Struggling after Hemilaminectomy

Posted by Karen @ktrammell1, Oct 25, 2020

I am 17 days post hemilaminectomy. I am struggling with pain and depression. I was so hopeful that this surgery would resolve the back, hip, leg and foot pain I’ve had for several years. After talking with others who have had immediate pain relief from this surgery, I was expecting the same. The first week was no better than before surgery. Then the second week I felt like I was making progress. Now I’m back to the same pain type and level as before surgery. The surgeon told me to expect steady improvement and he felt like at one month post surgery I would be almost pain free if not totally pain free. Maybe I just need to be patient. I would love to talk to someone who has gone through this same experience. I am 56 years old and want my active lifestyle back.

@ktrammell1

I thought I would post an update to my Laminectomy Recovery or lack thereof. It has now been 10 weeks since my surgery at Mayo Jax. The first month post surgery was difficult and frustrating. Weeks 5, 6 and 7 started to show improvement and even got to point I could walk 15 minutes without much pain and do general housework for a couple hours. However, weeks 8, 9, and 10 have been horrible and in a downward spiral. I am now actually worse than I was before surgery. I have no idea what happened or what caused this. But the pain is horrible now when I stand or walk and it takes anywhere from 15 minutes to hours to resolve when I sit. Prior to surgery the pain would resolve in a few minutes after I sat down. I have become very frustrated and incredibly discouraged. I have an appointment with my surgeon coming up this week.

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I am so sorry to hear this. I hope your surgeon can discover the problem (s) and lead you back on the road to healing❤️

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@wisco50

Wow. That would be very discouraging indeed! I wonder if you have a new disc issue or a fragment of broken away bone. I am sure they will be ordering a new MRI/CT scan, etc. Hoping they find a fixable reason! Good luck and let us know what you find out. Take care.

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You were exactly correct. Met with my surgical team today. Had new MRI and X-rays and I do indeed have a new disc herniation. I have no idea when or how this happened. So I’m now facing another surgery – this time a microdiscetomy. There are no surgery dates open until February so I’ll have to deal with the pain another two months. 😢

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@ktrammell1

You were exactly correct. Met with my surgical team today. Had new MRI and X-rays and I do indeed have a new disc herniation. I have no idea when or how this happened. So I’m now facing another surgery – this time a microdiscetomy. There are no surgery dates open until February so I’ll have to deal with the pain another two months. 😢

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Well, sorry I was correct in my guess but it does sound fixable and hopefully a much shorter and easier surgery and recovery for you! Hang in there! At least spring will be coming for you to walk during your recovery! Best of luck and keep us informed!

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Hello Karen. As I read tour post, I was amazed at how closely your experience matches mine. My name is Tim. I’m 64 years old. In March 2021, I had a right L5 hemilaminectomy to address pain and numbness in my right leg and buttocks. The Physician told me prior surgery, the chance of a good outcome ( no more pain) was 95%.
Upon waking from surgery, my butt and leg pain were worse than they were prior to surgery and in the days and weeks following, the pain got much worse. The physician said the pain was as a result of swelling and blood product around the nerve root and that it would get better.
After two months of agony, my family doctor gave me an oral steroid course and a script for gabapentin.
I feel like this surgery was the worst decision of my life. I was in pain before but I was able to manage it. Now not only to I have more pain, my L5 segment is compromised and I have constant anxiety that the bone may fail and put me in even worse condition.
Within the last few days, I’ve been feeling a bit better due to the meds. I still have pain when standing or walking but it goes away if I sit or lay down. However, I’m trying to get around more in an effort to my lifr back together.
I wanted to ask, how you are doing since your last post. Have you been able to get relief?
If you’re better, what changed for you?
My prayers are with you.

Tim

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@timbeau

Hello Karen. As I read tour post, I was amazed at how closely your experience matches mine. My name is Tim. I’m 64 years old. In March 2021, I had a right L5 hemilaminectomy to address pain and numbness in my right leg and buttocks. The Physician told me prior surgery, the chance of a good outcome ( no more pain) was 95%.
Upon waking from surgery, my butt and leg pain were worse than they were prior to surgery and in the days and weeks following, the pain got much worse. The physician said the pain was as a result of swelling and blood product around the nerve root and that it would get better.
After two months of agony, my family doctor gave me an oral steroid course and a script for gabapentin.
I feel like this surgery was the worst decision of my life. I was in pain before but I was able to manage it. Now not only to I have more pain, my L5 segment is compromised and I have constant anxiety that the bone may fail and put me in even worse condition.
Within the last few days, I’ve been feeling a bit better due to the meds. I still have pain when standing or walking but it goes away if I sit or lay down. However, I’m trying to get around more in an effort to my lifr back together.
I wanted to ask, how you are doing since your last post. Have you been able to get relief?
If you’re better, what changed for you?
My prayers are with you.

Tim

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Hello @timbeau and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can read from your post that you rather instantly related to what @ktrammell1 has shared in this discussion.

While we wait for her to respond, congratulations on the steps you are taking to try to be more mobile now that you've noticed feeling a bit better. Have you thought about any short term or long-term goals to keep you motivated?

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@amandajro

Hello @timbeau and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I can read from your post that you rather instantly related to what @ktrammell1 has shared in this discussion.

While we wait for her to respond, congratulations on the steps you are taking to try to be more mobile now that you've noticed feeling a bit better. Have you thought about any short term or long-term goals to keep you motivated?

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Thank you for the reply. Goals aren’t a problem for me but rather the ability to get at them because I’m limited by the pain in my leg and butt.
I recently obtained an MRI showing the surgery fixed only one of about 4 problems causing the pain including bulged discs , lose disc material and stenosis at locations other than the surgery site.
i am becoming an expert at figuring put how to do the things I like while at the same time, avoiding too much standing, too much sitting, etc.(movement, Positions, etc that aggravate the nerve and b
bring on the pain).
Presently, I swim daily, strengthen my core on a pilates reformer and visit a clinic where they administer warm laser therapy in an effort to reduce inflammation and hopefully scar tissue formation.
The clinic offers Vax-D lumbar distraction therapy. I may try that once I am fully healed.

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If you have had a bad back for many years you presumably developed some arthritis in your spine and I presume you're speaking of your lumbar spine from your comments. Maybe you have set your expectations too high too soon? If you've had the disease process for a long period so I would expect it to not heal over night. Maybe you should set your goals on shorter ones that are more manageable and meaningful to help you feel better, track your progress and reduce your anxiety to delayed healing. Your PT should be willing and able to assist you with this. They are truly your best resource for recovering from back surgery besides yourself and your own motivation.

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