Anyone undergone surgery to correct Spinal Stenosis?

I have Spinal Stenosis at the end of the tailbone, causing it to 'curl up', besides the numbness it causes in my arms and legs, it causes some unbelievable pain and pressure. This is added to bulging disc and deteriating SI joint and facets.

My DC is against any idea of surgery, at this point, says it will only weaken the back further, and has said that there is only a percentage who are actually helped, and that further surgery is nearly always necessary.

John Hopkins Assist Prof said surgery would only make me worse. Univ of MD said I was not a surgical candidate. Local surgeon agreed.

These opinions are years old now. I know the day is coming to go through X-rays and re-evaluation, but have never talked to anyone who has undergone such a proceedure.

Can anyone shine any light on this for me?



PS Have already gone the route of Pain Management, hope I never have to pass that way again!

SM, could the spinal stenosis be the meanie causing your horrific spasm attacks? Or the bulging disc pressing on a nerve? It's interesting that it all centers around your back, so maybe one of these issues is causing your spasms?

None of the doctors can place it, the Rheum and GP keep thinking Lupus, but can;t find it in the head/brain MRIs. Neurologist, DC, no one can say! I told my husband to grab the camera and take a video of the next one.

Sometimes it starts in my sides, my feet, legs, even my neck, sometimes I am turning, sometimes I am sleeping, can't seem to pinpoint any connection to any one thing.

Bulging discs: Half of folks with them have symptoms, half don't. People getting treatment (med, chiro, PT, surgery etc) half get better half don't. Of those getting surgery, half get better half don't. draw your own conclusions.

There is an other interesting study (I can't find it) But basically people studied first thing in the morning have fewerbulging discs than those studied later in the day. Folks who have bulging discs late in the day when studied in the morning have drastic improvement We lose nearly an inch of height in the course of day due to water loss, it regenerates during the night.

In any event the connection between bulging discs and "pain is still pretty unclear.

The results of surgery for "stenosis" are also anything but clear:

I honestly have come across few people who have had success with surgery, those that have, have generally required repeat surgery.

Its interesting that very few back surgeries are done in university medical centers compared to the newest entry "Spinal pain centers" I hate to sound cynical BUT spinal surgery was uncommon because it was time consuming painful and less than successful so was only done when there was a serious condition that was causing loss of function (pain wasn't one of those conditions) Once lazer surgery became available we started getting Spinal Pain Specialists' all over the place who in turn started opening their own surgi-centers.(less oversight)

Spinal pain whatever the cause is miserable and where there is misery there is a profit motive. There is a time and place for spinal surgery BUT pain isn't usually a good reason. If your other specialties aren't seeing a clear reason and if it will not eliminate the cause DON"T do it.

Surgery will not eliminate the pain caused of stenosis. If the nerves are damaged causing the pain, they will still be damaged after the surgery. Stenosis is caused by a progressive condition. That condition will still be there after the surgery. There is no way of knowing how long it will take to come back but it will. The stenosis surgery is brutal and painful unlike the disc surgery.

Thank you again, lamb.

I got that loud and clear, even though I do not like to take narcotics, I do when I have to, and it seems like the Opana is going to be my very best friend!!

The bulging disc pain is pretty clear to me, as I have sciatica, I know all the different pains I have, and the disc is different from the SI, different from the facet, and different from the stenosis on the tail bone. But just like the DC says, the body is all one unit, you can not have degeneration or dysfunction in one area and it not affect the whole.

Back to the Mimosa, did you say you hit the lottery?

Thanks again!



Like you I have spinal stenosis along with a couple of bulging disks. Going on 12 or 13 years now,like you i have also been down the pain management road. Started as simple as a Tens unit, then it was facet injections and also I had reached Rizotomy injections and there was 1 other round of injections but the name escapes me. All the while I was on the narcotics train and things just were not getting any better. Flash forward to a move down south and a new pain mgt. Doc who tried a new pitch on me. He asked if I would be interested in a minor outpatient procedure called a Spinal Stimulator. Have any of the Docs suggested it to you ? Well I have tried it and I'm a believer now. While your on the table AWAKE so you can help while the Dr. guides the very tiny leads (Two of Them) to areas that hurt. This unit has a battery they implant just under your skin to help power the leads. They send signals up your spine column that basically trick your brain into feeling a different kind of sensation instead of the pain,which you have complete control over via remote control unit. You can have a 24 hr. trial run to see if you think it is for you. Hope this helps in some way. Stay Well..................Rich

Hi Rich,

So sorry that you have suffered this too, not just the disease, but all the trials of pain and the constant experiments. This sounds promising, but if it is like the 'tens', I cannot stand it. I am to the point where ANYTHING invasive just 'crashes me', I haven't even been able to tolerate acupuncture anymore, and it used to help me so much.

I am glad to know about this, if it would help, could help, it may be worth 6 months in bed, crawling to the bathroom, screaming in my sleep. My poor husband has been through it with me! It's a wonder he still even likes me!! Surely you have a loved one with battle scars too!

What does it feel like when you turn it on? Do you still have to take narcotics?

I first put this on a blog, by mistake, lamb talked to me about it there too.

Thanks a thousand for the info, 'o wise one',so very glad it has given you relief.


Please pass along anything else you can think of.

"The stenosis surgery is brutal and painful unlike the disc surgery."

And here I thought the disc surgery sounded brutal! I hate to think of the spinal stenosis surgery then.

"He asked if I would be interested in a minor outpatient procedure called a Spinal Stimulator."

I've heard of it! It was briefly mentioned to me once or twice. If it works so well, WHY isn't it touted more??? Oh, because then the back and pain docs wouldn't make all of the money off their procedures that DON'T HELP.

SK, this sounds like a very promising lead. I'm going to check it out myself. Might be worth your while to as well.

There are different types of pulses and rhythms that can be adjusted BY YOU as well as the frequency and intensity. I thought I was at the end of the line, till this option came along. I was able to lower the amount of narcotics I was taking on a daily basis by about a 1/3. Of course results vary for everyone. Stay Well.......Rich


This sounds very promising, I did spend a little bit of time referencing this proceedure, but you have explained it well enough. Now, I just have to find a Pain Management Doc that I can TRUST, who will take the time to properly numb me and not make me feel like I am given the 'bum's rush'! Perhaps I will speak to my Rheum, as well as my DC about a referral for one, as I do not hold any in high regard as yet!

This information has given me new hope of regaining important parts of my life, mainly being able to get out in the world, as much as I like my little house, I have been a shut-in far too long. I am forever grateful to you for this information and so very glad that you have been given so much relief.

Any further info will be most welcome.



Seems as though some Neurosurgeons are doing this proceedure, correct? They would get my vote, time to talk to some of my Docs about this!