I am 27 years old and a single mother of two. I also work in daycare full time. Needless to say my life is spent bending and lifting. Well, last year in October I was diagnosed with sciatica and the cause of it was a herniated disc. My right foot and leg are numb and my back has severe pain. I don't sleep and can barely function. I have done injections and tons of physical therapy and nothing has helped. My doctor says in my right leg I have lost all reflex action and could lose mobility permanently. He wants me to talk about surgery. I do NOT want surgery. I have heard horror stories and the fact that your pain will just be worse when the surgery is all done. I do not want to live with even more pain but I do not want this pain. Any advice? Anything that you tried that helped? I do not want surgery! I will try anything first. I just want some relief and to live a better life! Please help
11 Jan 2013
There are many kinds of back surgeries, some more successful than others. Laminectomies, which is likely what you need, tend to be very successful in stopping the pain down the leg. You may still have some back pain and discomfort but it will take the pressure off the affected nerve. It is pretty bad when your reflexes are affected and you are risking permanaent nerve damage the longer you let it go. There are many spinal surgery clinics who offer laser assisted laminectomies which require very small incisions and many of them can do the laminectomy without cutting muscles in the back. This recues the recovery time and also helps to reduce problems associated with cutting the muscle tissues. Google spine surgery and find a clinic in your area. I can understand your reluctance. I was told that I should do a fusion surgery and outcomes for fusion are a little less certain.
At this point i have decided not to do it but I dont have much loss in my reflexes-they are only slightly diminished. If I had lost all reflex, I would probably do it just to avoid permanent nerve damage. You are young and will likely heal well. My mother had a micro laminectomy in her early 40s-now she is in her 70s and she can go circles around me (I am 46) Her surgery was very successful. She doesnt even have back pain much any longer. I would look into a neurosurgeon to do the surgery. They tend to do better with the nerves than orthopedic surgeons.
12 Jan 2013
I have numerous herniated discs up and down my spine as well as sciatica, and also degenerative disc disease, and was told that I'm not a candidate for surgery because of how many herniated discs I have in each spot, as well as it being combined with fibromyalgia (well, except for a microdiscectomy, but only on the very bottom disc, which is also herniated, and mostly to reduce the symptoms in my legs and bring back some of the functionality I've lost in my legs). I tried injections but they barely touched the pain and the relief lasted only a few weeks. I moved on to nerve ablations and they actually worked great for me (well, for a while, but I'm a fast healer and very treatment resistant, and the DDD seems to have progressed too, with the fibromyalgia). They go in with basically an electrified needle, so no incisions, and cauterize the nerve endings near the disc that's causing the pain.
The relief felt from it can last from 6 months to a year and a half, on average, and for some people the relief is permanent. I would definitely ask about this the next time you see your doctor. Now, it IS considered a "surgical procedure", because they do break through the skin and tissues, and they are essentially removing tissue, but it's virtually non-evasive and a MUCH better option than surgery! It'll take a few weeks to fully heal from, but you can get back up and moving and back to regular life about 24 hours after the procedure.
13 Jan 2013
You should do research on Microdiscectomy, (aka Microdecompression), which possibly be what you might need. You simptomps are similar to mine and that's what I've been recommended by 2 different surgeons. However, everyone's different and everyone's requires and responds differently to treatments, surgery, etc, keep this in mind. Just keep your doctor appointment and see what's recommended in your particular clinical picture.
Regarding the procedure itself, MicroD is one of the most minimal invasive procedures and success rates are pretty high, some studies shows success rates as high as 90-95%. I'll stick with a major hospital instead of one of the smaller, same-day clinics, but thats just me. Before a surgery decision, your doctor needs to "qualify" you as a posible surgical candidate based on 4 categories: 1) functional incapacitating pain in the leg, 2) nerve root tension signs (positive straight leg raising test), 3) failure of clinical improvement after 4-8 weeks of conservative treatment, and 4) a confirming imaging study, (abnormal myelogram, computed tomogram (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Just remember surgery should be your last resort. Consider having a 2nd, (and even 3rd), opinion on surgery. Also remember unless you have cauda equina syndrome, (dysfunctional bowel/bladder), severe progressive neurological findings, and/or severe intractable pain these 3 conditions are medical emergencies were you will require emergency decompression surgery, ALL back surgeries are considered voluntary. Hope this info helped.
Good luck to you, God bless.
17 Feb 2013
I have similiar problems with my back, but it did not compare to the disc prolems in my neck. I was SCARED to death. Forget the horror stories. People love to talk more about the bad than the good.
I saw a NUERO SURGEON and orthodedic surgeon for my neck.
SEE A NUEROsp!!! I am 28 days out of a surgery that needed two docs
on my neck and so glad I had it done. I did have an "IN". I asked friends then my other doctors. Found a friend whose friend was a Doctor and ran an a large ER hospital in the area. He had the same surgury, found his Nuero that did it and used him. I could have gone anywhere I chose but asking around and getting 2-3 doc opinions will make you fell comfortable, or run like Heck from a doc. Good luck!!
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