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microdiscectomy L4 S1

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I just had a microdiscectomy 3 weeks ago and wasn't feeling too bad, the pain I had in my calf for over a year seemed to be gone. But all of a sudden at around 2 weeks the pain came back in my leg. Has anyone had this happen and did it eventually go away?


  • I had microdiscectomy L5-S1 only 9 days ago and I was just getting ready to ask this question. I did have less pain until today and right now I feel bad enough to go to the e.r. I took oxycodone 5 mg but no relief.
  • I'm glad I'm not the only one, but I'm sorry to hear you are in the same boat.

    I'm really hoping its just temporary and it will go away. I was so happy after surgery because even though my back hurt like hell, my leg pain seemed to be gone and I thought I was on the road to recover. Now I'm back to having my husband put on my socks and undies for me! I have a large herniated disc in L5-S1 and another smaller bulge right above it. I hurt myself just over a year ago and was really hoping the surgery would work a miracle. (still am!)
  • Hi, I had a left L5/S1 laminotomy & microdiscectomy 13 days ago, and I am having similar problems. Thankfully, I have an excellent neurosurgeon who remarkably always has time for his paranoid patient's questions.

    I felt GREAT, aside from the awful back pain from the procedure, right after the surgery. As you know we are supposed to be walking a bit each day to help with the healing process, and should be trying to increase the amount of walking we do each day.

    Are you walking, by the way? And did your doctor give you a brace to wear?

    I totally overdid that. I started out really slow but I was so happy to be walking without a limp for the first time in 6 months that I just wanted to keep walking. The next day I was in a lot of pain, both my back and the old nerve pain that I thought would be gone forever. I FREAKED OUT! I called my surgeon and he very sweetly told me that:

    1. My back muscles were manipulated during surgery, they are trying very hard to heal themselves and if I do too much, it will hurt more, so slow down. He told me to stay at home the next day, just do little short walks (from room to room) around the house and rest.

    2. My nerves were compressed for at least 6 months. Six months of damage doesn't heal in a week, or 2, or even 3 weeks. It's a gradual process. The nerves that were trying to heal were "angry" that I did too much walking. Although I felt almost no nerve pain at all initially, I still get little "flashes" of pain occasionally which he said was totally normal.

    So, I followed his advice, stayed home, walked only to the bathroom, living room, etc. and slept a lot. The next day I was a lot better, I took a very short walk outside, and rested for the rest of the day. By the next day I was feeling pretty awesome again.

    He did tell me that I should never hesitate to call him if I felt that there was something seriously wrong, so if you feel bad enough to go to the ER, go to the ER. The worst that can happen is they tell you to go back home, but if something has happened they can fix it.

    I also have oxycodone for the pain and he told me before he discharged me from the hospital to call right away if after a week or two I was ever in so much pain that the pills didn't help. Something I have learned about oxycodone is if I take it daily, even just 1 or 2 pills every day, it stops working after about a week. Your doctor may be able to find something better for you. I try to rely on ibuprofen unless I seriously need something stronger.

    I hope that helps, and I hope you are both feeling better soon.
  • Hi,

    Thank you for your post. I hope that your surgeon is right and mine isn't.

    All of my leg pain, particulary bad in my calf is back to the same level as before surgery and hasn't let off for 2 weeks now. My surgeon says that since i had no pain after surgery for 2 weeks that the fact I have all that pain back now consistently makes him thinks my disc has reherniated. He wants to see me in 2 more weeks (at the 6 week mark)and if its no better he said I may need the surgery again.

    I've been walking 20 to 30 minutes 4 times a day on my treadmill and laying flat the rest of the time.

    I had my leg pain for a year before surgery so I'm pretty used to it and have been able to stay off the Percocet and just use ibuprofen most of the time.

    I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that it will go away again.

    Take care :)
  • Hi terriblethrees,
    I understand how you feel.
    My leg and foot pain is worse than it was before my surgery that was done on 1-26-09. I called my neurosurgeon last week and he put me on a steroid pack and started me on Neurontin. The Neurontin hasn't done anything except mess with my mind and I haven't even gotten to the maxium daily dose yet. I can't walk very far or my right foot on the heel and outside of my foot and little toe goes completely numb. I am so worried that the surgery was a total failure. I don't go back to the Neurosurgeon until the 25th of this month.It is so disappointing to read that some people are completely pain free only days after the surgery. I had surgery on C4 for a compressed nerve and was pain free after that surgery. Naturally I expected this to be the same. I guess I will continue to take my Neu"rotten" and be a little crazier and hope the pain will improve.
  • I am curious if your surgeon knows you are walking that much each day on a treadmill? I know all our doctors are different, but that really strikes me as excessive...particularly if you are having pain.

    Many doctors will not let their patients walk on a treadmill until completely healed. The muscles that are used are different from when you are doing regular walking. Also, with nerve pain, any kind of repetitious movement only makes the nerve more inflammed, so it is best to avoid.

    Why don't you try laying off the treadmill for awhile and see if it makes a difference?
  • i had my bilateral discectomy S1/L5/4 done on Nov 07 unfortunately i am the 15 % of people that have more pain post op the pre op.over the last 14 months my pain had got a lot worse so much so that last thursday i went for another MRI scan .it looks like i may require a fusion {they dont like doing fusions here in the UK}.my back pain has also increased to 9/10 on a daily basis i dont sleep due to back and leg pain {i get 3 hours max}.so my operation {the second one} was a complete failure!
  • Hello again,
    I really hope my surgeon is right too.

    Last night I had another "set back." This time I know its not from overdoing it. I couldn't sleep last night because of severe hip & thigh pain and woke up this morning with all the old pain throughout my leg, just like it was before the surgery. I'm trying to stay calm, but it's not working well. :(

    You are certainly doing a lot more walking than I am, did your doctor say anything about that?

    Good luck, I really hope you don't have to have surgery again.

  • I had surgery on 1/22/09 for L3-L4 discectomy and L4-L5 laminotomy for stenosis. After the surgery I noticed slight sciatica in my right buttocks and down my right leg. The following morning before I was released from the hospital I talked to the NS PA and she told me it was common to have post op sciatica because the pressure on the nerves cause damage that will take time to heal. She also told me that its possible it may never go away. It is now almost four weeks post op and the sciatica seems to be getting worse mostly when I get up in the morning. As the day goes on it seems to get better. I try to walk as much as possible which always seems to make it feel better. One day last week it was so bad in the morning that I got mad and just tried to work the pain out. I walked about nine miles that day. After the walk I was a little tired but the sciatica wasn't bad. This seems to be the case whenever I walk long enough to work out the sciatica but it seems to return every morning. I have a follow up with my NS 2/27/09 and will post an update on what he thinks. All I know is its very frustrating to go through the surgery and still have the pain. And even worse to think it may never get better.
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