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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Re: Bad News
Sep 24, 2007

I first had a laminectomy/discectomy in Dec. 05. 2 months later, I reherniated during physical therapy. Had to delay surgery as we were moving to a new state. Fell at a restaurant on the move (due to numb feet) and was in surgery within 2 weeks of moving to my new town. That time, March of 06 had a fusion without hardware. I never got better but sat around in pain hoping I was just healing slowly. Doctor told me I was fusing nicely. Not!

Covered in pain, pain meds and depression, my family begged me to get another opinion, but after 2 surgeries, I was not up for it.

Finally was convinced to travel 2 hours away to see a highly regarded neurosurgeon (first 2 docs were orthopedic surgeons). This surgeon could tell by my xrays alone, before he had me get yet another MRI and CT Myelgram, that I was missing one of my facet joints at L5-S1. Must have broken off in the 2nd surgery, but no mention of it and it was not found floating inside me anywhere.

Had my final surgery Dec. 06, almost 12 months to the day from my first surgery. This time had a 360 PLIF fusion with hardware, bmp, etc. By April, was fusing like "gangbusters" and was off all pain meds by that time. My doc was very emphatic about no bending, no lifting, no twisting, walking walking walking and no weight over 5lbs. I followed his advice religiously and believe that is the key to my recovery.

Now, I am stiff on and off, take Advil if I have any pain that seems more than normal, take Skelaxin occasionally and am working on getting my strength back, working on core muscles, etc. Sitting in a chair for 16 months did a number on my conditioning and strength. (At the height of the pain, I could walk only about 10 feet, had a walker - I'm 41, a cane, and rode the scooter thing at Walmart type stores.) My worst trigger for pain and back issues is making long car trips which are necessary because all family lives many hours away. Those are the times I take Skelaxin and try to thwart muscle spasms.

I do have permanent nerve damage, my feet are still mostly numb, but I am relatively pain free and although I have a different life than before, I do feel like I have my life back.

Being on pain meds and/or in such tremendous pain makes it so difficult to make this decision, and I really feel for you.

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