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Microdiscectomy L5/S1 Pre-op Pain Has Returned

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670

I had a microdiscectomy to remove a large disc herniation between L5/S1 on April 8th of this year. My recovery was progressing very well, and I was seeing improvement and was ready to return to work on May 4th.

Then, when I woke up yesterday (Friday), I noticed that I was having pretty severe sciatic pain, moreso than usual. I hoped that it would go away as I got up and moved around as it usually does. Instead, the pain grew worse through the day. I called my surgeon, and they called me back at the very end of the day to say take Percocets and to give it four or five days before becoming concerned. Now it's Saturday, and the sciatic pain is worse still; it is comparable to what I experienced before I had surgery. There is no position in which I can find relief, and the Percocets are not relieving the pain (I'm taking two every six hours).

Neither my orthopedic doctor nor my general physician will prescribe medication on the weekend, and the only advice I received was to go to the emergency room. I am reluctant to do so. Before my surgery, I was in such excruciating pain that I went to the ER, and they just injected me with pain meds and sent me home. It helped for a few hours, but wasn't worth the trouble.

I don't know what to do. Is it normal for such severe pain to recur this long after surgery, especially after such a successful recovery? How will I know if the disc has reherniated? Is there anything more I can do to relieve the pain? Percocets and ice are not even making a dent. Please, please help.


  • The only real way to know if you re-herniated is to have another MRI. I would say don't push yourself back to work if you are still having pain after surgery. I wish I could offer some advice as to how to make the sciatic pain better. The only thing that helps me somewhat is to take my meds and sit in a reclined position with ice pack on the side that's hurting.

    My prayers are with you and wish the best of luck to you. I hope you have not reherniated your disc.
  • besides what Ming said which is good advice I know when i re-herniated i felt a pop not saying that everyone or even you would have felt the same but i had a distinct moment when I could tell I re-herniated .To go back to work that soon would be nice but don't push your self because it will make it worse in the long run than if you took the extra time . I wish much luck and take it easy even after you are cleared you still have to think before you lift,bend,and twist.
  • I am sorry that you are having so much pain after your surgery. When my sciatic pain returned, I was given a Medrol Pack (oral steroids) and it helped quite a bit.

    If you don't want to go to ER, you could go to one of those health clinics like CareNow or Prima Care. I've been to one and paid a higher co-pay about $50.
    Try one of the these clinics in your neighborhood, if you can't stand it any longer.

    I agree with the post above that only a MRI can determine if your disc re-herniated. I was able to get one when I requested another MRI.

    Good luck!
  • Hi all

    Well, an MRI indicated that my L5/S1 disc has definitely reherniated. In fact, it looks a lot like it did before my surgery. The ortho who did the surgery said that I could wait and hope it goes away on its own or I could have a second surgery but that it would be more difficult. I saw a neurosurgeon for a second opinion and he recommended a myelogram to get a better look at things and said that a second surgery would be do-able.

    My sciatic pain is not agonizing but I'm definitely not able to function normally. I can't sit for long, and I can't sleep well. I am tentatively scheduled for a second microdiscectomy on May 27th. I'd love to hear from people who had successful repeat surgeries! Are there any of you out there?
  • You can look at my posts in this sections. I had a redo-microdisectomy at L5S1 in March after 9 days postOp.

    I am doing pretty well; hopeful that I will make a full recovery.
  • Can they do a second microdisectomy? I had surgery 5 years ago and reherniated my disc two weeks ago. All my doctor is taking about is fusion.
  • Hi, my girlfriend is going through the same problems. We are at the surgery/no surgery decision process.

    I just wanted to know, do you know how you re-herniated the disc? Do you think you might have done something in your sleep? Can re-herniation just happen?
  • Hi there, like you I had a microdisectomy on L5/S1 4.5 years ago at 31 yrs of age and have lived a wonderful painful active life until 3 weeks ago when i got out of bed with bad lower leg pain. Sciactia. I had an epidural of steriods 7 days ago and have had no major relief. A self employed consultant and high achiever I am very scared of my future. My husband and I are planning a family but am very worried that may never be now. Now sure where to go from here.
  • kellypat1407kkellypat1407 Posts: 1
    edited 06/12/2013 - 9:04 AM
    I had a microdysectomy at the end of January for my l4/5. As soon as I woke up my pain was gone and I only felt the operational pain. My recovery was very good and quick, I was back to work on modified duties within 6 weeks and full duties in 8 (police officer) I felt amazing, the first time in years I was pain free. Then one night all of a sudden I got a pain in my buttock and calf muscle. It was so bad I couldn't move. I didn't bend, twist or move suddenly for this to happen. I went back to my doctor and was given the same painkillers, dehydracodine, paracetamol and amytriptiline. With all this med I could still feel the pain, I went back to the doctor and was told again it was sciatica. However this time I was in tears due to the pain and I think this scared the doctor into doing something, she prescribed me gabapenton as well as what I was already taking and put me forward for another scan and referred me back to my consultant. I've had my scan and was at the consultant yesterday and he informed me that my disk has herniated again and also my s1/l5 looks herniated so I've now been put on the waiting list for another operation. The painkillers really help. I can function absolutely fine as long as I don't walk far distances. The only way to know if the disk has re herniated is to have another scan, so ask your doctor to refer you.,
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