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Recovery after Microdiscectomy

Neil KNNeil K Posts: 6

I am a 36 year old male who had microdiscectomy just over a year ago in Feb 09, I had the surgery due to a prolapsed disc (L5 S1). This prolapse caused acute sciatica and quite severe muscle atrophy in my left glute and calf, as well as numbness in the left side of my foot.

due to these reasons and the result of an MRI my surgeon sugggested to get surgery ASAP.

Its now just over a year since the surgery, and although I havent had any more severe pain in my leg, the muscle atrophy still isnt fully healed, probably at 60% of before my prolapse, my hamstring is still very tight and needs daily stretching, and my foot numbness is also still there, although again not as bad as it was before the prolapse.

My question is, before my surgery I was lead to believe that most people are back to normal in 3-6 months, and as its now just over a year I am getting quite worried that I am doing something wrong.

I exercise and stretch every day, so I don't know what else to do, a freind did suggest deap tissue massage, has anyone had this and did it work for you?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



  • There is no exact amount of time it takes to get your strength back after the surgery. You should consider yourself lucky that the pain is gone.

    Have you talked to your surgeon about the issue? I would think if he feels you may need a little help maybe a dose of steroids could help. Consult with the surgeon but it does take time and it may have to do with how long the compression had been on the nerve.

  • You don't mention if you have had a new MRI. While it sounds like there is not a reherniation, it is always a possibility to consider when the patient has not recovered as fully as they had hoped. I would think you would be having more leg pain if there was a reherniation, but, it is something to consider.

    Sometimes it is difficult to get full functioning back, depending on how long the nerve was compressed, and/or the extent to which the nerve was damaged.

    I would suggest you keep working at rehabilitating the injured leg and hopefully that effort and time will take care of it. You might want to speak with your surgeon to see what he thinks is possible at this point.

    I can tell you from personal experience that nerves can continue to repair even after the one year mark.

    Good luck.

  • I had microdiscectomies around the same time as you. I don't consider myself 100% recovered; I don't know if I ever will be. Just recently the opposite side of the afflicted leg is giving me some problems.

    Going back to recovery--I had 3 months of physical therapy, which helped me to gain strength, flexibility, and balance.

    I was wondering if you had any PT besides stretching.

    As Gwennie wrote, the recovery process can be longer than a year; I can vouch for that. My surgeon said that I would be back to normal in 6 weeks. It was disheartening at first to realize that I wasn't going to recover within the given time; however, I am encouraged that I am making progress.
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