I'm having prolapsed disc surgery- any advice??

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after having 2 prolapsed discs (L3 and L4) for 2 and a half years, and after seeing no improvements through many other possible rememdies (physio, acupuncture, epidurals, rest, massage, pilates etc.) , I've been told I need back surgery. I'm only 17 and so in a way, am quite relieved about having teh surgery as this injury has had a huge impact on my life. However, i've never had surgery before and so am quite nervous/scared about 1)the actual act of the surgical procedure and 2) the recovery process after surgery.

If anyone has had this or similar surgery I would really appreciate any words of advice or comfort!

Thank you, Rachael smile

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    make sure the surgeon is a good one. but seriously it is invasive surgery but important to be done in order that you can move about better in the long run.  I hope it works out ok for you and you are running around in no time.

    Richard

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    • Posted

      Yes, I have one of the best surgeons around and thankfully I got in with him in time as he's now stopped taking on patients due to him being in too much demand! Quite reassuring! Have you had the surgery yourself?
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  • Posted

    no I haven't I am still in pretty good shape thanks but it sounds like you will be fine.

    All the best let me know how it goes.

    Richard

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  • Posted

    Hi rachaelh97,

    Sorry to hear about your back pain and after 2 & a half years you must be really fed-up. You say you have 2 prolapsed discs at L3/L4 which you will be having surgery to resolve? Have you been told what procedure you'll be under-going? If you post the info', I may better be able to help you on the questions regarding the procedure and the recovery process. Have had L5/S1 micro-disectomy and will shortly be having further surgery for prolapsed L4, L5 (again) and Spondylolisthesis; medical Mechano and laminectomy but, like you, have a great Consultant and he's positive that following the procedure I will have a 75% immediate reduction in pain and back driving within 3 weeks =) I was back driving within 2 weeks following the micro-disectomy and had no pain after recovering from the actual procedure. Started physio' within 8 weeks and had full nerve sensitivity return within 9 months as witnessed by my Podiatrist as my feet were tickelish once more!

    My current problem is caused by my vertebrae slipping forward causing a bit of a collapse and doesn't detract from the previous surgery whatsoever. Let me know what procedure you're facing and I'll try to help you in any way I can.

    Best wishes,

    Kimb63

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    • Posted

      Wow sounds like you've ahd a pretty busy time! I'm afraid i don't actually know the name of the surgery itself but i do know that they'll be making an incision in my lower back through the muscle and will be trimming off the swollen edges of both discs which are penetrating the nerve.. if that helps at all? sorry!

      That sounds really good though, the recovery period! I'm in college at the moment, doing my A2's so am worried about missing too much college time! The thing im annoyed about is that my NHS service doesnt provide any follow up recovery service like physio or check ups or anything.

      Thank you for all teh info, very helpful!

      Rachael x

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    • Posted

      Sorry for not getting back to you before now. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that it is a micro-disectomy which, although fairly intense, has a much shorter recovery time. As with all op's with the back, they have to cut through the muscle to access the spine. However, this repairs itself relatively quickly & will get stronger with gentle exercise. You should be referred to physio' after 6-8 weeks & If you are unsure, ask your GP! As for going to the loo, if you are given codine, ask for some lactulose as well smile While codine is excellent for pain relief it is renowned for causing constipation which you REALLY do not need after an op' on your back! The nerve 'memory' takes significantly longer to repair, usually 6-8 months. As with all things, each procedure carries an inherent risk however, if you're in agony this usually balances out. You should be able to return to your studies pretty quickly as it's things like lifting, bending/stretching which are to be refrained from for 6-8 wks. Just be good to yourself & listen to your body. With regards to scarring, if you have a friend who's into Aromatherapy, a blend which contains carrot oil, lavender & geranium not only smells gorgeous, but is great at healing. Otherwise, invest in some Bio-Oil  and, after the dressing is taken off, apply at least twice daily.

      Whatever happens, I wish you the very best for a successful procedure & a speedy recovery.

      Best wishes, 

      Kimb63

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  • Posted

    You seem too young to suffer this type of surgical incision and permanent internal and external scarring, which for 2 discs will be extensive. You should ask them about an endoscopic discectomy, which is a very small incision for each disc (c.1 cm each), as opposed to the several inch scar which will be left down the middle of your back with the traditional, more old-fashioned operation. The cut muscles, I believe (I veered away from this op. myself) will be very, very painful post op. and (I'm told, no personal experience myself) cutting through 2 discs worth of muscles could make going to the loo a bit difficult immediately after the op. Having 2 discs done at the same time must be arduous.

    However, having said all that, pain is a horrible, debilitating thing and only you can judge whether it's worth it. Just go into it having a full picture of everything, so to speak. It should work (at least for the first decade or so) but there are no guarantees, unfortunately.

     

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  • Posted

    Hi I've had 3 discectomys , you will have 2 weeks rest then u can start walking around properly but don't do to much or the operation will be a waste of time , let your back have time to rest .
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  • Posted

    My niece is hoping for surgery, for lower disc problems. She has been putting it off for years, as she had to drive her son to school, then College. He has just past his driving test so he can take himself.  How long a wait after you first put in for the operation. She has always worked hard, probably why she has this condition.
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    • Posted

      Hi ooops64,

      You say your niece is 'hoping' for back surgery. Firstly, has your niece been referred to a Consultant? Most health authorities will work on a formula of GP followed by 6-8 months of treatment with strong pain killers, anti-spasmodics and anti-inflammatory medication before next being referred for an MRI. An MRI is only good for 12 months so if your niece has not had one within this time, the process is a little slower. After an MRI, this is often viewed by a Physiotherapist who decides whether the injury will respond to alternative treatments or if a referral to a specialist consultant is necessary. The Consultant will normally want to try an epidural (spinal block) to see if this is of any benefit before offering a surgical solution. Depending on your health authority, this can happen within 18 weeks but is purely dependant on each individual authority. 

      Best wishes,

      Kimb63

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  • Posted

    The x ray I have recently seen was taken 6 years ago. She has been under her GP with this problem for many years. She has also tried acupuncture gives short term relief. Many types of pain relief also. So,yes she will probably have to have an MRI. 

    Thanks for the reply.

    you are very young for this sort of problem. This is a very helpful site, lots od people with good advise. All the best to you.

    maureen 

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