Herniations and Back Surgery

I had back surgery at the ripe young age of twenty one. Here’s the story.

Sophie Ristelhueber

photo by Sophie Ristelhueber

I had back surgery at the ripe young age of twenty one. The back problems started when I was nineteen, seemingly out of nowhere. I still can’t pinpoint any event that could have triggered these issues.

The pain started as a sort of shooting soreness that ran down my leg whenever I stood up from a sitting position. After walking for a few minutes, the pain would subside. Over time the pain level and the amount of time the pain lasted increased to the point where I ended up with no where to go except the Emergency Room.

There was not much they could do, and the Emergency Room staff sent me home with a small script for painkillers and a referral to a back surgeon. At first the back surgeon and I thought it was sciatica, but an unsuccessful dose of steroids and an MRI later, it was discovered that I had a herniated disc pressing against my sciatic nerve.

I put off surgery for almost two years, clinging instead to Vicodin. It just wasn’t the right time in my life for surgery. And the pain, while annoying, was somehow bearable. (The doctor later told me that my herniation was so severe he was surprised I was even walking)

The scar on my back starts at around the bottom point on the photo above, and extends only about two inches upwards. Due to a post-operative infection, the scar tissue is slightly recessed rather than any sort of protrusion.

The doctor told me that there’s a fairly good chance that the same problem will happen again somewhere down the line. The first herniation occurred when I was so young, with seemingly no outside prompting or other health ailments. No reason why it wouldn’t randomly happen again.

All this picture makes me think of is vicodin.

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  1. ammre says:

    Oh hay… I hear ya! I’m hoping in 10years or however far along it happens again they will have new technology that instead of fusing the shit out of my spine and weakening the discs above and below the injury, they will be able to put in a fake disc or something.

    • Dann says:

      I should talk to you about what you had done! From my
      understanding, the procedure that I had involved only cutting out
      the herniation, nothing more. You had discs fused??

  2. ammre says:

    so talk to me. you know how to DM.
    I also exist on various messaging thingies. Aim: ammre yahoo: Selene_Opal and my messenger connects to facebook too so you can message me there.

    I had nothing fused. They wanted to fuse my spine in that area but I refused. I had a microdiscectomy on my L5

  3. Jen says:

    I think it’s weird how you were nineteen, and im 30 have the same problem as you and they tell me im too young for a microdiscetomy or a fusion. So instead I have to live with this pain for however long til they think im old enough.

  4. Shelley says:

    I’ve just read your story with great interest. Can I ask why you have a scar the length of your spine?
    I’m 29 and I had a microdiscectomy carried out yesterday on 2 herniated discs, I have no idea I few how big my scar is at the moment but it isn’t any bigger than my dressing which is about 6inches.
    My prolapsed discs occurred when my muscley dog yanked me quite hard, so there was a trauma although not a major one that caused it.
    How is your back now? X

    • Dann Berg says:

      The picture in this post is not the actual picture of my scar. My actual scar is about five inches long. Unfortunately, I got an infection while healing and there isn’t much scar tissue, though. The scar is very thin.

      By back is fine now, though! How’s yours?

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