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return of sciatica 5 months after laminectomy and discectomy at L4-L5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 51,465
After 8 weeks of increasing sciatic pain I had laminectomy and discectomy at L4-L5 due to large disc herniation on 10/2/08. I had no back pain, only severe sciatic pain, with extreme weakness, loss of feeling and tingling, foot drop in my left leg. Doc's opnion was that surgery was my only option, that therapy, epidural blocks, would not help the problem as I also have spinal stenosis that was not allowing much room for the herniated disc. I was in so much pain that I welcomed the surgery and immediately upon awakening afterward, my sciatic pain was all but gone (in comparison to how bad it was prior). Doc did say that most of the disc was removed, and that due to how much laminate and disc material was takne it was questionable how well I would heal and that fusion may be necessary down the road. I have to say that I have had a wonderful recovery with only minimal back pain that did resolve, gradual return of feeling to my left leg with the numbness and tingling resolving as well......Until last Friday. I woke up with continous low back painwhen going from sitting to standing and visa versa. This has since subsided to some degree, but the sciatic pain is returning a little stronger as time passes. It is nowhere near as severe as what sent me to the doctor intially, but I am so worried that I it is going to worsen to like it was before. Lying down is especially problematic to my back as it seem that when I shift my legs, it causes instant sharp pain in my lower back.
Has anyone else had this experience after healing so well from surgery. I can not think of anything that I did to aggrevate my back that would cause the problem to start up again. thanks in advance for insight anyone has to offer.
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Comments

  • Well, I am sorry to say that I know what you are going through all too well. My first discectomy was in October 2006 and when pain returned months later, it was declared FBSS or failed back surgery syndrome. I had another surgery in March 2007. The failure was largely attributed to scar tissue build up which had wrapped itself around the nerve root. My surgery in 2007 was successful and I have been "riding the wave" of feeling great ever since. Always living carefully but actually living again. 10 days ago, my pain started again and is absolutely intense. I started oral steroids which haven't worked. I go for injections on Thursday which I know will be temporary. My MRI shows re-herniation of L4/5 L5/S1 and even greater epidural fibrosis or scar tissue. I meet with the surgeon again next week to determine next steps. The truth of the matter is there is nothing I did to aggrevate my back either.....this scar tissue develops and just works its way in there. I really thought I was through this but...as my sign on says...here we go again. Don't beat yourself up for causing this.....

    Good Luck
  • Well, I am sorry to say that I know what you are going through all too well. My first discectomy was in October 2006 and when pain returned months later, it was declared FBSS or failed back surgery syndrome. I had another surgery in March 2007. The failure was largely attributed to scar tissue build up which had wrapped itself around the nerve root. My surgery in 2007 was successful and I have been "riding the wave" of feeling great ever since. Always living carefully but actually living again. 10 days ago, my pain started again and is absolutely intense. I started oral steroids which haven't worked. I go for injections on Thursday which I know will be temporary. My MRI shows re-herniation of L4/5 L5/S1 and even greater epidural fibrosis or scar tissue. I meet with the surgeon again next week to determine next steps. The truth of the matter is there is nothing I did to aggrevate my back either.....this scar tissue develops and just works its way in there. I really thought I was through this but...as my sign on says...here we go again. Don't beat yourself up for causing this.....

    Good Luck
  • i know it so well!
    my sciatica came back within 2 weeks of a bilateral discectomy and laminectomy at l4/5 and S1 {same as you} that was about 18 months ago .now i still have permanent calf and foot pain and my foot feels cold all the time but the leg pain almost goes after i wake up {the leg feel weird different to the other one and if i do any bending /swimming etc the paincomes back.my main problem is
    back ache i have that all the time
    have you tried ice and a good TENS?
    STRAKER

  • I am sorry to hear of your condition as it is much like mine. I dealt with off and on pain for 9 years from a ruptured disc. Finally choosing surgery. Went great for three weeks, then I overdid it and the pain returned. Burning in the bottom of my foot when walking a lot, Pain when rolling over in bed, gripping/tingling sciatica when urinating. Thing are slowly getting better, but I get an intense pain going down my leg when I cough at night and I am off work not knowing when I will return.
    This is really hard and I wonder a lot how things would be different if I didn't have the surgery as I was getting better at the time, but I was just so worried and burnt out by the possibility that the pain would return, that I went for the surgery. Big mistake. Now here I am with two kids, a wife, mortgage and uncertain prospects. I feel for you.
  • I imagine you may end up with pages of responses to your question. Unfortunately, this is fairly common to feel great for awhile and then just when you feel like you're making progress with recovery, the pain redevelops.

    Have you called your surgeon and discussed this with him/her? He may want to prescribe some oral steroids or proceed otherwise.
  • I had an l5 s1 large amount of disk taken out back to work after 3 months back pain everyso slightly comes andd goes very minimal pain along nerve mainly by knee on the out side still have foot tingling but got worse at 5 months and has since started to go completely away. I realy make sure i ice my back after work and when ever pain is present. When i didnt do this it seemed to realy start nagging me so i stretch work streatch walk 1-2 miles ice sleep and repeat. Ice and streatching twice a day seem to be a realy important stepo for my continued recovery. Hope ya get to feelin better good luck
  • Yesterday I found out the lower back pain could be caused by the losing large chunk of your disc. And now your vertebrae could be touching each other; thus, causing the back pain.

    I am sorry that the sciatic pain has returned. It is so frustrating. I still do have slight burning feeling behind my knee. I think you should get in touch with your surgeon.

    Best of luck!
  • I, too, know exactly what you're going through. I had a really successful discectomy on L5/S1 on January 14, 2009. After doing great for about three months, I developed a bad case of bronchitis, which led to episodes of coughing that were pretty intense. The coughing was especially bad at night, and I started feeling a tiny hint of pain in my incision area. After about a week, the sciatica had returned full-tilt, although not as terrible as before the Jan surgery. Did you have a severe cold with cough or heavy sneezing before your pain returned?

    I just had my second discectomy a week ago today. The biggest difference was the recovery time was longer this time. The first discectomy, I literally had NO surgical pain following surgery. I felt ready to walk a mile within a week. This time, I could barely shuffle from the bed to the bathroom for the entire first week. Now, a full week later, I'm completely off the Narcotics and only really experience pain when getting up from lying down or turning over in bed. Once I'm up and moving, all is well...for now. My worry is what could happen next. My neurosurgeon has already told me if I have a third rupture with nerve impingement , a fusion will be the only option. My question is would just my back hurt at that point? There isn't much disc material left between those vertebrae. I don't know if it could herniate out to impinge the nerve.

    I wish you the best and hope you heal without having to go through surgery again.
  • I had a micro discectomy in May 2008 and felt pretty good during the recovery process - within 5 months, the pain was back even worse than before - only this time, it was in the opposite leg.

    I followed recovery instructions and did the exercises, but the pain never stopped. Had a follow up MRI done and the Neurosurgeon said he saw nothing that would explain the return of pain and shipped me off to see a pain management specialist. I opted NOT to go see that specialist and followed the recommendation of a friend and saw an Orthopedic specialist. He's given me 3 pain block injections over a seven month period. The first one was amazing, the second I'd call helpful and the third was a bomb. After the third, I am now having a great deal of pain, discomfort and weird feelings in my leg and foot - sometimes insane pain in my knee.

    Went back yet again to see the original surgeon who ordered a 3rd MRI (this is now about 18 months after the surgery) and he indicated there was some further deterioration of the disc, but still nothing that he could see warranting further surgery - he prescribed Neurontin 300 mg and Indomethacin 75 mg - neither of which is helping.

    The original pain is slowly returning and increases in intensity each week. I'd say at this point, I am through with this neurosurgeon and wonder what my next step should be.

    I've gone on enough - but one last note; I believe this to be hereditary as my father had the same surgery done in the late 1970's - but his was successful and my sister has had 3 surgeries done, 2 micro and one fusion - the fusion was 2 years ago and seems to have worked wonderfully for her. She did as my neurosurgeon suggested I do - learn to live with it. She did that for years, and as a result she is now out of pain, but has a dropped foot.
  • I just had L4-5 Laminectomy and discectomy in oct of 2009. Ive had a pretty crazy recovery so far I have to wear leg braces so I can stand up I could feel weather or not I had to urinate for the first two weeks after surgery. Im only 24 and Im scared cause my legs have always been my strongest point and now I have no strength or stability in them. Ive been told I could be like this for up to a year. I just want this over with.
  • Anonymous said:
    After 8 weeks of increasing sciatic pain I had laminectomy and discectomy at L4-L5 due to large disc herniation on 10/2/08. I had no back pain, only severe sciatic pain, with extreme weakness, loss of feeling and tingling, foot drop in my left leg. Doc's opnion was that surgery was my only option, that therapy, epidural blocks, would not help the problem as I also have spinal stenosis that was not allowing much room for the herniated disc. I was in so much pain that I welcomed the surgery and immediately upon awakening afterward, my sciatic pain was all but gone (in comparison to how bad it was prior). Doc did say that most of the disc was removed, and that due to how much laminate and disc material was takne it was questionable how well I would heal and that fusion may be necessary down the road. I have to say that I have had a wonderful recovery with only minimal back pain that did resolve, gradual return of feeling to my left leg with the numbness and tingling resolving as well......Until last Friday. I woke up with continous low back painwhen going from sitting to standing and visa versa. This has since subsided to some degree, but the sciatic pain is returning a little stronger as time passes. It is nowhere near as severe as what sent me to the doctor intially, but I am so worried that I it is going to worsen to like it was before. Lying down is especially problematic to my back as it seem that when I shift my legs, it causes instant sharp pain in my lower back.
    Has anyone else had this experience after healing so well from surgery. I can not think of anything that I did to aggrevate my back that would cause the problem to start up again. thanks in advance for insight anyone has to offer.
    Hello there... My current situation is very similar to yours. I know that this post is 6 years old, but how has your back been? Did the sciatica get more intense or did it go away?
    rcanty42
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