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3 Weeks Post-Op Pain Report/Request for Input

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all,

This is my first post and I would very much like to share with you my current situation. I am 24 days out from my second discectomy/laminectomy at l5/s1. My immediate post-op situation was incredible, having been able to walk with extreme comfort and ease 3 hours after waking up. The first 3 days were great. On the fourth day I started feeling sciatic nerve pain and alternating numbness/sharp pain down my leg. In addition, the location site of the operation was swollen and painful. This pain built up over 10 days to the point that I was starting to get really worried. Nonetheless, I finally saw my doctor and he informed me that my nerve, at the time of the operation, was swollen, scarred and red and that this situation does occur with specific patients. Afterwards, the pain started to recede and I acutally spent a couple of days without any meds...(Woo Hoo!)
Unfortunately, the pain has started to come back and I am a little concerned that this could continue to a long time.

To better qualify myself, the level of pain during the day is around a 2-4 and I do not take ANY medication. In the evenings, my pain increases to about a 4-6 while I am lying down. The pain seems to arrive quickly if I lie on the side of my operation. Getting up in the morning is tough as it seems that my sciatic nerve is stuck and I need to flex my foot for at least 3-5 minutes to alleviate the sciatic pain.

I was just wondering if anyone here has had a problem/issue with the "ups and downs" post op???

Thank you so very much for your interest in my situation.



  • Welcome to Spine-Health! Yes, if you read through a lot of the posts here, you will find that we have all just recently been talking about the pain that comes back after you've actually felt pretty well for a few days. Fact is, most of us have had badly compressed nerves and I think they breathe a huge sigh of relief when the disc or bone or scar tissue is removed from them, but then a few days later, they realize they were squished for a long time and are just madder than H - E - double hockey sticks! Well, sort of a simplified explanation, but that's about it. Hopefully, your pain will eventually calm down and go away. The problem is that nerves are slow to heal. Let's hope yours decide to heal quickly.

    All the best,
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • As Linda already stated, I would guess the great majority of post surgery patients experience something similar to you. It is not at all unusual to develop pain a couple weeks after surgery. Often it is a result of inflammation that can take quite awhile to go back to normal. Give it some time, and try not to worry. Feeling stressed does not add anything to the healing process.

  • Hi Thomas,

    I experienced something very similar. I had my 3rd microdiscectomy/laminectomy (L5-S1) in August of this year and felt great for over a month. Then one day, I got out of bed and felt pain shooting down my leg again. I had another MRI and it showed that my disc has ruptured for the 4th time.

    I am now 3 weeks post-op from a 360 lumbar fusion (L5-S1) and am doing well. My only advice is to take it easy and not do to much too soon (I think that was my mistake). And if you end up having to go the fusion route, it is not nearly as bad as it sounds.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • I had mine done 4 weeks ago yesterday. I had no pain the first two days but thought it was back on the third for a while. After about half a day, most of the pain went away and I got a little pain in my hip for about 10 minutes in the morning for a week or so and my foot felt tingling occasionally. It has now gone away and I think I am fine. I was told to take it very easy for 6 weeks except for walking and I have 2 weeks to go. Best I have felt in years.
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