Nerve Decompression Surgery

Posted , 9 users are following.

Hi All

I am due to have nerve decompression surgery on 2nd October following 10 months of left sided sciatic pain. I am posting on here in the hope that my experiences over the last 10 months may help anyone who is suffering from similar issues.  

I am a 56 year old male from the UK. I am now retired but used to be very active doing property renovations, playing golf, walking etc...The injury did not cause my early retirement.

I have never suffered from back problems until December 2017 when the day after playing golf I developed a mild lower back pain. The following week i seemed to aggrivate the back issue by moving furniture and following a long drive I developed severe pain in the left buttock. Over the next few days and weeks the pain developed into the back of my left thigh, side of calf, ankle and numbness on top of foot, big toe, and what felt like a lump when walking on bottom of my left foot.

After 3 weeks i decided to get private physio treatment. I had 10 sessions over a 2 month period and my condition changed from not being able to sit for short periods and persitant pain to being able to sit on firm chairs for long periods and the most pain being in the morning when getting out of bed. What i did find was that i  was unable to walk more than 50 yards without severe pain in the side of my calf. This seemed to develop after about six weeks from initial injury.

In Feb 2018 I decided to see my doctor who suggested  Co-Codamol and Ibuprofen and to carry on with physio.

In March 2018 I went to see my doctor again as I thought that although my condition was initially recovering it now seemed to have plateaued. I still had re-occuring calf pain and numbness in my foot and toe. My doctor decided to refer me to an Orthopeadic Consultant who I managed to see private on my spouses work health care cover.

I had an MRI that showed stenosis at L4/L5 caused by a disc bulge. 

More medication prescribed, Naproxen and Amitriptyline and a root block injection.

The root block seemed to be effective for a couple of days then went back to the usual discomfort. 

Three months later a second root block, I might also say that the medication seemed to be having little effect, the second root block had no effect whatsoever.

I never considered surgery as my consultant always said that I was in recovery but I was starting to feel that wasnt the case. I was starting to feel down and felt it was starting to effect my relationship with my spouse even though she has been very supportive through the whole process.

I have recently been getting pins and needles in the left leg ankle pain that wakes me everynight and still have pain in the calf when I walk for more than 50 yards.

since December i've tried medication, physio, accupuncture, diet, tens machine but nothing seems to be working.

In early September I decided to seek a second opinion from another consultant who was straight forward and up front he said it could recover but it could take time, not just months but years or it may not recover at all. Surgery could speed up any recovery and has a 75% chance of complete sucess. I noted that the sucess rate was the same as the root block injection being effective but realised that the injection was to fix the pain rather than the problem.

I decided on the surgery....I am fully aware of what it involves and have read on this site posts from others where surgery was ineffective.

I am confident that it will be a success I have to be, as is my consultant. He has said that it is very effective with leg pain but often doesn't  rid of back pain. I have never had back pain apart from the initial first week of the injury. 

I have been fortunate in the fact that I am covered with private health care but do  have the costs of each procedure from physio through to root block and surgery for anyone in thr UK thats interested as I know this whole process would take far longer through the NHS system.

My only regret at this point is that I didnt have surgery earlier as the last 10 months have been hell and have total sympathy for anyone that is going through similar problems.

I do intend to update this thread after surgery. 

0 likes, 14 replies

Report

14 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi There Karl - thanks for your most informative post!!!!

    Like you, I too suffer from left side back pain, radiating down the butt into the leg, calf and foot area. Numbness, tingling and fatigue are part of my show. MRI showed L-5/S-1 severe arthritis and herniated disc. Advised by two different neurosurgeons to have a procedure called, FORAMENOTOMY. I continue to put this procedure off and continue to suffer at the same time. 

    I'm glad you have made the decision to go with the surgery. Please do come back and let us know how everything went. I wish you the best and hope your situation improves and is completely successful. As far as I go, I know I need the surgery. It's just a matter of time before I've had enough.

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Karl,

    Thank you for sharing . I had Revision hip surgery back in Oct. 2013 from that surgery I got sciatic nerve damage I'm coming up On 5 years with the same pain you have also hip pain . My left leg lower extremity calf and top of foot are still numb also have bulging disc at L5- S1 with bone spur . I'm going to see neurosurgeon next week for second opinion I've been told that if I have surgery on my back that the surgery will not help my nerve pain so I'm going for second opinion. I'm 51 lost my job since the hip surgery been on disability ever since. I haven't heard of nerve decompression surgery I sure hope something can be done . I have done physical therapy, Nerve block injections , diets, massage , acupuncture . This nerve pain is horrible. please keep us informed with your progress . take care

    Jackie        

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Karl

    I am also from the UK and have suffered and still with this nightmare mine also showed stenosis at L4 L5

    It's agony and changed my life ,practly it had now destroyed ,my relationship

    My job , so I'm waiting for another referral to a surgeon , have tried everything, physio, chiropractor, surgery, steroid injection ,I'm just on pain killers which don't work so about just nothing has worked ,I'm exhausted as can only sleep short moments as can not sit for long or lay down for long ,

    I wish you the best ,good luck with surgery ,fingers crossed your nightmare ends soon ,will be waiting to read you good news

    Mimm xx

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Mimm. 

      have you tried putting pillows under your legs to raise them up. couch pillows work well too. I use about 6 pillows (3 under legs, 3 under feet) cause you legs have to be raised very high. this should take pressure off your lower back and give you some relief while laying down. everyone is different, but it is worth a try. 

       

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks ross

      No not tried this ,but will tonight , will try anything ,thank you so much

      Any helpful ideas better than none

      Mimm xx

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Ross

      Thanks for the tip about the pillows I have been able to lay down on my back without severe pain, giving me some relief now in bed have been able to nod of for an hour or 2 before having to wake in pain instead of every 10 minutes naps ,really Appreciate the advice .

      Mimm xx

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Carl,

    you are gonna want to prep before surgery. stock up on foods that will be good for your recovery. you are gonna need to take in about 2 times the amount of  calories you normally take in. foods high in protein will be good for you, foods that are high in antioxidants to reduce the chance of infection, and fiber is a must have to relieve constipation. research it all. remember, you should feel immediate relief from the pain after surgery, but the numbness and tingling will remain. don't be discouraged about it, your doctor should be able to explain to you why that is. 

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    H Karl, firstly thanks for the post.  I too hurt my back in Dec 2017 just from sitting down. I had physio and still having physio, the back pain never fully went which is why the physio never ended. I developed bilateral sciatica in May. I still have sciatica but, far worse in my right leg all the way to my toes. I have seen a chiro which, did nothing, i saw a orto dr last week and am waiting an MRI scan. Please keep us posted x
    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Karl, Let me say firstly that i feel your pain,i,ve been enduring this condition for the last 4 years(please read my post entitled "Sciatica for 4 years and still no diagnosis!!".

    My current Neurologist (my 4th) says that due to my having 2 Herniated Discs that are on the right side,the fact that my affected side is the left he,s not prepared to arrange an operation without a specific location of the affected nerve,so i,ve just had another MRI,my 4th over 4 years,and hoping that after 18 months since the last one this one might show something up,but,to be honest,i,ve resigned myself to the fact that i shall have to regard this as permanent as all options and tests have been exhausted,anyway,just wanted to say please keep us updated with your progress,i,m sure many people will appreciate it,i certainly will.Good luck.Phil

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi guys, try ice packs 20 mins on 20 mins off, also can you all check out sacrialic joint dysfunction this can be a cause of a lot of back/leg pain but it goes undetected a loy of the time, just a suggestions 😊

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi All

    So had my surgery yesterday. Procedure took about 2 hours. During surgery I suffered a tear in the dural sac that was quickly repaired by the surgeon. I was told that more disc was removed than was visible on MRI so it’s assumed more damaged occurred since MRI which explains the increase in sciatic pain over last month. (So much for my first consultant saying I couldn’t do anymore damage to it. 

    Due to the tear in dural sac I have flat bed rest for 48 hours. 

    Post surgery there wasn’t too much pain due to local anaesthetic that was injected into site. 

    Surgery at 08:30 and at 21:00 complications as I had full bladder and could not pee. Catheter inserted.

    Doctor said he is not concerned and believes that when I’m on my feet it will be naturally easier to pee. Think the local anaesthetic had something to do with it also.  

    23:00 local anaesthetic wore off and I had unbelievable back pain. (Which is quite ironic as I have never had back pain only leg pain)

    Oral morphine ever 2 hours and very little sleep.

    Currently it’s 16:00 day two and pain meds every 5 hours for back pain.

    Oh and did I mention no leg pain as yet!

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Karl,

      So glad that your recovery good and no more leg pain that's great. I wish you the best please share how your doing .

      God bless

      Jackie

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Karl - thanks for following up and reporting after your surgery as promised. I hope you get progressively better with the new occurring back pain. Any less today? Did they remove the catheter? Hopefully each passing day you'll have more and more improvement. Happy to hear the leg pain is gone. At least at the time you wrote your post. Looking forward to hearing more about your post-op Journey.

    Wishing you my best,

    Glenn

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Ok so one week since surgery and here’s how I’m doing.

    Out of bed day 3 due to flat bed rest for 2 days. A little bit of walking including a number of steps up and down with help from physio ok.

    Catheter removed in morning however still unable to pee later that evening which I was worried about and feared catheter may have to be inserted again.

    Then at eleventh hour managed a small pee from then on frequency and qty increased. Expecting to go home day four it never happened. Doc said not going anywhere till bowels open!

    Day five and at last home following various laxatives the business was done.

    I’m now day 8 and each day my pain is less and mobility is more.

    Managed a slow 1k walk yesterday with no sciatic pain only a little hamstring tightness that wore off the more I walked. I’m only taking paracetamol at moment for a bit of lower back pain.

    I still have a little problem with bladder retention and my bowel movements are not as they should be yet.

    I still have a numb area left side on my lower back and buttock area and keep getting cold sweats mainly at night but think may be after effects of anesthetic.

    Follow up consultation in couple of weeks so will update further then.

    Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

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