I am going on 6 weeks post op from a discectomy at L4-L5. Disc material was removed from both sides(through one incision) due to a central broad based disc bulge that has caused nerve pain in both legs at one time or another for 2 years. My nerve pain(mainly in the right leg) was minimal before I went in for the surgery. But it was still enough to have an effect on my lifestyle. Within a week after surgery I had nerve pain mostly in the right leg return to a point that was worse before surgery. Since then it has died down a little bit but is still a little worse then before surgery. Over the last few weeks it hasn't changed much. It is not a constant pain, but it is definately still there. Now that my surgical pain and swelling is much improved, I can say that so far that I am no better and no worse really from the surgery. At my 3 week post op, my surgeon didn't seemed concerned about the fact that I was having nerve pain at a level worse than before surgery. And I understand that there isn't too much he could say or do at that point since it was still so early. But now 3 weeks later, I am starting to get concerned and discouraged. It seems like my pain has just set back in just like before. Also I start light duty activities starting next week and so I am afraid of my pain level increasing more once I start becoming more active. My next appointment is not for another 3 weeks and I am worried that he is just going to brush it off again.
I know there are people who wake up from surgery with no pain and never have problems again. I also know that there are people whose pain never goes away or gets worse due to a reherniation. I see a lot of people talk about how long it took for them to get back to "normal". Some people talk about being pain free after 3 months, 6 months, or even a year. People use the word "pain" for this but never really specify whether it is pain from the actual surgery, back pain/stiffness, or nerve pain. I know it can take a long time for the nerves to "heal", but I didn't have a great deal of leg pain before surgery so I guess I just thought that I really didn't have any serious nerve damage since my pain wasn't bad and so it would be no problem afterward. I always associated those with continuing nerve pain or nerve pain that took a long time after surgery to go away with nerve damage. And I associated nerve damge to those who had a great deal of truly debilitating nerve pain right before surgery. My last debilitating nerve pain episode was over a year before I had surgery. But maybe I am wrong about all of this. What I do know is that I still don't feel right. So how long before I should really give up on my surgery being a success and start pushing for my surgeon to really reevaluate my case? Thanks