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New member and frightened after microdiscectomy-HELP!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
I'm glad to have found this board. I had a microdiscectomy on L4-5 on my left side a week ago. I was doing great...no pain or anything...until a few days ago. Now I'm having some burning in my left cheek and a little pain in my lower leg. I'm also having some lower back cramps.

I herniated my disc in late February/early March and it has been very painful with sciatic pain since that time. I did the round of prednisone but it didn't help so my doctor finally decided on surgery which I had a week ago.

Is this post-op pain normal? My surgeon really didn't tell me what to expect after the surgery in terms of what I might feel and might not feel so I'm kind of at a loss. I have been walking and finally got out of the house two days ago.

I'm kind of scared because I had hoped the surgery would resolve all my issues. I talked to a lot of people who said they had the same surgery and came out of anethesia with NO pain and only had to take aspirin and was fine. I am so NOT in that place!

ANY feedback would be appreciated. Thanks! :)


  • to that place! I had a micro in Dec 07 and it was a failed surgery so I am actually in worse pain than before. But, I never even got the initial relief like you did. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal to be just one week out from surgery. You have to remember that even though the incision was small they did some major surgery while they were in there. I feel very sure that what you are feeling is just part of the healing process. Our nerves do not like to be messed with and seem to get very angry after surgery. Try ice on your cheek 20 mins on and 20 off and see if that helps. If you are concerned the best person to ask would be your doc. Give him a call and I am sure that they will answer any questions for you. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
  • :) i saw this was your first post and i wanted to welcome you to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i agree that your doctor is the best person to ask. you don't want to let that go for too long in case it is a problem. good luck and i hope you are feeling better soon! Jenny :)
  • Thank you for your comments and for welcoming me. It was getting better but I got up this morning and my leg felt like it did BEFORE surgery only more cramping than a sharp pain. I've been riding in the car more in the last few days and my mom has been driving. She's not comfortable driving in a big city and she's a little too eager with the break. I'm hoping that might be the cause for the discomfort. I see the nurse next week but if the pain gets worse I will call the doctor.

    I just went through a lot to get to the surgery and then the surgery itself was a lot so...I just want my old life back! =((
  • understood. I think we all understand that.
  • Hi,
    I am new also.
    Just had on the 23rd of July a laminectomy.
    I have stenosis. I had so many epiduals that I lost count.
    Nothing helped...pt, chiro, shots, so I recently made appointment with a neuro.
    She was very sure that it was the correct direction to take. So I finally after four years or so in pain, agreed.
    I have L4-L5 & S1 stenosis as well at in the neck!
    I see that most here have had the microdiscetomy which is the same only laser, correct?

    Well to make this short, I guess that my body went into trama due to the surgery and I developed fluid on my spine where the incision is. I had to have a tap, first to help draw the fluid and also to see if there was an infection present. Also she told me I had a small blood clot!
    As per her not to be concerned.
    Well not even 2 minutes leaving the office, I got like one whopper of a headache. So severe that I really thouhgt I was having a stroke....Called when I got home and got that "it can happen" Ok so... excedrin and gator ade..
    Next day againnnnnn so they had me go to the Er and it is like an hour away...seems like they hit membrane? So here I am like leaking like a hose(enough to soak the clothing I had on) administerd IV, pain meds,antibiotics, and sent me home.
    I had an office vist with her and I still have alllllll the same symptoms...leg numbness to feet, and thighs and of course the butt... sitting at time is almost impossible.

    Well now I guess it is a wait and see..the inflamation is still there and she said that the body will absorb the fluid as per the tap..
    Well sorry so long but the bottom line in my question is..
    she stated that I may have one..scar tissue from fibro..and two from the recent surgery!! Can you get scar tissue that fast?
    I never knew that I had fibro how do you get scar tissue from it?
    Is this possible and as for the long term..has anyone here who had this surgery seen any results? I know all are different but time wise, how long does a person see results?

    Praying and waiting...
    Thank you
  • Hi sorry you are going through what I am. I am three weeks post op and still am having pain in my bum down my leg. I just saw the NS and he said it could be swelling (nerves), re-herniation (I have not done anything), bone fragments fell under the nerves, or just a bad disc from being herniated and deg disease.

    I have been taking anti-imflamitories, with no sucess. He suggested an MRI to rule out the bad stuff, so hopefully it is just swelling and will take some time to heal.

    Hope yours get's better and ask your doc about steriods or anti imflamitories...

    Take care....
  • I am now 7 weeks post L5-S1 discectomy. The pain I had after surgery and for 3-4 straight weeks was constant and so much worse than before the operation.
    I was on all manner of pain killers and am only now feeling an improvement. I was heartbroken and convinced that I had made a huge mistake.
    However, I did a lot of reading of these Boards and it would appear that, although there are a lot of people who get instant relief, 6 weeks or so is pretty good. Keep reading the Board - the people here are really supportive and have helped me more than I can say.
    The only other advice I would give is to take the minimum of pain killers - I've just had a horrible week trying to get off Oxycodone. It was not pretty!

    Hope you see a dramatic improvement soon,

  • Definitely takes time to heal. If I recall correctly (stated elsewhere in these boards, or a review I read) the nerves heal at approximately 1" (yes that's inch) per month. I've also read (thanks to all these great people here on these boards) that there are persons who have taken up to 2 years to realize the full benefits of surgery.

    I've realized (I'm 6 weeks post-op of disc/lami of l4/l5 & l5/s1) that the NORMAL life I had before the back injury (which was over 6 years ago now) is going to take time. I may never get my former life back, but just to be able to walk down the block, or doing normal daily activities will be enough for now.

    Patience is truly a virtue in the case of surgery. I hope you feel better very soon, and don't be afraid or nervous to ask questions.

  • Although NS #1 said that a fusion was a "when, not if" deal for me and that microdiscectomy was not an option because there was no disc to "ectomy", NS #2 thought that the micro was a valid option and that fusion was not inevitable.

    Well, I went with #2 and am now 2 weeks post-op and in more pain than I was before the surgery and wondering if I made the biggest mistake of my life.......

    My "normal" life included 20 hours or so per week of swim/bike/run and triathlon competition at the national level. While I hoped to get back to that, I now would be thrilled to be out of pain.

    What have I done???

  • two weeks is not enough time. I was also thinking that my doc did something horribly wrong to me and feeling as I had made the biggest mistake of my life even at 2 months post op. Although my surgery was failed, it did somewhat help the pain down my leg. Be patient and try to keep a positive attitude. Follow docs orders to the letter and you will improve from where you are today. It just will not happen overnight.
  • Thank you all so much for the positive comments. The pain does come and go but for the most part it IS getting better. I'm trying to just get a hold of myself and be calm. Sometimes if I sit too long or sleep on that side (left) too long...it stings a bit. I am uber careful about bending, twisting, etc. I'm doing the walking as suggested. My first follow up is tomorrow and the nurse will let me know if I can go back to work, drive, etc.

    I'm only taking Tylenol right now. I was on Hydrocodone but phased out as instructed. I one left that I'm saving for a super emergency.

    I'm just so afraid that I'm going to do something that will injure the disc again or herniate another dic.

    I hope you all find relief soon. I hope we all do.
  • Well even though it is not a month, I see from reading the other posts regarding the outcome of a laminectomy is somewhat positive.
    I have seen certain areas that have shown improvement and others that seem to have actually gotten worse!
    I am on Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Mobic.
    But to me these do little or nothing except the obvious side effects.
    But I do have a question regarding a failed surgery?
    How or what is a failed surgery?
    Also has any one had the phrase of scar tissue presented to them? Plus how long does it take for scar tissue to develop?
    I know that it takes time and I do want to thank all who responded!

    Again Thank You
  • Hi there I had a microsurgery on the 19th August 2wks ago. I needed no pain killers after operation but did later on. I felt quite good . Just pain from the wound and hardly any pain down the leg or in the bottom like i had before.
    Then 11 days later I had to make a journey to pick up my son from airport with my partner . Which involved sitting down for 25 mins whereby i noticed the pain in my leg was starting again. On way back I was okay i lay in the back seat down. Next morning again same pain as before operation. Ugh did i do something wrong? Could i have compressed the nerve again by sitting down for that amount of time? I don't understand surely I could not have damaged anything by sitting yet it seemed to bring on the same pain again. Although i am still on the lycria as they have not taken me of it I still felt the pain again. I do the exercises and have been very careful. Am I worring about nothing . Will it get better with time like everyone says . I just so worried i did something wrong as at first it felt great to have no pain in the bum and leg , now its back again ugh help!
  • me with the burning pain in my calf and foot, although I am not sure that it wasn't the steroid pack that did it, but I still have pretty significant glute and hamstring pain.

    I was worried about the side effects and delayed starting the Lyrica until I had to.......I just couldn't tolerate it any more and my NS pretty much begged me to try it. At first it made 100% difference, but after a week it already seems that the pain is coming back.

    NS is ordering another MRI to look for fluid or a re-herniation or anything missed in the surgery.

    I am now a bit over 4 weeks post-op and getting around pretty well. Walking 1-2 hours everyday and just getting back to swimming....up to 1000yds this week!

    It is just frustrating.......I thought surgery would fix things and I am pretty much back where I started, if not even worse. ~X(

  • hi gleveq

    I think I am in the same boat you are in. I am only 15days postoperative. I just can't see any difference. The pain is in my bum again and down leg just like before. I feel heartbroken thinking it was for nothing. I mean what did the surgeon do. I am taking Lyrica too . 75gms x2 a day only which is quite low. I don't get side effects from it and it does take my pain away , however the idea was too fix my back so I would be off the tablets but at moment need them.

    I just phoned my ward up where I was operated on and they suggested I phone the secretary up of the surgeon to make appointment earlier to check me out. I will let you know later the outcome of that . Hopefully I will get a mri scan done..Took 3mths to get one last time and continually on at the GP to get me one !!! So not sure they will extend to that trouble. I am doing exercises and walking too daily ,but can;t still sit down,which is so frustrating . Even typing standing so don't get on here much as its hard.

    Never mind hopefully you will get better. When will you get the mri ???? god bless u
  • Hi there Listen I think i got same problem like you. Same pain as before op . I also went on a 25 min run in the car and it was so uncomfortable. That is what started my pain again. Now it is like miserable and getting me down . I was hoping i would soon be out dancing again soon ugh!!! =(( How silly I am huh? Hang in there .
  • Hi there a couple of questions for you. Did you get pain right after surgery ? or did it just appear one day? and did you do the mri scan again? or are you getting better now.

    I was told the same as you and now am getting a scan I think. Just waiting for the hospital to ring. I had no pain really just little leg pain for 10 days ,till it started again like I never had operation!
  • Hi there just wondered what your mri scan showed up. I had one and they told me scar tissue was to blame for my pain.

    Let me know what's happening with you? Looks like I still have to take the lyrica , which I was hoping to get off. As my stomach feels bloated all time even though I eat little.
  • Hi Snickers...i am 3 months post op. I was in pain post op, and for a while. Sitting more than 10 minutes was excruciating and driving...forget about it. However, i slowly built up sitting to 2 hours, and just last week flew for 14 hours.

    Dont despair. (keep in contact with your surgeon).

    For me the first 7 weeks were up and down and i could not work or drive and sat only minimally.

    Walk walk and walk...it helps considerably

    I do hope you improve real soon
  • Hi Zole

    Sitting in the car for 25 min would kill me. I avoided driving completely unless it was urgent (and not much was urgent lol).

    I stayed on the meds for a long time. The surgeon said to keep taking them because i needed to get on top of the pain in order to do the walking etc. So dont rush to get off the pain killers, when the pain goes it is heaps easier to get off the medication

    Good luck
  • :SS I am really concerned about my 14 year old daughter. First off - it is unusual that a 14 youear old would have these problesm with the L4-5 anyway. She had an emergency microdiscectomy 7 weeks ago. She had leg pain/numbness and was loosing bladder function with some bowel issues as well. Surgery went well and recovery has been fairly easy.

    Over the past 24-48 hours she developed a bulge...swelling at her incision site. I notice in a post earlier that someone had a similar situation. They asked her about headaches etc... there is no sighn of infection with bloodwork, but it is NOT right. The surgeon/PA saw her and felt the fluid in the area. I am just so worried! Any thoughts or advice?
  • ashleybaashleyb Posts: 2
    edited 07/23/2015 - 11:10 AM
    Anonymous said:
    :SS I am really concerned about my 14 year old daughter. First off - it is unusual that a 14 youear old would have these problesm with the L4-5 anyway. She had an emergency microdiscectomy 7 weeks ago. She had leg pain/numbness and was loosing bladder function with some bowel issues as well. Surgery went well and recovery has been fairly easy.

    Over the past 24-48 hours she developed a bulge...swelling at her incision site. I notice in a post earlier that someone had a similar situation. They asked her about headaches etc... there is no sighn of infection with bloodwork, but it is NOT right. The surgeon/PA saw her and felt the fluid in the area. I am just so worried! Any thoughts or advice?
    How is your daughter doing?

    This is an old thread and the member is no longer on the site

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    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Discectomy @ l4 l5 1/2 of disk removed. May 30 2015
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