L4/L5 awaiting surgery -advice/tips please

Posted , 8 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

Hi

This is my first time on this site. I have been off work for 4 months with severe pain (was in hospital for a week at end august) in agony -severe leg pain. MRI showed broad based prolapse at L4/L5 and was started on range of medication (gabapentin, dihydracodeine, paracetamol), was sent home on 2 crutches. I saw the orthopaedic surgeon in October who referred me to neurosurgeon and also physio. I had physio (acupuncture, Mckenzie exercises and tens machine) with no cumulative effect. I have been back and forward to my gp and now on baclofen (muscle relaxant) and increasing meds. I can manage now with one crutch when outside, can walk to the car and can drive just locally for about 5 mins before pain gets too bad. My life at the moment bears no resemblance to life before this all started. I saw the neurosurgeon in December who went through my MRI in great detail - prolapse at L4/L5 so big and pressing on nerve that there is less than 5% chance of any further recovery without surgery. I also have a prolapsed disc further up which is not causing me problems at the moment and he said that the discs in between are "not great" either. So he took decision out of my hands (as less than 5% chance of any further recovery, and I can't get back to work with pain, mobility, disturbed sleep, amount of meds and inability to drive distance etc). So... he said surgery will be around end of January and will have piece of bone removed and then as much of the disc removed as he can get, he said around 85% success of pain going but that numbness down leg/foot and pins and needles won't go as the nerve is permenantly damaged there. I am hoping others have been through similar and can maybe give me some advice/tips to help me cope in the days leading up to and following surgery and recovery.

Thank you and looking forward to responses.

A

2 likes, 27 replies

Report

27 Replies

Next
  • Posted

    Hello I was off work on the sick with the same problems has yourself pains down both legs pin and needles been off work since last June and still on the sick now had the operation last July I had the l5 and s1 discs repaired to release pressure off my spine was reduced the amount of pain I was getting but while being in pain given meds for the pain my doctors left me far to long and lead to having bladder and bowels problems so keep a close eye and your toilet needs and don't leave it get to that stage all the best with your operation xx

    Report
  • Posted

    Hi there

    3 tips from my experience. I had a big rupture in my L5S1 disc and has surgery in June.

    Walk daily after the op, even if not all the pain has gone. Resting will slow down the rehab of your back and abs muscles.

    Check with your surgeon but aim to start physio after 4-6 weeks if you can, and do it religiously as directed

    If you are feeling great early on that is wonderful but DO NOT take this as a cue to think you are fixed. The damage to the back will take several months to heal and stabilise. Keep to walking and physio for 12 weeks. Don't sit too much, don't bend lift or twist much if you can help it.

    Do try to keep the leg and the nerve moving to help avoiding adherence of scar tissue. Ask your surgeon and/or physio for exercises and safe stretches for this.

    And don't be scared. Most microdiscectomies are successful. Good luck.

    Report
  • Posted

    Hi I have just had to give up my work due to my back problems, last MRI results read.

    Loss of normal lordosis

    Dehydration of disc at multiple levels

    Modic endplate changes at L4/5

    Diffuse disc post infectious on nerve root in left exit foramina

    LUMBOSACRAL JUNCTION

    Loss of disc space height

    Broad base diffuse disc bulge at fifth of nerve root bilaterally with compression of nerve root on the left

    LOWER LUMBAR

    Further degeneration with change of facet joints and mild hypertrophy

    Not really sure what it all means but am awaiting appointment with Neurosurgeon.I have had back problems for years and never regained feeling in my leg after first prolapsed disc. Is this report as bad as it looks? Or do they just make it look that way?

    I hope you are feeling better

    Report
  • Posted

    I had a microdisectomy nearly 2 years ago. My view is look forward to it, enjoy being waited on hand and foot and don't worry because you will feel immediately much better. Lay down in the car when you get picked up and lay in bed for a few days, but be careful when you sit up.The nurse should advise you. Get a grabber because you will find you'll be dropping stuff all the time and you won't be able to bend down to pick it up. 

    Dont bend lift or twist for a few weeks. I am afraid it is a 6 week initial recovery process (not 4 weeks 6 weeks) and you should start to see a physio after about 2 weeks for some gentle strength exercises. Do mini walks after a couple of days, but don't rush it or you'll be back under the knife having re ruptured it done again.  The patient has to be patient.

    The nerve recovers at a mm per day so it will be several months until it is fully repaired. you then just need to look after your back with core exercises etc.

    Good luck.

    Report
  • Posted

    Thank you both for the very speedy replies. It is so good to hear from others who have or are going through similar but not good that others are suffering this pain. Sarah Jane can I ask how long you had been suffering before your surgery? I have been warned (by physio and also neurosurgeon) about watching out for bowel/bladder, I do have some numbness at top of thigh, part of groin but it's not got any worse. In terms of medication I am currently on gabapentin (3x3 times day) dihydracodeine, baclofen, paracetamol as well as laxido etc. I am seeing gp today as pain seems to be increasing.

    Michael thank you for the tips, how long were you before you felt better than before the surgery and how soon were you back at work? I have been off over 4 months and go down to half pay soon which not looking forward to but no option as can't drive far or sit etc, or concentrate any length of time. My work have been good and when ready I will have a phased return,

    Thanks again

    A

    Report
    • Posted

      Tbh only had pain from March last year until the operation in July things happened very quickly my bowels and bladder stopped working Monday before my operation on.the Wednesday and we are now in a new year and still no improvement that's why I said in my last text don't let things go to far 41 and it has knocked me back yrs all the best x

      Report
    • Posted

      Hi

      My wife has the same scenario as you L4 L5 and severe leg pain been on or a strong cocktail of pain killers for months now at last they have offered her an op but because her nerve for the leg is that damaged they have warned her she's at higher risk of paralyses.

      She has also had bowel problems but they said it wasn't linked to her nerve problem, do you recommend this operation?

      Report
    • Posted

      I have problems with my bowls and bladder and was it told it s all to do with my back , it makes sense because when my backs really bad it affects my bowl and bladder massively. There are lots of nerve s connected down there.
      Report
  • Posted

    Thanks for info Anglo Saxon, it's encouraging to hear stories like this. I didn't realise that re nerve recovery, the neurosurgeon did say it takes some time but hearing it like this makes more sense.

    Sarah Jane I am sorry to hear this re bowel/bladder, it's so scary and will keep this in mind. I am 49, female and I know that I have aged loads in past 4 months with constant pain.

    With kind regards

    A

    Report
  • Posted

    Decompression is the way forward removing of discs but it may be worth taking about fusion or dynesys fusion to prevent further discs collapsing they. Can also do disc replacement. There may be s slight chance ur nerve could recover its a case of how longs a piece of string . They may not know the true out come until some time after surgery . Good luck
    Report
  • Posted

    hi scotland disc  OMG i have exactly the same.  L4 7L5 Disc degeneration tyhat is upsettingthe S1 root nerve.

    ive been through some scary testing for all the horrible stuff MS and ALS etc etc.  i was happy in a way to be told whats the problem.  but OMG now after 11 days in hopital now ive been back home a few weeks i cant do anything at all as the muscle spasms and electric shocks increase if i iritate my back. i have muscle wasting in calf muscle and in my buttock cheek/

     all my problems are with my right leg. but ive started to get the cramping and muscle twitching more in my lft leg now also so i am worried sick something is stil getting worse not better.

    ive just bought an inversion table so im hoping that a little bit of spine stretching may help but i dont want to do any further damage   its hard to figure out what to do isnt it.

    i think i may need surgery myself to relieve the nerve i cant go on like this watching my muscle disapear.....i sincerely hope it works for you.  did you get the intence electrical fuzzy feeling in your groin area aso  omg i did it was bloody horrible.....regards Terry...ps i live in lincolnshire i have some work coleuges live up your way on...

    Report
  • Posted

    Hi all

    So I have suddenly (since Monday night) developed pain in the side of my face (jaw, cheek and neck), on Tuesday morning I woke to find my eye and corner of mouth dropping. I saw the gp on Tuesday who thought possibly Bell's palsy and prescribed steroids, I have to see the gp again today till he reviews it. This morning it looks like just corner of my mouth dropping. My question is could this be related... I have read that stress can bring on Bell's palsy. Thankfully it's not getting any worse but wondering if 5 months off work, unbelievable o going pain and still waiting on date for surgery is causing this?

    Thanks

    Report
    • Posted

      Most likely but I would push for a CT to rule any thing else out . It's very debilitating and stress full. Chin up keep pushing the doctor s involved in yr care

      Report
    • Posted

      Hi Scotland disc but wierd thing is I too am dealing wierd feelings in the rhs of my face. But hate to add this into the pot I believe I've bean bitten by a tick and got lymes desease as one of the symptoms people can end up with Bell's palsy from it and musclectwitchingvetc everywhere I believe the docs with my diagnosed about my sldobL4 L5 disc problem causing my right leg issues. But now they're confused with me having spasms all obervanfd they're referring me to London specialist but I believe ibhave lymes. Could you have had a tick bite ??? Prob is the NHS don't tegonisevthe correct testing for lymes therefore like me theyvectedted me for it but negative result but many on the net say you have to pay for private testing and it's about £300 or more. Hope you get sorted soon mate for sure regards Terry

      Report
  • Posted

    Hi Scotland disc. I'm glad you've asked about tips etc. I'm also waiting for a discectomy on my L5/S1. Mine started playing up August Bank holiday weekend last year..and 10 days later I was unable to walk. I've tried alsorts of painkillers from my Dr. .but finally tried Gabapentin..and 3 weeks on, it's taking the edge off of the sciatic pain. I tried physio and saw a chiropractor but both aggravated the pain. I was referred to the spinal surgeon after my MRI results. I also have a L4 prolapse but it's not touching nerves..and the scan showed I have DDD in both discs and in L3.! The surgeon said there is no other option as the nerve is severely pinched and causing weakness in my foot aswell. It's nice to read comments from people that have been through it..!

    Report
    • Posted

      Hi sjy72 omg I've got the same L4amd L5 disc degeneration and S1 root nerve damage I've got muscle atrophy in right calf muscle and right bum cheak I'm also on gabapemtin. But now due to the fact I've got muscle twitching all over and electric shocks all. Over they're refering me to London neuro hospital. Did you have or rather die you have electric pains and musclectwitching . Do you take anti acid medicine because I have a theory about b12 deficiency and weak mylene sheath. I sincerely hope they sort you / is out are you waiting for surgery now is this there next option regards Terry

      Report
    • Posted

      Hi Terry. Sorry for the delayed reply. No I've not had twitching or shocks. That must be horrible for you! I'm having horrible side effects from the Gabapentin tho.. double/triple vision..and awful headaches. I've weaned myself down by 200mg to see if that helps..but still getting blurred vision and headaches! I don't take anti acid medication. Yes I am on the NHS waiting list to have a discectomy on my L5/S1. I don't want it done but this pain is something else..and I know it needs doing.! Hope they sort you out soon.

      Sjy

      Report
    • Posted

      Hi I ve also suffered with this mainly in my back and hip . The electric shocks, I totally sees up. It's like I've been tasered. It's happened 2 times now while driving. Pleased my cars automatic as as it been mainly the left side . Iam not sure if this is down to my fibromyalgia or degenerative disc diease in lower back or my stenosis, I will mention it to my neurosurgeon nxt time a see him. Have they have u any indication as to what's causing yrs

      Report

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up