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Post Surgical Pain-Possible re-herniation

SCtigger7SSCtigger7 Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my fourth back surgery on 6/26/10--a discectomy at L5-S1 with removal of a bone spur. Recovery was slow, as expected, but three or four days ago I started having worsening back pain. Today I called my surgeon because it's getting tough to get up and down and to walk. He has ordered an MRI because he thinks I may have reherniated after surgery. Has anyone else ever been through this? I am no newcomer to back problems, but this is testing me more than ever before.
Shane in SC
Lumbar laminectomy 2005
ACDF 2006
Thoracic discectomy 2008
Lumbar discectomy 6/2010 & rods and screws due to reherniation-8/2010
2/14---new cervical pain with radiculopathy--both arms


  • I had a badly herniated L5/S1 disk that went undiagnosed for over a year because I never had the classic leg pain. It wasn't until I developed foot-drop and my achilles reflex was dead that they finally realized that I had a serious issue. An MRI was ordered and it showed a piece of disk the size of a man's thumb pushing into my sciatic nerve.

    I had a discectomy that went beautifully. Within six weeks I was off all meds and back to work. I felt like a new person. After 3 months they gave me a green light to do whatever I wanted. Well, it was winter so I took it easy. In the spring I got on my road bike and was doing some serious hills. Something popped in my back, and all of the pain came back. I had another discectomy, but this one was a mess. There was a lot of scar tissue adhering to the nerve root from the first surgery and the surgeon had a heck of a time doing what he thought would be a simple procedure.

    From there, I never got better. I believe that I had lost so much disk material and my disk was so collapsed that I now had severe disk pain (that's what my NS said) -- thus I ended up with a fusion.

    I wish I could have a do-over. I wish the doctor had cautioned me to take it easy. I wish he had prescribed PT to rebuild my core strength. I wish I knew that once you rupture a disk, it will never again have the same integrity and that it will always be susceptible to reinjury. I wish... I wish...

    You mentioned several surgeries and I see that they are all at different levels? That sounds like a lot to me. So what are you being told regarding your options at this point? Has the doctor prescribed PT, ever?

    Best wishes,

  • Sorry to hear that you are having pain again.
    I hope that your MRI will show something simpler than a reherniated disc.

    I had my disc removed and replaced with a cage and bone graft, so won't have a problem with that disc now. However, both my discs either side were already degenerated, so I worry about those levels.

    My surgeon said I can do anything, including sports and don't need to go carefully. :S
    Reading about so many others who have either reherniated discs or had the adjoining levels go, makes me less than confident that I can carry on with anything and not worry.
    He even said at 10 days after surgery that I could drive and do anything, including bending. There was no way that I was ready for driving or bending as early as that! :jawdrop:

    Do let us know what the MRI shows, and how your surgeon decides to deal with it.
    Wishing you a good outcome :-)
  • When will the new MRI be done?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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