Your stories: “Do not underestimate even the slightest feeling of back pain”

06. 12. 2016

rozhovor_2Back pain is the cause of many unpleasant and inconvenient restrictions, especially if it reduces the ability of normal movement. Mr. Pavel from the Trnava region struggled with extreme back pain, which in the end literally “put him out” of fully-fledged functioning in his day to day life and his working life for more than six years. He underwent successful surgery at EuroPainClinics® at the beginning of October, after which he went home alone, without the aid of his crutches! In this interview he talks about his personal experience.

Mr. Pavel, what type of surgery did you undergo at EuroPainClinics® and what was actually the cause of your back pain? Did you suffer an injury, or was it something else?
I underwent the endoscopic removal of a prolapsed intervertebral disc caused by a herniation of disc 5/S1. Six years ago I felt a strong pinching sensation in the small of the back when reconstructing a flat. At the time I used healing patches and ointments. In other words, I was my own doctor.

During any activity associated with physical exertion this problem can arise relatively quickly…How did the pain develop further in your case?
Every year since reconstructing the flat, the pain returned (almost always exactly to the day). The healing ointments no longer worked, however, injections helped. A year later, however, not even injections worked, so it was time for infusions. Those stopped working too, so I went for MRI. There they found a strong herniation of disc L5/S1 (about 8 mm).

To what extent did your health problems limit your daily movement, job, favourite activities?
At the start the pain was only in the right leg when I walked on it. But it wasn’t that strong, I could still work with it. Every year, however, the pain got worse. During the year of the operation the pain had taken me out of working mode and also from domestic chores at home, moreover I was quite often sick from work. About 2 months before the operation I could walk 10 steps at most, then I had to lie down. At night I was sleeping a maximum of 4 hours. The pain simply woke me up. I don’t even want to talk about the amount of medication I was taking, none of the pain killers were working.

How long had you been undergoing treatment before the surgery? Did you observe an improvement in your state of health from the treatment?
I learned about EuroPainClinics® from a colleague, who had also undergone treatment there and was satisfied. I went to EuroPainClinics® in February 2016. It was in Bratislava under MUDr. Griger. There I met with a great deal of willingness on the part of the doctor and nurses to help in fighting against the pain. I underwent a series of PRT (periradicular therapy) injections and a month afterwards I was pain free. Then we repeated it over time, but the effect of the second series was not 100 percent.

Where did you find out about the possibility of minimally invasive surgery?
At the start, I thought that I’d only have the PRT at EuroPainClinics®, which should confirm that the pain radiating to the right lower limb, was caused by a prolapsed disc. I’d had this concern since I’d visited a physiotherapist, who assured me that the pain was caused by something else (not a disc). So my concern and trepidation that I’d undergo an operation and the pain wouldn’t leave was justified. MUDr. Griger assured me that it was definitely due to the disc. He suggested an endoscopic procedure. He explained how it works, I got a brochure and went home. Then I began finding out more about this kind of surgery on the Internet. I tried to treat it with rehabilitation exercises and treatment using ozone. I underwent ozone injections 4 times, once every month. But ozone didn’t improve my condition.

What was the main impulse, or what convinced you to decide to undergo it?
Since mid-August the pain was so great I’d become bedridden. The pain was so severe, that the fear of an operation dissipated. In September 2016 I put my name down for a standard surgical operation. After a period of waiting for the standard operation a EuroPainClinics® worker called with a proposed date for the operation. The date for the operation was shorter than the standard method.

Which of the EuroPainClinics ® physicians provided you with treatment and care?
MUDr. Griger was the attending physician. The surgeon was Dr Hess. I would like to thank both of them very much.

What were your feelings immediately after the operation?
After waking up from the general anaesthesia the anaesthesiologist immediately told me that I wouldn’t be needing the crutches I’d come in on. I smiled and told him to leave them there (just in case). After an hour, when they said that I could get up and go home, I was full of anticipation. That’s when I stood up and, almost painlessly, went home. When my brother saw me, who had taken me to the operation, he couldn’t believe his own eyes.

How is your recovery coming on?
I received a handbook giving a detailed explanation and description of what to do after the operation. I read this handbook before the operation, so I had no further questions afterwards. It’s all there and very clearly written. It’s the third week after the operation and I proceed according to the recommendations in the postoperative booklet. Every day I feel a change for the better. And the main thing is it’s without any medication.

With the improvement in your state of health, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m mostly looking forward to my wife and two little boys. Because of my back pain and my limited activity over the last year, I haven’t been paying them the attention a father and a husband should. I have quite a payback to pay. The wife and I are going to build a house. I firmly believe that in the future I will be able to carry out the work around the house and in the garden.

Who was and continues to be the biggest support during your bad health?
Of course, the immediate family, my wife and my boys, were the biggest help. Over the last year it has mainly been my wife who has taken care of the household and the children. It was hard, because our children are at an age when you need to look after them and be with them all the time. When she was out with them, then the domestic chores stood waiting for her to return. But now I believe that it’s over and I can once again be a support for them.

Could you tell us something about yourself — your work, hobbies…?
I’ve been working since 2001. At the time I was an assembly worker. I didn’t encounter such pain whilst doing that job. Later I started working in an office. And everybody knows about that. I’d wake up in the morning, a couple of steps to the car and then a day of sedentary work. I had very little movement whilst sitting and, in my case, that was the cause.

Could you say something for others with back pain who, for example, don’t address it or they don’t know about all the options, about where to go for information?
Do not underestimate even the slightest feeling of back pain. Today I would do things completely differently. After the first twinge I wouldn’t have played at being a doctor, instead I’d have tried to make an appointment for MRI, to see if anything had happened to the spine. Simply go after the cause of the pain right away. Maybe in my case too, it could have ended up without an operation. But I don’t know, it’s just conjecture. I began to be interested in the issues, when the pain did not go away, which, in my opinion, was too late.

Thank you for the interview and we wish you good health and a full and happy life.