Hello, I'm brand new on here. I recently had a lumbar laminectomy; Dx are degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated L5-S1, bulging L4-L5. I'm now a Duragesic 25 mcg patch and Norco 4x/day, along w/various muscle relaxers, physical therapy. My neurosurgeon wanted to go ahead and do a fusion, but I could not afford to be down that long, and he said lami may help. So far, no... but it's still early (almost two months .post-op), and I know I need to be patient. I know what I've got going on is minor compared to a lot of members here, I guess I'm just scared, b/c I'm still feeling I'm too young for this and I'm an nurse and worried this is going to end my career. I I've worked in orthopedics, so I know my spine isn't going to get better on it's own. Suggestions, comments from anyone would be greatly appreciated.I'm happy to find somewhere I can talk with other people who are going through/been where I'm at. Thank you :)
It is because of your ortho background that you think surgery is the only fix. Even with herniated discs, most get better with no surgical intervention. Surgical intervention can sometimes help someone get better faster and is necessary if there is nerve impingement or cauda equina, for certain, but for most low back pain patients surgery is not the best option. You need to do some research-Medscape has a lot of really good evidenced based articles on low back pain and surgical out comes-you can google it. I faced the same question. I have disc degeneration, herniated L5-S1 and a bulge at L4-L5 plus facet degeneration. I am a nurse too. Surgery tends to help if you have primarily leg pain (I dont.
Mine is primarily pure back pain with occasional travel down the leg and into my heel but not all the time) but in my own observations of patients who have had surgery, it doesnt do so much for back pain itself. I decided to hold off on the fusion. They gave me 70/30 odds. 70% chance I could get better, 30% I could stay the same or be worse. I dont feel for myself that I'm ready to face those odds. The 30% chance of no change or God forbid, being worse scares me off. Plus I know that fusion may help the area that is fused but puts extra pressure above and below the fusion until those areas go bad.I think until pain meds just will not hold me and I'm crawling across the floor I might think about it. This is just MY decision. I also asked the same question on here and got a lot of different responses and it seems some people are helped and some are not. There is no harm in holding off on surgery. Try PT. You are too early in your recovery to be thinking about another surgery. Unfortunately this is a career hazard in Nursing. We just work very hard physically and wear our backs out. I had the added stresses of being a gymnast as a kid. One of my pain docs, that was one of the first things she said when she looked at my back under fluoroscopy "You used to be a gymnast did you?" My facets are so jacked. As far as your career, you may have to face that work on the "floor" may be over for you. I had to come to that realization too but that doesnt mean your career is over. There are a lot of other jobs you can find that dont require the physical work the "floor" does. I was a surgical nurse and I did have to kiss that goodbye. I cant stand still for that long and drag beds in and out the OR like I used to (that was when my back gave out-pulling a bed into the OR-I dropped the HOB and couldnt straighten up. I dont think that was what injured me. I think it was just the "straw that broke the nurses back" so to say-a culmination of all kinds of past insults that I have done to myself!) I found a new niche in case management. I work from home on my computer and telephone. I make good money and still keep in contact with patients. It is a perfect job for me-I dont have to get up early and get myself ready. If I want to sit around in jammies all day I can-if I need to stretch out on the bed for a break, I can-it is just what works for me. Depending on your pain and other considerations perhaps Home Health might be an option. You just have to adjust your focus a bit. If you have a lot of good nursing knowledge case management is a great job. There are a lot of other options out there, you just may have to get out of the hospital. Maybe an office job, or even fusion if you are good with IVs. I used to be able to do a combination of sitting and standing but now I'm to the point where I just cant stand too long or walk too much. Do I miss my former work? Sometimes but my current work has many challenges and rewards too-they are just different. I do wish you all the best from one nurse to another! Do your research first before you decide to get cut again. If you do decide it is the best option for you then that is what you need to do but WAIT until you are fully healed from this one before you jump into something else. You know you are not healed yet. Give yourself at LEAST a year to fully heal and do PT. It may be all you need. I have just come to terms with the fact that I will probably always have to have pain meds and I will never be totally pain free again. I'm finally working with a new really good pain Dr so I am hopeful again which is more than I have been in a long time. Hang in there! I'm going to add you to my "friends" and if you ever want to talk send me a private message! Dzoo
If you have a good surgeon who is convinced it will help you go ahead and get it done. I went through the same thing 24 years ago, I had a laminectomy which made my pain worse then I couldn't find a doctor who would help, I finally found a great surgeon who wanted to help, he fused my spine and within 5 weeks I was hiking in Englad completely pain free, it was amazing. I was pain free for 20 years but am now in need of adding the next three but can't find anyone to do it I am on 50 mcg fentanyl and nothing helps. I would have the surgery to fix it if I could find someone. I never regretted the fusion, being pain free for 20 years was awesome, if I were you I would go for it, being in this kind of pain really sucks, I know the surgeries are so much better today than they were back then, I really think you should go for it for sure.
Your back will not get better, only worsen without the fusion and you will have pain all the time, that is not living it is only surviving which is where I am at again. If you get the fusion excercize and keep your core strong so you don't have to go through this again. Good luck to you, I hope it works out for you.
I had a spinal fusion from T10 thru S1.. spinal stenosis, four crushed discs and scoliosis..not to mention severe nerve damage in left leg. I AM still in pain 24/7.. pain doc want to put in a morphine pain pump if he can even get into spinal cord.. 50/50 chance of that. I have 46 screws 4 anchors into my pelvis and hips plus rodding thru entire back. Yours might not be as complicated as mine, but I would get a second opinion. I hope this helps.
Let me know
good luck if you find deffinate answer i have been told L-5 S1 is gone 3 and 4 are degenerative and bulging arthritis bone spurs and stenossis also had surgery scheduled than doctor bailed week before procedure which was a blessing he told me would be off work for 2 months went to see his partner after words he said 6 months to year and only gave me a 50-50 chance at going back to my job after words and possibly only reduce pain by 50 % its all a gamble read all these success stories but all the people i know that had these fusions are all still on narcotics and in daily pain i have the same problem as you my pain level is 4 -10 daily up to 7 -10 on bad days just like a tooth ache never stops pain meds got me through the day so i wasnt so mean but work 6 7 days a week in steel mill as a mechanical maint.
i have a good pain doc had 28 epidurals with varying results physical therapy actually made it worse and a whole bunch of other stuff . judging from all my research we are pretty much screwed. i dont think my answer is what you are looking for but judging on my research wait it out i am 45 and told if i had it done in 5 to 7 years would have to get the ones above done one doctor actually told me if you can keep getting out of bed and no nerver damage to wait it out. so if there is anybody on here that can give us a better help please do at my witts end 10 years of this
I'm 20 and had a lumbar fusion almost two years ago myself... recovery is long but it is effective. After my surgery I've went on to work as a cell phone tower climber and tree farm laborer and now a welder. I won't lie to you and say its a cure all provedure but it has worked for me. Howeber I do still get quite achy and sore but it is much more manageable than before the surgery. If i was in your position I would honestly hold off on the fusion until absolty nevessary but at the same time it is beneficail. I hope this has helped in some way best of luck to you and stay strong back problems suck I know lol
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