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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Edit: I have added a new post at the end of this thread: it is now 4 weeks post discectomy.

So, it's been exactly two weeks ago today that I had my "open discectomy" aka laminectomy/discectomy.
To recap: 40 yr old male. Non smoker, healthy active 6'4" 180lbs.

I have had a sore lower back for nearly 20 years, lumbar strain with occasional soft tissue soreness. Managed by stretching, active and typical excersize.
Ffwd: 4 or 5 months ago I start to develop the tell-tale sciatic signs around my right glute. Weekly, the pain is getting more and more pronounced. By April, the pain is by my thigh, May getting worse, June and I can barely stand up. The sciatic pain is breathtakingly vicious!
I opt for an epidural injection in early June and the sciatic seems worse!!! Uh oh.....
So, I can no longer live in the pain circle of vicodin, mega dosage of Advil and steroids... It's time we look at the MRI and discuss surgery.

The neurosurgeon is widely referred to as one of the best premiere surgeons in the region (I'm sure they say that about every surgeon). :)
We schedule the procedure to do open discectomy to remove the rather large herniation near L4

I have the surgery and am released the next day. No outspoken abnormalities with the procedure and it seems to go well. I'm dazed, drugged, constipated and groggy but I am released.
During the ride home I could still feel that sciatic pain?!?
I was told by so many people who had this "ahhhhhh" instant relief feeling after their procedure. I wasn't so fortunate.

Four days after the surgery my sciatic pain is a 7 out of 10 (pain scale). I post a thread on this board. Folks say keep positive, relax, lay low. So, I try to stay relaxed and positive.
The next three days it gets worse, terribly worse. The pain was worse than before surgery. I call the neurosurgeon and ask him if he got the wrong disc?!? I am near tears in pain and disbelief. I return to neurosurgeron to check to see if I have an infection etc. He removed the staples, assured my there is no internal infection and to try another run of prednisone. I insist his surgery is botched, he insists it's normal because the nerve had been compressed for many months and it will relax in time and "cool down."
So we double my pain meds and do steroids again. Two days go by and I feel my pain ease from 8-10 down to 7-8.
4 days later I can eat with the family again. The last three days, I can walk 4 blocks without too much pain.
Now I am trying to ween myself off of the oxycodone by switching to advil, gradually easing into more and more activities. As a matter of fact, last night I was upright with friends and neighbors for our 4th of July party for four hours, relatively pain free.

Slow growth, small steps. Everyone keeps saying "positive mental attitude" is the best medicine for back recovery. It's easier said than done but, I know I was trying my hardest to stay in faith and use spirituality / meditation. Again. Easier to say than do, especially when the sciatic is viciously
killing you. But, you have to press on.

It's only been two weeks (to the hour actually!) since my surgery and it has been a huge event in my life. Peeks and valleys. I know I have to stay in the moment and pray that it'll all work out. It has to, if there's life, then there's hope.

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