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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

mommabear3....first, I am so sorry you are going through this. But there are people on this board who know exacty what you are feeling...the pain, as well as the depression from the pain and not being able to be active in your family's life and needs. With that being said, is there a reason why you might not be trying more conservative treatments before surgery?

Did your MRI show a herniation? There are a couple of very active people on this board who can help you understand your MRI as well. Usually steroid injections and pysical therapy are tried first unless the surgery is for emergency reasons, such as loss of bowel or bladder function. You haven't mentioned anything like that.

I'm 59...and have struggled with severe sciatica over a period of 6 years now....but went pain free for 5 of those years, by having injections and PT. Over the last year, I've had 2 severe flare-ups...and am now only meeting with a surgeon for consultation. I am going to try to do everything I can to avoid surgery. Generally, it is a last resort. I'm hopeful that with continued PT and maybe another injection I'll pull through this episode.

If you do have the surgery, then as noted, there are a number of people here who I am sure will respond to you and give you lots of tips on preparation as well as recovery tips. While I haven't experienced that to this point, I do know that great care must be taken initially post surgery to prevent a new herniation, if that is your issue. You didn't note what the diagnosis was or what specific type of surgery you are intending.

Either way....take good care of yourself. I do understand that your little ones need you. I was a long time teacher and raised my own two by myself before becoming a consultant. Now on medical leave until I can get better enough to go back to work and welcome my first grandchild who will arrive in December. Like you...I'm so anxious to be a part of her life and be able to lift and hold her close.

Do keep posting on the board as far as your progress. Everyone benefits from success stories as well as the support offered here. that you have offered this information, I feel like I am reading my own story. Even the 5 years with no problems. I am in the very same boat. I am meeting with a surgeon tomorrow and I'm not interested in having surgery yet however....I fear he is going to say I am not fixing the problem.

I really can't answer your question. Only you can. In my case, after 5 years of no problems and then these flare ups over the last year, I have tried injections again. I always respond and get better but then I have another episode even though I am religious about the exercises, etc. It's been a long year but I am trying not to give up hope. I am wondering sometimes if I am putting off the inevitible since I have had to be off work. But I truly wish to get better without surgery if possible...better enough anyway to have some sense of normalcy in my life.

I hope that teteri66 will respond to you. Or you might even post a thread to her because she has so much experinece and information. I'm certain she might be able to help you feel more comfortable with your decision. I think it is a very personal choice. You are younger than I am and if you trust your doctor then maybe it is the right choice for you. I have never heard anyone say 2 weeks for recovery, but everyone is different.

I hope you will continue to post here. I will be interested in how things go for you since your situation sounds so similar to mine, even the MRI results are similar.

I am not much help! But every little bit of support does help in my opinion.
I think you are very wise to question that you will be back to a "normal" life in two weeks. I can't think of anyone I have known, either personally or on these boards, who would be able to pick up where they were prior to injury.

If you said six weeks and then still being very careful in how much you lift and in not bending or twisting at the waist, I would say, it is within the realm of possibility.

If you were only taking care of yourself, two weeks might be realistic in terms of feeling OK, but you still would need to be very careful because it is fairly easy for the disc to reherniate, especially during the first six weeks.

After six weeks, the person can be a bit more active, but it takes a good six months for the disc to heal and toughen up to the point that it is not so vulnerable.

It is my opinion that spine surgeons tend to put on those rose-colored glasses when they describe a time-frame for recovery.

Maybe you will be among those lucky ones who breeze through the surgery without any additional problems arising, and will recover quickly. It IS possible. I just think you need to be prepared that it doesn't work that way for many people.

Discs can and do heal on their own. It really just depends on how severe the nerve compression is. If you suddenly develop muscle weakness, as in drop foot, or you lose control of bladder or bowel function, call your surgeon ASAP. This is one of the few problems that becomes a true medical emergency.

I'm happy to try to answer your questions...unfortunately, only you can make the final decision.
Hello mommabear3,
I had back surgery on Oct. 25 of this year, or about a week and a half ago. I had a ruptured disc at L5-S1, complicated by spinal stenosis in the same area. I had 2 spinal steroid epidurals the year leading up to my surgery. The epidurals gave me some relief but it was short lived. I consulted with 2 orthopedic surgeons before deciding to move forward with the surgery.

I chose Dr. Michael Macnamara, a surgeon at Vanderbilt Hospital here in Nashville. He has 20 years experience and said he performs about 50-60 laminectomies per year. Showed up for surgery at 8:30am and was in recovery by noon. Don't remember even going into the e.r. Had some tightness and pain in recovery which was quickly remedied by the nurse. Stayed the night in the hospital, was able to get up and walk to the bathroom by the next morning.

Went home at noon the day after surgery. Doctor gave me Percocet 7.5 and Zanaflex as a muscle relaxer. First week was a little uncomfortable getting in and out of bed and trying to sleep. Now at a week and a half my pain and stiffness has lessened significantly and was actually able to go see a movie this afternoon.

A couple of pieces of advice if you do have the surgery. Take laxatives to make your potty breaks easier. Have lots of pillows on your bed and sleep alone in the bed since you will probably squirm quite a bit the first week or so. Bend with your knees and not your back as much as possible when you get in and out of bed and the toilet. Trust me on that one. I would literally slide on my side with my back straight as a board when getting out of bed to avoid having to bend and then straighten my back. Walk ever hour or so for a few minutes even if its just up and down the hall.

Hope this helps if you decide to have the procedure done. So far I am doing very well and wish you the same if you go through with it.
Mommabear3, I agree with what teteri66 said about what time frame the surgeons say for recovery. I'm having a TLIF fusion L4-L5 Nov. 27th. and the surgeon said I could go back to work in two weeks,(lite duty). When I went back to do all of the paper work, his assistant said they tell most everyone 12 weeks min.
I know yours is not a fusion but just replying to what others are saying about the recovery time.

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