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Back Problems Message Board

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[QUOTE=maltluver;4713817]Hausofmouse, I am sorry you are still having problems. Has your surgeon suggested further imaging? I really think it is time to do that. Sometimes after 2 "less invasive" surgeries, there isn't enough disc left to do its job and you can end up with nerves being compressed. It's also easier to herniate, so I really think your spine specialist should be doing some tests to check on the stability of your spine.

I also had 2 surgeries called laminectomy and tho I followed doctors orders, I found myself in severe pain again. However, my doctor was adamant that it was post op pain only and then became belligerant telling me it was all in my head. At that point, almost 5 months after the 2nd surgery, I fired my neurosurgeon and found a different spine specialist....this time an orthopedic with fellowship training....and he said it was obvious that I was going to need a fusion. After an MRI, even I could see that my disc was almost gone and had herniated. I'm not trying to frighten you, but only wanting to let you know that you may have to push your surgeon. If he continues to balk at more imaging, I would urge you to find a different specialist, not in the same practice, and get a second opinion. Sometimes we have to take the reins in our own hands and know when it is time to push back.

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing. It might be best to start a new discussion so that you don't get "lost" under someone elses thread. I do wish you the best.


Thank you Carol and a Great Idea to start a separate thread as not to hijack PTVEGAS's thread...

Thank you for your suggestion, but I think I have been very proactive with my NS and he has been quite receptive to my concerns. Actually, I have taken a TON of flack from many of my friends and family about him. Truthfully, I trust him as I think he has been open and honest with me as I have been with him. Each and every time I see him, he tells me that this is how he would want his wife or sister treated if she were in my situation. I went to school years ago with his younger sister. I didn't know it until after I saw him, but it is such an unusual last name that I asked him if he was related and come to find out, it was his younger sister. I thought maybe a cousin or something, but you know it's a small world. And most importantly, He has continued to give me the pain meds I so deperately need without batting an eye.
Anyway, I had an MRI the day after surgery (2/3). I called a couple of weeks after surgery and told them that the pain was NOT easing up at all!! He ordered another MRI which was done on 2/22. The MRI was supposed to be w/ contrast but they weren't able to do that since my veins kept blowing when they tried accessing them. Well when he got the report and saw that it was w/o contrast, he hit the roof! His PA is apparently personal friends w/ the district mgr of the radiology site. So some personal calls were made and some heads apparently rolled as to WHY they did not call him right away to tell him they could not do the study that was ordered. So anyway, I had to go back for a 'redo' MRI w/ contrast on 2/28 which was successfully completed. The report came back 'ok' with no reherniation. Soooo, here we stand w/ the same pain. He had me come into the office to go over the MRI and 'talk' to me to see what was happening with my pain. After conferring with his 'new to the practice, not to neurosurgery' partner, they agreed that the next step was to get another series of MRIs but not of my laying down (as that is my almost painfree position). They wanted sitting/flexion/neutral views. Well there was only one facility that they knew of in the area that did these kinds of MRIs (still about 40 miles away) and they will NOT do them until you are 90 days past your surgery. They said it is there company's policy as you are still 'healing' during those 90 days. My NS called and begged them to do them but their radiologist said 'no go'. So my NS's hands are tied, he can't make them do it. Meantime, he had me see the pain mgt Dr that is a part of his practice. Well that didn't go so well (not because of the Dr) but because of all of my symptoms and location/type of pain there wasn't much he could offer in the form of help, other than to suggest the Cymbalta. He also made one other suggestion, but told me if it were him, he wouldn't do it. But if I wanted to try, he would do it. I did NOT like the sound of it at all and thought I'd rather live with the existing
Well meantime, since I had to stop taking the Cymbalta and I needed a new script for pain meds... I called and talked to the office mgr. Well they managed to find another facility that can do the tests that he wants done. Unfortunately, it's about 60+ miles away (which is going to be an excuricating ride!!) but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. So I go for the new MRIs this Monday evening which is a whole 6 weeks earlier than I could get them done at the other place!!
The NS said he completely believes me regarding the pain and wishes he knew exactly how to fix it, but has told me (at my last appt earlier this month) that he is bound and determined to find the cause of it. It is real and he recognizes that. I can't see what he is doing wrong. While I want a diagnosis, I also don't want to go thru a bunch of unnecessary painful tests either.
So at this point, I wait a few more days and keep taking my pain meds. I am hoping and praying that these new MRIs give him the info he needs/is looking for... A girl can wish, right??!

BTW...when I had my second discectomy done my NS had his new partner assist w/ the surgery. I was told by several people in pre-op (the nurse, the anesthesiologist, a couple of others) that I should feel PRIVILEGED as I was going to have TWO attendings doing my surgery and that didn't happen very often. He also said that he thought a fusion was a bit premature at this time, but may be necessary further down the road. and I have made it clear to him that I would like to exhaust all other options before considering a fusion. My pain is mostly nerve pain in my hip/butt/leg, not back pain.
I don't know if you remember me but I am the person that has been going through exactly what you are with the 2nd surgery and now in chronic pain ever since with no answers. Well I've been in pain mngmnt and no luck. The pain meds I am prescribed wear off after a week, the sympathetic nerve block didnt help and now I am in pain everyday of my life and am 23 and all they can tell me is they believe its just going to take time to heal. But I don't understand how that could be because when I lay down and put pillows under my legs it gives me relief making it seem to me that that means something is pinching a nerve because I get relief when my back isnt being pinched. I just read your threads and see you went for a new MRI but in the positions of when it hurts you. Did the results come back yet??? Has your NS told you anything about them?
I went yesterday for a ganglion impar block. My pain management doctor and surgeon are now both talking and the PM doctor yesterday told me they think they should start treating me to prevent RSD. Has your NS discussed this ever with you?? Its the last think any of us want to be diagnosed with and when I heard this I broke down in tears. Its a permanent nerve damage. I dont have any of the early on symptoms except the pain. After my 2nd surgery in the hospital I did have for 2 days one of the main symptoms'; sensation in my leg, hurt to touch my skin. But since then 6 weeks ago I havent had that anymore. I am trying to now go for another MRI. I am desperate, I cannot take waking up in the morning and experiencing a hole day of pain. The only thing that had been taking it away was alchohol. Its terrible, and I cannot live my life like this. Sorry for the novel it just feels so comforting to know their is someone else in this world that knows how I am feeling. Please any new info that you can share or advise I'd appreciate it. Also, is there a medicine that calms your pain??? I dont have anything right now that does and I am on exalgo (pain killer) and neurontin. I hope your doing well.[/QUOTE]

Hi Abetancur,

I am still experiencing significant amounts of pain too. Based on some research I have been able to do lately, it seems that recovery from a second microdiscectomy (esp when done fairly closely to the first one) tend to be rougher recoveries than the initial surgery...not always. But it does seem to be a normal trend. It seems that alot of this has to do w/ the nerves being moved so much and they become more inflamed and agitated since they are moved multiple times in a short amount of time. It also seems that many times when the Dr performs a 2nd microdiscectomy, they often remove scar tissue which also 'angers' the nerves.

To answer your inquiry...unfortunately, the positional MRI did not generate any new information and they were unable to find the source of my pain from these images. I am now headed for an EMG/NCV next week. My NS is thinking that my pain is neuropathic in nature. He said nerves can take anywhere from a few months to 3 years to regenerate. I thought I was going to 'lose it' when he told me I could be facing this for multiple years!! I am so hoping that this is not the case at all!!! In my case, my NS has not lead me to believe that he thinks my nerve damage is permanent. I hope that is not the case for you either. I really know nothing about RSD except that I do not show the 'typical' symptoms.

Please please please be careful mixing alcohol with your pain meds!!! That can be a recipe for disaster and can be very dangerous. I understand how you feel about being in pain for the entire day! I truly do!! My pain meds take the edge of off my pain but do not get rid of it. I was thinking if you are tolerating the neurontin well (meaning little to no side effects) but it is not offering much in the way of relief...maybe they could try you on one of the stronger ones like Lyrica or Cymbalta. They are both supposed to offer incredible amounts of relief. Lyrica made me terribly sick, to the point I couldn't even function. I am trying Cymbalta for the second time. The pain mgt Dr took me off of it because of the side effects, but my NS wants me to try and tough it out and give it some time to really get a chance to work (which he said could take 3 weeks). I have had a perpetual headache and feel rather 'zombie'ish from it and it affects my memory. I am trying, but it sucks!! I have to check back in with him at the end of the week and let him know how it is going. So far, not so good, but we will see.

Right now the best advice I can offer is to take life one day at a time. That is what I have to tell myself. And I tell myself that this is temporary. It might be a long term temporary, but it is not permanent. The NS has not given me reason to believe I won't get better. We just doesn't know when the improvements will begin.

Please feel free to stay in touch and I hope that you do. Vent, cry, do whatever you need to to give yourself the strength to tackle the next day. I am there and living it too right along side of you. Don't give up hope just yet. If you don't feel 100% comfortable with your Dr's opinions and treatments, look into getting a 2nd opinion. Depending on the outcome of my EMG, my own NS is talking about sending me for 2nd and 3rd opinions to see if they can find something he can't. I feel fairly confident that if he thought he messed up, he would not be suggesting I get a 2nd and/or 3rd opinion. I realize he is human, but I do feel he has my best interest at heart and would recommend him to others. I think, unfortunately, some of us just heal "differently". I say that because when it comes to ANYTHING orthopedic, I have never been 'inside the normal treatment box'. I drive my regular ortho! BTW, my NS has told me that I have clearly been his most difficult case with nerve pain, but because all of his other patients have generally been able to take at least one of the drugs used to treat the nerve pain (i.e. gabapentin, neurontin, lyrica, cymbalta, etc...) He does about 5 to 7 microdiscectomies a week and sees this happen ocassionally, but usually not nearly this bad. I think that's why he prepared me for the multiple year healing process. Just my thought of why he mentioned it.

Take care of yourself and please continue to let us know how you are doing. It is comforting to know that we are NOT alone on this rough road to recovery. :)


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