Spinal Decompression/L4/l5 discectomy
QUESTION: Dear Sir,
Please I urgently need your help. I had a laminectomy and l4/l5 discectomy about 2 weeks ago.
My MRI showed that I I had a spinal canal stenosis on the left at L4/l5 thereby feeling the pain more in the left leg for about 5 years. About a couple if months Before the surgery I started feeling the pain on my right leg and it was becoming unbearable so I decided together with my doctor to have the surgery.
Now after the surgery part if my right leg is numb from the buttocks down to the foot. I can't step with my foot. The sole and heel of the foot feels swollen but it does not look it. I started Physio a week ago. Doctors say it will clear with time, but I am a bit confuse as to why my right leg should be affected when the canal stenosis was on the left with the pain more in the left for a very long time.
Please help me. Am at home and can't go anywhere. The only good thing is that I can feel my leg when it's touched.
Also I am scared to try to bend at this stage since I don't know the consequence it will have at my back.
ANSWER: Hope ~
First, let me say that 2 weeks is way too soon to become alarmed. Spinal surgery is major surgery right up there with brain surgery and heart surgery and probably your surgeon is correct that it will clear with time. Hopefully at 4 weeks you will be able to say it has improved somewhat, and at 6 weeks it has improved quite a bit, and at 8 weeks it has improved quite a lot. As good as it gets is still months away.
A disc herniation completely left impacts only the nerve roots exiting on the left as you might expect, and of course the reverse is true on the right. Most of the time, however, herniations occur more posteriorly or straight back. If you thought about the face of a clock with 12 directly in front of you or anterior and 6 directly behind you or posterior, then a bulge at 7-8 impacts only the left nerve root and a bulge at 4-5 impacts only the right. But, because most of the weight bearing or stress on the disc is posterior in the 5-6-7 area this is where most herniations occur. So, for example, the herniation may begin at 6-7 with some left-sided pain. As it gets worse it further bulges to 6-7-8. As it gets worse yet it bulges to 5-6-7-8 and now there is right-sided pain as well.
Dr. Michael L. Hall, D.C.
practices at Triangle Disc Care in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in Spinal Decompression for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain and back pain due to herniated, degenerated discs. This is a conservative procedure for patients suffering with bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, posterior facet syndrome, sciatica, failed back surgery syndrome, and non-specified mechanical low back or neck pain.
For more information call 919-571-2515, click on www.triangledisc.com
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QUESTION: Dear sir,
am very grateful for your answer. Please can you advice if the below can help me?
Please read this article for more:
and this page, about disc problems
ANSWER: I think there is a reasonably good chance that this will help. Good luck!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Mr. Michael,
At six weeks the numbness is still there on the back of the right leg as I said before and below the foot and more in the small toes. Now I notice that my buttocks is kind of shrinking or better still I should say that my right buttocks has reduced in size.
Another observation is that when I wake up in the morning I feel some pains in both legs from the waist down. More particularly inside the leg and not outside. The wound area is also sometimes painful and becomes very hard.
Please I want to know if I can try to bend with knees straight or I should wait a bit.
I must confess that the feeling about four weeks ago compared to the pain now is much improveved. Even though I still limp because the right leg is still weak.
I have been adviced to lie on the back. Please I want to know when I can lie on my belly.
In my MRI before surgery it was written in the report that my l2, l3 disc spaces were slightly dehydrated. Please what will u advice I do about it.
One last question is please can I play soccer again? Or is it safe to play soccer maybe next year?
If your number is here I will call you later. Please forgive me for the plenty question. Even if it takes a week to answer my many question, I will wait. I still go to physiotherapy. But only once a week and I don't know if its sufficient form me. Many many thanks. And may the Almighty God bless u. My main concern ow is the buttocks
I'm glad to hear that you have made some progress. You mentioned before that you were doing physio therapy and I hope you have continued. The secret to a good physical therapy result is to "push" the weak areas but not "force" them. A little bit like training for an Olympic competition you start off doing as much as you comfortably can and gradually add to it so that eventually you are doing easily what before seemed an impossiblity. It sounds as though you will need help developing these excercise routines and a good phyical therapist will be well equiped to do so. I would guess that when you can go an entire week without pain doing normal everyday activities you could safely begin more strenuous activities like sports. Again, you will start off with light drills and gradually add to this until you finally play a whole game.