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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hello everyone,

I am new to this site. I am having a microdiscectomy tomorrow and I am very nervous. I was wondering if anyone has had this procedure before.

Thank You


  • You have come to the right place. There are lots of people here who can listen and help.

    The microdiscectomy is a very common procedure, and relatively safe. All surgery is a risk, but this one is fairly routine, with a pretty good success rate. Nervousness is natural, just try to have a positive attitude--it helps.

    Many people go right home from surgery without staying in the hospital at all. Are you going home right after, or will you stay in the hospital? My surgeon requires a one night hospital stay, just as a precaution, and that made me feel better. Do you like/trust your surgeon? That made all the difference to me. I would do it again without a second thought if it was necessary.

    Keep us posted on your progress, and good luck!

  • I had micro a week ago as of today. I went home the same night because I was doing well after the procedure. Before leaving the outpatient center, I had to demonstrate that I could walk, urinate, and wasn't in extreme pain.

    I don't have the severe pain anymore, but there are still small aches and tingly feeling on my toes. Since it's been only a week, I am taking all the little bits of discomfort as part of the recovery journey.
  • Hi there:

    I had one in 1998 on l4-5 and another on l3-4 in 2001. I had a bilateral discectomy, as I had pain on both sides of the midline. I was in the hospital for 2 nights the first go around and 1 night the second time around. What I found hardest was bending and rolling/twisting, so you will have to take it easy with that. Wiggling your toes is hard at first too just because it's all connected..but you should have a physical therapist come visit you before you are released..at least that was my experience.

    But you will be ok..it's amazing what they can do with a very small incision. My incision is only like 2 inches long and the scar is very much faded now. also, you will get antibiotics to stave off infection.

    Try to get a good night sleep tonight and try not to worry too much about it.

    are you having it done by a neuro. or an ortho, by the way/

    Hugs to you!
  • Thanks everyone,

    I really like my Orthopedic Surgeon. He said I don't need to stay the night I should be ok. Its just I have bad panic attacks so I think it makes it worse. This is the first surgery I have ever had besides my 3 natural child births. I have been bedridden for 7 weeks with severe pain down my left leg right thru my ankle and into my foot. I am just so tired of being in pain all the time. I ned to be able to take care of my girls. I hate the fact that I can't pick up my 6 year ols or even give her a bath. I really want this over. Besides the physical draining the emotional ones are worse. Thanks again for the great information.

  • I was in the same position as you are now. You will be so happy after the surgery. The discomfort post surgery is nothing compared to what you are going through now. In addition, I, too, had a physical therapist who saw me before I was released.

    Micro. was my first surgery, too. I thought I would crack up when I saw my surgeon, but I held it together. I was sooooo nervous while I was waiting to go to the OR. Overall, experience was not bad as I imagined.
  • That's one of the great things about all these forums where we "share" experiences. You're usually so terrified of everything you've read that by the time you have the surgery it is never as bad as you were anticipating! 8} :))(

    Just remember to be PATIENT with your recovery. Do not be in a hurry and try to rush the healing process.
  • I'm new to this posting but am interested in knowing what others have gone through.

    I'm 17 days post microdiscetomy (L5/S1). Prior to surgery I tried every therapy known to man for nearly a year and it progressively got worse until I couldn't sit, sleep well, etc., etc.

    Post surgery I still have a pretty high level of pain although I can now sit longer, can cough/sneeze w/out great pain and am walking two times a day for approx. 30 minutes. Should I keep walking like this?
    I take Ibuprofen for the pain although it helps a great deal, after about 3 hours the pain is back. This morning, for the first time, I woke in heavy pain w/ spasms into the calve.

    My question is: is this normal and should I expect relief as the weeks and months go by? I see my surgeon again next week but so far his advice has been slim other than "everyone heals differently."

    Your comments are appreciated.
  • I hope your surgery went well. I just had mine yesterday as well. I was home that night and haven't had to take any pain meds. Other then feeling like someone kicked me in the back, I feel really good. Then again I wasn't experiencing any pain prior to surgery.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery.
  • Hey Hawkeye,

    I had l5-s1 microdeiscectomy 18 days ago and I'm still having pain down my left leg and numbness in my toes. It has been getting a little better the last few days. Some of the symptoms are the same as pre-surgery and some are different. I've also gotten cramps in my left calf which I don't remember ever having before. I talked to my Neurosurgeon and he said that my nerve looked like it was in good shape when he did the procedure and believes that it is going to take time for it to settle down (possibly up to a year). He likened it to muscle memory since I had the problem for about 4-5 years. It is definitely disheartening as other people are lucky enough to have immediate relief but I think we need to stay positive and be patient.
  • KevinKirk:

    I figured there were other people out there that were experiencing the same post surgery pain that I'm having. I see my surgeon next week and I'm guessing that I'll hear the same things that your doc said. I just celebrated my one year anniversary of the onset of symptoms although I had other similar flare ups for many years but never like what I've gone through for the past year.

    I've been trying to walk 30 minutes at least twice a day but I'm wondering if that is causing some of the pain. What are you doing for exercise and pain meds?

    Good luck.
  • Hawkeye,

    I actually have not been doing as much walking as you. I live in a third floor condo so my neurosurgeon did not want me going down those steps much the first few weeks. I started walking (about 15 minutes) about a week ago. I do get up a lot during the day and do whatever household activities I can because we have a one year old and my wife is 6 months pregnant (she is great and tells me she has everything under control but I feel guilty laying around all day while she does everything). Today, I actually felt pretty good and walked about 40 minutes. I was a little sore afterward though so I probably over did it a little. There is definitely still some soreness and inflammation in the area of the incision so I am hopeful that the inflammation is causing some of the nerve irritation. I am taking an anti-inflammatory (Diclofenac 75mg) twice a day and I only take the Oxycodone (5-325-whatever that means) as needed. I usually take 1 or 2 during the late afternoon just to get the relief.

    Nice to talk to someone going thru the same experience and keep me posted how you're feeling!

    Oh also I read today that B-12 and B-1 vitamins are good for nerve healing so I think I'm gonna get them tomorrow. Right now I only take a multivitamin but no other supplements.
  • kevinkirk:

    I no doubt have overdone it sometimes as well and I'm hopeful that's what I did yesterday when I probably walked too far and too fast around the university campus we live near. Unfortunately, we live in the "hills" thus I have to drive somewhere to walk.

    I appreciate the news on the B vitamins and will look into that. I take very little meds...400 to 600 ibuprofen two to three times a day which once they kick in seem to take care of a majority of my pain. I have vicadin but after a couple of days of taking them I took myself off...hated the feeling. The mornings, for me, are the worse. I had asked about some type of anti-inflammatory but he (surgeon) didn't think it was necessary. I'll ask about that again when I see the doc on Wednesday.

    Your wife (and mine) should probably get some type of award for our care. I try to do what I can but when you avoid bending over you pretty much can't do much. Plus, I never realized how often I dropped something....keys, socks, paper, etc. No doubt you need to get fully healed very soon so that you can enjoy the new baby.

    Stay well.

  • Hawkeye,

    It's funny you said about dropping things-I was saying the same thing the first few weeks. I actually have been picking things up (nothing over 5 lbs) by squatting down very carefully. Probably not a good idea but I got sick of calling my wife everytime I needed something and just couldn't take not getting on the ground to play with my son anylonger. I've always been very active and it is torture trying to lay around doing nothing.

    As far as the anti-inflammatory, I called my surgeon when my symptoms all came back and were actually worse than pre-surgery (about 1 week out) and he prescribed it. I don't like how the pain meds make me feel either but I have to say they completely negate all my symptoms so I treat myself once a day!

    Let me know how you make out at the doc on Wed. and stay positive.
  • the doc says to stay positive and that the pain I have is expected due to the nerve being compressed for so long (about a year). I'm staying on the 800 mg of ibuprofen (3 times daily if necessary)and otherwise, to do what feels good to do. He couldn't stress walking enough and felt that a treadmill is better than pounding the pavement. He thinks I'll see some good improvement w/in 4-5 weeks but that I need to stay patient as it could take longer. Patience is not one of my virtues as I'm used to doing lots of outdoor activities....hiking, golfing, yard work, etc.

    Any improvement for you?
  • I was feeling great for about 10 days after microdiscectormy and the pain returned. The pain is not at the same level before the surgery, but bad enough for me to take ibuprofen and one or two Lortabs. When I went to see the nurse practioner at my surgeon's practice, she said the similar things that I have read here. The nerve is probably irritated from the surgery and the steroid given during the surgery has worn off; therefore, I am having some pain.

    She did recommend that I walk for 20 min. three times a day. After walking, I should ice my back. My husband thought that she sounded positive, but I really wanted to hear "You are fine. Everything will be ok." Well...I didn't hear that.

    NP said to call her if my symptoms got worse.
  • Recovery also is dependent on how long the nerve was compressed although if there's one thing I've learned so far it's that we all heal differently. I asked about heat vs. ice and the reply was: whatever feels good.

    Patience is the #1 thing...as well as staying positive.
  • Hey Hawkey-

    Glad to hear that your doc seems so confident that you will see real good improvement soon. I've atually been really taking it much easier the last 3 days except for 2-3 walks a day. I was doing too much before-I'd get up to do a chore or two and the next thing I knew it would be 10 chores and 2 hours later and I think it was just too much. I can't believe how hard it is for me to lay around and do nothing! But I really do feel much better the last few days so I guess it is helping. I definitely still get buttock pain when I sit for a few minutes but the numbness in my toes is mostly gone and the rest of my leg pain is much improved. Keep me updated and I hope you feel great real soon!

  • I haven't spoken with you yet, but your comment about dropping things made me laugh. I don't know if I drop stuff more than I used to or if I was just totally unaware of it prior to the bad back. I drop everything I touch it seems! If I open a cabinet, something falls out! My husband also deserves some sort of reward...what a good man!
  • Hi everyone,

    Sorry I haven't written back but I have been very discouraged. I had my micro 2 weeks ago today on L5 S1 and I still have alot of pain. The pain is in my left calf and left foot. I keep worrying that the surgery didn't work but now that I have read some of your stories I feel alittle better. After the surgery I was taken a percocet every 2 hours for about a week. Now I am taking on every 4-5 hours. My doc told me I was not doing enough so I needed to do more like take short walk and it will help my recovery. I was hoping someone could relate to my situation.

    I am glad to hear alot of you are doing better.
  • Walking is the best thing for you. Try to build up to several short walks a day, up to a total of an hour if you can.
    You are still very early in your recovery, so don't lose hope yet. Is your pain worse now than it was before the surgery, the same, or a little better? Even if it is just a little bit better, that is a very good sign.
    It takes so much more time and patience than we feel we can bear sometimes, I really understand how you are feeling. Just give it time, and follow your doctors orders. Hopefully you will see some results soon. It takes a long time for nerves to heal, and they won't be rushed.
    Hang in there and keep us posted on how you are doing.
  • Thanks, I was doing alittle better last week then I came down with a virus. I feel worse now. Its back to the pain like a week after the surgery. I know I need to walk but it is so hard. I am in so much pain. I have been crying myself to sleep the last few nights. I just don't see the light. Its very frustrating. I just wish I would be able to get my life back.
  • If you have been or still do, get your coughing/sneezing under control. Also, oral steroid helped my pain. Call your doctor because you shouldn't feel worse and have to deal with it.

    Wishing you pain free.
  • I had no coughing just strep throat. I am on antibiotics. I did call my doctor he said if I do not start feeking better bt friday to call him back.Everyone keeps saying its only been 2 1/2 weeks so I need to give it time. When your in pain its hard to be patient. I am trying to move around, and hopefully it will work.
  • I'm sorry things aren't going well. I know it doesn't really help, but I completely understand. My pain came back in less than 3 weeks and I've been in pain since then.

    Call your doctor and ask about walking. When my pain came back, he told me to walk more but it made things worse. Then he told me to back off the walking and rest, to let the nerve calm down.

    I've been "resting" for 6 weeks and my nerve is anything but calm! I've had 2 MRIs and two sets of xrays done since surgery. They all look fine, so I know that the surgeon "fixed" the problem, but it doesn't make my pain go away.

    Nerve pain is a nasty, nasty thing. I know what it is like to want your life back. It is lonely and frightening and extremely unfair. I know that you can't see any light now, but it will come. Just hang in there. In the meantime, come here to cry and yell and vent your frustration and confusion and anger to people who truly understand what it is like to feel this way.
  • Jeq
    Thanks again. My poor husband everytime he turns around I am crying. I feel so bad I can't even stand long enough to cook supper for my husband and my 3 girls. I have a 6 year old and I can't even give her a bath. My 2 teenagers have been waiting on me hand and foot for the past 3 months and I hate it. I have lost over 20 lbs and I have no appetite anymore probably from all the meds. Its been 3 weeks to the day from the surgery and I still can only drive aboyt 10 mins and walk for about the same. I really do hope in time I will be back to work again.

    At least your MRI's are not showing any more "problems". At least you know that you were really fixed and maybe you just need time and patience like me.
  • Hi CLotterly,

    I am so sorry that you are still so much pain. It just seems so unfair. I have prayed a lot to God to give me strength and find a way to deal with the difficult situation.

    Is you doctor asking you wait for another MRI? Looks like it's been over three weeks since your MicroD, can you ask for another one? When I complained about my pain, they gave me oral steroids that help a lot. My physical therapist told me that I would be back in shape in a month. The permanent nerve damage at my Achilles' tendon even responded. According to my surgeon, the damaged nerve was a loss. Who knows?

    Unfortunately, I got the bad news and had a redo on MicroD. I am in the same boat as you, going through this uncertain road of recovery. I am doing great but I hold my breath for the next shoe to drop. I try to keep the negativity at bay as much as possible this time around.

    I hope for the best for you! Wishing you pain-free!
  • Hi CLotterly, what you need is plenty of rest. You just had surgery and now you have strep throat. You body is working hard to fight all the inflammation and infection. Please rest well, and drink a lot of soup. I know this is easier said that done. Keep the fluids going. Wishing you speedy recovery!
  • Hi Teach,

    I actually have my follow up with my doc April 13th. They have told me this is normal that I need to have patience. Yesturday and today I 've felt alittle better. I am able to walk around more, but I am still very uncomfortable. I finally slept good last night. Today I left my house for a few errands, I needed the fresh air. Glad to hear you feel better hopefully the pain doesn't come back. I am not sure if I will need another MRI. Should I request one just to make sure there is no more injuries?

    All I did was rest for the last 5 days, my doc said to get up and try to move around so I won't get stiff and the nerve won't atrafee.
  • I wanted another one immediately, so I wouldn't waste any more of my sick days.

    Ask if you pain doesn't improve and you can't stand it.
  • Definitely ask your doctor about an MRI. I wouldn't have believed that I didn't reherniate if I hadn't seen it for myself. I was positive that there was still something there pressing on the nerve. When I looked at the MRI I saw what a wonderful job the surgeon did. Everything was so neat and clean, not a speck of disc material out of place.

    Unfortunately, my nerve is just still really inflamed from all the stuff that was pressing on it for all those months before surgery. It feels exactly the same to me, but my surgeon assured me that it will heal, and the pain will go away eventually. It could take a couple of months, it could take a year or more, I just have to be patient.


    Hopefully you won't need another surgery, but an MRI will let you know either way. Even if there is nothing there you will feel a tiny bit better knowing that the worst part is over, and you're on the long road to recovery. And if there is something there again, at least you'll know what to expect with a repeat surgery.

    I've noticed that actually sleeping, not just "resting" makes me feel better. Or at least, when I don't sleep well, my pain is much, much worse so try to sleep more if you can. My pain gets worse at night, so I started taking my oxycodone just before bed (I don't take it during the day). It takes the edge off the pain, and helps me get to sleep and stay asleep.

    Does your doctor know how much weight you have lost? Twenty pounds in 3 months is a lot, especially if you are not actively trying to lose weight. You may want to just mention it when you go for your follow up.

    I hope you are feeling better soon! :D
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