Got to have surgery I am devastated

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After having been off work for 3 months , I have a slipped disc and went hospital yesterday. And they told me there referring me to see a surgeon. All I done is cry I really hope it get better by itself and it is a bit better then what it was . But as soon as I try and do things I can feel it and then makes it hard to do things .... my question is the lady said there's 2 options the injection and something else . I was so upset I didn't get all info , so does anyone have a idea what be the best to go for ? Am just praying for a miracle that this goes before surgery

Thanxs

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna,

    I assume that it is at the bottom of your back.

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    • Posted

      I don't know all I know the pain runs down just under me bum all the way down me leg I have no reflex back me ankle . And sometimes me hip hurts as well , I did have it in me bum but it's gone from there . I was in such a state yesterday 3 months I had this and it stopped me life .

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    • Posted

      Yes think it is , so today I tided me kitchen put a wash on and just potterd about. Now it feels like I irratated it as the pain there and feel a burning at the back of me leg , question is they said I won't do anymore damage by doing things . Is this right ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna

      I think that it oversimplifying things. Certain activities put more pressure on the disc than usual.

      Bending

      Lifting (especially when leaning forward)

      Twisting

      Sitting (especially when leaning forward with poor posture)

      The extra pressure on the disc can, over time, cause more deterioration in the disc. Indeed you will have heard of people saying they picked up a bag of shipping, "something went" and they ended up making their condition noticeablely worse.

      Also more of these activities cause the disc to briefly bulge as you move. That's natural but when you do, that bulging is now into the nerve as it exits your spine. That contact will cause irritation of the nerve. Steroids and anti inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help, steroids much more powerfully. But the effect is usually only temporary as the contact between disc and nerve will cause the cycle to repeat later. That does allow you to get on with physio in the weeks of relief that you can get from steroids.

      So some activities won't help, but you can't just stop everything either as that will cause your spinal muscles to weaken which destabilises the spine and then you get more unhealthy movement around the disc and things get worse from there.

      So it's a balance. Keep to safe movements as much as you can, do physio, core strength exercises and lots of walking.

      Hth!

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your advice , think am trying a lot harder then normal because I don't want surgery and in me mind am thinking of I do more. Then it go and when I go see surgeon I won't need surgery ( wishful thinking me thinks lol )

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna

    Very sorry to hear you are feeling so bad. Surgery is not the best outcome. Of course we all want to spring back without any major intervention. But if you are scheduled for microdiscectomy then this is not as bad as you think. It is very common surgery and most people have good or very good outcomes. Put it this way, Tiger Woods is back to playing professional golf after 2 hernia related surgeries, and Ed Clancy,  a winner of a gold Cycling gold medal in the olympics had a microd in December last year, Indeed he won a gold medal at the world champs 3 months after surgery!

    Having disc problems does mean you will have to invest time and effort into looking after the health of your back (doing lots of healthy activities and avoiding bad ones) for the foreseeable future, but long term, that has its advantages. If you are in for fusion then that will be more limiting, but most times that is not what people have, certainly not first time, and most never need it.

    So, while it's no walk in the park, and doing you recovery right is really key (expect that to take 3-12 months), you will more than likely get past this and get your life back in the time, albeit you will be a little old and wiser, and with a tighter set of core muscles :p

    HTH. 

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  • Posted

    Sorry I should just add that people do avoid surgery as well, but it depends on your exact problem.

    The steroid injection you are being offered will bring down inflammation on your nerve but that is usually a short term fix.

    One route to avoiding surgery that can sometimes work is the injection followed by a lot of physio and work on your core muscles, and really a lot. This can give you more strength and muscles to suppport your spine. Over time, the disk herniation can sometimes right itself as the excessive load is taken off the disc. That can takes months to happen but still worth a shot to avoid surgery. I had a friend who managed this but by the end of six months he was doing hundreds of crunches and other abs and back exercises to achieve this. I don't know if that is typical but I think my point is that it's a substantial undertaking and the pain will take a while to go away.

    Resting and waiting will definitely not work.

    hth

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply , oh am not completely resting I know when I done enough. Am not the type of person to just lay here , I can't sit for long periods and this causes pain. I also tried drive me car the other day , and had to pull over and let me friend drive as got pins and needles down me leg.... I am praying that this goes before surgery and I will do more exercise then I done before . What's the chances of me getting that wish . Also if I do have have injection do you know how long recovery time is . I wanna go back to work

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna

      Re the injection, the recovery time is quick. You could be back to work in a day or two. The prodedure is not nice but it's quick and to be honest, I had worse trips to the dentist!

      Re the physio route to recovery, I can't tell your chances of success. It is likely that whatever you do will help a bit, but I don't think anybody would tell you for sure if it will work or not. 

      Unless you have a really bad herniation most doctors will want you to try that route first. I could not as by the time my herniation was diagnosed, it had ruptured badly after falling off my bike and the disc fluid was all around the nerve causing massive inflammation to the point that I was losing motor function in my calf. Surgery was my only option.

      If you are not already, get yourself the best physio you can find who has lots of experience of herniated discs, and then get ready for a programme of exercises and physio to build up your back and abs muscles. Bear I mind, most people start this process with very weak muscles. That is often why they end up with disc problems. I was a very fit and strong cyclist before this hit me, but I had a rubbish weak core and spent much too much time at my desk without breaks. My disc could take the pressure and went wrong.

      You will surprised at how much strength you can build by daily doing the right exercises. Start slow but aim to make it a part of your daily routine day and night. Its an investment and it will pay dividends. Even if you do end up having surgery, having your core in good shape will make your recovery faster and reduce the risk of reherniation.

       

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    • Posted

      I have found that really simple yoga stretches are good but only the beginners kind of thing and only a few at a time.
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  • Posted

    Hi donna 

                  i can understand your devastation ... slipped discs are not nice ... the spine supports the majority of your body so a slipped disc will affect many parts ( allthough each disc and its effects differ from person to person ) 

                   slipped discs can also affect specific parts of your body .. i have 3 slipped discs and the thorasic (T6) disc affects my left side ( feels like a band around my chest to my solar plexis ) ... the 2 other problems are lumbar which affect the hip,bum and legs .. my arm is also affected but not to such a degree 

                    i have asked about surgery but been told its only avalible if i become incontinent... but you seemed to have got the option for surgery with just the single slipped disc 

                   however surgery is 99% safe .... most of the time a small incision is made and the disc is cut away stopping the pain ... however there are a miniscule percentage of people that even the surgery fails ... 

                  the injection is another option which can either be cortocosteroid or a nerve block ( which blocks the nerve pain signals that cause the pain ) ... but injections will need to be administered on a regular basis 

                 you need to state what you want ...and you need to know all about the procedue you choose ...

                   i wish you all the best in whatever you choose 

                                best regards 

                                         brian 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying , have wait for letter to see surgeon said be about 2 weeks . Think am gonna try and push me self a bit more in the way of exercise. ..... I know am more lucky then most that suffer with this , it's awful how restricted you are

      Hope your a lot better now

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    • Posted

      Can I just add a slight note of caution here, just for balance.

      Surgery has it's downsides and risks. The op is routine but it's far from trivial when it comes to recovery. The success rates generally quoted are 90%. However certain post op things can mean you have a "non perfect" recovery shall we say. These include re-herniation (where the disc just herniated again causing the original symptoms again), or you can get trouble with scar tissue. The latter is tricky. Scar tissue is inevitable from surgery. Usually it does not cause any trouble but if there is a lot of it (usually due to big herniation being fixed, or sometimes due personal disposition, sometimes just bad luck) then it can stick to the nerve and hold the nerve fixed when the nerve wants to move around as you move around. This causes stiffness, inflammation and pain, sometimes this can't be fixed. This has happened to me a bit. I am getting through it but slowly.

      Aaaanyway, just saying. Surgery is usually fine but it's not a sure thing.

      @Brian, that sounds brutally unfair that you can't get surgery until you have bowel problems. That would literally be the end stage of spinal problems. If are a good case for surgery, uou deserve to get it to relieve pain and help you work etc. Can you shop around doctors or hospitals to see if you can get a second opinion?

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    • Posted

      thanks micheal for your kind words .... im pretty unhappy with my own gp ... basically because ive never been a "arghh this is hurting so bad" person and appear ok to most people they assume ( inc my doctor ) that my symptoms are not too bad and i can live with them 

                however as a ex soldier and physically fit person im finding it harder and harder to cope with the symptoms that slipped discs give you ....may i add i also had a methadone addiction which im free off now but the post addiction symptoms on top of the slipped discs have made life completely different ... basically ive gone from a good place to a different place ( i wont use the word "bad" as its not that bad ) 

                 essentially there are two types of patients ... people like me who have allways had the thinking "just get on with it " and then theres the patients who want all the treatement and attention even with minor conditions ....

                 i also dont want to lay it on too bad to the doctor as i may get labbeled a hyprocondriac .... 

                in regards to shopping around doctors well in the uk once your in a surgery then you cant really go to another 

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna, first of all I know how you feel, I was so scared when I was told I would have to have an operation after my Mri scan as it was so bad but here I am 6 months later, with out having an operation and pain free, I was due to have the injection but didn't even need that in the end and I had a very large herniated disc which was pressing on all of my nerves, not leaving much room in my spinal canal, couldn't sit, sleep, couldn't drive my car, couldn't even look down at one point, couldn't do anything and this lasted for over a year, but I just done some gentle, simple stretches after googling my condition and they have helped me so much. There are exercises you shouldn't do as it can make it worse, anything that causes pain stop doing it, don't lift anything heavy and change how you bend when picking stuff up. Have you had an MRI scan? 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying , that's really good that you didn't have to have surgery. I also Google exercises for slipped disc I have and I been doing them. As I really don't want surgery , I had a mri scan so they know it's a slipped disc. I see physio Friday and still don't have no reflex at back me ankle and be coz it hasn't gone in 3 months . She said next option surgery so am just waiting for letter to see surgeon which take 2 weeks . So am trying more harder then I was to see if I can get completely better and not have surgery

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    • Posted

      Well I really hope the exercises help you and hopefully you dont have to have the surgery, I still have part numbness down the back of my leg, around my ankle, side of foot and baby toe but can live with that. I saw a doctor just before Christmas who said about having surgery even though I'm not in pain? which I don't understand as another doctor said surgery would be the very last option and that was when I was in alot of pain? Lol So Just dont feel pressured into having an op as I don't think 3 months is really that long, and you say your not in that much pain so try everything else first, course I haven't seen your MRI results so I guess it depends what that says, just don't rush into anything unless you really have to, hope everything goes well with you, keep us updated 😊

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    • Posted

      3 months to me has been a nightmare , haven't been able to drive me car or go a work . And house work a nightmare , but I understand what your saying to me it's made me house bound. Which has been dredfull , have rested a lot today as yesterday think I over done it . Sometimes I think it's gone then it reminds me it's still there , seemed to have bit of burning and pins and needles a lot last few days so don't know what that is . But thank you for advice it's been nice to chat to ppl that had this

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    • Posted

      Oh sorry I didn't mean it like that lol I know 3 months is a very long time especially when your in pain. My symptoms would change every week, I would get the burning, pins and needles, numbness, really bad aching pain in the bottom of my foot. I think the burning is where it's inflamed? and the pins and needles is where the nerves are being pressed on I think? Maybe your doing too much? You just need to do gentle stretches. Are you taking medication to try and help get the inflammation down

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    • Posted

      Yea they gave me so many tablets at first didn't know we're I was but I got a antidepressant which is meant be good . My concern of that is iam already on one anti depressed . Am taking ibrophen cocodams and if am really bad they gave me tramadol. Sorry for bothering ya , but I started getting pain in the front of me shin now is that a good sign as all me pain been at back of me leg me lower back bum etc . So this pain in me shin new and am not sure why ?

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna

      Pain at the front or side of the leg will likely not be directly related to the nerve problem in the back, unless you have problems with your quad as well. However I did go through a phase of this when my leg was weak. I think it as due to the muscles at the side having to compensate for the weakness of the calf muscles at the back.

      Those are quite a few meds. If you have not already, I would definitely ask your doctor about combining two antidepressants, especially as Tramadol has a mild antidepressant affect as well, so that kinda makes 3!. Also I found coming of Tramadol very tough mentally. Withdrawal caused me lots of depression and anxiety attacks for several weeks so if you do reduce your dose, I think you might want to do it slowly, and if you start feeling bad mentally, then that might be the reason. Cocodamol can also cause dependency so watch out for that.

      Ibuprofen is good. It is not addictive or psychoactive but it will blitz your stomach if you take a lot. I was on 2400mg a day at my highest! I took something called Pantoprazol with it. That reduces your stomach acid production to avoid stomach problems when taking Ibuprofen.

      It does strike me that the combination of your months of life limiting pain as well as reliance on meds with their own side effects, you might actually find yourself better after surgery. But I AM NOT A DOCTOR and have a tiny handful of facts so that is just a half blind hunch. But as Anglosaxon says, surgery can work really well.

      I think the exercises are still important to you as your back will need that fitness and stability with or without surgery but I would not see having surgery as "losing the battle". It may be your most effective way to recovery.

      Re the flare ups from overdoing exercises, I have learned the hard way about this, over and over! But what I have learned is

      - if it hurts, stop

      - if you are going to start doing a new exercise, do it once in the day and only a few reps, then wait and see how you feel the rest of the day and the next day. If all is well, then build up gradually over time

      - keep a checklist of your exercises to complete each day and pin it on the fridge, then tick off each exercise each day. Pat yourself on the back when the next week, you can write a new checklist with a few more reps for one or more of the exercises 

      HTH!

       

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    • Posted

      Such great advice Michael , this pain in me shin as just come on today . Never had before I also have tablets to go with ibrophen coz know of the stomach prob's that go with them pills. Also I try not take tramadol as I know how bad it is , and yes your right I should listen to when I done enough . I didn't yesterday was in a pin and still carried on coz I thought be best to do . AND no it wasn't coz I paid all nite for it and today not been able to do much . Am still trying to understand what's this is all about and taken me a while , I wake up and it feels it's not there and then it let's me know it is . Now this shin pain has me concerned coz I don't know of its connected and me hip been hurting a bit . I am very grateful for everyone that's commented on me post it really is helping me . As apart from everyone on here no one seems to understand , got to go into me work tomorrow for a meeting I guess it's just see what's happening and when I be back . Which that I don't know yet

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    • Posted

      I agree very good advice from Michael, I would have said the same thing about the pain in your shin and hip and that your other muscles are probably compensating for the ones that are not doing their job properly. I was even getting pins and needles and numbness in the back of my shoulder blade at one point that lasted for at least 2 months which I think now I think about it was because I was walking and sitting differently. Also good advice with the exercises, and if it hurts stop doing it.  
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    • Posted

      Also I got one of them coccyx seat cushions for my car which I wouldn't be without now and also have a cushion for my back which makes a big difference, in fact I have cushions everywhere now even in bed lol they help so much with support 😊

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