Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

Discussion in 'Back Problems' started by Hellsbells, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Hellsbells

    Hellsbells
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    Hi everyone

    I'm new here and had spent the last two weeks reading all your threads about disc problems and I just wanted to share my experience as I dont think there is a lot of positivity out there for us.All I read was most people don't need an op and an op is the last thing you should consider - this did not help me at all as i was the small percentage who DID NOT respond to treatment and who DID need an op.

    After suffering a horrendous disc prolapse over 18 months ago I was finally advised after 6 months to see a surgeon.I must admit i was shocked when he pretty much suggested straight away that I required surgery (After viewing my MRI scan) but as the waiting list for the op was 6 months it gave me time to think about it,he had basically suggested the surgery because I had been living with the sciatic pain for a long time,my condition did improve a few months after the initial prolapse as I was able to walk for upto 1/2 hr at a time if i was lucky (Still in pain though) and was able to go on holiday & go back to work.However as he pointed out it was not going to get better in the near future and it could have been causing more damage to my already numb foot.I tried all sorts of treatment Physio etc to no avail. I felt i was living an 80% normal life and was scared incase surgery made me worse.But I was not prepared at the age of 33 to carry on with crippling sciatic pain for another year longer.
    Well after 18 months and sick of taking endless Co-Codamol & Ibuprofen a day the day arrived & I had my discectomy on my L5/S1 disc area ONE WEEK ago (09/09/04)
    I had never had an op before and you here such scare stories so Im here to tell you my side to give people hope.I had my op last Monday at aprox 5pm by 7am the next morning I got out of bed to use the toilet by my bed,later the same day I built up to a few more steps and felt the only restricting part was turning over in bed and getting out of bed which was due to the wound area being a bit sore to lie on,actual walking felt fine,but I felt really great in myself.
    My family who visited me immediatley after surgery could not belive I had an op I was not groggy at all - Maybe a little high though lol !
    I arrived home on the Wednesday at midday less than 48 hours after my op after getting the ok and I feel great.Little things like getting home in the car worried me but it was just a little sore getting in/out of the car.I must say though the right hand side of my backside below where I had surgery is still numb as is my right foot slightly but Ive been told that in most cases this sorts itself out after time,but even if it didnt I can cope with a numb bum.
    My mum has been feeding me & changing the dressing bless her and hopefully later today the nurse is due to take out my 13 staples,the wound itself is aprox 2-3 inches long.
    I havent walked a considerable distance yet ,just around the house/garden as I need to be taking it easy and concentrating on my back exercises so until I go shopping I wont know if my op has been a success but I can say I have not felt any sciatic pain yet hurraahhh ! I'm now hoping I'm over the worst and if anybody else is panicking as theyre op date draws nearer I just hope this message helps a bit.
    P.S I am a little stiff getting outta bed in the mornings and sitting at my P.C is not the comfiest of positions yet so I shall go...
    Thanks for listening and the main thing is to stay positive and get yourself moving ASAP.

    Hellsbells - 33 year old female.
    Manchester UK
     
  2. Debbiec

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    replying on behalf of my hubby
    he had crushed discs about 18 years ago and had two removed - after laying on back for weeks with "muscle strain" I took him to A&E the doctors took him straight in! although he was a young lad then (28) it was still a long recovery process - he was/is a sportsman so frustration I understand. It is important to get physio working with you as soon as you can, I wont give you what he had to do - it will be specific to your circumstances. Years on he still does exercises every morning as soon as he gets up and before he goes to bed to keep him supple, yes it does play up particularly in damp weather, or if he stands for a long while - and likes to get leg room on a flight (heis 6ft 2". Glucosamine and chrondotine has helped with mobility we believe. I had prolapsed discs too - two of them but had sclerosent (cant spell) injections over 6 weeks into the disc spaces (under general aneths.) that was 10 years ago and hardly have any problems now - gardening gets me - so I do as little of it as I can. Keeping active once you are moving around is very important and keeping your weight down - I have put on weight and back problems returned with a vengence, but getting back to bike riding, or cycling machine, cross trainer - particularly the eliptical ones are good because they are low impact and work your core area - the middle.

    It will get better, but will need looking after - plus things have come on a lot in either 18 or 10 years too. we are fit - waterski, windsurf, sail, snow ski, cycle, (i jog - he doesnt), and have a very active life - but we take care of ourselves too - hopefully.

    chin up - dont rely too much on others - you have to get on and do it too - its your body. yes it is sore initially but isnt every operation.

    hope this helps

    :D:)[sm=1syellow1.gif]
     
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  3. Hellsbells

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Hi Debbie

    Thanks for the quick response - Gosh you two have been through the mill.

    I put my message on here as I personally couldnt find anything pro-surgery at all on the internet and I feel so good after my op that i had to shout about it,I knew I would be sore after surgery but with me it was more about working my self up into a stupour before the op.I had never had an op before so I was so worried about not surviving the anaesthetic nevermind worrying about my back.Two colleagues in work are due to have surgery this month and like me its the anaesthetic that worries them so I have phoned them both to let them know - Its a breeze.lol
    Its nice to here that you two have resumed a normal (and slightly careful) life again. I too have put on weight due to the limited amount of exercise I have been able to do but I have always been optimistic that I will make a recovery and be able to resume an active life as I had - previously keeping horses.
    I am taking 3 months off work,I have my physio exercises to do and I aim to build up my walking time in a few weeks.Compared to when my disc prolapsed and i was bedbound for weeks this week has gone well and I have been able to do pretty much everything I wanted (within reason of course) Like showering,washing my hair,using the bathroom,making a sandwich - These are just little things that I couldnt do when my disc prolapsed 18 months ago.

    Thanks for Glucosamine advice I have been taking this for a year & yes I too continue to do my exercises day & night.Like I said previously everyone who has visited me cannot belive I had surgery a week ago- I am a lucky girl.

    Take care
    Hellsbells
     
  4. welshbee

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Can I just say a huge thank you for posting your experiences on this forum. I am due to have a similar op to Hellsbells in a couple of weeks L5/S1 disc protrusions which is rubbing against the nerves - I've been in agony for 6 months. I have been very wary about accepting my consultant's advice regarding surgery - everyone is so quick to advise against it and tell me what goes wrong. So it's fantastic to hear some good news. I hope you keep recovering well and wish you the best of health for the future.
     
  5. SpookyAngel

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Sorry very long winded!..
    I've only just read this post, and i am only 18 years old, i have 3 prolapsed disks and have arthiritis at the base of my spine, i am really scared because i was not diagnosed till august (05) that i had prolapsed disks, i was given physio, and it made it worse, i have been on co-codromal, and diclofenic and amitriptahline (can't spell it sorry, hope you know what i mean), they gave me crutches when my incident first happened, and i am still on them now, my right leg has lost all it's strength and like hellsbells i can hardly walk, i'll be lucky if i can walk for 15 mins at a time without having to sit down because of the pain.
    Originally i was told that i had to have an operation to remove 2 prolapsed disks, and then i would be in hospital for 3 weeks to gain control and to ween me off the crutches, but on the 28th december i was called into hospital, because another doctor had taken a look at me MRI, he said i had also got arthiritus, therefore i could not have the operation because it would leave me paralayzed, i've never spoke about how scared i am because i don't know anybody who it has happened to, i finally get a decision on monday -13th march 06, this will decide if i can have the operation, and this will decide if the arthiritus has spread to not allow me to have the operation, any words of advice? I'm constantly in alot of pain, all the time and it never seems to go down ever, it always there whether i'm sat down, stood up, lay down etc, it's getting to the point where the doctor has told me that he is waiting for me to lose my bladder control?! What am i meant to think?
    please help?..

    *SpookyAngel*

    *edit: i was in pain since march/april before i was diagnosed*
     
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  6. DHW

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Spooky Angel,

    I'm sorry you're having such a terrible ordeal at such a young age, but have heart! Has the doctor offered cortisone injections and exercise? Here's how my soccer injury stacked up 4 years ago:

    - 4 prolapsed discs (L1-L2, L3-L4, L4-L5 and L5-S1)
    -2 ruptured discs (L3-L4 thru L4-L5)
    -1 degenerated disc(L5-S1)
    - Severe arthritisin lumbar region
    - Muscular trauma to the left and right spinal lumbar, left buttocks and left hamstring
    - Irritation (mild shredding?) of the spinal cord in lumbar region
    - Closing of foramina at several points

    The doctor was amazed that I was coherent and able to walkbut failed to offer any alternatives to surgery. Because of my violent reactions to anesthesia in the past, I went elsewhere and found a group of doctors willing to try a conservative approach. After 7 months, various types of seizure medication, 3 cortisone injections (the last a caudle cather), and daily intensive exercise andstretchingregimen, I was playing my first soccer game! I wasn't really running yet, but I was out there kicking the ball and wincing at every turn.I remained dedicated to rehabilitation despite the naysayers. My father-in-law, who's had back surgery for a lesser injury, cannot believe my recovery has been so thorough.

    I have been told my case is miraculous if not insane! To this day, I cannot do a single sit-up and there are morning I cannot stand up straight. But after a few exercises I'm good to go. I've looked into surgery now that my body's in great shape an I'm not stressed out, but two othorpaedicsurgeons have suggested I keep going.

    If you haven't been offered substantial alternatives to surgery, look for another doctor. I'd hate to think they haven't tried something between oral meds and surgery.
     
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  7. SpookyAngel

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    See now this doctor i am seeing on monday will be my third, possibly fourth opinion on this matter, the difference between this doctor and the rest is that he's meant to be in the top five, (i think anyway, i can't remember if it was 5 or 10) of britains best doctors, he works in alot of hospitals and thats why my other doctors have referred me to him, A) because he is a surgeon himself so if they do decide to operate he'll do it, and B) because where i live there is no more specialist doctors, i would have to go to swansea or Gobowen to see another doctor.

    Your case does seem to be a miracle, but the different is i don't have enough get up and fight left in me, it's slowly been worn down by the way the doctors have treated me and slowly by incidents and school etc ( taking A-levels).
    You make it sound so easy and i don't have enough left in anymore, it's been like this for a year but took them half at that to actually diagnose me with anything!..
    I guess what i'm saying is that everybody deals with these things differently, i trusted doctors and i just think that i haven't got the proper treatment i needed, but then i'm sure that i am not the only person who feels this way.

    Thanks for advice though!
    *SpookyAngel*
     
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  8. DHW

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Here's towishing you the best, Spooky Angel.My heart and my prayers go out to you.

    It was not easy to get through the worst of the back pain. There were manytimes I nearly gave up. And it's still frustrating when I need to work on the farm but hesitate for fear of re-injuring my back.

    The worst pain I've ever hadwas due toreaction to anesthesia. I honestly thought I'd died and gone to hell -- the pain was that bad.On a scale of 1-10,my back pain was a 6, and the reaction was more than 10!

    That's what kept me from having surgery. It wasn't just stubbornness or determination, it was fear of even greater pain. Recently, an anesthesiologist told me I should have died from the reaction, and that I was the firstsurvivor to ever describe the pain succinctly.

    Please keep this forum informed about your progess.

    All the best.
     
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  9. biggazfromlincoln

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Hi all, just had a quick read of this thread, I recently read an article about a new(ish) technique, which involved removal of cells from damaged disks, their enhancement in lab conditions and subsequent reintroduction into same disks, this was happening in germany and the article was in the guardian I believe, watch this space I will dig it out and post it here within a few days. Incidently results were very favourable in comparison to surgical procedures,
    all the best
    gaz
     
  10. prolaps

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Aaah,lovely to hear a positive story! :)

    Don't know if you're active here any more,Hellbells, but I would be thrilled to hear how your progress has gone!
     
  11. fortunatefool

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    I had surgery on a prolapsed L5/S1 5 days ago.....and despite a bit of soreness around the wound area i am feeling very positive and glad that i went ahead dispite all the scare stories i had read on the web...sometimes you can do to much research.

    As a result of a riding accident 15 years ago and a car accident 8 years ago i had been experiencing back problems from time to time untill 2 years ago when it started to really effect my quality of life (and that of my childrens) at which point i went to my gp.

    The prolapsed disc was trapping my sciatic nerve so much so that i could not feel my toes in my left leg. Its a very strange kind of pain and i can only describe it as having a perminant severe migraine in your leg!

    After trying several different treatments including drug therapy, (low dose amitriptylineworks wonders)physio and £400 on alternative therapies i was referred to a consultant at my local RJAH Othopeadic Hosp, Oswestry. I was lucky enough to only have to wait 11 months from referral point to surgery ( inlcuding time waiting for a MRI scan).

    5 days post op...so far so good.Im pottering around the house and driving the kids mad as usuall. There is some discomfort around the lower back area due to the muscle tissue being moved around etc but on the whole i feel good and positive. I cant sit for very long, stretch, bend or lift (common sense really after surgery) but I have a lot more mobility than i thought i would have and i even managed a short walk around the park yesterday on my crutches.Ultimately, i no longer have a that pain/tightness/migraine down my left leg.

    If your considering a discectomy and are unsure of what to do the only advice i can give is NOT to do too much research, theresA LOT of negativity out thereon the World Wide Wobble.

    I suppose you haveto ask yourself the question: Can you spendthe next 15 years living like this?For me, at only 33 the answerwas no, and im glad i went ahead with the discectomy. Watch this space.....:D

    Anyway, thats my rant over, like hellsbells i just wanted to post some positivity!

    P.s if anyone has any post op advice and id be interested in hearing it.
     
  12. prolaps

    prolaps
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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Thanks for your story fortunatefool! Please report in any further progress :)
     
  13. Somasensing

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    [link=http://www.spine-health.com]www.spine-health.com[/link] is a great place for information about spinal surgery etc. Just a quickie, not only am I a health professional, BUT I've hadissues with a disc prolapse problem for many years since a skiing accident. However, flexibility and strengthening, positive thinking, relaxation / meditationand activity work every time for me and my clients. Good luck all, and may you all naturally heal, as nature grows you.

    Jill
     
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  14. fortunatefool

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Update.....

    3 months post-op and the news is still good.I went back to work after 3 weeks (using lots of common sense by not lifting, listening to your body etc)I had the all clear from my surgeon @ 6 weeks. For the lastmonth i have been able tostart to gradually getfit again by swimming 40 lengths2-3 times a weekand by walking a few miles every other day. Both of which i was unable to do this time last year. Happy days!

    Still abit stiff first thing in a morning, but that wears off after a while, usually by getting mobile. Have had to get rid of my orthopaedic mattress and replace it with a memory foam one as i was waking up battered and bruised from sleeping on such a hard surface (I recommend the silent night memory contour).

    Ohthe whole i feel motivated, postive and better than i have done in over 2 years. My physical health is good and therefor my mental health has improvedlots too!My head isno longer in that fog caused by so many painkillers etc. Life is good! :)
     
  15. Hellsbells

    Hellsbells
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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Hi Prolaps

    I'm still around

    Fortunately as my surgery went well and my recovery was fairly straightforward I tend not to log on as much as I used to ;)

    I still have slight numbness in one butt cheek (Please excuse me) but it doesn't bother me in the slightest and can be quite handy on a cold toilet seat, sometimes I get a slight twinge/numbness in my leg where I used to get the sciatica, but I have not had any back pain or sciatica since my op - What a relief !

    Had a couple of months off work to ensure i had healed properly & not a day off since (Nearly 2 years ago I had my op)

    I'm sorry that reading on the forums that for some people surgery hasn't worked out but it is a common operation and there are so few positive stories on the forums, I think people must just forget to update their positive news as they're too busy getting on with their new pain free life.

    I would just like to say Hi and thankyou to everyone who has contacted me on here & privately; i hope that those of youwho like me had no otherchoice but to have surgery are all doing well and stay positive through the pain....I know it's hard !!!!


    Hellsbells :)
    xxx
     
  16. syron

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Just seen this older thread and am really happy I've found it as I have a prolapsed disc/discs and have done for 3 months now. Finally been seen by a consultant who has offered an MRI (a months wait) and Physio (10 weeks wait). I can't leave the house or put weight on my left leg as the pain is awful. I have a severe allergy to codedine so I am on no painkillers. The only thing offered by the consultant is an epidural (2 week wait) (had one for childbirth but anyone had one for their back?) so constant pain, sleeping upright on my sofa as I can't lay down for, oh an hour or so at a time, followed by moving to get comfy (HA). It is nice to see others out there with positive outcomes.
     
  17. Hellsbells

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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Hi Syron,

    Glad you found my thread helpful, I remember being in your situation trawling the net for answers and being totally frustrated with what i found on the search engines.ie NOTHING MUCH.
    My advice is still the same, surgery should be a last choice. tried everything recommended by my doctors, chiropracters, surgeon etc only when I felt I had exhausted all options and with no improvement after 18 monthsdid i opt for surgery which was recommended after my MRI scan showed my disc had prolapsed.

    I know of a couple of friends who also have had disc problems who improved through physioand did not need surgery. I also know of two others who are suffering like I did and so difficult to offer advise as every situation/injury is different.
    The thought of physio or traction still makes my blood run cold, I could never walk afterwards and usually ended up with a week in bed. (Seeing numerous practitioners both private and NHS)

    In response to your question regarding epidurals, I have heard a number of people who have had these, however I was only offered one once when I had to call the emergency doctor after I had a form of spasm and couldnt move my lower half at all. Unfortunately for me as I had taken some Diazepam before he came he would not allow it, but i believe they give you some form of relief for a period of time.
    Anway good luck with your recovery I hope you dont require the extreme measures that I took however in my situation it was the right descision for me, i had reached the end of my tether.

    Fingers crossed that you get sorted without the need for surgery, in the meantime surely your doctor can recommend a painkiller that isnt codeine based??

    Keep moving !

    P.S. looking at the amount of hits this thread has had it looks like there's quite a few of us around......:(

    Best regards
    Hellsbells
    3 years painfree :)
     
  18. Marshal

    Marshal
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    RE: Prolapsed disc - Ive just had Surgery

    Hi all, I must say I can see light at the end of the tunnel after reading some of the possitive results from your back probs.
    I was at home the other day and after never having had a back prob at all, I collapsed in agony in the loo of all places, my daughters helped me to bed but when my wie attempted to sit me up, I nearly screamed the roof down in pain.
    Ambulance took me to Hospital and after much pain meds, I was able to get up and walk so they sent me home with adiagnosis of muscle spasm.
    Later that night my inside knee and thigh went numb and I lost aprox 40% muscle strength to the samethigh (quad muscles). GP followed up with a ct scan and x-ray which confirmed degeneration in lumber region of vertebrae and prolapsed disc at L3-L4 level.
    He reffered me to a nuerosurgeon for follow up prognosis and suggested treatment plan, I am yet to see him but I am very anxiuos about it all.
    I can walk ok but pain on getting up or sitting down, especially from car seat, can't stand for more than 10 - 20 min due to pain build up around knee.
    I wish you all great speed in your recoveries asmost of you sound like you are in a more severe condition than I am, none the less I am extremely worriedabout my future.

    Regards to all, Marsh. 49 yo male.
     
  19. Joy Brown

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    Hi All,
    I am a very newbie person! I will probably have to have a prolaps op on my lower back.First step is to have an updated M.R.I. scan then see a surgeon i am 58 years old so it will be a lot harder for me but i shall overcome all this as i am fed up with all this pain which i have had for at least 3years. By reading Hellsbells Threads i feel a lot better,thank you . Joy
     
  20. idawn

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    Hi all,

    Have been reading all the posts.
    I had my L5/S1 disectomy done Jan 07 due to equina cauda syndrome starting. My prolapse happened due to arthritis in my spine. After I had a MRI done urgently I was operated on within 3 weeks. I had no use of my left leg at all but upon waking up from the op, I could actually move my foot again which was great, however, although the surgery sorted out the prolapse, I am still in constant pain daily and it is driving me mad!!! I feel GP no use as all he says is 'what do you expect at your age with arthritis (age 43!). He has referred me to physio as I have never had any.
    What do you think I can do to help myself though? I am also doing an aromatherapy course at the moment and this I feel is aggravating it although my tutor reckons my posture is ok. I am feeling really down with constant pain with it not only in my back but I have OA in my knees, one of which has very limited movement due to septic arthritis 7 years ago plus RA in my hands.:(
     

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