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Post L5S1 Discectomy Pain

StanfiremanSStanfireman Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Had surgery to remove herniation on left side of L5S1 on 11/2/2011. Was up and walking six hours after surgery with none of the prior pain and numbness down left leg. Built up to one mile walk by six weeks out. After two sessions of physical therapy, muscle spasms were so bad I could not continue PT. This pain slowly receded over a three week time frame. Surgeon ordered an MRI, and results showed small fragment on right side of disc. Also revealed inflammation in the area, and no nerve impingement. Now five months in the lower back spasms are back. Must take muscle relaxers 4x a day to be able to move around the house. This has been going on for three weeks now.
My question is, could this be a re-herniation? There is no radiation with my new pain, and it is transverse across my lower back. Spasms are worst on movement especially on change of position. Is this normal and temporary?


  • Hi Stan, sorry to hear you having issues.

    Your back spasms initially may have been similar to what I had at the 2-3 months period. This for me was diagnosed as scar tissue filling the void of healthy muscle which we take a lifetime to build up. The result is the bodys chemical signals which normal pass unimpeded getting somewhat confused. The only thing I can commpare it too (and you've goota trust me here) is when a sportsman busts one of his quad muscles. After recovery the bust quad wants to join in but when the signals fired it cramps as it fails to function fully - This is whats potentially going on in your back.

    All is certainly not lost if the fragment is seperate and not impinging the nerve thats fantastic. What you need to get on top of is breaking down the scar area and getting the back used to not being 100% (a bust quad doesn't stop you kicking a ball longterm - but can take 1-2yr to get to a point where you kick like you did before at 99% effective) but even then short relapses occur (not painful just a reminder to you that your using 99% of the muscles not the 100% your used too.

    1) Massage with oils. Not sports massage which is vigorous but a relaxing one that works the whole hamstring-buttock-lower & middle back. This should break down the core muscle groups and increase mobility.

    2) Warm water hydrotherapy. Im a swimming coach and I do see a lot of back spasms -even in the hydro pool. The benefit is the heat letting the muscles work at an optimum temperature and the weightlessness lets the back work out if its struggling to make the connection one way (making the spasms) then in the less stressful enviroment it can try alternative contractions.

    I hope at least some of this is of use to you. It certainly helped me get over a bad patch. bit just recognise as I said you've taken a lifetime to build that back up so its so used to doing things is a set way, so it gets 'upset' when its trying to do something its never had issues with before.
  • Thank you for your response. It does make sense. Have heated my pool to 95 and will be in it today. Taking it slow and easy. Have been seeing a Chiro and he has been working the scar tissue. Hopefully this will resolve soon. Thanks again for your encouraging words.

  • Glad to hear your staying positive on the water temperature your spot on, we keep ours at 34 degrees with the air temperature balanced to match. Keep up the good work and you'll get there mate
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