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Leg pain after discectomy and tingling in opposite foot!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi. Im 37 years old female and I had a L5-S1 disc herniation. I had a discectomy in order to relieve my right leg pain ( as nothing else worked). I was completely immobile for about 5 months and on MS Contin (morphine) 24 hours per day. I could not work or walk etc.. After the surgery, I had complete relief of the leg pain. I started taking walks as soon as I felt I could, as instructed by the doctor. I havent yet driven or returned to work. About 2 weeks after surgery the same pattern of leg pain re-appeared. A shooting and throbbing pain down my calf and into my heel. Then, a few days ago, I started getting tingling in my left foot ( which is the opposite leg which never hurt before). This is exactly how my right leg pain originally started. I have tried to reach the doctor and he has not yet returned my call. I'm reading about this all over the internet and I think I'm going nuts! I dont think that scar tissue would have developed that quickly. I can only think that the disc is re-herniated or perhaps I started doing too much and the nerves are still weak?? The reason I think I re-herniated the disc is because of the tingling in the opposite leg. Perhaps the bulge is now central.
This has consumed my life for a year now and I was so happy after the surgery. Has this ever happened to anyone? Please help! Thanks


  • I haven't had surgery yet but for 19 months I have symptoms in the opposite leg ever since I injured my back. I would continue to try to get a hold of your surgeon. I would go to your Primary Dr though in the meantime. They could order an MRI if necessary to see if it's muscle related or whatever it could be. I hope you can see your Dr soon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Bear in mind that the nerve root that is responsible for the pain you may feel in your hip, leg and foot is located in your spine. The fact that you were pain free for a bit after surgery is a good sign.

    It may be that you pushed a little bit too hard at this point which resulted in some inflammation. Even a small increase in inflammation can cause increased nerve pain, and it can result in pain on either side or even in having pain switch back and forth between the sides.

    It is not unusual to have this happen. The doctor will usually prescribe a course of oral steroids, or suggest you have a steroid injection that will bathe the nerve root in steroids.

    If this doesn't resolve the problem, then the next step is to look for other reasons, such as a reherniation or a disc fragment.

    Try to maintain a positive attitude and be sure to keep walking while you wait to talk with your surgeon. Walking remains the most important activity for you at this point in your recovery. Distance is not that important. It is better to walk shorter distances several times each day.

    There is about a six week window where you have a chance to affect the formation of scar tissue. Walking remains the best activity for this, too.

    Nerves recover very slowly. It can take as long as a year, sometimes even 18-24 months, for a nerve to recover from being compressed and from the trauma of surgery.

    Try to be patient, and keep walking.
  • Hi. Just wanted to say I had the same things happen in about the same time frame as you after my surgery. I immediately called my NS office. They set my mind at ease telling me that it was normal for these things to happen as swelling an inflamation after surgery can cause pressure on not only the nerves previosly effected but all areas around surgical site. The new symptoms gradually decreased for me. I was advised to call back if they continued. Hopefully the new symptoms will disappear for you too. Try not to go "out of your min",ok? :)
  • I am hoping you found a solution because I am in the EXACT same boat. I hurt my back 18 months ago. 4 steroid injections and 2 discectomys have left my entire lower body in pain, burning cramping. My issue was left L34 but my RIGHT leg hurts ALL the time, more than the left. from my foot to my groin, inside and out. I cannot climb a set of steps. I've had 6 MRI"s and the surgeonds don't know what is wrong with me. They cannot explain my right leg pain. sometimes I feel it in my fingers too. They are getting ready to do a fusion on it because I cant stand the pain anymore but I hope it works. I am ready to eat a bullet, the pain killers do NOTHING at all. Neurontin, vicodin etc.
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