Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

microdiscectomy recovery?

geewillyggeewilly Posts: 10
Hi All,

I have been suffering from sciatica in my left leg for nearly 9 months. It started slowly, but eventually spread from my buttocks to my foot, and at times the stiffness/pain/numbness can be quite debilitating, as I'm sure many of you know. I occasionally have pain in my lower back as well, but not always. I tried physiotherapy to no avail, and was finally sent for an MRI, which showed a sizeable herniation at L5/S1. My physiatrist recommended steroid injections and referred me for a neurosurgical consult as well. After one injection my foot pain and numbness is mostly gone, but much of the lower back/buttock/thigh pain remains. It can be pretty bad when I sit or walk, even on meds. I have since seen the neurosurgeon, who says I am an ideal candidate for a microdiscectomy surgery. I'm unsure if I should try a second round of injections, or just go for the surgery. I should add that I am an otherwise healthy, active 30 yr old woman. My family is pushing me to get the surgery, as it will 'fix' the herniation and not just block the nerve, however I'm only finding negative experiences with the surgery online. Can anyone report a positive experience with the microdiscectomy surgery?



  • Hello, very similar situation here. About to have microdiscectomt sept 6th. Chiro, injections, same deal. Even though it didnt work for me, I think the injections are worth trying. It also seems that many doctors & insurances want to see you go through the " series" of shots before approving surgery.

    There are alot of positive results, you are just usually gonna see more of the bad on a support forum. Check out my other posts for more info, there are alot of others out there too.

    This is a great forum!

    Good Luck with whatever you decide & keep us posted.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Thank you so much for your response, I will certainly try to backtrack and find your previous posts.
    Best of luck with your surgery next week!
  • new2sciaticpainnnew2sciaticpain Posts: 28
    edited 09/01/2012 - 7:05 AM
    Same situation here and having microdiscectomy on 9/10. Steroids did nothing for me.
  • I've started the process of scheduling my surgery. My paperwork has been submitted, but I don't have a surgery date yet. I'm going through with a second set of injections next week while I wait for a date. Luckily my insurance seems to be a little flexible on things. If I'm lucky and this set of injections takes I can postpone the surgery plans. At the least I'm hoping the injection will provide some additional relief while I wait. I've also finally asked my doctor about stronger pain medication, and got a new prescription today. I've been on tramadol, gabapetin, baclofen, and over the counter naproxen, and while they are sufficient when I'm inactive they just don't cut it when I'm at work and have to sit up and walk around. So it looks like I'm adding hydrcodone to the mix instead of the tramadol. Fingers crossed it helps with pain management and doesn't make me too foggy to work. I really can't wait to get off all of these medications.

    Good luck with your upcoming surgery new2sciaticpain, and good luck tomorrow ben!
  • you are on the right track geewilly. Thanks & good luck to you too, Ill be updating ASAP
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • mollykmmollyk Posts: 13
    edited 09/05/2012 - 8:56 PM
    I was in the same exact situation. I'm an otherwise healthy and active 25 year old, L5/S1 herniation 12mm, tons of pain in glute/leg, numbness, etc. The only difference is that my symptoms only came on to this extent in May so I haven't dealt with the pain as long as you have; I'm sorry it's been so long! I got the injection in mid-June and it did relieve some of the pain but you're right, with a sizable herniation the injection seems to be more of a placeholder and does not "fix" the herniation. Some people have positive experiences with it - my mom (granted this was 25 years ago) found that after her injections her sciatica was almost entirely eradicated.

    For me, the injection was a placeholder. I took the Bar exam in late July and I think it did help me sit there for 6 hours a day for three days and get through it, but the symptoms came back around 4 weeks later like clockwork. I also did PT for several weeks and while I felt good during and immediately after the sessions, the symptoms would come right back and I never regained any of the strength in my right calf/foot while trying these conservative treatments. I was also on Naproxen that entire time and went through a Medrol pack.

    I got my Microdiscectomy on Friday, 8/24 so I'm less than two weeks out. However, I'll tell you that I too was really nervous about the procedure based largely on what I read here and just the general stories of friends-of-friends that will say that they (or someone they know) were in pain for weeks after and it was a total disaster. I don't doubt that everyone is different and some folks have a really hard time with the surgery but I encourage you to take these stories with a grain of salt. For about 3 days after the surgery I was taking Tramadol. I felt sore and still but was taking several short walks, sitting through meals with my family, and had no problems sleeping. I was diligent about not sitting for too long and continue to ice my lower back several times a day. Over this past Labor Day weekend I was able to go to several gatherings and parties and just made sure to listen to my body, take breaks, and ask for help when I needed it. Of course I've been taking it very easy since the surgery (watched a lot of TV online, walks, friends come over to visit, reading) and when I push myself too much, I feel it and I sometimes have to stop what I'm doing and lay down for a little bit. I was driving 6 days after the surgery and haven't had a problem with that.

    Mostly, I feel great and I had immediate relief from the sciatica. I've had the occasional twitching in my foot and slight numbness but I'd say the sciatica (thus far - knock on wood!) is 90% gone. My neurosurgeon found that the part of my disc that was compressing the nerve was hard when he went in there and that there was also some cartilage that was pressing on the nerve, which explains why the conservative measures didn't "fix" the herniation.

    I'm sorry to take up so much space on your post but I want to add some positive stories to this message board. I'm so glad I went through with the surgery. Even now, when I'm very restricted physically and not even two weeks post-op, I feel so much better than I did for the last three months. I encourage you to go for it, especially if your family is on board which means that they will be around to help you out in the weeks following your surgery. I assume you feel comfortable with your neurosurgeon? That was the most important part for me and made me confident with my choice to go through with the surgery.

    Good luck and let us know how everything goes!
  • Hi mollyk,

    Thank you so much for your note. It is very encouraging to hear someone with circumstances very similar to mine has had success so far with surgery. :) I hope your recovery continues to be speedy. Keep me posted on your progress!
  • Hi geewilly,

    You may remember my story as one of the negative ones you read about as I'm dealing with a possible disc reherniation since my surgery 3 months ago. On the brighter side of things, I did experience relief after surgery aside from some leg numbness that I was told is due to the manipulation of the nerve sack. The fact that I may have reherniated my disc is likely my fault for pushing myself too much to get get back to a normal life and also would put me in the 10% of people that this happens to. I personally know two people that have been through this surgery for L5/S1 disc herniations. One of them had it about 5 years ago and said he was back to work within a month of surgery. He is back to playing sports and no longer experiences any back issues. The other person tells me their sciatic pain is completely gone other than some leg numbness. He still experiences lower back pain that has never completely gone away. Hipefully yours goes like my friend's.

    Good luck
  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 09/07/2012 - 8:35 AM
    And I cannot believe how good I feel! I was home by 730 last night, I had a pretty good sleep, eating well! Back is very sore for sure but NO sciatic pain! My big concern right now is not getting so excited that a setback will depress me. I am taking a short stroll around the house every hour, even took a real short walk outside. I have an awesome backbrace with an icepack in it that is helping greatly. I am gonna start a new thread later tonight or tomm detailing my exp so far. Mollyk is one of the few positive stories on here and I wanna put mine out there as well! Thanks for all the support & good luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Oh that's so wonderful! Keep thinking positive thoughts, and don't push yourself too hard!

    I'm have a really rough week, despite the new pain medication. Really hoping I get a surgery date soon.
  • @Ben - I'm so glad to hear you're feeling good! Hooray for positive stories and positive thoughts! Everyday is different so try not to get too wrapped up in the emotions of it all. Listen to your body - I think for all of us pushing harder is a sign of strength or success but it really can do more damage and good in this situation. Keep us updated.

    @Geewilly - Hang in there! I hope you find some relief asap.
  • geewillyggeewilly Posts: 10
    edited 09/19/2012 - 10:01 AM
    I finally have a surgery date! I go for a microdiscectomy on Oct. 2. Leg pain, I will not miss you.
  • Hope all goes well! I have a pretty detailed thread going about my recovery if you want some more info!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Hello....I'm so glad to read these positive posts. I'm waiting to see my doctor and I'm certain this time around he will recommend the microdiscectomy. I am in Indiana; I noticed one of you is also. My question is....are all of you in this thread so young? I'm 59...and I'm concerned since this not my first bout with sciatica. I have the same herniation, at L5-S1, and injections have worked for me previously....and did for 5 years. However, in Dec-Jan. I had a flare-up and it took 3 injections and PT, and here it is Sept. and normal everyday mishaps, and likely my work schedule and job itself that doesn't help, have brought me back here.

    I'm concerned that other normal aging deteriorations of the spine, as I have read, such as other buldges, or osteoarthritis, or mild stenosis, can make the outcome not so positive.

    Any of you near my age? Or do you know anyone or threads on this board where folks are older and have had good outcomes? I agree with the sentiments stated here....that hearing positive stories helps so much. I hope you are all doing well.

  • So far yes, my surgeon has told me that my age is a big help for successful surgery. But I wouldnt let that get you down too much. Alot of us 20 & 30 somethings on here are really learning about finding good doctors you trust and such. I would assume that you have been through the same things sometime, and the same goes here. If you think you are ready for a surgical opinion then all you can do is find out. Even at 32 i had(have) stenosis and other mild bulges. It really seems that this degen. disk disease dosent really care how old you are. There are alot of threads about this so im sure there are good stories not just from younger ppl. But there are more bad than good just because more ppl in bad shape (backwise) have more need for the support.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Thanks Ben...I appreciate your response. I agree...about the age. I started having lower back pain in my 20's, but on and off....and here I am today. Take care of yourself.

  • I've read so many negative stories online that I thought I would go ahead and post mine. I'm 24 years old and I have two herniated discs, L4-L5 and L5 S1, and had a microD on the the L5-S1 on 7/16/2012. Before the surgery I had been in pain for about a year and had 2 cortizone shots and been on a bunch of different medication.

    Right after my surgery I felt great. I walked around and only pain was from soreness of the muscles the surgeon moved. At the end of the second week though I had a huge flare up and actually heard something pop in my back. I thought it was for sure a reherniation. I saw my doc and he said relax and start PT.

    I started going to PT and the pain only got worse as I did the stretching. By five weeks I was for sure I had to do a revision surgery. Little by little I started feeling better. One reason was I got better was I got back on my Anti-Inflammatories. Also I took my PT a lot more seriously. If you are recovering from MicroD ask your PT therapist about the Watkins Protocal. It kicks the crap out of you but it works. Also I started swimming as well. I figured out the more I excercised the better I felt.

    I will say the recovery has not been as easy as I thought it was gonna be but I feel 10 times better than I did before. Over time I think I will feel even better. I think the key is keep doing your excercises and build the crap out of your core. Staying positive will also help. Slowly I will wein off the anti-inflammatories and hopefully stay off them for good.
Sign In or Register to comment.