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Hi all.

I had a micro-d L5-S1 in March, 2001. Things were better for a while. After three months of feeling wonderful, things started happening again, but not as bad as today. (Well, there HAVE been some days)! NS says it is caused from disc space collapse at L5-S1.

Docs won't give me any pain pills, but I have a few Lortab still, that I've been saving for my really BAD days. Well, today is one of them. I have sciatic nerve pain on my lower right side back, into the butt cheek, into the hip, and right down my leg. And I didn't even do anything to cause this! I can't imagine what is causing this. I thought about doing some stretches to try to stretch this out, but not sure if I should.....or just wait it out and see if it gets better.

I do work full time as a secretary but do get up every 1/2 hour to walk a little bit and stretch....but I can't even do that for long as my right thigh goes numb and then it will go away if I sit, but then turns into that frost-bite burning/stinging feeling.

I did ice for a while after work.

There. I had to vent.

Any helpful suggestions?

Thanks.

Sue
One thing that I did when I had sciatica and had to sit was to put a phone book on the floor and put my feet up on it. This took some of the pressure off my low back. Also, if you don't have a chair with a good low back support maybe you could just take a small towel and roll it up and put it behind your low back. I do this in my car when I have to take long trips.

Hope this helps.
Hi CSF:

Thanks for your reply. I do have a footrest at work and it does help. I also have a "little pillow" -- one of those real soft squishy foam pillows that conform to whatever part of the body you have it on. I put it in my lumbar area when driving. I even take it to places (movies, for example). My employer did buy a chair for me last year. It does have a good lumbar support. I went to the company and sat in all kinds of chairs and was able to get one that "fit" my back. So far I think I'm doing everything I can at work to ease the strain. Computer station is properly set up too....

Boy oh boy, this sciatica is really the pits! You said you "had" sciatica. I was wondering.....what did you do to get rid of it? Or did it go away on it's own?

Thank you so much for your help!

Sue
Hi Sue,
I know you know that you are not alone in feeling like this. I have the same pains as you except mine are on the left side. I had my second micro-d in Jan of this year. My first was 5 years ago. My neuro said after the first that I would be good for 5 years and I was. He removed 50% of the disc at that time. Oct of 2001 I again had the pain back. I took 3 steps out of the bathroom and couldn't move because the pain was so bad. I ended up spending 4 days in the hospital. Like I said in Jan I had the second Micro-d done that one worked for two weeks. With this surgery he removed another 30% of the disc. I went on pain meds. (lot's) of them went through pt again, had a facet injection all with no change as far as pain goes. I will be going for another MRI this Friday (May 3). I may also be going for a discogram (sp)depending on what the MRI shows. The discogram is to help the doctor see if fusing the L5-S1 area will be of any help for me. With out these last two things the doc. said he believes I will feel 60 to 70% better if he does the surgery.
What happened to your back in the first place? Accident or just happened? Mine just happened. The doctor said there wasn't anything I did or didn't do to make it happen. Just doing normal things could make the disc rupture. Why won't your doctor give you something for pain? How about another MRI? Did he mention fusion surgery to you?

I wish you luck,
Shirl
Hi Sue,

It really sounds like the Micro-d didn't do you any good. Unfortunately the next step is usually a fusion. Personally, I haven't heard very many success stories with Micro-d, but there have been some. Must be otherwise I don't think they would be doing it.

Sitting is one of the #1 worst things on sciatica and back pain. Even if you get up and walk around for a while, once you sit down again, whammo the pressure and pain is back. I suffer from it too and I am short which makes it even worse since chairs are always too long in the seat for me putting my legs in just the right spot for flareup.

I have to say I admire you that you are able to work in a seated job with that kind of pain. I would definitely continue gettin some testing done until they find what is actually causing it. They may do a discogram, while this is a painful test, it usually shows the problem.

Good Luck,
Kathi
Sue,

Your story sounds like the beginning of mine. I had a micro-d and it helped for about 4 months. Then, pain gradually increased. I tried to ignore it for a while because I was afraid of what might be wrong. Tried PT and pain meds. Another MRI showed a re-herniation. That is what they thought anyway.

When the doc did the second surgery, he found I actually had a massive amount of scar tissue. It had sort of glued my sciatic nerve to the bone. So, he cleaned the scar tissue out and made the little opening in which the nerve travels through the bone larger. I'd love to tell you this was the answer -- it was not. I am now worse than before surgery. I can't sit for more than about 15 minutes or so. The pain is terrible.

Another MRI post-surgery along with a CT scan and myelogram showed a large soft tissue mass had grown back in the same area. More scar tissue in other words. Currently, I am in pain management and take 6 different meds for pain. They help some, but not enough to give me much of a quality of life.

Don't let my sad story get you down. I just wanted to tell you that scar tissue (or epidural adhesions as they are called) can be the cause of new pain. So could a re-herniation. There is no treatment that I have found for the scar tissue.

Further testing (MRI, CT, Myelo, Discogram to name a few) will let your doc know what is going wrong. I hope they find something that is fixable.

Best Wishes!

Missy
Hi Everybody:

Thanks for all of your responses!

CSF: I am so glad that the chiropracter was able to help you! I did originally see one, but he wouldn't touch me as he "knew" I had a herniation and thought he would make it worse. That's when I went to see the Neurologist and had an MRI.

EmtShirl: Good luck on your new MRI this Friday. And if you do go for a discogram, I would be interested in seeing what the docs tell you regarding fusion. Yes, the NS did mention fusion with spacers to me. They would go in anteriorly (through stomach). Said spacers are needed to "lift" the vertebrae back into position so that the nerves would be free. You asked how this happened to me.....I DON'T KNOW! LOL. I didn't do anything. But the docs seem to think years of sitting (secretary) put pressure on that last disc. Acutally it isn't even the last disc, as I have a transitional vertebrae. I have only 4 lumbar vertebrae. L5-S1 is actually fused in my sacro..whatever. But they call it L5-S1 because it is the last disc (probably "really" the L4-L5). Am I confusing you??? ha ha... Right now I am supposed to be doing PT, but I feel the PT inflames things. Let me know how you make out!

Ktarus: I did feel good for about 3 months after my surgery....for for 3 months, I believe it did work. Now, this stupid disc space collapse happened. UGH! I know what you mean about the sitting....as much as I try to get up, you are right, everytime we sit, here comes the pressure. I don't think they'll do a discogram, as this is the only level that I have a problem with......unless they use a disco for some other diagnostic purpose??? Sounds like they may be using that as a diagnostic tool for Shirl.

MissTooGood: My PCP thinks that scar tissue could be the culprit, in addition to the disc space collapse. Oh, I just don't know anymore....when I had another MRI done about 5 months after surgery, it did show scar tissue, but my NS and ortho. surgeon said the scar tissue looked normal. But that was a long time ago. I'm so sorry to hear that the scar tissue grew back. Is it the same amount as BEFORE your surgery? Or more? I know that even though there are procedures to try to break up the scar tissue, that it usually does come back. How unfortunate. It just plain sucks.

Thanks again everybody. Will keep you all updated if anything "new" happens. And I do look forward reading all your messages.....I'm learning every day!

Take care!
Sue





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