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Please describe your lumbar laminectomy experience.

Back pain can grow progressively worse and more disabling, depending on the cause. At some point, your doctor may suggest surgery as one of the alternatives. The lumbar laminectomy may be one option. Despite medical breakthroughs, back pain has been a common problem through the centuries, often with no simple solutions.Facts about back painBack pain results in more lost work productivity than any other medical condition. It is the second leading cause of missed workdays (behind the common cold).Back pain is more common in men than women.Back pain is more common among whites than among other racial groups.Most back pain occurs among people 45-64 years of age.A common cause of acute back pain is muscle strain. A common cause of chronic back pain is degeneration of the lumbar spine and lumbar disk disease.Discussion of back pain has been found on Egyptian papyrus dating 3,500 years ago. Through the centuries, thousands of physicians have evaluated it and recommended treatments for it.Back pain that can lead to surgeryThe most common site of back pain is in the lower back.A significant percentage of people who have back pain have a herniated disk with nerve pain transmitted down a lower extremity. This pain is called sciatica, because the problem once was believed to stem from pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica causes pain to radiate through your buttocks into one or both legs.A disk acts as a shock absorber for your spine. It is made up of a tough outer ring of cartilage with an inner sac filled with a jellylike substance. When a disk herniates, the jellylike nucleus pushes through the harder outer ring (annulus), putting pressure on the adjacent nerve root.A herniated disk can cause varying degrees of pain and complications. The most serious complication is cauda equina syndrome, compression at the point where the roots of all the lumbar spinal nerves are located.People may lose all nerve function below the area of compression, including loss of bowel and bladder control.This condition is a true surgical emergency requiring immediate decompression of the entrapped nerves if you are to preserve bowel and bladder function. The longer the delay, the less recovery can be expected.Surgery for back painAs with other back pain, doctors first attempt conservative medical treatment for a herniated disc. If conservative treatment fails, surgery often produces gratifying relief.Surgery may be considered for anyone with frequently recurring sciatica, usually if the pain interferes with your ability to work or do daily activities.Doctors decide to perform surgery, however, only after they have tried a variety of treatments. Doctors usually reserve surgery for chronic sciatica. In general, most medical experts do not recommend considering surgery in acute sciatica. The decision to have surgery should be a joint decision you make with your doctor.Another indication for surgery is a progressive loss of nerve function. For example, you may lose a certain reflex and later begin to lose strength gradually.Far more commonly, people go to a doctor with an acute lack of nerve function.Usually these function losses are minor and may come and go. They respond well to conservative medical treatment.If the deficit is severe -- you cannot bend a knee or move a foot -- surgery is an option.Many people may not regain full nerve function after surgery, however.Men are twice as likely to need surgery as women.The average age for surgery is 40-45 years.More than 95% of disk operations are performed on the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.Types of surgery: Doctors perform three common surgeries on the back to relieve nerve root compression. These procedures are sometimes referred to as decompressive operations. They often are done in combination with each other.Laminotomy -- Removal of part of the bony lamina above and below a nerve that is getting "pinched."Laminectomy -- Removal of most of the bony arch, or lamina, of a vertebra (Laminectomy is most often done when back pain fails to improve with more conservative medical treatment.)Discectomy -- Removal, or partial removal, of a spinal disk
37 Responses
Avatar universal
My back and leg pain were relieved by lumbar laminectomy. But, now I have terrible bilateral foot pain.  I can barely walk.
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I have just had lumbar laminectomy surgery a week and 3 days ago. I'm having leg pain in both my legs. I can't stand for a long time, especially in the shower; I have to sit down on the side of the tub to take a shower because of the pain in my legs. I drove for the first time, it was ok until I had to lean up to watch for traffic. I go for my follow up on March the 17th, 2017. I was wondering if anyone else had leg pain in their legs, if it was normal or how long it would last. I felt my back hurt today March 11th, a little bit. That's the first time I felt my back hurt since the surgery, maybe because of my driving put a strain on it. I had the laminectomy on my L5 S1.
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I had a decompression lumbar laminectomy for staph infection (not MRSA) 5 months ago. Initially I was unable to bear any weight, I have now progressed to using a walker. I am told my spine may take up to a year to heal and my progress for normal ambulation is unknown.
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I am going on the 3rd January for lower back decompression and laminectomy. My mobility has got so bad I can just manage a few steps with the help of a rollator. I am taking oxycodone liquid 2.5 ml every 4 hours and a 5 mg tablet at night, with 50 mg pregabalin twice a day. I have had problems with disorientation, constipation and nausea, but I think we have the balance right now.
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I have had 3 L4-L5 lower back lumbar laminectomy surgeries. December 2015 was my first. Six weeks later in January 2016 was my second, and then my 3rd was in May 2016. I had 2 bulging disks and they kept rupturing. Laminectomy was performed. I can go on and on. I went through so much pain. I would be ok for a little while after surgery but then the pain came back. When the pain got unbearable again the disk had ruptured again and my surgeon said that I would have to have fusion. This I did not want to do. I changed doctors and went to a new pain management doctor. It took 3 injections and the last one really hurt but that along with physical surgery saved me. I thought I was doing the right thing and listening to my surgeon but having a 4th surgery I did not want to do. I am very careful with everything I do now. I am a 1st grade teacher.
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I am a 40 year old male tree service owner/operator. On December 5th debilitating lower body pain began out of the blue. I couldn't even climb in the lift bucket. Mainly pain in the right hip down to the knee. I tried everything in the book. January 6th I got the MRI, CT and x-rays. Pain was so bad I wanted to cry. Discovered I needed a lumbar laminectomy of the L3-L4 and L4-L5. Outside of both legs to my toes was numb, hips were on fire and the slightest wrong move about put me down. I was only out of bed an hour or 2 a day. At this point, I would do anything for relief. February 23, 6 pm I finally got the laminectomy of L3-L4 and L4-L5 with disc dissection at both locations. The pain in recovery is the worst I have ever experienced. The night was horrible. I spent it sweating, crying and pressing a little green button every 8 minutes. February 24th noon I turned the corner. Things were slowly getting better almost by the minute. All pre operation symptoms were gone. I was out of bed doing laps around the floor. I wanted to win very badly. Now it is February 28, 8 pm and I'm typing this in little pain. I am slightly limited with bending, twisting and lifting but it is getting better quickly. I am amazed how quickly this is coming together. If not for the first 20 hours after surgery, this is a great experience.
Avatar universal
I suffered for years from back pain. I am glad to read the stories. My doctor says I need lumbar laminectomy. I am inconstant pain. Hopefully it will help. I cannot stand or walk. I would do anything for relief.
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I had surgery on L5, L4, 10 weeks ago in February 2018 and all seemed to go well. But 4 weeks after my lumbar laminectomy surgery the incision area aches badly. I can't sit for more than 30 minutes or stand for more than 1 hour. I don't know if it is the muscle or the disc that's the issue. I was told 6 weeks but that is being modest, from other posts I see on this forum. I'm hoping it will get better from what I have read. The leg and back pain are gone, but it is a different kind of achy pain that's deep and dull in the lower back. I am scheduled to see pain management next week. Hope it is good news or I will be getting MRI soon.
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My husband had L4 and L5 fusion and now has numbness in groin and below knees. He can go to the bathroom on his own and can walk with a walker. It's been a week since his lumbar laminectomy and he is getting very nervous.
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I had a lumbar laminectomy on May 1st on L3-S1 to relieve degenerative disc and spinal stenosis. Surgery went fine. I took it easy for several weeks. At 6 weeks I got the go ahead to do physical therapy. I didn't put my whole heart into it, and now on July 15th, my back is hurting like before. I don't know what to do. I am very depressed. I did have leg pain which has subsided, but they still feel heavy. Not sorry I had the surgery, just wish I knew what to do next.
Avatar universal
I had a lumbar laminectomy and microdiscectomy at L4 L5 to relieve pressure on my sciatic nerve on the right side caused by a herniated disc. I'm a US Marine officer, 42 years old who was very active but had to choose between getting this surgery or medical retirement, my leg pain was so bad. Post-surgery the leg pain was gone entirely. Two weeks out I've had some minor pain recurrence but rarely, normal for this operation, and restless legs syndrome symptoms in arms. I'm much better than before surgery, so far it's worth it.
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I had a lumbar laminectomy operation on 5th July. It was meant to be a discectomy but my discs had become hard as stone so the surgeon only shaved some off. I have recovered from the surgery but am still in pain. I came off pain control and was awake for 41 hours. I see my surgeon on Tuesday but dreading telling him I'm still in pain.
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I had my lumbar laminectomy bone fusion with titanium hardware surgery on August 8, 2017. I don't know if it's because of the weather changing to the colder air late during the nights and early in the mornings, or maybe just doing some activities (chores at home) that's been causing my back to really hurt, stiffen, have a tight feeling and also throbbing. I'm even getting that tight and stiff feeling in my quadriceps because of it.
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I am 3 months out from lumbar laminectomy and discectomy on L4 S1. My pain is worse than before operation. Now I have the lumbar pain that radiates into my right buttock and down my leg and around into my groin. I work full time (nurse) and by the end of my 10 hour shift I can barely walk. Now my leg is a solid ache with sharp pains and feels heavy and weak. I'm so over this pain. Gabapentin does nothing, oxycodone does nothing so I suffer. It took 5 years to find the problem so I know there is a lot of nerve damage.
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I am 48 years old. I have what they called extreme severe spinal stenosis. I had a decompression and lumbar laminectomy surgery on March 28, 2018. He said I was more likely born this way with a smaller spinal column. Since then I have had severe pain in my lower back down my left leg to the foot. My left foot once in a while goes limp while walking. I have pain coming out from my groin and down my leg, and can't stand. I walk less than 5 minutes and I get severe pain and my knee wants to buckle on me.
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I am 4 weeks post lumbar laminectomy at L4-L5 and L3-L4. I had sciatica pain for 3 years prior with increasing leg weakness. I had immediate pain relief and was up walking the same day. I didn't realize how much pain I was in until it was gone. I have been very careful with my recovery and felt great up till today. All of a sudden I have a sharp pain in my back when I move. No radiating pain but just very sharp and it is painful when I sneeze. I have no idea why.
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I had a lumbar laminectomy 4 months ago. I have to say it worked very well, I have no pain. I am a month into therapy to get strength back in my right leg and to regain my balance, I'm hoping to be strong enough to fly soon, in need a vacation.
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My back muscles are split like a canyon where he did the lumbar laminectomy. If I rub my neck I can literally feel my bones on the spine. Sometimes when I touch it, it will make me feel weak and want to puke. Not sure if this is normal. I had the surgery 4 months ago.
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I had L5 S1 microdiscectomy 1 week ago for sciatic pain, and scoliosis after my son was born 8 months ago. I was barely walking/standing for more than a minute, earlier this year. After the lumbar laminectomy surgery I stood straight immediately after, though some tingling and numbness in my left leg continued as expected. I stopped pain killers the next day and continued with Tylenol. The pain is dull to sharp but completely manageable. I have noticed pins and needles down both legs and tops of my feet, probably overdoing it. Happy.
Avatar universal
I had lumbar laminectomy done a year ago. I had no back problems before. My pain was like others on here, down my right leg which I thought was my hamstring. Then it went into my buttock on the right and finally into my undercarriage. It was like lightning bolts strapped to a jack hammer. I got where I couldn't even move my legs. Turned out to be a tumor wrapped around my spine. It's been all good until recently. I'm back in pain but not as bad. Right side of my body has never been the same.
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I am 3 months after L4/L5 discectomy. I had L3/L4 lumbar laminectomy done last year. I have zero pain, I just feel uncomfortable and have to readjust. It's worse when lying in bed. I never felt any of this before the surgeries. Not cool. Dreading needing a third surgery.
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I had surgery 2 months ago on L3, lumbar laminectomy plus tissue removal. Now it is very hard to walk as thighs are very painful, and after quitting painkillers after 2 weeks after surgery, I still need them on and off to deal with severe pain trying to walk. I have bad knees too. I am a 62 year old man 6' 4" 260 lb. I am wondering if relief is in sight or if I should go to the horse stables and be put down.
Avatar universal
I had a lumbar laminectomy about three weeks ago and when I sit and try to get up, I have the most severe pain on both thighs and legs. Also when I sneeze or cough I have the most jarring pain in the center of my back, never felt pain like this.
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Written on 12/23/19, six months post lumbar laminectomy L3, L4, L5. I elected to have surgery 6/17/19 to extend my sports life. Both legs were getting weak and I had left foot drop, no pain. Now my legs are much weaker and I have foot drop in both feet. No pain. In retrospect I wish I had met my post-surgery physical therapy (PT) instructor before the surgery. I feel I would be better off in that case. I am exercising and improving, but I regret having the surgery and I recommend dedication to PT before surgery.
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