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L4-L5/S1 micro discectomy Post op

Ricky29sgRRicky29sg Posts: 20
After dealing with lower back pain and terrible sciatica for 4 1/2 years I decided to finally get surgery. I'm now 5 days post op and have no sciatic pain at all. However I've encountered a terrible throbbing/pressure type of pain when my meds wear off and it's bad until the Vicodin kicks in.
I have very little numbness on my left toe cause of the scar tissue, but it should go away. As of day 2 I'm up and walking for about 15-20 minutes, but at the same token I'm getting plenty of rest.

So far days 3 and 5 have been the worse days as far as pain is concerned. It's imperative to take your pain meds right on time or you will suffer excruciating pain.



  • hi, glad your progress is so positive!! yay! keep up the great work!:)
  • I had the same surgery 13 days ago. You are right on the money bout taing your pain meds. That's why we have them so I don't hesitake to take mine. My pain is getting better every day. I hope this surgery will take care of my situation. Good luck on your recovery!
  • Sorry about your situation, how's te pain?
  • Hey razorback, does it still feel like your back is going to tear open when you get up?
    While bathing my back locked up on me with some pain, had to lie down immediately, has this happened to u?
  • Hi sally I am curious why you say you are not a surgical candidate if you have a herniation and stenosis . I am not saying what I think you should do , everyone makes their own decision, but. Am surprised that no surgeon suggested it.

    I also want to say that I am happy for all of you that are recovering well. I read these forums now fanatically and there are so many heartbrrsking stories. I dodged a bullet in 2003 in that I had a bad herniation that spontaneously healed two weeks before surgery. I was not so lucky this time. My story is long and complicated but basically I have been great pain since march 2011 from, of all things, raking dead grass. MRI last year showed left side bulge but pain is on right so was not recommended surgery. Tried pt, chiro, acupuncture, epidurals, no relief. Due to my hip pain getting worse I had hip MRI in October 2011. It indicated something called a labral tear in my right hip as well as a femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). Had arthroscopic hip surgery in November and was on crutches for a month. I realize early on that my symptoms were not gone and during pt in December I developed shooting and burning pain in the right buttock. Symptoms also worsened and went down leg and burned calf. Follow up mri in feb. Showed right side herniation crushing nerve L4/L/5. Two surgeons recommended surgery. One surgeon at HSS in NYC recommended bilateral procedure because he thought left side could be problematic later in life and since I would be under anestesia it was good idea. I was undecided until I foolishly went to chiro who gavevme left side leg pain. Opted for bilateral procedure but first did ANOTGER MRI to make sure the crackpot didnt blow out a different level. No change to MRI.

    I had procedure on may 4th 2012. The last three days my leg burned and was numb day and night. I could not sit, barely walk, standing hurt, lying down uncomfortable .

    I am almost 3 weeks post op and still very weak. Cannot walk 10 minutes without pain. Can't stand 5 minutes or really sit at all. If I push it the hip and butt will throb and pinch and even burn. Burning in low back too now. After the surgery I did feel better in that I did not have leg pain - just twinges and minor pain but nothing like before. The surgical pain has subsided but other pain has been creeping back since week one, I took a medrol pack with no relief. The surgeon wants me to do a MRI again as a precaution to make sure no herniation. If we wait too long he says another procedure is complicated because of scar tissue.

    I'm bugging out to find either a new herniation, or him telling me everything looks clear and no reason for pain and therefore no solution. I read a lot of people who say it can take months for nerves to heal, but impssible to know if people mean that they had the same pain after as before for weeks or months, and then all clear.

    I am also perplexed that old MRI showed no right side herniation yet I had severe pain and weakness in low back and right hip / buttock , long before the new MRI showed a right side problem.

    Oh, and BTW my surgeon said he removed a disc fragment on my right side that was crushing the nerve so bad that it was dented.

    Sorry for long post. If anyone is still reading, can anyone that is doing well and/or is at my timeframe tell me if they can sit a all ? And is it the low back, , butt, or hip that hurts. The first couple of days for me I only had low back pain when I sat, now it is leg and butt. It is like a pressure that builds and builds, and then feels like a sore , throbbing , bruise, like I got kicked in the butt with an iron boot the day before and had the biggest black n blue bruise in history.

    If anyone can relate to these pains a few weeks after surgery, and then saw better days, man I would love to hear them. Thanks and best wishes for everyone for better days.
  • Hi Rick

    What was your decision to have a discectomy versus a fusion?

    I am a surgery candidate but have not decided which one is better?

  • Hi Rick

    What was your decision to have a discectomy versus a fusion?

    I am a surgery candidate but have not decided which one is better?

  • great reads I have had... and I truly feel for all of you!!!
    I am not a surgical candidate ,(3 specialist agree), because of a couple things. I am herniated L5-S1 on my right side.. but have the horrendous pains in the left side... my hip, butt, leg, then I have what I call "tweaks" that shoot across my lumbar. All lower back pain. My left side is very weak- I use a walking stick most times, even around house. (maybe a comfort blanket kinda feeling now.. feel almost half dressed if I dont' have it with me!).
    I also have DDD in L4,3,2.. so 'messing' with the L5 will just, (not to be pessimistic!!!) cause the other disks more work or weight bearing which will, in time, cause more problems --- I think of it as the 'Domino affect".
    Pain is.. well, some good days, some bad. The muscle spasms/inflammations in lumbar I deal with ice / heat/ tens machine.. (love it!!!). and Naproxen.
    The nerve pain.. that is the one I have to get under control. I take Gabepenton , it does help a bit- up to 900-1800mg daily.. depending.
    I despise pills -- I , bluntly, have an addictive personality- and will not open any doors of narcotics-- but completely understand they are necessary for others. It is just me... it will only cause more problems for me.
    I do as much naturally as I can.... herbal teas, MSM rubs, white willow bark- deep breathing, visualizations and muscle relaxations.. regular exercises at home-- as much as I can do.
    I find I can't sit upright without spasms up the left side of my back- not much pain, but funky feeling,
    I keep a detailed journal of my day.. what I do- (hot baths, ice compresses, stretching...) how much I do physically that day, and try to connect the dots to find what works more or less than other techniques. Wow, that was quite a babble!!! hope it makes sense!
    I do find sitting on my lazy boy, feet not at a high level on the chair, and I lean back so that my weight is not compressing my pelvis/hips.
    I also do alot of isometric exercises, while I sit. I move my feet/ankles, stretch calves, and try to make my pelvis move , very slowly, like I am on a very slow swing sideways. It keeps my body from feeling compressed and heavy. Gosh, did that make sense? I am tired!!
    The last thing I have to add.. I really try to find humor in it all. My sense of humor is kinda warped on the best of days... so I have fun. I call my back Bertha.. so when Iam having bad pains.. or just one of those times.. I can say.. Damn you Bertha... and I am not knocking ME. I am angry- the limits that I now live with.
    But, making a really bad rap song to sing away the pains... and creative songs at that! (nobody home to listen.. couldn't put anyone through that!
    I also have a pity party when i need too.. when I feel like the volcano is gonna explode... I let it ALL out. the real ugly cry. I have 1 to 2 minutes maximum... then I put on my 'big girl panties';, and turn on some great uplifting music.. or call my best friend.
    I also want to share... though not part of this thread.. I am Canadian.. have fought for four years for my CPP disability.. and I won my appeal yesterday. I had lots of people tell me I had no chance.... blah blah blah negative people. BUT.. I did it. So.. if anyone else is fighting that frickin' paperwork battle for their rights... Don't ever give up!!!!!
    Thanks for reading... and I really hope and send out positive vibes your way Greenlym.. for pain free days. I know of reading some stories here- that after a few more weeks, maybe a couple months.. that things settle down for them. Keep positive.. and keep the hope alive.. you will be one of the ones that recover!!!
    And goodluck to Michael and Ricky too-----
  • Sally - I am so sorry to read of your troubles. You seem like a very strong person, and no you were not rambling it made perfect sense. The choices can be so hard to make and I have read about people who have multiple surgeries and get worse so who knows sometimes...I hope your body finds its way through this pain and your days get better. Sometimes the body finds a way. I know it happened to me 8 years ago, the sciatica, the nightmare, the pain went away in a flash, an electric jolt in my back that came from nowhere, but it feels like that was a different lifetime.

    My MRI is tomorrow , with contrast. I cannot walk for more than a few steps before the nerve pain hits my right foot and soon the leg is numb and burning pinching in the butt starts. I guess I am hoping they find nothing, and then I need to tell myself that there is hope that the nerves are still badly irritated and that it will go away in time.

    Thanks for your encouraging words. You are stronger than me and I need to toughen up!
  • Ricky29sg said:
    Hey razorback, does it still feel like your back is going to tear open when you get up?
    While bathing my back locked up on me with some pain, had to lie down immediately, has this happened to u?
    Yes I'm at day 15 and the leg pain not as bad but my lower back and where the incision is still hurts like HELL. But it is getting better every day. I'm off work till July 9th so plenty of timt to heal I suppose.
  • Razorbak i definitely feel u, best of luck and a quick recovery.
    Michael I read a lot about fusions and the stories frightened me so I never really considered it. To add to this my brother in law had a fusion done and it's been a nightmare for him. Also, my surgeon didn't recommend a fusion as my spine is ok and he thought a fusion would cause my discs to degenerate.
    All was going well but I'm getting killer back spasms when I walk that nearly drop me, and the pain! Maybe I just need to rest a little more.
  • Greel I feel for u, back in feb when I reaggravated this back of mine for the 4th tIme I could not walk, sit, or do anything. My lower back pAin was in immense pain, my left leg was being daggered by burning knives(it felt like it at least), and my calf was being torn from the inside out. Took me 2 weeks to get around, and this was my 2nd really tough reaggravation. I hope u find some relief soon!
    Sally- you're frEakin awesome, no pills? I think I would die!
  • Thanks Rick i appreciate the comments . I hope you stay on a good track to healing. I hear you on the aggravated back issue but if I read your post I believe you are 7 days post op so your prior back aggravations were pre-op. I am having pain numbness and weakness three weeks after the procedure which is why I am sorta losing my mind. Thanks for the helpful words and once again my best to Sally for better days.
  • hi,
    first of all.. no need to toughen up!! I have up and down days.. sometimes I feel like superwoman.. sometimes an infant.... the rollercoaster!
    I strongly feel our attitudes are sooo much of our recovery! That is why i allow the "pity party", but only a minute or so.. literally. let it all out.. scream, cry, yell, make the bad rap song for the back... then move on to something positive.
    read a funny cartoon book, make an uplifting music cd, save a favorite funny show on tv to watch when the rollercoaster hits the lows.
    It is all how you mange it!
    (and easier said , or typed, than done!!!)
    Today has been a good day... pains there, but I am getting around.
    I truly thank you guys for your support also.. for reading what I call my rambling babbly stuff... my brain tends to wander on me when I try to focus on getting my thoughts out.. so I ramble.:)
    Oh.. I also will share, if I haven't, that I named my back. Bertha the bitch. Oh, so many more nicknames she has! BUt, when I am having a horrid day... I bitch at her. Not me. It makes me feel better about myself... cause I can't control any of this. So.. why beat myself up about it? did that for long enough. I beat Bertha up.
    Try it!
  • Day 11 post op here's my update:
    The incision pain is nearly gone, not bad at all. Still no sciatic pain so it also seems to be gone. Here comes the rough part, back SPASMS!! Oh man these spasms are kicking my butt badly. My surgeon prescribed me cyclobenzaprine, muscle relaxer, and it's helped gradually. I'm up and walking about 2-3 times daily for 10-20 minutes. After my last walk the spasms really start kicking in, sux!!
  • I am 6 days post op and still in a little pain from the incision. I get up to walk daily and try to sit up but can only stay up in 30 min intervals. I was instructed to just basically bed on bed rest for the first 2 weeks. Did that seem to help or make is worse for you? Im hearing conflicting stories. Some tell me not to lay down to walk and others tell me just to lie down and occasionally walk.
  • Keep the postings coming. I am in next week for a similar op.
  • Hi Tina! So sorry it's taken me nearly a month. By now I'm sure u figured out to rest. Your body doesn't lie and you know when u can walk, sit, or have to lay down. How is everything going??
  • Kernowrules, surgery yet??
  • I appreciate learning about the post op realities! I pray for everyone's healing! All I have heard from others is negative from surgeries so it's good to hear some positives. :)

    Blessings to all!
  • Folks....thought I would take the time to post my experience....I have noticed that often times those suffering have the propensity to turn to the Internet for information...I certainly have....unfortunately one can find more negative feedback then favorble or encouraging....I find this forum to be equitable between both

    I had a fusion four years ago that was successful but a tough recovery.....when I herniated my disk in December 2011 I went to see the same doctor that had done the fusion. Surprisingly (NOT)'he recommended a fusion. I sought addl opinions who all stated that a microdiskectomy would cure my pain given stability in my spinal structure and a straight forward herniation of the disk. Beyond this being a breeze comparable to a fusion (beware of any fusion considerations)....the surgery has been a success thus far (had surgery on 8/28). Leg and buttocks pain has subsided substantially....and activity has started to increase

    Recommendations are Ice, Ice, and more Ice....and be patient. Pool and light stretching exercises will start in a week or so

    Keep the faith....and be as active as possible up UNTIL pain...not thru it as this has set me back

    Good luck
  • Hello everyone,

    Just wanted to share my experience because I found it helpful when I was going through my back crisis. About 8 weeks ago, I began feeling sharp lower back pains after carrying playground-grade mats to the backyard from my car. The pain was exaccerbated when I took a swing at a softball game. I visited a chiro who temporarily fixed the pain by realigning my back. A couple days later my lower back "popped" and the my left buttcheek down to my toes began feeling terrible nerve pains and numbness. Two days after the pop, an xray at the orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with Scheuermann's Disease (no hump or easily discernable signs). A lumbar MRI a couple days later indicated that I had an 8 mm herniated disc in the L5/S1 region which the surgeon said I would be a perfect candidate for the Medtronic's microdiscectomy.

    The decision was easy as the pain was intolerable. I went in the following day for outpatient service at 7:30 am and was out by 3:00 pm. The surgery lasted 1.5 hours and I was under general anesthetic. That day, I walked out of my car and into the house. That night was fine as the local anesthesia was still working. The following day, my lower back was in terrible pain frm the surgery and I kept taking my Vicodin. 2 days after, I still felt some pain but noticed improvement so I spaced my Vicodin out more. 2.5 days out of surgery, I switched to Advil as an anti-inflammatory as the pain was tolerable.

    In terms of exercise, one day after surgery, I began walking 2 miles each day as the surgeon had asked. I peaked out at 4 miles per day and about 25 miles per week. I've had check-ups with the surgeon at one week and six weeks and he's said I am progressing well. At six weeks, I was prescribed PT and will start that next week. I feel some soreness in the back area that was worked on, but nothing major. My numbness went away after the 1st week and there is no more shooting pain except an occasional twinge when I brush my teeth. I'm 95% healthy with the remaining 5% likely psychological and the residual scaring on my back.

    I feel like I'm ready to run again. Prior to my injury, I ran 20-30 miles per week, am lean (5'9, 140 lbs), and very top heavy (probably due to scheuermann's disease). I do not want to reaggravate so I'm waiting for the PT to give me the green light (surgeon recommended to stop running and cycling and just swim + yoga) on what I can/can not do.

    I hope this helps. I've never had major surgery and was very reluctant to have back surgery. However, the pain was a 7/10 with no end in sight so surgery wasn't an option. The surgeon also described the operation as easy, and that based on the MRI, the herniation would be sitting there to pluck out. Also, the technique didn't require any muscle damage so I could have gone back to work the next day (not true...took 4 days after surgery). Also, given my athletic history, I would have a 99% probability of the same or better outcome, and a 95% probability that the disc would not rupture again. The biggest factor was that the longer I waited, the less likely I would have a favorable outcome as my sciatic nerve would degrade and eventually die (analogy to a car sitting on a waterhose..eventually, the hose would just clog and stop working).

    In hindsight, I'm glad I made the quick decision and thankful my surgeon answered my many questions. Now on to the PT, who I hope will continue to rehab me back on the right path.

  • Hi everyone,
    I did the Micro-D L5/S1 and would love to hear your update feedback. I am experience mild pain completely tolerable but I am also taking a bunch of medicine. Please let me know because I am terrified to experience pain again.
  • Hi everyone,
    I'll undergo a disctectomie of a herniated disc on L5S1 in a few days. My cousin, who is a doctor, says that physical therapy is usually suggested immediately after surgery to ensure proper recovery. But my surgeon says that I will not begin physical therapy up to the third or fourth week.
    Could you please share your insight on this?
  • Good stories here. I want to comment esp on the post about muscle spasms.

    6 weeks post op L5S1 micro& doing really well. Just recovering from a 2 week setback. So please be careful all, just because you are starting to feel good DOES NOT mean you are healed. But even 6 weeks post, when I relax at night the spasms are crazy, get em all over!! Mostly in legs and back, but also in arms and neck sometimes. Not painful but annoying.

    Started PT 2 weeks post-op. Everyone is different, but it helps me greatly. I expect at least 6 more weeks of it.

    Stay Positive!!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Hi everyone I need help and was wondering if anyone has gone through this. In Feb this year I underwent posterial instrumental fusion l4-s1 due to a stress fracture and slipped disc.
    The road to recovery has been long and extremely painful but I was glad the sciatic pain in my left leg had disappeared. After surgery there was burning sensation on the front of my left thigh but has now gone. I started work on a part-time basis this week and the sciatic pain has come back. I'm petrified something is seriously wrong, my recovery after surgery was horrific and I can't go through that again. My GP suggested I see the neurosurgeon ASAP.
    Please has anyone experienced this, is it normal. Was the pain always there but the drugs i was on masked it. Sometimes the pain in my heel and back of knee is so bad it feels like my leg is going to drop off. As my back pain is continuous I can only say pain started with leg pain.

  • MANDYGAIL1970MMANDYGAIL1970 Posts: 1
    edited 10/07/2013 - 9:34 AM
    I am new to this site but I have read almost everything there is to know about what people are experiencing after the discectomy. First let me say that I am so sorry that anyone has to go through so much pain before and after one. It is the most horrific pain I have ever felt. I had my surgery on Sept 4th so I am about 6 weeks post-op but I want to go back a few years to when I injured my back. After my boating accident in 2010 I have been having sciatic pain from a bulged L4 and L5 disk. I could tolerate the pain at time and sometimes I would be in the bed for days. Two years ago I started physical therapy and was getting back injections. They helped for a while but the pain would always come back. I decided in August of this year that I would just go ahead with the surgery so that I could hopefully function as a normal 43 year old female. I am very active with my kid’s sports and most of the time I felt good to go watch and even work if needed. I could do almost anything except for the few days a month I would be down. Now after surgery I am worse off than I ever was to begin with. I will say that I did not follow instructions like I was told to do and I am kicking my butt every day for it even though I don’t know if it would have helped. I went back to work 4 days after surgery to a sitting job from 8 to 5. I would get up and walk every 30 minutes but I would never lay down till I got home. My son had surgery on his broken leg the same day as mine so therefor I had to help him with his leg which had a 30lb cast from his hip to his toe. Yes again I know I was not to lift anything heavy but I had no choice. Today being 6 weeks I can lay down fine, I can even sit fine but I can’t walk to the mail box without getting a shooting pain down my (other) right side butt cheek and down to my toes. My toes go numb and I almost just fall each time. Before surgery it was left and now it’s my right. I went to see my Dr. Last week and he said that since I didn’t follow directions I could have done more damage to my disk or even some flakes may have come out and are attached to the nerve. I am so depressed now because its football season and my youngest is a senior and I can’t go to the games or even drive him to school with his broken leg. I do go for an MRI with and without contrast tomorrow morning but I am concerned about having to have another surgery. Will it get better, worse or stay the same! If I had known then what I know now I might not have had the first surgery since It was tolerable when it would happen on pain meds. Has anyone here ever had to have a second surgery? I pray that everyone in pain on here gets the relief they need 
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    I'm sorry that you are in this position , but as you found out the hard way, not following the post op restrictions can have devastating consequences. It is entirely possible that you did reherniate the disc or that it herniated on the other side, since the disc needs time to heal properly and scar over . There is no way of telling if you will need another surgery or not, or if things will improve. I'm sure that your surgeon will be able to give you those answers once he has the new MRI to view and see where things stand.
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