Feeling defeated.

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I had a l4-l5 discectomy in April. All my pain was in my right leg, but numbness in both, it's not been an easy journey, I was doing well though. Only recently I've been getting pain in my left leg, this is new to me. I am on 90mg of slow release morphine, 1,400mg of gabapentin a day already. I've been told to make an emergency appointment at the gp to request an mri. I am scared, so so scared. I was immobile before my surgery, so I have improved, I can't go back there. I have 3 damaged discs, only the 1 had herniated. I'm only 25, I shouldn't be going through this. I guess I'm just looking for words of encouragement, advice, your own stories.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sinead. I'm going through a simular situation. I'm currently on my 3rd week on the sick from work. I have a herniated disc at the bottom of my spine. This happened in April of last year, I have no idea how it happened, I just woke up with severe back pain. I persevered with the pain for 10 weeks before going to the doctors as I'd read most back pain goes on its own within this time(i'd never hear of herniated discs etc). From July to September I was back and forth the doctors, they just handed out different painkillers freely, giving no inclination as to why I was in pain or what was causing it. By September I was having pain in my left leg, from my back to my foot and a kind of dragging feeling in my lower abdominal. I now realise i must have had a bulge and it was highly likely near this time it must have ruptured. I myself came to the conclusion it could be women's problems (simular symptoms) Again back to the drs requesting a scan. October came and I decided to pay private for the scan as the pain was hiking up, the results were all clear. I went back to the doctors and they prescribed amatriptyline to take with the naproxen I'd previously been prescribed, diagnosed sciatica and referred me for an Mri scan telling me I could wait up to a year. Come the end of November the pain had intensified and I was prescribed gabapentin as the other meds did nothing. By December I could hardly walk I had to go on the sick from work so decided to pay private for an Mri, costing £500. I couldn't wait any longer in that pain. The report said a large herniation causing compression on nerves and stated I needed to be referred to a back surgeon.Based on the result my gp referred me as urgent. I had an appointment in April, I saw a practitioner from the Cmats team not a surgeon!!. My pain had eased by this point so he referred me for physio. By June I was in agony again, right leg this time. I arranged an emergency appointment back with the practitioner, who said he'd refer me to a neurosurgeon. So we are now end of September, I've had no physio (I couldn't manage it in this amount of pain anyway!!!) No offer of pain injections, have not seen a surgeon and no doubt have many more months of waiting!!! Like you im taking a ridiculous amount of tablets(Naproxen, Pregabalin, dihydrocodeine and paracetamol)which don't take away the pain (due to up pregabalin) I'm at the end of my tether!! You know yourself how debilitating this condition is. I feel we are just left to suffer in agony. I feel like cutting my leg off.

    Are you in the UK? I was wondering how long you waited before finally getting surgery and if your leg pain went or eased at all afterwards? Ask your gp about pregabalin(lyrica) instead of the gabapentin, apparently they work better for a lot of people. The gabapentin can't be working for you at the dose your taking? They didn't help me.

    Did the surgeon say there was a high chance of the damaged discs bulging or herniating? I really feel for you, 5 months after surgery hoping to be better and still being in pain!!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. Reading your story I really feel for you, you haven't had the help you need or deserve. I would honestly keep going back to the gp and beg for an urgent referral to a orthopaedic surgeon. You'll most likely need a discectomy / microdiscectomy. You've had this condition far too long.

      I am in the UK, South Wales. I was very lucky that my Dr actually specialises in orthopaedics, he could see my progression in pain, and realised the severity of my condition and called the surgeon himself that very morning. By the afternoon I had a phone call to book a meeting with him the following week (only 4 or 5 days to wait). It took about a month from there to have my surgery. I started getting really bad in Feb, I spent a week in hospital for pain management and had an injection directly into my nerve ending before being sent home. I was basically immobile for the 2 months. I could let sit, stand, or even lie down properly, it was hell with 3 children.

      I am seeing my gp shortly, unfortunately I have a new gp since I have moved and worry things won't move along now. But I will press for answers.

      Take care of yourself

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    • Posted

      Where did you have your operation, Cardiff? If so which hospital? I've been told I would be referred to a surgeon in Cardiff. Maybe I could chase my referral myself if I knew which hospital. I have recently changed doctors due to closure of my surgery. They haven't got my notes on their system yet. You are lucky that you got treated so quickly, I was starting to lose hope in the NHS. I've been in so much pain I've looked into paying private but the injections cost neigh on £2,000 and the op £10,000 I can't afford that. I'm definitely taking out private health care after this.

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    • Posted

      Oh gosh, I'm lucky my son is grown up (I'm 36) I could not imagine trying to take care of children in this amount of pain, ive actually thought that numerous times. I have been to a+e in tears and they didn't want to know, they just said all they could do was give me Cocodamol which at the time I was already taking. They just sent me home. I've literally been to gp in tears, they've not admitted me to get help with pain. I'm in tears everyday sometimes having to crawl about the house.

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    • Posted

      I had mine at Newport, I live near the Severn Bridge. What a coincidence that we are both in south Wales! I was extremely lucky. I have heard it can take up to a year for this type of surgery depending on where you are. Newport is notorious for its terrible waiting times. I think wales in general have long waiting times, mostly above average. I am lucky if I was desperate for the surgery, I think my mother in law would offer to help. She has offered to pay for different treatments for me before. Maybe look into prolatherapy, I am going to look into it again
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    • Posted

      That sounds awful! I can't get my head around how little care you have received. I went to A&E, and just kept explaining I couldn't cope. I was on morphine already so there wasn't much more for them to do

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  • Posted

    I had a microdisectomy in the Vale;cost me £6,800. Well worth it after 5 months of agony.

    My suggestion at this point would be to read as much as you can about Mckenzie exercises and Pelvic tilt or find a physio who is trained in these areas; they are not too difficult.  

    Both assist in rebalancing the muscle joints and pushing the disc buldge back into place. If your disc has prolapsed then you may well need an op.You ll be waiting 2 years on the NHS in Wales or less than a month private.

    Dr. Yoav Suprun delivers an excellent utube seminar on behalf of the Mckenzie Institute; Understanding Lower Back Pain and Sciatica.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. I don't think private would be an option for me, unless relatives are willing to help. But I don't think I would want to be a burden. I've done physio before and after surgery, we've worked on tilting my pelvis, and trying to strengthen my core. I want to believe I'll get better, but I don't see it happening

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