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Burning feeling after surgery

Hi, I had a microdiscectomy removing about 1cc of material from my L5 ruptured disc, a few days ago. All the sciatic pain has gone, like a miracle (I'd ruptured my disc two weeks earlier, while on top of a mountain, not the best experience), but now I have this horrible sensation, like a sock of pain, around my right foot and front lower shin, it feels like my skin is some weeks into recovering from a third degree burn.

Is this usual? Is it temporary or permanent damage to my nerve? Dr. says "don't worry about it", hard not to in fact as it is a constant sensation now in my life, hoping it wears off. any similar experiences would be welcome. I've looked through other "burning sensation" posts and haven't found one exactly relevant, so starting this one.



  • Andrew,

    While you might not find a post just like yours, one thing you do have in common, is that many find after surgery the nerves are a little more active, than prior to surgery. During surgery is not uncommon with what they do, that they stir the nerves up a bit. Hopefully you are maintaining a good walking program? If you don't have one look on the net there are several including my favorite 10,000 steps. I also want to add, that don't be afraid to call the surgeon, the care is just as important in the surgery aspect as the post-op care. It might be they need to do a emg to see where it is coming from. However my guess is your surgeon will wait about 6 weeks to see if calms down, as does many times. Keep track of the pain issues in a journal so you have it one for reference but also to show the surgeon. One thing is important, were you better immediately following surgery and then got worse or was it something you woke up with? It kind of gives them a idea of what is going on. Also keep track of what makes it better and what makes it worse. In some cases the nerves act a little different once the compression is removed from the nerve. Hopefully this is the case for you. It sounds as if you are a physically active person, if you were climbing a mountain? Being active is very important to maintain core body strength, however you need to follow the instructions to the "T", for now. Maybe try resting and see what happens.

    I know from my experience the pain you are describing sounds just like the nerve pain I feel. Hopefully this is only a temporary setback and it will calm down. If it don't please stay on your surgeon. Keep us posted on how you get a long.
  • MballardMMballard Posts: 101
    edited 09/28/2012 - 1:26 PM
    I had burning in my thighs, on the front, wrapping around to the sides. It was numb yet painful at the same time. My Neuro said it was positional nerve damage from laying face down on the operating table for about 6 hours. They try to pad you and reposition your legs during surgery, but sometimes it happens. He told me it should go away, but I was really freaked out and skeptical. But he was right - it did start to fade gradually. Now at 11 weeks post op, my left thigh is totally fine and the pain/numbness in my right thigh is virtually gone.

    I'm betting you are experiencing the same thing, but if it doesn't start to get better or you are really concerned, give your doctor a call.
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
  • As many posts have said, nerves are 'agitated' by the surgery. This results in pain as the nerve/s regenerate and heal. Horrible feeling. The tingling, burning, aching, numbness. However, as the nerve regenerates, the pain reduces.

    I am lucky that I could tolerate Lyrica. It took most of it away. But had to go to 600mg/day (a lot). It was much better than analgesics.

    Discuss the pain with your local Dr, specialist etc. Medication can reduce it.
  • Hi, Thanks for all the helpful comments. I feel sorta dumb, as I now see many posts discussing similar pain, and the consensus is that the pain is USUALLY short term. Fortunately I do not think that my pain is associated with scar tissue,as it was there immediately after waking up fromsurgery, before scar tissues had any chance of having formed I guess, so hopefully my poor abraded nerves will settle down in time. Not yet though. I too can tolerate Lyrica, but have been shy of taking too much, I will take more, as I am writing this post at 2 am, unable to sleep from the pain.

    Tamtam.On top of a moutnain, but actually working in a giant telescope ( see www.lbto.org) not actually mountain climbing! (but telescope climbing on things this big can be just as exciting).

    My German surgeon has given me the following post-op advice, in about as many words...

    1) Can ride a bike after week 2, even jog lightly.
    2) Can play tennis at full intensity after week 6. Disk effectively fully healed at this stage.
    3) Don't bother with physical therapy, waste of time.
    4) Don't need to excercise to develop core muscles, if you're playing as much tennis as you say and riding a bike, you've already got enolugh.

    This seems somewhat contrary to advice I've been seeing other people have been getting. Maybe I should see another orthapedic doctor for a second opinion.

    Any opinions from group members? (To recap, ruptured L5 disc, quite severe, unusually large amount of material pushing on nerve for 3 weeks before surgery, now nerve pain as described at top, no sign of getting less, and gets worse when I do dumb things like go to the last day of Oktoberfest here in Munich).

  • Dude, no matter how much pain I was feeling, I would totally suck it up, medicate, and go to OKTOBERFEST IN MUNICH! How friggin' awesome was that?!? Man, I could drink some beer. Guess its the German blood running through my veins (maiden name was Schlicher - quite German).

    As far as lyrica, I have heard a lot of people talk about the side effects. I don't think I've had any, but then again, there's so much going on that sometimes its hard to tell what's a symptom and what's a side effect, you know? What problems do people have with Lyrica that they can't tolerate it?
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
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