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Ongoing left leg/butt pain after microdisectomy! going crazy!!

YoungL5S188YYoungL5S188 Posts: 81
Here is my original forum post before surgery...


I had the microdisectomy done on March 21,2012 on the L5-S1 disc. 3 days after surgery, I was back in the hospital because of severe pain worse then before surgery. It has gotten better then it was then but it is about just as bad now as it was before surgery.

When I went back in hospital 3 days after surgery, they did a post-op MRI and found only scar tissue, and it seems to the surgeon that the nerves are clear so he is not sure why I still have pain.

I have the same exact left leg nerve pain in the same spot I had it at before the surgery.

Because of the surgery, I also have back pain most of the time, sometimes it is very severe while other times it is tolerable.

the other issue is after sitting for about 10 minutes both of my butt checks get numb and tingly and I can't sit for longer then about 10 minutes.

I went to see my surgeon and he basically told me I'm sorry, I'm not sure what else to say. He said my case is very VERY rare and 90% of the time leg nerve pain is gone after surgery but at the most a month after surgery.

They had me try all different pain pills which none of them helped so I decided not to take them.

I am taking 400/mg of Neurotin every 8 hours. That is not helping at all.

I was out of work for a month and a week and started 3/5 days this week and starting full time again next week. I'm scared and not sure how I am going to do it to be honest. I can't afford to take any more time off though.

Any idea or suggestions would be very appreciated.




  • I had a Nurse Practitioner tell me that nerves have "memories" and carry the pain impulse or 'remembers' it. Not sure how long this lasts. I think it's similar to 'phantom pain' people feel after a limb amputation.
    I'm on the maximum dose of Neurontin - 1200 mg every 8 hours. Sometimes you also need to allow the pain meds to get to a therapeutic level in your body and keep it there. I do use Ibuprofen too - usually 800 mg every 6-8 hours and need something to help me sleep at night.
    Not sure about the numbness and tingling, could be the nerve healing? I really don't know.
    I'm sorry to hear that you're still having the same level of pain, How terribly frustrating!
    You would think that in 2012 when we can do all kinds of genetic testing, transplant organs, do brain surgery, we would be able to take care of sciatica.
    Maybe we need to start a Sciatic Pain Foundation to get the word out about how painful and debilitating a "Pinched Nerve" is - I've seen many women with the condition (me too) say they would rather go through labor and birth multiple times without epidurals or pain medications than have this pain. It is absolutely the worst pain ever.
    Anyway - See if you can start increasing your Neurontin Dose - you can work through the side-effects; I know if I miss a dose, I pay for it several hours later with increased,horrible pain. I like using Ibuprofen because of the anti-inflammatory effects. You could try Aspirin - maybe buffered so it doesn't irritate your stomach - An oldie but a goodie. I've found good relief using 3 - 325 mg tablets.
    I hope some of these suggestions help.
  • Thanks for your reply. Im waiting for my surgeon to call me back this afternoon. The neurotin so far 3 weeks taking it, is not helping at all!

    I dont see the other end of the tunnel. I feel like at 24 years old, I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life.

    I'll try to take some aspirin tomorrow and see if it helps at all. I just hate taking them because I know how bad they are for your liver and stomach.

    I'm so suprised noone else have any comments to add to my post.
  • I had a microdiscectomy 7 weeks ago for a herniated disc (also L5-S1). I however was feeling quite a bit better immediately after the surgery. However, I still have some residual pain in my butt and my right leg and some numbness in my foot. I believe it's still nerve pain. I have heard of others saying that the scar tissue can sometimes cause as much pain as the herniation. I will occasionally take a small dose of ibuprofen and ginger root for the pain and inflammation and it does help. I also go on a lot of walks as that is supposed to minimize scar tissue build up. I'm also sorry to hear that your pain is still so severe. Prior to my operation my pain was also severe and immobilizing. My pain now is not nearly as bad as before the surgery. I returned to my work 11 days after my surgery. I work with computers so I set up a standing workstation so that I wouldn't have to sit for long periods and this has also helped. I am waiting a few more weeks and I'll probably start seeing a chiropractor and/or a physical therapist to see if I can strengthen my core muscles and get rid of my residual pain. Good luck, I hope you and your health providers can help you find a solution to your pain.
  • Hi,
    Did you hear back from your surgeon?
    I went to the maximum dose of Neurontin about 3 weeks ago. I started having better relief around a week ago and I'm holding my breath waiting for the pain to return.
    Now, as I said, I'm still on Neurontin, Ibuprofen, Tramadol, and the other meds I mentioned.
    Yes, at 24 yo I can understand why you're feeling so discouraged. I'm 55 yo and wonder if I have to live like this another 30 yrs as well.
    I have had this since last July, it got worse about 5-6 months ago.
    I most likely won't opt for surgery right now, but if you had asked me 1 week ago, I would have been in surgery the next day.
    I wouldn't worry about the meds and your liver at this point - you're young and likely have a very healthy liver. Take Buffered Aspirin - it's coated so it doesn't dissolve in your stomach - it's released in your large intestine - protecting the stomach.
    I didn't think the Neurontin worked at the lower dose either. Let me know how it went today. We're here for you!!! I found this site a week ago and it has made such a huge difference.
  • My surgeon called me back 3 days ago. He said I am on the max dose of Neurotin and he usually does not even need to prescribe people with close to what I'm on daily. I feel like it don't really even help much.

    Surgeon told me he wants me to do Physical Therapy and seek pain management. he said i should definitely be 80% better by now. My surgeon said he could open me back up again and examine the left side really well again.

    I'm running out of ideas. My left leg is unbearable, just as bad as it was before surgery

  • I'm sorry you are going through this. I need to have the discectomy but am really scared of it not working and the pain and recovery of the surgery. I have had my herniated disc at my L5/S1 for 21 months and get the injection but they don't last. I take motrin and nothing else but now I am getting desparate.
  • Oxygen-ozone therapy is a useful treatment for lumbar disk herniation that has failed to respond to conservative management.
    Live to Pray
  • Nick I'm so sorry you are going through that. My son-in-law had back surgery for a little bit different problem - and I can't think of the medical term, but basically he was born with a problem that could cause part of the pars (this is what I'm remembering) of the vertabra to crack or break if he did anything like heavy lifting etc - however there is no way to know that unless it happens and it usually happens in young adults. He was in for the fight of his life to get it fixed but did and it took a while for his pain to go away, but it did eventually. And he had one flare up years later which ended up being only muscular.

    I have a problem understanding doctors that won't prescribe effective medicines. I know there is a problem in this country with people trying to get pain medicines - but neurontin? Seems like he should be increasing your dose to see if that will help. I hear your frustration, my husband and I have a great new surgeon and he tells us we need medications........but he doesn't prescribe them. Before either of us have surgery, I'm going to have to ask him if he'll be giving us medications to help post-op - and I"m sure that will result in a long lecture. It is a shame to say this, but like mnrn56, I'm 55 and one thing I've learned especially these last few years as medical care seems to be changing, is that it seems we have to figure out how to do a psychoanalysis on our doctors so we can figure out how to talk to them. A lot of surgeons that are very good and know it do have that 'I'm God' attitude, unfortunately. Always remember and never forget, even though what they do for us is much more important, really it is no different than hiring someone to cut our hair, give us a massage, or any other service - it's your body and you are in charge - and the doctor is someone that you hired.
    I am who I am!
  • And I forgot to say - why is it so many doctors offer pain relief but don't get to the source of the problem?!? That's one thing I won't stand for! If that's all the patient wants, then fine. But if the patient wants the source of the problem fixed and there is a way to try and do that, then we shouldn't have to fight for it. And we shouldn't have to fight for adequate medication, especially when it is meds like neurontin, etc........but even pain meds when we really need them. There are a lot of pain clinics out there now and I used to think geez every person going there must be some kind of addict or drug pusher - and that's the stories we hear from the media. Going through back and neck problems - and the problems with doctors treating me like I'm a cash cow, although I will never do it, makes me understand why people give up and end up going to a pain clinic to get narcotics. The medical society needs to take the blame for part of this and they need to make sure they are providing adequate care so people have no legitimate reason to go to those places!!
    I am who I am!
  • My 2-cents worth. Can you ask for another MRI?
    It sounds like either the nerves were irritated and/or are waking up but I had an MD and never really got relief. I was told it was probably post-op inflammation. After 5weeks, I thought I was no different if not worse. At 6-weeks post op I still couldn't get another MRI and they put me on prednisone.

    That did nothing. The surgeon was ready to send me on my way and said give it time, 95% of people do well. And, my herniation was so big that the surgery should be gratifying. I told him I would be mad at myself if I didn't insist on an MRI to double check. So he agreed. I had lost another chunk.

    I had the revision and while I didn't feel much different, I was moving better and after 6weeks, I could see a difference and at 3-month mark I continued to see a difference.

    If he won't help, ask if there is another surgeon that he might suggest to review the case.
  • nickrolando said:
    My surgeon called me back 3 days ago. He said I am on the max dose of Neurotin and he usually does not even need to prescribe people with close to what I'm on daily. I feel like it don't really even help much.

    Surgeon told me he wants me to do Physical Therapy and seek pain management. he said i should definitely be 80% better by now. My surgeon said he could open me back up again and examine the left side really well again.

    I'm running out of ideas. My left leg is unbearable, just as bad as it was before surgery

    Are you still on the 400 mg every 8 hours? That is not the maximum - I'm on 1200 mg every 8 hours which I'm told is the maximum; most people do respond on lower doses, but not all people respond that way.
    I hit a plateau with the Neurontin and that's when they increased to the max dose. I started Cymbalta 4 days ago and I thank that's helping too. Each day my need for pain meds has decreased, and, I was able to go to a movie yesterday with minimal (occ. moderate) discomfort.
    Now, I haven't had the surgery, but do you have someone other than the surgeon prescribing meds for you? The surgeons likely aren' the best to look to regarding on-going therapy. They are surgeons because they like an immediate fix for problems - not a bad thing, but they usually aren't in it for the long haul with patients.
    Keep me informed - btw, you can use up to 800 mg of Ibuprofen for your pain, even though the bottle directions don't say that. I've read about some people using 1000 mg, although I've only done that a couple of times
  • I had an MRI done 4 days after surgery. I took a look at the MRI before and after surgery the other day because I got both MRI CD's. There really is not much of a difference and obv I'm not a doctor but to me it still looks herniated.

    I'm bringing them both to a new pain management doctor today at 3:30pm.

    Praying that what it is, then there will be some explanation as to why im still in such severe pain at 24 years old
  • I have been following you since your decision for surgery. Being 24 would scare me too. I am 36 and have a L5 hernaiated disc. The neuro said he would do surgery but only because I have had it for 21 months. I have tried all of the conservative things and the injections work really well but do wear off at about 6 weeks. I have numbness in heal of foot and now my toes are tingly. I am really worried about nerve damage getting worse. I don't want to live like this forever either. I spend most of my time crying. I now have started upper and mid back pain so I'm really worried that something else is wrong. What was the pain of the incision site? I have a 7 and 10 year old and want to have fun with them.I hope that you have good results from your new doctor today and that everything will work out. I also don't want to take pain killers so I only take 600 mg of motrin 3 times a day and deal with the pain going down my leg.I do get some releif when I am in different positions.
  • Thanks for following me. Yeah nothing before surgery worked for me at all including injections. NOT AT ALL. I saw the new pain management doctor, he put in an order for another MRI. It will be my 4th one since I got hurt. 90% of people have relief from a microdiscetomy so you might be in that 90%. I'm in the 10% that does not get relief.

    The pain of the incision site is not too bad at all. I knew i would have back pain after this surgery, but was willing to have it, due off the fact that i was suppose to get rid of my leg pain.

    Leg pain is still there, more in left then the right but pain in both legs. Back pain is definetly worse since surgery and now my ass gets numb/tingly and pin and needles feeling after sitting for about 10 minutes. That started after surgery.

    I'm afraid its nerve damage and I'll have to live with it for the rest of my life and at 24 thats a long time. I work full time again because I have to but I'm barely making it through some days. You do what you gotta do!
  • Hi kit - have they tried using Neurontin? I know the side effects are difficult at first for some people, but for others they're not too bad. I'm currently on the maximum dose of Neurontin - 1200 mg three times a day, and last week started on Cymbalta. I've had the sciatica problem since last July, getting really bad in December. In the last 2-3 weeks I have been getting better. But after 21 months of this, I can see where surgery could definately be an option for you.
    Do you live near a major medical center where you could get care?
    Or, wouldn't hurt to try the meds; I was amazed after starting the Cymbalta how my need for other pain medications decreased.
    Just some thoughts.
  • I had the total disc removed on l4l5 because they found it was leaking, I had an artificial disc implanted and came out of worse pain then before my surgery also,

    Same pain as you describe left side down the left leg mosrly just like sciatica that to this day they cant fix. Its been 8 years now and another dr fused the same level thinking that will help.

    After fusion surgery dr says you have a litle damage above the artificial disc, Well it dont take a lot to damage a nerve to cause the worse pain someone has to deal with for life,

    Now i am hoping your dr did not cause damage to the nerve with the surgery you had as its not as invasive as what i had but it can hapen, Nerve pain is the hardest to treat by any dr it seems because they simply have nothing that works 100 % for it,

    If meds dont help they use the nerve stimulater implant called scs which i finaly had implanted after 8 years of dealing with this but in no way i would call it a cure or even to say it helps that much to jump up and down about,

    If your compression is off the nerve they say it can take up to 18 months to heal if it was just agrivated by being compressed from that disc, So for the 18 months or longer usualy no dr will want to do any other surgery because no way to know if it will heal or not yet,

    I have become dissabled from my surgery from the nerve pain being 100 % out of control that cant be fixed by any dr,

    I searched and tried everything under the sun for nerve pain and some things do help other then lyrica or neurontin as i cant take any of the nerve pain meds,

    Neuroveen is something that i found helps the nerve pain thats mostly natural that i found on line, I never believe any of the crap i see pushed on line that claims to help most of our issues but its worth maybe for you also to give it a try,

    Dont ask me whats in it cause i dont know and dont realy care as when you are desperate to get that sciatic pain down you try anything to be able to function,

    It cant hurt and i still use it with my meds ,

    Best of luck to ya and hope it resolves itself so you dont have to deal with this long term,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • YoungL5S188YYoungL5S188 Posts: 81
    edited 06/25/2012 - 3:37 AM
    Please if anyone has any suggestions or feedback please i would appreciate it

    I had my first EMG the other day, which definitely was not a fun procedure, to find out that everything looks normal, no nerve damage was the result.

    As much as that is a good thing, im just upset about it because I still do not have a rhyme for reason at all.

    I'm 24 years old and literally feel like my life is over. I am loosing friends because I have such a short fuse now because I'm always in severe chronic pain.

    I am on Lyrica 100mg 3 times a day, Zanaflex 4mg muscle relaxer twice a day and cymbalta 30mg at bedtime. New PM doctor I saw early this morning perscribed them to try them for me.

    I cannot take painkillers because i work in IT and can't think straight but either way Percocet/Oxycodone dont work for me at all with my pain.

    I'm running out of ideas and cant seem to stay positive as hard as I try.

    The most recent MRI i've had was at the end of may and my surgeon who operated i sent it to him and he called me the other day and told me the nerve is free and there is scar tissue but should not be causing the same level of pain I had before surgery and I should be at least 75% better now. I just passed the three month mark since surgery.

    Pain is in the left leg more then the right leg. Left leg from behind my knee cap down to right before my foot starts.Back pain is near where surgery was and a little bit above where the surgery was. Butt pain is in both butt cheeks after sitting for about 10-15 minutes at a time.

    Please any input would be appreciated.

  • Hi Im sorry your in so much pain , I had a discectomy in 2008 and my pain was only on one side and down one leg after surgery it got worse and now its in both sides , Its hard to except when my doctor gave me a 90% chance of being better and now I dont have a life because of constant pain , but dont give up! Keep pushing and trying, Im going Friday to get the SCS trial implant and hope its the miracle im looking for! I I have also found that pool therpy helps some to..
  • Hi = I had a situation where my GP didn't 'believe' I was in pain- that there was anything wrong. MRI looked "ok", as did CT etc... I did some research and found out about a different MRI machine- this one lets you stand or sit while the MRI is going on.. so, in my case, this showed the actual compression of L5-S1 area. (Dynamic MRI)
    First MRI did not- (lay down one).
    So, maybe that could help you? Pain is pain.. it is there for a reason.. trying to tell us something is wrong. So, dont' give up!
  • I'm not even sure where I could begin to find a place that does that in New York. None of my doctors have mentioned it to me?
  • PM docotr spoke to me about the SCS implant. I'm wondering about it. I'm not sure what to do anymore. im 24 years old and my life is ruined.
  • Doctor upped my cymbalta and put me on something called Trazadone, every night once before bed.

    I looked it up and seems to have nothing to do with sciatica/back pain.

    Any ideas?
  • So sorry you are in so much pain at a young age! I too am a young woman having chronic pain which my doctors believe is to do with a pinched nerve somewhere in my body, though we're not sure of the location yet. I am wondering if the scar tissue is compressing a nerve? Have you ever heard about active release therapy (ART)? I am trying it for my nerve pain now and it seems to be helpful. Best of luck to you!
  • YoungL5S188YYoungL5S188 Posts: 81
    edited 08/22/2012 - 5:12 AM
    I have a pain management doctor tell me about Lysis of adhesions which I do not think will work for me being that it was the same pain after and before surgery before scar tissue even had a chance to form.

    I tried Calmare Therapy treatment in CT. 3 treatments and it made me worse. Doctor is great there but he was scared for me and wanted me to stop doing it and he recommended a Flexion/Extension MRI but my surgeon is giving me a hard time about getting it.

    Please let me know if you guys have any input.

  • Hi,
    I had two MRI's, lay down style, which didn't show much of a problem in my L5-S1. I then had a Dynamic MRI, the felxion/extension MRI-- this showed a whole different story of my injury, which "got the ball rolling" finally with my process of therapies,
    I highly recommend that MRI!!!!
    good luck, and cheers!
  • Sally711 said:
    I had two MRI's, lay down style, which didn't show much of a problem in my L5-S1. I then had a Dynamic MRI, the felxion/extension MRI-- this showed a whole different story of my injury, which "got the ball rolling" finally with my process of therapies,
    I highly recommend that MRI!!!!
    good luck, and cheers!
    i had the Flexion Upright MRI and it showed the intial problem again but 2 surgeons looked at it and dont see anything.
  • thepretendertthepretender Posts: 36
    edited 10/28/2012 - 9:19 AM
    I would suggest having a ct-myelogram. I pains sciatic pain like yours that popped up 4 mths post-op with inconclusive EMG and MRIs, failed injections, meds, and the works -- the ct myelogram was ordered after neuro decided to do exploritory surgery and it showed a fracture at my fusion site, now I'm headed for a third surgery next month. Not ideal, but at least I have an answer after months of no idea what was wrong, but knowing something really was. My neuro says this would never have shown on any MRI, or x-ray so think about it as an option.

    It's a long long day at the hospital so be prepared but hopefully it will provide you with some answers.

  • thepretendertthepretender Posts: 36
    edited 10/28/2012 - 9:20 AM
    Also I keep seeing you say you're 24 and your life is over, but it's not. I'm 28 and have had 2 surgeries, going for 3rd. This has been going on since i was 17 and i know that the only thing you can do is to suck it up and keep on fighting. You will eventually get to the bottom of this. Something is wrong! It's a long painful process but you will get there. I fought tooth and nail against the spine stimulator bc I saw it as a permanent bandaid for a problem that needs fixed. You cannot give up or feel like your life is over at 24. I know it's hard. It sucks being young and not being able to have the life you want and your young friends just don't really understand but it will get better. Just keep fighting and reading here, everyone here knows how hard it is and supports you. *virtual hug*
  • YoungL5S188YYoungL5S188 Posts: 81
    edited 04/23/2013 - 3:07 AM
    I am going in for my 2nd back surgery in a year and honestly im very scared. The first surgery I was not scared at all. My surgeon is in the Bronx NYC and he is doing the decompression and stablization. I believe he is using Dynabolt pedicle screws and rods. I am really scared about getting the metal in my spine for the most part. I am worried that because my first surgery did not work, this one wont either. going crazy.
  • Hi Nick! I have had 2 microdisectomys and ended up having the L5-S1 disc fused in 2009. The doctor used titanium screws and a titanium cage on mine. I still have back pain (mainly stiffness), but nothing like before. It is a little harder to rehab from but the pain running down the buttock into the leg was awful to live with and I'm glad I got the fusion. If you have a good surgeon....trust in him and follow his instructions to the letter. I wish you the best of luck and hope you heal quickly :)
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