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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.

Carol[/QUOTE]

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 pain...lol.
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.
Hi folks - so glad I found a site that I can share and gain advice.

I had an accident in 2006 and shortly after, within weeks I couldn't walk - had MRI amd it showed a bulging disc, I struggled with back pain until things got so bad last July that surgery was the only option left.

Had Microdiscectomy and it was a complete success - initially. I did PT and a 10 week pilate programme. I was walling regulary anad even succeeded in returning to work.

In December 10/Jan 11 I started getting back pain and having difficulty sitting, standing, getting out of bed - had another MRI and the disc was out again, 3 times bigger than the original herniation Surgeon said 2nd op was needed - and had me booked in for an op. I got home that day from the surgeon and the next day I collapsed at home and was taken in and operated on there and then. The pain was excruciating - traumatic even.

I am now entering my 6 week post op. First two weeks were so hard - much harder than first op. 3rd week improved somewhat as did 4th.
However since last week the pain is back in my left leg (where it originally was) is constant and chronic - I do not sleep, I am totally dependant on Tylex and count the hours until I can take them. I have been careful, overcareful if anything - out of fear mostly.


I am seeing the surgeon on Thursday and while I have complete fate in him - I am really at my wits end with this and really would like to hear opinions.

It's sad that I am hoping that this is simply nerve pain and not a recurrent herniation (how screwed up is that!!).

I don't have much pain in my back - it seems to concentrate around the pelvic area making turning painful and the leg pain is from the butt to the ankle with tingling in the foot.

Nice to find you all - Until this I never heard of Sciatica etc.. I am a mum who has been through childbirth and this pain has simply worn me down - until you have it - no-one understands.

Thanks so much and hugs and a pain free day to you all!!
[QUOTE=Patlyndo;4722156]Hi folks - so glad I found a site that I can share and gain advice.

I had an accident in 2006 and shortly after, within weeks I couldn't walk - had MRI amd it showed a bulging disc, I struggled with back pain until things got so bad last July that surgery was the only option left.

Had Microdiscectomy and it was a complete success - initially. I did PT and a 10 week pilate programme. I was walling regulary anad even succeeded in returning to work.

In December 10/Jan 11 I started getting back pain and having difficulty sitting, standing, getting out of bed - had another MRI and the disc was out again, 3 times bigger than the original herniation Surgeon said 2nd op was needed - and had me booked in for an op. I got home that day from the surgeon and the next day I collapsed at home and was taken in and operated on there and then. The pain was excruciating - traumatic even.

I am now entering my 6 week post op. First two weeks were so hard - much harder than first op. 3rd week improved somewhat as did 4th.
However since last week the pain is back in my left leg (where it originally was) is constant and chronic - I do not sleep, I am totally dependant on Tylex and count the hours until I can take them. I have been careful, overcareful if anything - out of fear mostly.




I am seeing the surgeon on Thursday and while I have complete fate in him - I am really at my wits end with this and really would like to hear opinions.

It's sad that I am hoping that this is simply nerve pain and not a recurrent herniation (how screwed up is that!!).

I don't have much pain in my back - it seems to concentrate around the pelvic area making turning painful and the leg pain is from the butt to the ankle with tingling in the foot.

Nice to find you all - Until this I never heard of Sciatica etc.. I am a mum who has been through childbirth and this pain has simply worn me down - until you have it - no-one understands.

Thanks so much and hugs and a pain free day to you all!![/QUOTE]

Patlyndo,
HI and welcome to the board. :wave:

Your situation sounds very 'similar' to mine. I ruptured my disc in Sept of 2010 and had surgery the beginning of Oct '10. three days after surgery, I fell down a flight of steps here at home and I re-ruptured my same spot. UGH!! My first rupture was severe enough that the NS told my family immediately after surgery that if I was not extremely careful, he would not be surprised if I wasn't back in the OR within 4 to 6 months. Guess he called that one right, but for the wrong reason! I was careful, but just had one of those unfortunate events.

I will try not to repeat the info that I posted in the other thread but if I do, please excuse my repeatativeness (if there is such a word...).

Recovery from my second surgery has been much WORSE than recovery from the first surgery. The first two weeks I was experiencing such intensive nerve pain that I just wanted to die! It was about the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life! Years ago I was previously diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction in each hip, but at clearly separate times. The left side in 1992 while pregnant with my eldest. After the pregnancy, it pretty much went away on its own. It was quite painful as I wasn't able to take any medications since I was pregnant (and they didn't give any to pregnant women at the time) so rest/ice/heat was about the only thing I could do for the pain. The second time was in 1995/96 after being pregnant with my second child and was in my right hip. We treated it with some mild medications (since I was nursing) and it went away after several months. I have had periodic bouts of sciatica which would come and go. All of these conditions were clearly painful, but come no where in comparision to the pain levels caused by this nerve pain.

I was wondering has your Dr tried you on any of the medicines that NS's often use for nerve pain such as Gabapentin, Neurontin, or Lyrica? My NS tried all three for me and each one made me SO sick and nonfunctional that I had to discontinue taking them. So we were never able to see if they truly offered me any relief since I was only able to take them for about a week. The Lyrica I only took for 3 days because it was AWFUL!!

I have had 3 (maybe 4) MRI's since my second surgery which was 2/2/11. So far they have not found a reherniation. As a matter of fact, the MRI last week showed very little if any change from the one before it. I have not received the actual report yet though. That information was from my Dr. I had an appt with him last Thursday. He spent 45 min with me discussing the MRI and what the next steps were. I truly trust him. He believes that the pain in neuropathic in nature. I am headed to get an EMG/NCV test in the very near future. Once we have the results from that, we will see where we go from there. He is talking about sending me for a second and third opinion to see if another Dr can find something he has missed. He said he feels he has been very thorough, but he is human. and if another Dr can find something he has missed, God Bless 'Em. We'd at least have an answer!! LOL. I truly respect the fact that he is being as honest and forthright with me as he possibly can. It makes me trust him all the more. If he thought he possibly screwed up, I cannot imagine that he would want me to go for 2 more opinions. I asked him a good bit about this whole "mess" (that is how I refer to it). He does about 5 to 7 microdiscectomies a week. He has ocassionally had a similar situation. However, he has told me on no uncertain terms that I have been his most difficult case with the 'nerve pain'. Others have been able to take an appropriate medication and get relief accordingly. He told me that if it is truly a 'damaged' nerve, it can take up to three years to heal. MOST of the time, they will heal in months...some heal in weeks...every once in awhile, it can take years. I almost cried!!! I told him I couldn't take this for three years. He looked and me and told me I might not have a choice.

I understand completely about not sleeping! I sleep about 3 hours and it is usually between 5 and 6 am until about 8 or 9 am. I might nap a bit in the afternoon from complete exhaustion. My leg is usually the culprit that wakes me up. This past weekend, I did have a day where I slept about 16 hours, I think because I was just exhausted!! It wasn't all at once, I'd wake up take a pain pill and drift back off to sleep. Luckily, my NS has been awesome about continuing my pain meds! I am very thankful for that!! I couldn't imagine trying to deal w/ this pain using OTC meds!! You are brave! If they offer you stronger pain meds, please do yourself a favor and take them!! Being stressed and in pain is NOT condusive to healing. And from what I have been able to glean, nerve regeneration takes a lot (I'm not saying as much as a fusion, but it is tough on the body). I also asked my Dr for something to help me sleep. It worked but I felt too loopy when I tried to wake up, so I have chosen not to take it unless I feel like I am going to go insane.

I'm not really sure that I am feeling better or if my body is just adapting to the pain. That happened between the first and second surgeries. I was able to move better the further I got away from surgery, but the problem was still there. So far, I have not reherniated, but the pain is still there and consistent. And honestly it is worse than before the second surgery. I can't say that it is worse than before the first, but it is daggone close! There is very little that offers consistent relief. Although laying down flat on my back is the most comfortable and offers the greatest amount of relief. I was thinking pinched nerve myself. But when I had a pinched nerve before, it was a totally different feeling. I have had some increased pain in my lower back since surgery, but the Dr said at my appt last week that he was not surprised since I have so much 'other' stuff going on in my lower lumbar (DDD/ osteoarthritis) area. I don't have any pain in my pelvic region; mine is clearly in the right hip region and down my leg to my foot. So I can't offer any advice regarding pelvic pain.

I am sorry if I seemed to jump around a bunch in responding. I was trying to make sure I covered all of your questions/concerns. I hope you continue to stay in touch and give updates as to how you are doing. I am glad that you trust your Dr. To me, that is very important so that you are both on the same page and it is more conducive to achieving a quality recovery. please feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. Hope my response was of 'some' help to you. :)

Blessings to you!!
Hi,
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=abetancur;4723981]Hi,
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 crazy...lol! 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. :)

Hausofmouse
I'm posting this because I've read so many "I've had and MRI or x# of MRIs and it doesn't show anything" posts. There is another option I know of that helped me. But first a little background on me.

Had a very successful Microdiscectomy at L5-S1 two and a half years ago. Went for a whole year feeling great then got in a bad traffic collision in my patrol car while on-duty (unlicensed woman hit me at 90 mph- grrrrr!). Anyway, all my old symptoms came back (lower left leg and foot numb, sharp stabbing pain in back of left leg, butt, etc., etc.). MRI showed L5-S1 bulging again, but it wasn't bad enough for surgery. Went through a cycle of three epidurals, which did absolutely nothing.

So, my surgeon suggests one last ditch effort to figure out what's going on. So, I have a CT Myelogram. The test showed massive herniation at L4-L5 which did not show up on the MRI. I could look at a MRI all day and see nothing, but as soon as the doc pointed out the troubled disc on the CT scan, it was easy to see that a bunch of disc material was taking up all the space to its side and was sitting on top of the nerves.

Had a second micro in late January and the problem ended up being worse than thought because a fragment of disc that had broken off was pretty large. After the surgery, I had immediate relief on the leg pain, but some symptoms are still lingering and I have major new symptoms involving lower back pain, major spasms, pain in the left abdomen and down through the crotch area, inability to move my own weight when laying down, numbness in the right foot now, yadda, yadda, yadda. The list goes on, but I'm still hopeful that time and PT will help.

Anyway, the moral of the story is CT Myelogram, CT Myelogram, CT Myelogram!!! Mention this test to your doctor/surgeon if the MRI isn't showing anything or isn't showing problems that match your symptoms. We're all obviously on the internet, so you can look it up, but the procedure basically involves a contrast dye that's shot into the spinal canalís fluid, you do a few acrobatics to get it moved around, and then you go into the CT machine. Not a big deal.
I had a similar situation to yours as you probably saw in my posts.
I had the lumbar fusion with all the trimmings, and was OK for few weeks, then it all came back.
I now have a numb left leg from the knee down, drop foot, and pain back in my right leg which was the reason I went in in the first place.
But, do get discourage, try all the alternatives before surgery.
They think mine is neuropophy, serve nerve damage, but can't figure out how it happened...
I also had the standing MRI that wast torture.. I took some Lora tabs and the technician did let me take a couple minute break in the middle of the tests which did help.
Hang in there and look at all the alternatives before surgery.
Paul





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