I have worked as a medical biller for many years. It is hard to empathize with patients when you don’t really have personal experience of medical problems or what they are going through. Well, that all changed for me this December. I was having excruciating back pain. I went to a surgeon that I used to work for. I was told that I had a large piece of disc herniating and it was causing my extreme pain. I was told that surgery would be a good option for me because I was experiencing pain, weakness, and numbness. There was a possibility I could have permanent nerve damage if I didn’t go the surgical route. New Jersey Spinal Medicine & Surgery is New Jersey is where my surgery was performed. And I was really happy with my results there. The surgeons were really professional and experienced as they helped with every stage of the surgery. After my surgery, the doctors recommended the best recovery treatment as well.
I knew that it was a relatively benign surgery. They were only going in to take a piece of disc out. I wasn’t having any hardware put in, no fusions. I am young (36) and in relatively good health so I figured three weeks of recovery time and back to life as usual. I was uncomfortable the day after the surgery when I was released to go home. I thought that was just normal because I did have surgery after all. As the next week progressed the pain was not getting better. I still had pain going down my leg and felt like there was a knot in the left quarter of my lower back. I went back to the surgeon who says I am now also suffering from bursitis of the hip. I am given an injection into my left hip. Boy did that hurt. I am given more pain medicine and told to go home and take it easy for a while. Finally, after several more weeks, I went back to work. Just hoping I could make it through the day with the pain. I also thought that if I got back to my regular life eventually I would strengthen back up and the pain would go away. That lasted about three weeks. I went back to my surgeon and it was decided I needed to stay home and rest. So back to the couch I went. After a few more weeks of rest, I went back to the surgeon and he sent me to a Rehabilitation Specialist, a Pain Management Specialist, and ordered physical therapy.
The pain management specialist gave me two sets of injections in my spine. That was not fun at all. It helped with some of the pain. Enough so I could return to work. I have now been going to physical therapy for about seven weeks. I have worked hard and gotten the strength back in my left side. Before I started I could not stand on my left leg now I can do that with no problem. I still have some pain, nothing that is intolerable though. This has been a much more challenging experience than I thought it would be. I have read a lot of articles from people who have had similar experiences with back pain. I have learned that the back is a very unpredictable part of the body. Some patients can have surgery and be better than before and others, like me, spend a long time recovering and suffering. It has been a long winter and I look forward to continuing to recover and hopefully be pain-free.