I created an account when I read the posts by another person who underwent the Wellex surgery in February. BTW I had no idea this website existed, and I look forward to learning more! Anyway, given that I too have been unable to find anything other than glowing testimonials, I felt that I would keep a weekly/monthly update for anyone else who may be thinking about this surgery as an option. If anyone reads this, I would greatly appreciate any research articles on this particular device, although I doubt there are any longitudinal studies given how new it is..
About me: 29F, previously very active, normal BMI.
Currently I am Pre-surgery. 2 months after onset of current episode of pain.
-I have had on-and-off back pain since my late teens. For about 8 years though, my pain has gradually worsened and pain episodes have been lasting months. I have always been told that I have a "back spasm," prescribed muscle relaxers, and sent home with instructions to take it easy but keep moving around.
-My current back pain episode started 2/2018 after I was foam-rolling and stretching at the gym. I had woken up with a little pinch in my left-lower back and thought nothing of it (as I mentioned, I've had pain for years and it was my normal). I had been active at the gym for a few months, and I was trying to take care of myself with lots of soft tissue work and stretching to prevent injury. Anyway, I was reaching for my toes when I felt this terrible twinge and thought, "Oh no, I hurt my back again." I hustled home and by the time I got there I could barely walk. I did not think anything was unusual. I figured this was the latest of a long line of muscle spasms and I just had to chill for a few weeks. I went to urgent care, got my muscle relaxants and started Advil too.
-I went to PT after a week since the pain was more severe than I could handle. At first the exercises such as pelvic tilts helped. I only had pain in my low back and a little in my hips at this time. Then I got on a plane... on the return trip I thought I would be better off cutting my left leg off because of the pain I felt. This is how I have been over the past 2 weeks. None of the exercises from PT help now; in fact, they make the pain worse.
-I have this hot, burning pain down the back and outside of my left leg. The muscles ache from my lower back down into my foot. I can only survive lying down on my back, and that actually makes my pain go away mostly. It hurts way more at first to lie down, but eventually it does ease. I can't stand or walk for very long. I cannot bend over; I haven't been able to wear socks or tie my shoes in weeks, so now I just wear flip flops. I haven't been able to sleep more than a few hours at night because the pain wakes me up and keeps me up. The pain seems most severe after sitting in the car. I went to the doctor last week (the 3rd one in 2 months) and asked for an MRI because I knew something was not right. He suggested PT and sent a referral for an MRI. In the meantime, I got my 4th course of muscle relaxants (wow!) and some gabapentin. Not much help, honestly. Meanwhile, I am surviving with heaps of Advil and Tylenol, the combination of which seems to make the pain tolerable enough to make it to the bathroom. I am not exceeding maximum dose, but I really want to because it only helps for a few hours. My current mood is probably "desperate." I feel like I would do anything to make the pain go away. So....
-I was in so much pain that I just went to Mexico (I live just next to the border, so it is convenient) to pay for an MRI out of pocket since the referral had already taken so long. I have a "severe" L5-S1 herniation with compression of the nerves, and "attenuation" of L4/L5 (I guess that one is bulging a little, but not a big issue yet). I saw a pain specialist the following day who looked at the images himself and convinced me to have the Wellex. Considering I have been in pain more often than not over the last couple of years and I can't exist unless I am guzzling Advil, I was super interested. He said he would help schedule me for next week because my pain will continue to get worse, and if the disc (and the one above it) continues to worsen, the bones around the cord could start to rub and hypertrophy, which leads to even more issues that require a more invasive surgery. I watched the YouTube videos on this procedure, and it seems to be easy, short, and reversible... so I agreed to it. (But I did say that I would do anything if I thought it would make the pain better...)
-Now that I am home and lying down (so in a less pain) I have been thinking about the surgery, and I guess I am worried it will backfire and make me worse. As I mentioned at the start, I can't find anything negative about this surgery, so I am skeptical. Patient testimonials are all well and good, but it would be nice to read research, any research, about this. The closest I found was an outdated implant (2014 is outdated, apparently) that was equivocal to disc decompression, but required fewer revisions over 1 year.
-I appreciate any replies. I will definitely update following surgery, and hopefully my experience can help others in their journey.