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I'm officially at 2 weeks Post Op on my L5S1 MicroD

scmgurusscmguru Posts: 103
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
The pain in my right leg is gone, but the pain in my left continues..

I'd say the nerve on my left side was compressed for 4 months our so by a 6mm bulge. My right leg became involved for the last 2 months, on and off.

The tingling and burning would alternate sides every day.

Funny thing is, the last 2 weeks before surgery, my right leg was the most upset.

I tried to not take Oxy last night to see what would happen and to see where my pain level was.

Woke up in the morning feeling like I was kicked by a mule, I'd say it was a good solid 7 or so by 10am.

I was pretty surprised by the level of pain and pressure it felt like someone was sitting on my back.

That was pretty discouraging.. Ended that experiment quickly..

It's funny how some folks on here get immediate relief, others at 14 days or so are down to a pain level of 1, others seem to take about 7 weeks or so.

So for what it's worth, I'm officially still at a 7 w/o Meds..

Makes me REAL nervous.. I know it's still early.. but the disproportionate relief on my right side which is at a 0-1 vs the left is concerning.

The bottom of my left foot has started tingling at from the bottom of the toes to about the front 1/3 of my foot..

I'm telling myself it is the nerve healing back up.

I'd really like to get an MRI to see if the pressure is really off the nerve, because it doesn't feel like it.

So.. that's where I'm at..


  • scmguru said:

    I know it's still early.. but
    I'd really like to get an MRI to see if the pressure is really off the nerve, because it doesn't feel like it.

    What you are feeling may be from inflammation. Two weeks is early in the whole scheme of things. You may have residual inflammation that is not going away. If it does not calm down in a week or two more you may want to talk to your surgeon about it. It is fairly common for them to give the patient a Medrol Pak to see if it responds.

    At this point he would not be able to tell much at all from a MRI. And you don't have hardware, so it's not like something has slipped and is on the nerve.

    Be sure you drink lots of fluids, particularly water, and try icing your lower back on a regular schedule for a couple days to see if that helps.

    Are you following your doc's recommendations regarding no bending, etc.? Limiting sitting? Riding in cars? Try to take it really easy and use ice. Hopefully that will help with inflammation.

  • Hi

    I think you are doing really well. You are being very smart about recovery and I wouldn't worry about your pain level without meds just yet. Remember, you are only 2-weeks post op. Pain is different things to different people. While I don't complain about pain, I am not getting feeling back in my leg. So if I look at things, I think you are doing better than I am. Pain will take time to go away.

    I'm 10 days out and had my nieces visit. I followed all the rules but just the fun of having them over for a visit wiped me out. I am lucky on my pain this go around...but today didn't mess around and took meds on schedule and my daily percaset early. I will also take a valium that I don't usually take before bed b/c I'm having a few spasms tonight.

    As for recovery, you are right...it varies.
    I had nerve compression for 5 monhts. I still don't have feeling back...not sure if it's permanent damage or slow to wake up. My leg pain varies day-to-day....some days none, and others I have pain that worries me. But I know better than to worry this early because I am following the rules and haven't done anything obvious to have me concerned just yet.

    I would agree you still may have incision/surgical inflammation. Especially with the incision issue you had. I would give it another 2 weeks and if you still are worried, let your doctor know. When I did this last time...they put me on Prednisone mainly b/c I didn't tell him until week 6...I should have called him at week 4-5 but I've heard most doctors will try the Medrol pack.

    Most doctors won't do another MRI until at least week 6 (or 3 months) b/c there's very little point...they will struggle to see anything.

    Keep your patience up, don't worry about pain level, but follow the instructions. If at week 4 you feel you have stopped progressing, call your doctor an let him know.

    You are doing everything right so far!
  • Spoke w/ Dr.. he is thinking of an Epi injection, just because the other side responded so well.

    In the event swelling is causing the issue.. He wants to make sure that we break that cycle ASAP and make sure everything heals w/o scarring caused by inflammation.

    I'm going to ask him about trying a medrol pack for a week 1st..

    But I WILL wait until at least 3 weeks out before I consider either.

    Thanks for the encouragement :)
  • You are very wise to continue to keep the communication open with your doctor.

    It's the one thing I regret the 1st time around.
    My husband encouraged me to call the doctor at week 4 and then at week 5 but I said no...I'm not that bad, it just takes time.

    Even at week 6, when I told the doctor and started the oral steroid, I should have called 6 days later to let him know it wasn't working. I waited and just got my 10 week check up moved to week 9.

    Keep him updated...you are your own best advocate. You know yourself and he can only help if he knows.
  • After my L5-S1 micro-d, I was basically bed-ridden for about 4 weeks due to pain cause by what turned out to be inflammation, swelling and edema.
    Finally, I called my surgeon and asked to come back in to be seen.
    We did an ESI into the area and 3 days later, the pain started leaving. 7 days after the ESI, I was pain-free.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Started a pain level/medication log today.

    Also started icing my back for 10 min every couple of hours.

    I felt the just left of center burning pain for the 1st time since surgery in my low back today.

    My pc suggested a medrol pack before the shot, instead of doing something so invasive (esi) this soon.

    Had a medrol pack already this year for the last 2 weeks before surgery.

    Not sure if another so soon is safe?

    Feel like I'm in limbo..but the ice on my back right now feels nice.

    Hot pads used to help prior to surgery but now cause my foot to tingle...

    Fun stuff
  • good idea on the log.
    My sister asked if I was keeping a journal and I thought, hmm, yeah I have it...in my head.

    But I'm planning to start logging.
    I'm including meds, pain level, activity, and weather related changes (b/c weather impacts how I feel).

    As for the Medrol pack, not sure. I was on a double dose (yes, 2 packets simultaneously) before surgery and the put on prednisone (which I thought was much stronger) at 6 weeks post op so that was an 7-8 week gap. Not sure how long you have to wait between. Hopefully he can start you next week on it.

  • Paul was your pain in both legs?

    The oddest thing is, one leg is perfect, the other
    almost feels like I never had the procedure.
  • I responded to your pm.
    You know what? That journal is a really good idea!
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Last night was the worst so far..

    Felt a little rough around 6pm..

    At around 10:30, it was up to an 8.

    Meds Went to bed.

    Didn't sleep well all night and was up at 5am with both the left side of my lower back and leg at around an 8-9, it felt worse than it the morning after surgery.

    More meds..

    It's 10am now and my left leg is down to a 2 probably from all the pain killers.

    I have about a baseball sized area of my left gleut muscle that feels like I have a knot or something..

    Just left of center of my lower back.. I've got that familiar burning feeling..

    Will take it easy and lay down as much as possible this weekend.

    I'm back to the Dr. on Monday am for a recheck.

    Feel bad for my better half who has to go through all of this as well with me :(

  • I'm sorry you are having a rough day.
    But I have to say I really like the log/journal idea.
    I just pulled out a notebook today to start.

    I'm planning to recap what I recall and then log going forward. I think it's an excellent idea.

    Rest up today.
  • Are you icing? For the knot, does your wife have a rolling pin? If not, find something somewhat long and cylindrical (maybe a liter soda bottle?) and just roll back and forth over the sore area on your quad. Work in the direct of the muscle rather than going across.

    Try a combination of this and ice to see if you can make it more comfortable. Maybe use a heating pad on it first to heat up the tissue a bit -- then roll it, and later, use ice. Just remember to not work it in a circular motion or across the "grain."

    Remember to keep up with gentle walking.

    Hope this helps.

  • 2Just a bit of an update.. things are a little better, but I'm still feeling like i did before surgery (on my left side)

    Dr. wants to do an ESI on the left side, which I'm up for.

    I'm pretty concerned about it because the 1st time I got an ESI (pre surgery) it had some pretty nasty consequences.

    Before I even left the outpatient facility, my RIGHT leg, which had always been fine became numb and the relief from the ESI only lasted about 3 days or so.

    From that point on, the pain would alternate between BOTH legs from one day to another.

    Right now, my right leg is totally fine.. I'm REALLY worried that I'll have a repeat episode where the right leg becomes involved again as well.

    As far as sitting goes... I now have a timer (thanks Iphone!) that will ring every 20 minutes, reminding me to get up and move around.

    Still logging my pain levels/meds/notes etc.. Glad folks are finding that idea useful!

    Will update you all tomorrow after my appointment.

    Thanks again for all the support :)
  • Sorry you are having a rough time! I love the idea of a pain journal! I have used it before and my surgeon as well as my PM DR loved it and I felt they listened and partnered with me more, (I don't know if it's true, but I felt better:)). I wonder if you are sitting too much? Maybe try to limit sitting to just long enough to eat, ice and lay down and walk on flat surfaces....just some thoughts! Hang in there and good luck!~ Shari
  • I will tell you 20 mins sounds like it might be too much this early.

    I did that last time and found my pain levels were also higher. Ask your doctor.

    I am actually seeing mine this week and while I want to be cleared to return to work, I'm hopeful that he'll clear me to work remotely so I can work lying down. The car ride alone will eat up my 'leg pain' reserve. Even now, I'm only sitting for 10 mins.

    My husband and other family that has visited has been very aware of how long I sit. They try to keep me to 5-10 mins for my own well-being.

    I wonder if you were to reduce that to 15 mins and log it...if your pain were to be more manageable.

    Good luck this week.
  • Oh...just checking...is ESI and epidural injection?
    I assuem it's to help reduce inflammation.

    Is he going to try the medrol oral steroid pack first?
  • Yes ESI is the injection.. he wanted to go straight to the injection. I'm thinking oral 1st..
  • Great news..

    1. I tried oral Medrol on Sunday (per my pc) and my pain level went from a 6-8 to a 2-3 by the evening and 1-2 monday morning with NO pain meds in the AM.

    I woke up without being in pain, it was REALLY nice.

    2. Went to Spine surgeon.. told him this.. he said that was a good indication that the pain/discomfort was caused by inflammation.

    3. Discussed alternatives to Epidural Injection and he suggested and subsequently gave me a shot of Lidocaine/Prednisone into the area of my back that seemed to hurt the most.

    Shot wasn't too uncomfortable.. once he hit the nerve, I felt a really tight cramp in my left gleut, a strong pressure down my left leg and across my back to the right.

    I felt blissful for about an hour an ten minutes or so..

    I was back to a pain level of 0 on both sides..

    No good deed goes unpunished

    The burning and pain came back with a vengence. The intensity increased to where it was at about a 6-7 flaring up to an 7-8 by 2pm.

    Also, as I was afraid of.. my right leg was involved for a good part of the afternoon.. but thankfully has settled back down to where it has been by 4pm.

    Had some nasty side effects presumably from the shot, hot flashes, chills a bit of nausea. Felt miserable.

    It's 4pm and I feel a BIT better.. thanks to meds.

    I was looking forward to not taking any today, especially since I didn't need to as of last night and this morning with the Medrol.

    I was really disappointed about that.

    So Now What...

    1. Said he wants me to try something else prior to oral Medrol and prescribed me some Anti-Inflammatory and Lidocaine Patches.

    (Do Any of you have experience with these?)

    2. Started the anti-inflammatory patch at around 1pm today.. the docs that came with it said it takes about 12 hours to really get going.. so I'm in a waiting game.

    What have I learned today

    The net-net is, I KNOW now that Medrol will all but get rid of 80% of my pain/burning/discomfort.

    Not sure why he wanted me to stop it, but I trust his judgment and based on how I felt this afternoon, it's a good thing I like him. ;)

    If the patches don't work.. then we can always go back to the Medrol.

    Even though the shot I got today didn't last too long and irritated the area a LOT more than it helped. (as of now)

    It was worth it for the hour being totally pain free.. Gosh that was SO nice.

    Funny how I took it for granted all these years.. Never again!

    Fingers Crossed

    Maybe, once the pain and irritation from my shot settle down, I may be back to my pain level of 1-2...

    I've got to go out of town in the next few days. No getting out of it.

    Though my doctor wishes I didn't have to go, he felt I'd do OK if I was careful and followed some rules he gave me..

    I'll be taking the Medrol with me, just in case.

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