Back surgery

I have had lower back pain for many years and knew that I had a disc problem between L3/L4. A more recent MRI came back showing I had a significant disc bulge.

Pain consultant used a caudal block which was only partially successful.

GP sent me for a bone density scan for no particular reason - whoop-de-do - it came back showing osteoporosis in L4. Pain consultant will no longer treat me.

I am now making use of my OHs private health insurance to see a neurosurgeon, as surgery seems to be the only option left to me.

Have any of you had back surgery like this? How is it done? What's the recovery time? Ultimately was it worth it?


Like you I had lower back pain (prolapsed disk) for years and finally had a laminectomy at L5 S1 in 1990. Of course, this was during the dark days when Thatcher was at an advanced stage of trying to destroy the NHS, so the trip to diagnosis was not a good one.

From what I remember, it was about six weeks to full recovery (only a few days in hospital) and it did stop the pain down my left leg. The central back pain still flares up occasionally, but regular strengthening exercise for back muscles keeps this down to every year or two. When it does get bad I find acupuncture helps a great deal. I tend to avoid traditional painkillers, as I don’t want to ignore the problem and make it worse.

Looking back it probably masked the early symptoms of MS, but that’s another story.

Thanks - I'm not too worried about recovery time [I always do my exercises] I just want rid of the pain and the ever increasing doses of painkillers.

Unlike many people the only pain I have from MS is huggy and I can cope with that.

You doing any sailing this 'summer'?


Sadly, the group that took over from the disgraced “Multiple Challenge” stopped offering MS specific trips, so haven’t been sailing for a while. I seem to have adopted gentle cruises instead and I must say it’s a pretty effortless way of going to sea.

I can recommend them for those of us with dodgy backs.