About 5 months ago I had surgery to repair 2 herniated discs (L5-S1 and L4-L5) A simple microdiscectomy. The right side, for which the surgery was meant to repair, is feeling much better. Unfortunately, the left side is now giving me problems. I went to see my surgeon, and he said the pain I'm feeling in the left is due to an irritation of the sacral-illiac joint and should resolve itself.
The pain has somewhat lessened, although today it seems to be back for more. It hurts mainly on the illiac crest , although today it is actually bothering me farther towards the outside of my hip and seems to worsen when walking or bending backwards.
I am concerned that the doctor's diagnosis is incorrect. My orthopedic originally diagnosed my original herniated discs as the same type of irritation.
HELP!!! I don't know why there is so much pain on the left side. I want my doctor to do an MRI, but I also want to trust his diagnosis. I am getting very frustrated with this situation and I just want to return to normal.
What should I do?!! Does his diagnosis sound right?
Microdiscectomy can be a suitable way to treat small disc protrusion without having the trauma of a larger operation. Only a small number of people are in this category, and the disc protrusion must be evidenced to be causign significant problems to warrant surgery, such as progressive neurological impairment or severe pain attributable to the discs. Pain can also be atrributed to other soft tissues or joints in this area, not necessarily the discs - I cannot commment on your case specifically, as I Am not sure how confident you are that your original pain was due to the disc prolapse.
It does not treat however other disc areas, which may also be affected by the same degenerative or prolapse process - and these areas can potentially become unstable or protrude. It should be possible to identify pain from the sacro-iliac joint by the clincal examination (for example with palpation or movement of this joint on the exam table). It may be useful to do an MRI as after surgery there could be as I said above a prolapse of another segement of disc, or a disc fragment from the surgery - I cannot comment on your specific case without knowing more details or give you a formal opinion - recurrent prolapse or a retained disc fragment are two possibel causes of recurrent pain after surgery.
I returned to see my orthopedic doctor who made the initial diagnosis and suggestions for treatment for the herniated discs (which included pt, oral steriods, an epidural, and then surgery- the surgery was done by neurosurgeon, not my orthopedic)
Surgery was my choice based on the need to eliminate the problem. I am an amateur road cyclist hoping to compete at the national level, and the injury was keeping me from training.
His thoughts on the current problem are that there is a mechanical situation brewing in my lower back caused by poor healing post-surgery. He believes that physical therapy should eliminate this problem, and that I should have been going to pt right after surgery. I am scheduled for a follow-up in 5 weeks.
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