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sciatica worse after microlumbar discectomy

losinghopellosinghope Posts: 2
Hello, I'm 38; and my L4-L-5 disc ruptured about 3-4 yrs. ago; I was fine; I thought it'd healed until last January, whenit slipped and pinched my sciatic nerve; causing intense pain from my left-hip down to my ankle. I didn't have medical insurance at the time; since I work part-time; so, I couldn't have surgery until 7-25-11. After surgery,I felt slightly better; and was given at-home therapy and about 5 sessions of pt starting in September 2011. At that time, I began experiencing hard, painful, pulling sensations from my right hip and down to my right foot; which now, goes numb. I really like my surgeon,I told him what's happening; so, he did an MRI in October, and said that my back is very weak, and that I have some instabillity in the disc; and he's recommended aqua therapy. I fell like it may be rupturing again, and I've already had 4 steriod injections: March 31, 2011; October 26 2011(shots 2&3) and the 4th on Janurary 10, 2012. I'm concerned because the shots are becoming less effective; and now, my hips keep popping. My job is kind enough to let me sit when necessary; but, I can barely walk; once the shots wear off; I can hardly move. I was on disablitity for 8 months due to this; and I returned to work in September; I'm considering getting a 2nd opinion and returning to disabilty so that I can focus on pt and get stronger. I was really active before; and I'm so discouraged. Even with shots, meds, and pt; why am I getting WORSE? I'm really afraid that the same disc is going to rupture again; cause that's what it feels like. I was accepted to attend school, but this damn disc and sciatica is RUINING MY LIFE! Now, I have sciatica on both sides; and I am losing hope that I'll ever have a normal life again. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


  • Hey there,

    I feel your frustration through your post. Sciatica can be quite disruptive to your life!

    The MRI didn't show additional herniation? Sometimes you can lose more at the same level when you initially ruptured.

    Are you seeing a Physiatrist or regular PT? Phsyiatrist looks at all your pain not just your injury so wonder if you are just compensating or need additional strenthening.

    Did your surgeon suggest next steps if conservative methods don't help? From instability, it almost sounds like he's implying the next step is a fusion.

    Can you go for another opinion just to get piece of mind?

    I'm not a proponent of surgery if you can avoid it BUT you want to know your options. At least the 2nd opinion will help you create a plan. For example, if the 2nd opinion says give it 6 more weeks of PT/therapy you have an idea of a plan.

    I wish I could offer more.

    I've had 2 Microdiscectomies at the same level. I never got more than 40% better (and that's probably generous). I just had another MRI that said I was status quo - disc still degenerating, lots of scar tissue but all else holding steady. But I am having significant back pain. So I'm seeing a physiatrist and doing specialized PT. I'm hopeful b/c I don't want a fusion.

    Good luck, keep us posted.
  • Thanks so much; I really appreciate the advice. I'm going to see my specialist/surgeon on Thursday; and I'll let him know that I'd like a second opinion; and that I've already requested my medical records. I'm so sorry that anyone else has to go through this; it's awful. The MRI in October showed that the disc is inflamed btw. I hope I don't need a fusion. Has anyone considered artificial disc replacement surgery?
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