can you spell AGONY? After that, I had all the leg things happening big time, extreme tenderness at the top side of the thigh, felt like a tight stocking on my leg, tingling, zaps, you name it. Sometimes it would feel like I had a golf ball between my big toe and the next toe or that my toe was sticking straight up but I'd look at it would look fine.

Being that I'd had back issues for so long, I didn't go to the doctor for a couple days until I realized this seemed to be more than what I had had before. The doctor tested my reflexes in that leg, and I didn't have the achilles tendon reflex at all. The weird thing? After the initial couple hours after the "lightning bolt", my back felt the best that it ever did! The pain was in my leg.

Went to the specialist 3 months later (waiting list!) and he said things didn't add up. The bulge of the disc was to the left, so supposedly I should have trouble bending to the left, but didn't -- I had trouble to the right. Also, if I laid on my back and tried to put my foot up in the air (heel pointing to the ceiling like a stretch), I couldn't -- my knee would not straighten beyond 90 degrees...

I had surgery (a laminectomy) and they discovered that the disc had not just bulged, it had gone and wrapped all around a nerve root, so there is no way it would have ever shrunk in. It took them an extra hour to unwrap it.

Since then? Absolutely NO back pain of any kind. I don't lift anything heavy, but other than that, my back is no more of an issue than any other part of my body. I've had two episodes of sudden spasms in the lower back when I've bent over and kind of twisted somehow I guess, but it only hurt for a bit (very painful though), which I attribute to scar tissue or something. I have residual nerve things (nothing major): I get occasional "charley horses" above my outer ankle (not where you normally get them), and that leg took awhile to strengthen again.

My specialist told me that if you have surgery on your back (for disc issues) when the pain is still in your back, it will most often not be successful because the pain is mostly muscular. When there is no longer pain in your back and it's in your leg(s), then surgery is usually successful because the pain is due to a nerve compression and relieved when they deal with the offending disc.

Hope this helps you. I'd have the surgery again in a minute. BTW, it's been almost 12 years now.

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