10 months post surgery, not doing great.

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Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:34 pm

10 months post surgery, not doing great.

Post by johnnyblotter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:08 pm

Hi all,

I've had about 17 years of intermittent severe back problems, which culminated 10 months ago with me having an L5/S1 microdiscectomy and L4/L5 laminectomy. I'm 37, almost 38.

The problems go back to when I was about 19. I was very athletic, at some point my spine got very twisted, and I had tons of problems being able to stand up after sitting for an hour or two...I walked hunched over with a ton of sciatic pain. Doctors wanted to actually do surgery on me, but my dad found me a great P.T and I was able to fully recover. For the next ten years or so, I'd have intermittent recurrences, but in between that my back was 100%, zero problems at all and fully active. In my twenties I threw myself all over the place, then every couple years my back would go out. I'd go to the P.T and within a month I was back to being rambunctious and not thinking about it.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago. Horrible sciatica lasting for months. Went to P.T, recovered partially, tried to resume weights and running, a few months later, sciatica came back full force. Tried P.T again, tried all sorts of MacKenzie push up type techniques, a lot of hammy and calf stretches, etc. Couldn't walk very well, it was just miserable. Then, one day I bent down to the side to pick something up and SNAP. Worst pain I've ever been in. Bedridden for two or three days, had the ambulance take me to the E.R, where they did nothing but send me home on cruches...I was literally laying on the ground outside the hospital cause they wouldn't admit me. It was atrocious. A few weeks of intense pain followed, my foot felt like I was actually walking on a rock...I couldn't walk anywhere without crutches, even then only for a few blocks at best. Finally, after another 2 scary ER visits, they do an MRI. Ortho says huge herniation, L5/S1, consistent with the pain I was describing, he gives me a scrip for like 50 dilauded, says he doesn't think I'll be able to avoid surgery.

But I tried to anyway, kept stretching and trying to walk. Felt some improvement, best day was when I got to the subway, went a few stops and went to a mall and then made it back. Still felt like I had a rock in my foot, so I'd have to stop every so often and sit down and rub my foot. It wasn't like I was doing well at all, but I was doing slightly better. But then, one day I go to my friend's house and smoke some pot, just a little, which set off some horrible nerve reaction, like nothing I've ever felt. I was standing in the street and couldn't walk or sit or so anything, it was like a spike was coming through my foot all the way up to my leg. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't smoked the pot. Who knows? Either way, I get home and I'm like, that's it. Get me in, let's do the surgery, because enough is enough.

So, I go in, get it done, micro-d L5/S1, laminectomy L4/L5. Doctor is telling me all about 90% success rate and yadda yadda yadda. When I got home after my foot still felt like it had a rock in it. They told me that's cause a part of the disc was pinned against the nerve and dented the hell out of it. So when they said that I felt like, ok, I'm glad I did it cause my foot was gonna have a rock in it forever otherwise and my leg would be totally screwed, but I still feel guilty for smokin' that pot and maybe like there'd have a been a sliver of a chance to avoid all this crap.

Another piece of this insane puzzle...I'm bipolar, and years ago, in the height of manic episodes I'd walk around doing very twisted, bizarre, and tense movements where'd I'd totally tighten the hell out of my back and walk very spasmodially down the street. It was horrible times with the bipolar ****, I'm sure these movements weakened the ligaments in my back, which, as you'll see in a sec, is my main problem now. Thanks for you patience for making it this far, I swear I'm almost to the crux...

So, up until very recently I'd say my recovery was so-so. I was able to regain the ability to walk around pretty much in unlimited fashion, and I can swim, ride a bike, have sex, and do all that and be mostly pain free..I'd have some tweaks here or there but over time (up until quite recently) it steadily improved. Mobility still sucked, I couldn't move anything, I could dance just a little bit (which sucks) and I wasn't at the level where I'd even think about something like playing tennis, BUT...I was able to get around and have a life.

But now, I'm having stability problems on my left side, in the lower back area. I've been trying to do stability exercises, plank type things, modified to be not very stressful, but it's just making it worse. My back is starting to sort of lean to the left, the whole left lower side feels very weak, and bending and doing any type of non-boring movement is now causing me a whole lot of weakness and tension. AFter a bunch of research it seems like a sacroiliac problem, where the ligaments are stretched and weak. It feels like when I walk my left side is sinking and my left hip is sinking down and my alignment is all weird. It causes me to have very minor hip problems and sometimes knee problems, and I am noticing more now that I'm not walking evenly.

Anyway this new PT told me about how prolotherapy really helped her, and in researching it, it looks like maybe it could be effective for what feels like weak ligaments.

I'm gonna quit the stabilization stuff for now and continue focusing on a lot of stretching the hams and the really easy exercises I've been doing 2x daily for 10 months, in addition to swimming. Once I start the prolotherapy (after I research doctors), then we'll see if increasing the difficulty of the exercises helps. For now I'm most concerned that my left side seems to be sinking down and making my spine unstable.

It hasn't been easy...probably not that easy to read all of this either. If you did, THANKS.


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