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Pain after L5-S1 microdiscectomy.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi All

This is my first post, I have looked over the internet for answers but with no luck, so I hope you guys can help.

I am 10 weeks post opp and I still seem to have constant sciatic pain all down my leg/buttocks. Ive been taking over the counter Ibrofen every day since the opp, and although this makes the pain "bearable" it does not cure the problem. My straight leg raise is non existant and walking/standing can only be done at a minimum due to the pain. The mornings seem to be the worse but im not sure if its because of the position ive slept in or if the pain killers have worn off!

I had a follow up MRI scan (with fluid injected into my bloodstream) 9 weeks post opp, which shows a "white fragment" in between my disc and nerve. The surgeon was not sure what it could be and suggested it could be a piece of disc from the opp. His gut instinct was that if it were disc it will just degenerate away with time (not sure if this is true?).

He then suggested that if the pain was still there at 12 weeks he would reccommend me to have an epidural, does this not just mask the pain and not solve the problem??

This is my second opp on the same disc within 6 years. The first opp I was pain free within days although this time its entirely different. My problem is Im compairing this surgery to the last one, so im really worried!

Im currently having physio once a week, but this only gives me more pain!

Im 33 years of age, and up until the last opp, very fit and active. I have my first child due to arrive in 3 weeks and im really concerned I wont be able to lift/hold/play with her like ive always dreamed of.

If anyone out there has been through anything similer or has any advise it would be much appricated,



  • Sorry to hear about your situation. I would advise you to get a second opinion as soon as you can before you take any epidurals or anything else. Is this the same doctor you had both your surgeries with?
  • Hi Raj

    Thanks for the reply.

    The opperations were done by 2 different surgeons. Yesterday my post opp MRI was looked at by a specialist and there conclusion is that its another "disc bulge" from L5/S1 and not a disc fragment as first thought.

    So basically they said, although this is quite rare, im back at square 1. The physio is continuing every week and "HOPEFULLY" it can be manulipulated back into place, hopefully being the key word!!!
  • I have had a L5-s1 discectomy in March of 06 and I still am in pain. I sympthize with you sooo much.
    I am in the process of getting another mri to determine if there is a disc fragment out there causing the pain. In the meantime I try my best with my child and hope that there will be some resolution very soon.
    take good care.
  • just a quick update on my progression. I have still got sciatic pains down my right leg, although physio is being performed every week there seems to be little or no progression.

    Yesterday i had a turn for the worst, basically i was on the toilet and as i pushed there was a loud click/pop in my lower spine followed by tremendous pain down my sciatic nerve. The pain is now consistantly worse and stretches such as leg extensions are non existant. Does anyone know if this click/pop in the lower spine followed by leg pain ring any bells, as i have never had this before!!

  • Mikey - I'd give you doc a call. Have you had any problems going to the bathroom since? Something doesn't sound good there. I hope you get to the bottom of this (okay, okay, - pun intended!).


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi Linda

    Ive had no (toilet) problems since, but the sciatic pain is worse. Bar the fact that the pain is worse, the thing that really scared me was the pop followed by pain!! There was no pain in the spine or surounding area, I can only presume the "pop" was maybe a disk pushing out because the sciatic pain was instantanteus (although im only guessing).

    Ive emailed my surgeon to see what he suggests, fingers crossed.
  • It is more common than the Drs would like us to beleive that a disc on either side top or bottom of a previous disc surgery will rupture. I had ACDF surgery. Afterwards I had worse pain but this time on the right side. Arm all the way my fingertips and neck shoulder pain. After months of me complaining he ordered a CT and sure enough the disc below the surgical site was herniated. He did another ACDF removed all previous hardware and a huge amount of scar tissue. After that I still had pain difficulty swallowing and talking. He did a x-Ray post-op visit at 2 wks it showed a screw backing out. That was in January last year and I'm still waiting for him to decide what to do with me! I'm much worse now than before I had the first surgery. Wish I could go back in time. I would not have had it done. I wish you luck! Don't sit back and wait call him everyday if you have to.
  • Just a quick update!!!!

    Had another MRI yesterday and follow up meeting with the surgeon and the conclusion is to have further microdiscectomy surgery, which is now booked for the 22/12.

    The scan showed a l5/s1 disc buldge and this seemed the only option as im 3 months post opp and 3 months into physio with no further progression.

    The only other option is epidural, which is only 50% succesfull and also only masks the pain not solves the problem.

    If I decided against further surgery it could risk in permenant nerve damage, which im not willing to risk, esp at such a young age.

    I will keep you posted after surgery......fingers crossed!!!

    Happy Christmas.
  • I am so sorry to hear this. I hope that this next surgery will do the trick and you will be pain free post op.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Now I have not come close to looking at all the messages posted here but I am seeing a trend. It has me wondering. I think I read or was told the microdiscectomy had a 90% or better success rate. I spent some time checking out spine-health.com before the surgery and post-op I wondered if it necessary to come back. I felt so good, so I wasn’t looking for help. I thought it might be good to also share a success story. Well, the story is not over yet, though I would really love to have all this back pain stuff behind me forever. So, maybe it is not so bad as it looks, maybe the people that had their sciatica cured just don’t post.

  • I lurk to see what is going on this board. During my recovery last March-June, I was almost on line flat on my back. I had 2 microdiscectomies at L5S1. The redo was caused by violent sneezing and coughing during the first week of the recovery.

    Currently, I can sit about for 2 hours without to0 much discomfort. Before the surgeries, I could not sit in any positions. I was in so much pain that I got about 3-4 hours asleep. I was on high doses of various pain meds and injections.

    Because it hasn't been a year yet, I don't want to say the surgeries were successful. By the same token, I am able to resume my social, professional life.

    as far as paid meds, I have to take ibuprofen on daily basis. I usually take 2-4 pills a day. I try to do the physical exercises to strengthen my core every day.
  • Hi people

    Well had my opp, seemed to be successfull. Spoke to the surgeon straight after the opp and he said there was hardly any disc buldge, even though MRI suggested otherwise. He said he removed any clots/fragments (which wernt many). The only thing of note was that the nerve was "stuck" (not sure what too, but what ever surronds it i guess). He freed the nerve and packed it with gel, obviously preventing any further "sticking"

    All seemed to be relativly ok, bearing in mind I was on pain relief from the opp, until New Years Day. The sciatic pain was returning, not to the same extent as pre opp, but its in the exact location and the same pain!!

    Maybe and hopefully im just jumping the gun as its only 2 weeks post opp. I have an appointment with the surgeon in 10 days so we will see how I progress.

    So just to re-cap, no nerve compression found, only sticking nerve.

    Has anybody else come accoss this "sticking nerve" problem?
  • Hey Mike can you email me on m1_grand @ Hotmail.com

    I am in the same boat as you.
  • Rita67RRita67 Posts: 1
    edited 06/03/2014 - 11:04 PM
    Can a medication such as PERCOCET become less effective if you've been taking it for almost 2 years. I'm not sure if my pain has increased although I have all type of pain.I have the electrical shock that goes thru my body. I'm not able to sit or stand for long periods of times.I'm not going to start complaining I truly need help with my meds. I am going to a PM I'm able to take long car rides. This whole thing happened to me due to herniated disk thereafter I had a microdisc. surgery which made the pain 10 X'S WORST. I need help PLEASE...
  • To answer your question, yes, it is a short acting or immediate release medication and over time, it can become less effective, due to tolerance issues. Since you have been on it for two years, I am assuming with regular dosing, it isn't surprising that you are finding it less effective.
    There is a pain medication forum for questions related to pain medications, under the treatment section of the forum home page.

  • Are you taking any other medications for your pain? I also take a muscle relaxant & a 'nerve med'. I would expect a degree of tolerance to a consistent dose of a med after 2 years. I recently changed from Tizanidine to Baclofen muscle relaxers for that reason.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • English Girl - I used to take Lyrica before my operation, but now I don't take anything but just your over the counter pain killers every now and then. My nerve is still sore after 4 months post surgery. I only feel it when I am sitting down and bend the leg upwards.

    what problem did you have exactly and how long has it been?
  • Mine started 8 years ago. All of my problems stem from very mean & distructive arthritis which is still doing its thing! I have nerve damage which looks to be permanent..no improvement in 2 years. I left it way too long (about 5 years). I find the combination of the above meds to be far more helpful than any 1 alone. I also have a topical compounded cream that contains various muscle & nerve meds & ketamine. I really like it as part of my 'blend'. I've never found 1 thing that works alone.
    As Sandi often says, 'Nerve damage can take a very long time to repair. 4 months isn't really very long, depending on how long & how badly it was damaged. Hang in there. I know these things can take a frustratingly long time. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • RB30 - Sorry! I was answering Rita on tolerance. I should of referenced her. I've never been told I have a 'sticky' nerve. I've never heard of that issue. Sorry ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Yer, it has been bit over 4 months now for me English Girl. and I just want to know that I am going to get better.. its dam frustrating! I am going to start bike riding. But god I hope this nerve damage in my leg eases!
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