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More pain after micro discectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi all,

Been reading the forum posts for awhile and finally decided to post my experience. I've recently had a micro discectomy done at L4/5 due to a disc herniation at that level which have been compressing my left nerve root and causing pain in my left buttock which can sometimes be felt in my left calves. Had the pain for about 3 months and did not get better with physiotherapy but it was bearable.

Decided to see an orthopedic surgeon who recommended surgery as I was still relatively young (24) and not ready to accept any "lifestyle changes".

I finally got the surgery done on Friday 18th Sept and now my left calve and left foot hurt like crazy and my foot is slightly numb as well. This is very worrying as this new pain I am experiencing is much more disabling than my previous pain and I can now hardly stand/walk/sit. Even lying in bed I am unable to find a comfortable position 90% of the time.

Did anyone experience new pains after a micro discectomy and still got better later on? I am now very worried that something has gone wrong and I will need a re-op :(

Looking forward to hear your advice.


  • I am very sorry to hear of your pain, I can say most of us who are in this forum have or are going through simular situations. During surgery the nerves are moved around and it sounds like it has been irritated, speak with your Dr about it. I've had leg problems since my 360 fusion 2yrs ago but for some I believe it goes away within time. You are only what 2 days post op? give it some time and try putting heat on it, like heating pad. Some try cold methods but that only enhances my pain.

    Give it time but please do speak with your Dr about it, he can give you advice and medicines to help. I am on Neurotin and it helps alot, just made me sick for afew days until I got use to it.

    Good Luck, please keep us posted.
  • Hi dlady,

    Thanks for your response. Last night saw the worst of the pain as I was literally struggling in bed as the pain has reached near unbearable levels. I nearly went to the hospital but thankfully after many hours I was able to find a position which I found some relief.

    My doc actually dropped by today he still suspects it is most likely post operative inflammation around the area which are causing my already irritated nerves to go ballistic hence the new pains and such. But he is also not discounting the possibility that a re-herniation has occurred or that perhaps a stray disc fragment has impinged itself on my nerve root again.

    The possibility of a re-herniation really scares the living daylights out of me as the process to get treated is long and expensive. Things generally do not happen quickly on my end unless they are considered life threatening (for a slipped disc only cauda equina syndrome is considered life threatening).

    Can post-op inflammation have the potential to cause new high-level pains? Or what are the chances of a immediate re-herniation?

    Thanks! Will keep my status updated.
  • Hi guys,

    Hope everyone is recovering well..

    As for me, my pain level while not moving (either sitting or lying down) has dropped since my last post and right now it is within manageable levels. However I still can't stand for a long time, and I can't really walk much as well. The most I can do without having to stop is about 150m which is still quite a pile of nonsense. Pre-op I could walk for miles and not experience any significant discomfort.

    I am currently 8 days post-op.

    Does anyone know how long is the recovery time for a micro discectomy? I see people around the forums saying that they can walk for miles just 2 weeks after surgery and that they limit themselves only because they did not want to push it, not because they are experiencing pain.
  • You will find out that the recovery process is different for everyone. My surgeon gave me false hope when he said that I would be pain-free after my microdiscectomy. Like you, I had new pain symptoms--even my other leg started to hurt. I am 7 months PostOp and it is still a journey for me.

    I had to have a 2nd microdiscectomy because I reherniated the same disc. Coughing and sneezing caused the disc to reherniate. I don't regret the second surgery, but the recovery process was longer.

    On the brighter side, I have my life back now. I am working full time, exercising, and hanging out with friends and family. I had physical therapy for 3 months which was worth the time. Doing physical therapy gave me confidence to move and heal. My physical therapist also answered a lot of questions and gave me reassurance. She recommended that I continue some of the exercised that I learned in PT for the rest of my life. I now go to the gym to lift weight to strength my back, stomach, and legs--basically to strengthen the core muscles. And walking.

    Good luck! You are at the beginning of the healing process.
  • Hi Lovinggardener,

    Great to hear that you are recovering well, I hope I can soon do more as well.

    How and when did you know that your disc reherniated? I am starting to suspect that I may have reherniated my disc as well but I don't really know how to tell other than by going for another MRI.

  • As you know after your micro, you should be very careful with your movement, posture, bending, lifting, etc. Well...after the hard coughing and sneezing fit, I was frightened that something might be wrong. My stomach muscles contracted. It was painful.

    Later, I started having the old pain slowly increasing. I wanted a MRI right away because I didn't want lose any more sick days. First, my surgeon had me on Medrol pack that worked but the effects wore off. Then, I had another MRI which indicated reherniation.
  • I have read several articles and it's clear everyone hear has had pain/surgery/recovery and not necessarily in that order. I recently had a discectomy and immediately had no relief and possibly more pain. It's been a few weeks and I still have a lot of pain in my right leg and buttocks. I have had pain on my right side for the past 2 - 3 years. I just left the doctors office and it looks like I need to have a micro discectomy now. My questions or concern is that right after the surgery a nurse was talking to me and mentioned that I had surgery on the left side? I was marked on the right side and all of my pain has always been on that side. One of the assistants in surgery kind of said "well it's really not the left or right" and left it at that. Should I be concerned or just move on with the micro discectomy and hope for the best.
    anthony purich
  • how did you know you reherniate the disc? im so scared right now because im only 8 days post off and ive been coughing for days because im allergic to the pain medications... 1st few days the numbness and tingling in my foot was manageable but my cough is still the same..,but now it feels like its on fire on top of my foot and on the side of my legs.. these where the same feeling i had when it all started...
  • Hi there. I am following a smilar path as you. I am on day 8 after a microdisectomy at L5-S1. My pain was initially gone. Had mild incisional pain only and needed no narcotics. Day 3 my sciatica actually became worse than before surgery. Started oral steroids on day 6 to help the pain at the advice of my surgeon. This is my 1st surgery and this is so scary to me. What have I done?  I feel worse than before surgery. Please post a reply. Tell me this will get better. 
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