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    Prolong pain after ruptured disc surgery
    An_249985 posted:
    I am 4 months post-surgery for removing of a ruptured disc in L-4/L-5 and have back pain that comes and goes. I am exercising -mostly walking and would like to know if the pain will ever go away.. I am still managing the pain with pain pills and would like to know what to expect..
    cweinbl responded:
    The good news: damaged nerves take a long time to heal; sometimes a year or longer. So, at four months, you still have time for healing.

    The bad news: spine surgery to remove a herniated disc has a success rate of about 60%. Spinal fusion's success rate is even lower. Thus, you only had slightly better than a one in two chance for surgical success. I understand that surgeons have egos and they rarely give you the real odds. But here is the origin of that "60% success rate" fact:;12;699-802.pdf , along with statistics on all forms of spinal intervention.

    After four failed spine surgeries, I've given up on more. But I still collect solid research. Good luck to you.
    Tjanus responded:
    Hi ,I had aback injury back in 2001 L4-L5 witch ruptured ,Continued to work with it till I could not take the pain any more .My pain is lower back an left leg pain radiating to my foot ,my three little toes are numb.So in 2004 I had a discectimy lamectimy .took about a year out of work to get back to some kind normality .Still had the same simtums as before but not as bad .went back to work in early 2006 .That lasted about a year then my pain got so bad that I had to leave work again .So in 2007 I hade a fusion of L4-l5 with the rest of disk removed.So it took a long recovery from that sugery.I opted to use my own bone instead of rods but still used some screws .After I healed from that I ended up growing too much bone that started too push on my spinal cord so once again had surgery in 2010 to remove soon of the bone .But after all that I still have back pain and lower left leg pain , things don't seem to get much better , in most cases you still will be on pain meds therapy ,an in some kind of pain ..So in still looking for relief I had a pain stimulator implant. Put in in 2011 it helps with some of the pain but still their is the chance that will have problems with that like I did the Led that went to implant had broke so once again had surgery to have that replace. I telling you this to worn you that make sure you think about every thing you may do for pain relief .To me I think it's a on going thing so make smart digit ions about your treatment research every thing good before you do anything. so I still am on meds and use my stim but I don't think it will ever be the same I'm 47 and been feeling with it since 2001 and for the rest of my life I live day by day sorry for this news but it the truth GOOD LUCK AN STAY STRONG
    Peter Abaci, MD responded:
    One of the most common questions that I get asked by patients is "Will this ever go away?" It is natural to want to know what to expect in the future. I think it helps to think of healing as a true process that can take time. While our bodies can change and atrophy within 24 hours of an injury, it can sometimes take months or longer for some repairs to take place. You can take an active role in this process by maintaining supportive lifestyle habits like following an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising and staying active, and avoiding tobacco.

    Worrying about the future can sometimes create unneeded anxieties. It may help to realize that nobody, including doctors, can really predict the future, so I often suggest to my patients to try to live in the moment, do their best to manage the pain that they have today, and try to make today the best day possible.
    MattyB13 responded:
    I was pain free about 1.5 years post opp from an arthroplasty in my L5/S1 area. It just takes time. Keep up the work, surround yourself with people that love you, take your meds, and recover! My thought was always, "No way am I going to stay like this. Push on!" Easier said than done; I know, and I can definitely empathize with you.

    If the pain starts getting worse, then it is time to maybe do more tests. I'd say you are right where you need to be if you are managing with your meds. If you had a fusion operation, think about how much bone needs to grow before it is solid. Breaking a wrist is pretty painful, but the bone is 1/16 the size of a massive L5; and that takes 4-6 weeks to heal!

    Keep it up and good luck!
    Anon_57995 replied to MattyB13's response:
    actually, a lumbar fusion takes a full year to heal.
    MattyB13 replied to Anon_57995's response:
    Sorry! You misunderstood me. I was thinking that a broken bone takes up to 6 weeks to heal, like in the wrist (been there and done that

    The author was worrying about what is next and how long pain meds may be needed. Like I said, I had an arthroplasty and it took me a year and a half to heal, and that is without fusion. My point is that it takes time. As Dr. Abaci wrote, "... I often suggest to my patients to try to live in the moment ..." For me, I had to accept where I was during that time and came to a realization that it was what it was. This helped ground me and then I began to hope, and climb out of the hole.

    Sorry for the confusion!
    cweinbl responded:
    Because spine surgery has such a deplorable success rate (about 60%), the goal is not for us to be pain free, but to be able to manage our pain so that we can return to some measure of our prior life. Almost no one who has had spine surgery will ever become pain free. My four failed spine surgieries have significantly increased my pain. I had to retire from a rewarding university careeer at age 51.

    People with chronic pain can safely use opioids for decades. The rate of addiciton is very low and tolerance can be managed. Powerful pain drugs can and do greatly assist us in leading productive lives for many, many years.

    Happiness can be measured in our ability to adapt to pain and suffering while still finding a way to be productive as an individual and as a family member. For people like us, attutude means everything. Accepting and dealing with chronic pain is an exercise in character. If the price I must pay is reliance upon powerful medications, so be it. I am grateful to have them. Good luck.

    Featuring Experts

    Peter Abaci, MD , is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Abaci received his undergraduate educat...More

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