L4/L5 Disc prolapse - 2 failed ops

Posted , 7 users are following.

New to this site but summary of my condition

Suffered from back problem for 5 years.  Various treatments - Physio, acupuncture, epidurals, etc didn't relieve the pain.  MRI scan showed a bulging disc at L4 / L5.

I was offered do a disectomy which I took.  Didn't relieve the symptoms so was then offered a revision.  I had some quite heavy scar tissue from the 1st op but my symptoms were still no relieved.

Referred to another consultant who told me that in his opinion I wasn't bad enough to have had surgery and that over time my symptoms would be relived.  Spent the next 6 months managing the pain and trying to strengthen core. I started to go to the gym at work but mainly to do stretching - not weights.  About 8 weeks ago after having a few sessions at the gym I started getting severe pain around my hip area. 3 weeks ago I insisted that my private health company refer me to a specialist and had another MRI scan.  Disc is prolapsed and the nerves are being squashed by the bones and disc.

Consultant believes I should have another disectomy to remove more io the disc AND bone to give the the nerves room.  He is going to discuss with colleagues to see whether they agree with his diagnosis.

i have been continuing to go to work and have taken cocodamol and ibuprofen.  In constan pain (around 7) but occasionally I get an attack and it goes to a 9. This morning it's finally besten me and I couldn't get out of bed.

has anyone else had 3 ops for the same issue? I'm frustrated that I've had 2 failed attempts and I'm concerned that having more surgery will just make things worse - although it  doesn't feel like it can get much worse.  Thoughts??

0 likes, 48 replies

Report / Delete

48 Replies

Prev Next
  • Posted

    I was like this for twelve months and ended up having spinal surgery to remove discs and relieve sciatic pain..I had rods placed in spine unfortunately the bottom screws have not fused with bone so I can't walk unaided now (crutches) have been offered more spinal surgery we they will remove the rods and put one long rod in which will attach to pelvic bone (cadaver bone added to my pelvic bone during op to strengthen bone) I have nog decided yet on op...I recently had extreme pain on right leg and difficulty walking and presumed I had trapped sciatic nerve that side but my doc sent me for xray of pelvic bone and I had 2 fractures ..I see surgeon on 29th June and I'm not sure once he knows about fractures if they will still consider spinal op....getting wheelchair as using crutches permanently is painful on hips....wish I had never had 1st spinal op....
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Sounds horrendous and one of the reasons I'm fearful of having a fusion.  I seemed to be dealing with consultants who consider surgery to be the final course of action which is good but I really cannot continue with the pain I'm in.  My only saving grace is that I'm not in permanent pain - I can sleep at night but I now know when I'm going to get a bad attack but I haven't found a way of stopping it.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Dean

    I've had two discs replaced c5 - c6 and c6 -c7 and still have some pain. Normal as surgeon tells me. But I am much better and pain in arms has almost gone.

    Lower back l4 - l5 I need an op to sort out. But surgeon has stressed no heavy exercise before or after op for at least a yr. Exercise by walking and some stretching but not so it hurts. As physio has stressed even after surgery to neck and before and after op the spine needs time to heal. And over exercising will only undo work done by the surgeon.

    My hips give me pain and only started a few weeks ago and physio commented I must stop all exercise until I've had assessment.

    I can only of course can say what I've been told from my hospital in Oslo who specialize in spinal problems.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi it's my first time on here, I'm an 18 year old woman and I have an L4/L5 disc prolapse too, it feels so good to finally speak to someone with the same illness as me! It gives me severe pain and sometimes I feel like people don't believe me. I am unable to work due to my injury and the pain makes me very depressed as when it is bad I can't even get out of bed, I'm on a lot of medication like oramorph, cocodamol, zomorph, I've literally tried everything! I have tried physio which doesn't help the pain. I haven't been offered any surgery yet and it happened 1 year ago. I was told that I won't be getting surgery as a lot of people have prolapsed discs and don't feel any pain? I really hope you have surgery which relieves your pain because I know myself how severe it is! I honestly feel like if I had surgery I'd probably be in the same situation as you. I hope you write back and good luck!
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Rachel,

      I really feel your pain and your post has made me realise how my situation is it as bad as others.  I'm lucky in that I have private medical insurance so I'm making sure I get treatment.  I also have a very supportive company that have paid for travel to London.  It's so unfair that they are not taking your condition seriously.  I assume you've had a MRI scan to know that it's a prolapsed disc - if so, I don't understand why they would take you down that route if they are not going to then ensure they fix the problem.  

      Its difficukt to know whether surgery will fix your issue, it hasn't worked for me but there are a lot or people who it does work for - success rate is usually high.

      Have you had any injections in the disc as that is what they did for me.  Again, it didn't work for me but it does work for others.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Rachael

      sorry to hear your story, I thought I was too young to have these problems but 18 is really bad luck. I am suprised they havnt offered you anything after a year , have they offered spinal injections ie  steroid and pain relieving? That was where they went with me after physio/hydrotherapy  and 'TENS' . I wonder when the consultant said about not all patients have pain he meant that some prolapsed discs do sort themselves out after some time but I would have thought a year was  too long for that. I do think you need to push and really tell them again how much pain you are in , don't leave it too long I ended up losing my job which I had worked so hard to get where I wanted and then to lose it having to take ill health retirement which is not good. I had my first disectomy 4 years ago and had three pretty decent years then it prolapsed again on L4/L5 and L5/S1 and I had my third in March so I am looking at a fusion now but really scared about it , I am seeing consultant on 23rd this month . From reading all the blogs I have to say it seems once you have a weakness it's probable it's not going to go away or am I being pessemistic ? You take care and go and ask for a referral , it's not fun being on long term opiate medication.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Julie

      Sorry to hear about your journey so far

      I too am about to lose my job due to time off because of disc prolapse. I paid for own mri and epidural while waiting for nhs referal as the medication and pain was too much. My family found it hard to see me so immobile and in so much pain. Doctors very unhelpful and quite rude. I have been offered a microdiscectomy and waiting for a date. I'm really scared but feel like I have no other choice to have dome kind of normality?

      Any advice would be welcome.

      Sazzie42

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      That is awful having to pay yourself. ..state of NHS these days..sometimes surgery is the only answer..I have found the doctors to be a riot. ..its as if we have no right to ask questions but it's our body and we need to know everything...wots the success rate of op..wot can go wrong..worst the outcome if op fails.. In my case it failed but a friends mum in her 70'son had same op and is back out dancing were I can't walk unaided and am in excruciating pain every day and on crutches to walk and getting wheelchair as crutches causing problems to hips now. ..They don't tell you all these things...I'm scared to have next op which I only have till August to decide if I'm having it...I was told bluntly that's wen they want a yes or no...that's if I go back to the spinal unit wer I had first op...I am going to see my surgeon who sent me ther on 29th June and he said he would do op if I want to have it in liverpool and that he would want to leave it till next year..They will be in new hospital by then. ..I am going to be in wheelchair anyway so if it failed again I would just be in wheelchair ....wen do you see your surgeon....x
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I am on a waiting list

      He will do the operation in Cambridge and that's quite a way from where I live.

      I am sorry to hear about your journey and the outcome.

      The whole thing totally took the wind out my sails and I don't feel like I recognise myself.

      I try to keep pos6but it's had such s high impact on everything and everyone.

      Xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I know..It gets you Down doesn't it. ..I don't recognise myself from 2 years ago last December I gave my daughter away...walked beside her..High heels..felt fab...now I'm bent forward on crutches...walk at a snails pace..constant pain...makes you wonder if we are all just guinea pigs....I try to keep positive there are people worse off than me but it's hard. ...
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I think your doing amazingly well.

      How do you keep do positive?

      This time last year I took part in the London to Brighton bike ride- a year on I'm about to loose a Job I love ( working with special needs children), my husband has asked for a temporary separation as he is finding the situation difficult. My parents and children are my rock. On good days I can be slow but mobile and do all I can while I can.

      I sold my bike as I needed the money.

      I try and be up beat as you say there are people worse off - I appreciate the here and now but it takes a lot of positive thinking.

      Take care

      ( my hubby is a great person he just does not want me to have surgery and I need his support)

      Sazzie42 x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I wld imagine he doesn't want to see you suffer any more....it is awful that your quality of life has dropped so drastically..I can relate to that...I have new Med off doc that they don't offer as there expensive...nefopam... ask for them...are you going for more surgery
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I am trying to change my doctor at the moment as they have been no help at all.

      I will ask for them and thank you for the suggestion. Trying to find a good doctor is a real battle which one does not need.

      How are you doing?

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hia

      I totally sympathise with you , I too find it so hard seeing my family upset and not knowing what to say or do . I had the chance of a 'choose and book' system which meant you are given a list of hospitals that will do the microdisectomys and you choose where you want to go , I ended up at a BMI private hospital which was fantastic and I get to be seen quickly and all treatments and consultations  are there too , I would totally recommend you ask your gp to sort that out . I have to say that now I'm st the end of microdisectomys and fusion is the only option I am really scared , I'm not sure I can go through with it . Xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Evening Julie

      Thanks for your post.

      I am waiting to hear regarding a surgery date.

      I believe this is via the nhs but is being done at a private hospital. I am scared regarding the surgery so I can imagine how you must be feeling.

      I'm just wanting a crystal ball to see if I should have it done as I would hate for it to make it worse. Not that it's not bad enough at the moment.

      Good luck with the decision making and let me know what you decide. How did things go for you after microdiscectomy if you don't mind me asking?

      Take care x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I didn't realise they did a choose and book for this kind do if op...I will speak to my doc about this....as for you having op...do a bit of research to see how successful the op you will be having is...put your mind at rest hopefully...I cannot find any evidence at all either way for full rod fusion so I only have surgeon to talk to and the answer there is 'we wldnt do the surgery if we didn't think it would work' but that still doesn't let me know how successful it is....
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      His,

      sorry for confusion but mine was done on nhs but through private hospital too through choose and book. I know what you mean , it's so difficult to make decision I am quite confident with my consultant so I will let him lead me , I do think with blogs you get mainly negative stories as if you are well you don't look fir help ? I'm just glad I'm seeing him so soon so at least I will get Meri done to see what's going on . I have to say the relief I had with the microdisectomys was worth the op it's just disappointing when it doesn't last so I have no regrets. I do blame myself this time as I was doing a bit of gardening when it went so I can only blame myself but you have to have a life and try and enjoy the things you love .if you get a choose and book I think I had a choice of 5 two were private I'm so glad I opted for them one was in Cheshire (BMI) and one in Newcastle under Lyme (Nuffield) I will email back on Thursday with how it went .

      keep well

      jue x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      hia

      its so difficult to make the decision, as I said to sazzie42 I am just going to see what consultant says on Thursday , I have total confidence in him and I just hope the forms and against aren't too close so it makes it more difficult , you just want it to be clear don't you . It's worth asking about choose and book I'm so glad I did I will ask my consultant for the figures on success and I will post on Thursday/friday

      you take care Laurie xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Sorry Laurie meant to say 'hia' and 'fors' rather than forms , my hands are quite shaky , that's another thing if I have one regret is letting my GP prescribe oceans of opiate medication I'm now on 120mg oxycodone SR which = 180mg morphine plus 20-40mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain , codeine, and diazepam for muscle spasms I'm in a right mess I have tried to come down but the effects are horrendous , I know what cold turkey is now and I can't do it,  so please be careful with your medication I would hate anyone being in my position apparently the guidelines are no more than 80mg , why have my gps allowed this to happen ? Anyway you take care Laurie and I will let you know what my. Consultant says on Thursday about the success rates 

      jue x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      hia

      just though I'd let you know my update. I saw consultant on Thursday who is organising an Mri which came through post on Saturday for 30th June , it's so quick. He says it may just be inflamed nerve, or a bit of disc has come away which should dissolve in my system or its prolapsed again which then would mean a fusion I asked about fusion surgery and he told me the  success rate is 85% to get rid of sciatic pain which is fantastic odds , so I will go ahead if I need to but fingers crossed it will be something more temporary but the pain is as it was before disectomy so I am feeling a little negative .

      hope you have had a better few days.

      regards

      julie 

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Dean,

      I was working as a nursery nurse and I wasn't given any MHT so when a child was about to fall I picked him up and that's when my back went. I had an MRI and it revealed the slipped disc. The MRI was in September and recently I can feel the pain getting worse so I'm going to ask for another one. I'm constantly going to the doctors over the pain and they aren't doing anything about it! I haven't been offered/had any injections in the disc, which I was hoping for. I wish I was offered surgery but at the same time I'd be terrified. I'm so glad you're getting the treatment that is needed, good luck!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Julie,

      Thankyou. I haven't been offered any injections, the only thing they have offered me are medication and physio therapy. I'm constantly going to the doctors telling them how much pain I am in and all I get given is medication. I'm sorry to hear that you lost your job! I was training to be a nursery nurse and that is how I slipped my disc. I wasn't given any manual handling training and a child was about to fall off his chair and I stopped him from falling by picking him up and that's when I knew I had injured my back. I haven't been able to work since. I hate being on medication, I'm constantly tired. Good luck with your fusion I hope it works out for you and you're no longer in pain!!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi julie...yes they hand out meds like sweets then we are left with trying to get ourselves off them...i came off tramadol onto nefopam...tramadol withdrawal is also bad..shakes in muscles you cant control.....well i went to my appt with my soinal surgeon testerday...i had to jnform him i had fracture in pelvis which had happened since my last appt....he had xray done as I was in so much pain and fracture shld havd mended by now...unfortunately it has gotten worse and gap widened...hense all the pain...he has now referred me to a pelvic specialist...urgent appt requested...he thinks i will have to have a metal plate to join to sudes...pri lem us my osteoporosis has obviously worsened which is why bone hasnt fused...he said the spinal surgery will have to be put on hold till we get in top of bone density...hes asked for bone density xray to be done...see how bad it is...hopefullt after that is sirted and pelvis is sorted we can get back to sorting my spine out...we did discuss cementing the screws that havnt fused with bones in sline wer bottom rod is...this is reason why i am permanently on crutches as spine not strong enough to hold me up....i will keep you i formed as i have treatments....laurie
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Rachael

      im so shocked that they havnt offered you injections in the first place before loading you up on the medication , you will be tired with that amount of meds. The problem is your body adjusts to the meds and you just need more and more it's a vicious circle . I would push for injections just to see if you get any relief and they can tell from the amount of relief and where they inject on their next course of action , is it worth a second opinion moot sure you are getting a good deal here. With my meds now I shouldn't be driving so I lose independence . I had my Mri today so hope to see co sultan tin next few weeks for result just hoping it's a flare up so he will offer me injection to calm it down but if its prolapsed again it will be a fusio . I hope you will discuss your situation regarding your medication and the need for an injection soon 

      take care

      julie

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I would definitely suggest the injection route first - some coritosone may do the job.  I know I am lucky that I have privaveate health care but I think it's disgusting that people suffer in agony - it should be a basic right to get the correct level of care.  My consultant has maintained that surgery is his last resort so I shuld be thankful for that as well.  I would suggest going back to the GP and asking them to refer you to a specialist who can discuss an injection.  It's been 9 months since your scan and it doesn;t sound like it will go away on it's own - have you got a strong minded person who could go with you to the GP and put some pressure on them on your behalf.  Good luck.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

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