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Help pain after disc removal 18m months ago

Hi I had my L5-S1 disc removed in August 2007.  They did the front and back surgery. Everything has been fine until three weeks ago.  I started to get a niggly pain where I used to get the pain pre surgery so I took difene and rested for a week.  The pain gradually had gotten worse.  I am now on difene and a host of other pain meds, I have an altered sensation across the bottom of my back,it feels like it has been injected by a numbing agent (like your lip feels after the dentist injects it) and the pain is going back down my right leg and and partially into my left leg! I am at my wits end because I thought with the disc gone the problem would go, how can it come back nearly two years later when there is no disc there? Can someone help, I cant go through this all over again!
4 Responses
Avatar universal
You are correct that the source of your pain is not the disc that was removed as the offending cause is no longer there.  Unfortunately, when one disc is removed, it puts greater stress on adjacent discs and you may now have problems associated with the disc above the L5-S1 vertebrae.
The only way of determining whether this has occurred is for a repeat MRI (you probably had one done prior to your surgery) to determine what interval changes have occurred.
While it seems soon to think of additional damage, the wear and tear on our spine only progresses as we age and the amount and type of physical activity we pursue.  The risk is higher for anyone who has had a prior fusion.  I suggest you return to the surgeon who did your initial procedure or to the orthopedist who has been treating you since the surgery for additional evaluation/treatment.
Best wishes----
Avatar universal
Thanks a million for your reply. I have made an appointment to see the surgeon, the earliest I can get is March 16th which isnt too bad! The only thing is I am terrified of him!Hes not a very socialable person and he removed the disc in 07 after trying various things such as facet injections, idet procedure etc.. but he wasnt very nice about it.He made me feel like the pain couldnt be as bad as I made it out to be, and it couldnt be impacting my life to the degree I said it was. He made me feel like I was imagining some of it! I feel like he will think I'm just a hysterical female who cant handle a bit of pain and to get on with it! As I told him I would have triplets with no pain relief everyday quicker than go through what I went through and I dont think I can mentally handle the pain and stress again! Any suggestions on how to approach someone your terrified of without sounding pathetic or on the other hand defensive because of the apprehension! Any ideas will be really helpful! thanks in advance
Avatar universal
The first thing is to try and not be intimidated by this individual.  It sounds as if he has MD syndrome (ME DOCTOR!)  If you anticipate this will be his reaction and you have not seen him since your surgery in 2007, I would elect another orthopedic or neurosurgeon to have additonal evaluation done.  There is no law stating you must see this same doctor as it would be involving other disc levels and not a consequence of his surgery. Some doctors do have difficulty with patients who complain of pain when there are no clinical findings.  Without evaluation and testing, he would be bordering on malpractice to assume you are either "faking" or "exaggerating" your pain.
Good luck and keep us posted on your decisions!
Avatar universal
Thanks for that, I think he does have the 'MD' syndrome! and I am going to write out questions that I have before I go on the 16th March because if he starts being condescending again I will turn into a 2 year old and sit there and babble and come out of is office none the wiser! I will let you know how I get on, and thanks again for the support

Best Wishes

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