Just had Spinal Operation - My vertebrae have been pinned and my disc shaved as was touching my nerves - has anyone had similar???

I am in such pain still and don't think enough information was given as to the fact that I have had to have 24 hour care since been home from hospital.

I am in more pain that before I had op but am told this is normal - has anyone had similar and what did they experience after the operation

Many thanks SAL

10 Replies

  • Hello Bob here

    Your spine I am afraid has gone through the mill so it will take a while to calm down, hence the twenty four hour care.

    Personally I have not gone through this procedure, although there are quite a few here on this site, experience seems to vary.

    All I can suggest is hopefully it will calm and keep controlling pain with your medications.

    Hope all sorts soon


  • Hi Bob thanks for reply - where do I find out other people who have had this - can't seem to find a community for Back Operations??

  • I guess my mum was a bit unusual. She had a couple of lumbar vertebrae pinned, and immediately after the operation her pain was way lower than it was before, though she had been putting up with enormous amounts of pain. The nurses kept telling her to have more morphine and she wouldn't, because the pain wasn't anywhere near as bad as it had been before and she hadn't had morphine before. She was also up walking around the next day.

    They do knock your spine around quite a lot though when they are doing these ops, so it wouldn't be surprising if there was still quite a lot of inflammation from the operation. Did they give you any instructions for moving and exercising, or what not to do? Also, if you have only just had the operation, it can take a couple of days for the anaesthetic to leave your system, and during that time, you can feel pretty bad.

    If you have any numb patches, or it feels like sharp nerve pains, then make sure you go back to the hospital or your doctor and let them know.

  • thanks for reply - I can walk but its the sciatic pain which is above my left buttock and goes down round groin etc - I had sciatic pain before the op and its worse now than it was before - needless to say its now 2 weeks and 4 days and am definately feel slightly better - however still am on morphine !! We were given hardly any information on what to do at what stage you should be at after a week, 2 weeks etc so have no idea what to expect???

  • Hi SAL,

    I had a disc decompression in 2010 due to spinal stenosis (narrow spinal column) - my operation included cutting back my discs on 4 levels of my lumbar spine (as touching/damaging nerves) and shaving back the lamina on the other side (due to overgrowth of these bones).

    I have not experienced the pins, however, regarding recovery, I was asked to return for a check up after 6 weeks following the operation so they could review the procedure and so they would know if it was successful at reducing pain and other symptoms. So yeh, was about 4 weeks for inflamation and healing process to complete sufficiently and then a couple of weeks for me to see if it had made any significant difference - in my case there wasn't any improvement, but I know many people that had good results. So, as earthwitch said, due to the very invasive nature of the operation, it is normal for you to initially have an increase in pain straight after the operation for a few weeks - but should subside.

    Those weeks were quite tricky/testing, however, after the first 10 days or so I was back to doing mainly the same routine as before.... just took it easier as was cautious and still tender. Take it easy, that is the main thing.... and accept help if it is available, your spine is too important to rush back to a normal pace.

    Hope this helps, and hope you make a good recovery and experience improvements in your condition.

    Take care.

  • Hello thanks for your information - its now 2weeks ad 4 days after op and theres no way I can go back to what I did before the op!!!! I can walk OK its this horrid sciatic pain - Only thing was told was to do very little for 6 weeks but have no idea what am supposed to feel like at what stage????

  • Hi again - since speaking to you days ago I have been back to hospital and had a nerve root block as the pain is so bad - now its even worse but apparently thats normal for however long - it can take 1-6 weeks for pain to go away and thats only if it works - This is a nightmare for me

    Is there a Community on here regarding back operations as I just don't know what it comes under as I want to try and find someone who may have been unlucky enough to have what I have to see how they coped!!!!


  • I haven't had this type of operation, but I had an operation on my jaw once and the pain afterwards was far worse than when I went in! It stands to reason - the surgeon has done very painful (and in your case) quite horrible things to your body and it's going to take time to heal up and settle down. (It felt like the pain was going to be that way forever, but it has got much better!)

    Make sure you take any prescribed pain medication regularly, including basic stuff like paracetamol, and if it's not helping see your GP for something stronger.

    Hopefully you will start to feel better soon. I think it's always a shock just how rough you can feel after an operation, and it's often underestimated by hospital staff (who are under pressure to send patients home as soon as possible afterwards). Maybe you could contact the PALS (Patient advice & liaison service) department at the hospital to tell them your thoughts on this - then they might be able to do something about making it a better experience for other patients.

    Good luck.

  • thank you I am going to contact PALS because I think its dicusting how the NHS have so many cut backs and people are not looked after correctly and not given right information. I am getting slightly better but just wish I knew what to expect - I understand everyone is different but I was told my procedures were quite common so there must be info on how previous patients feel after the op!!

  • Your procedure probably is quite common and a routine job for the surgeon - which is a good thing for you becuase at least he's had lots of practise - but I don't think that until you've experienced going through an operation you realise exactly what it feels like, and that's the bit that no one can tell you about. But to have a bit of information such as , "you're going to feel rough for days but this is normal" can help. When I had my operation the surgeon did warn me in that way so i knew to expect it.

    Some hospitals have patient focus groups to try to improve things for other patients. Sounds like you could give them some useful feedback!

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