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Day 6 after surgery and pain is much worse

I am starting day six after Left L4/5 MicroDiscectomy, Foraminotomy. The day after surgery I had a little pain in my left leg but not enough to prevent me from walking. The DR said this was normal. By the second day I was worse all over. By day six most of the general pain is diminished. I can roll around on the bed ok and the incision is ok. The problem is with my leg. The pain across my shin and top of foot is so bad I can hardly walk. By the time I walk to the other end of the house and back I can barely stand from the pain. It is much worse now than before surgery. I cannot even sit in a chair for more than a couple minutes. I also now have weakness in that leg that was not there before. According to the DR this was to be a fairly easy operation with a fairly quick recovery. As of right now I am much worse than I was before surgery and am getting extremely concerned. I am probably going to call the surgeon today. I called and spoke with the nurse a couple days ago and she was not overly concerned. His main instruction was to walk as much as possible but frankly I can barely make it to the restroom and back. Am I expecting too much too soon? Thanks


  • Remember when they are in there doing a micro they literally have to move the sciatic nerve out of the way. It will take time for this to calm down. It's normal to have days when the pain is bad and you question the results. Listen to your body, move, yes, rest, yes. Above all remember it takes time.
  • RandystRRandyst Posts: 11
    edited 01/31/2013 - 1:20 PM
    Thanks for the reply. I called Dr office today and he changed my pain meds to tramadol. The Norco was making me sick. He also added neurontin specifically for the nerve pain and wants me to take a five day round of prednisone. I may have made it worse over the last couple of days. Counting drive time I was sitting almost 4 hours Tues. Had to go to the dentist and get a crown because the anesthesiologist broke a tooth during surgery and yesterday found myself back in the car seat again for about four hours because of a family emergency. Hopefully the new meds along with being a little less mobile for a day or so will help. I know I need to walk but so far today I have only been able to make to the kitchen and back a few times and sitting is totally out of the question.
  • Eek you were driving already!!!! Def no, no.. give yourself a little more time.
  • I guess maybe I was expecting too much. I had several folks at work telling me I should get the surgery. They were saying that they had had the surgery and that they had no pain almost immediately. Well I am still hurting more than before. At least I am now able to sit up in bed and with great struggle walking some every hour. The first 2 or 3 times of the day I am lucky to make it to the kitchen and back but after that I am trying to get on the treadmill. The best I can do is 3 min so far this morning. I was able to make two 3 min and two 5 min walks yesterday plus some moving around the house. I had figured that at this point I would be almost pain free and ready to go back to work but I'm not seeing that for a while yet. I know that the fact that I had the nerves pinched for 6 months makes for a slower recovery but I am really concerned by the fact that I am hurting worse and am far less mobile now than before surgery. I mean i worked all day the day before surgery and hurt less at the end of the day than i do now just lying in bed. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to improve things or at least a few words to make me feel better. I am pretty discouraged at this point.
  • RandystRRandyst Posts: 11
    edited 02/16/2013 - 2:31 AM
    It's been 3 weeks now and I am still hurting a little more than I did right before surgery. I have been back at work a little over a week. I felt pretty good until the prednisone wore off which must have been this past Monday. When I had asked my Dr about activity after surgery he basically gave me no limits. He said that I was not going to do anything that would "undo" what he did in surgery and that I could do what ever I wanted "within tolerance". Appearantly I don't tolerate much. The one thing he told me to do was walk. So in spite if the pain I am walking on the treadmill between 1 and 1.5 miles a day in ten minute increments. After the first few minutes it seems to help. The odd thing is that walking at work kills me. I can walk fifty yards there and my leg feels like it is being crushed. Sitting helps some although on days that it is real bad It is hard to get the pain to ease off. On those days it is almost a sore type of nerve pain.

    So at this stage how much where you walking and how far at a time?

    Are there any other exercises that you have found particularly helpful?

    I go for my first follow up Dr visit in a week and I would really like to be showing some progress by then.
  • Randy,

    My doctor told me that after surgery (microscopic lumbar discectomy for my L5-S1) I wasn't supposed to bend/lift/twist or drive for at least 2 weeks. Unfortunately I got some kind of bug right after surgery and coughed hard a few days later which brought pain shooting down my leg. I don't think I re-herniated the disc but the pain is still there sometimes. My doctor said it could take up to a year to completely heal, it depends on each person. Please please listen to your body. If you start to hurt, stop and rest. Also, I was told to go to physical therapy 4-6 weeks after surgery - I read that PT plays a huge role in recovery. I'm only starting to walk outside because of my bug, I was pretty fatigued and had no desire to leave my apartment from Feb 5 to Feb 12. Yesterday was the first time I walked around the block and when I was done my lower back and leg ached a bit but after laying down it subsided. Good luck!
  • RandystRRandyst Posts: 11
    edited 02/20/2013 - 5:51 AM
    Don't know what the deal is with all the blank posts. It won't let me delete them.
  • Just wanted to say that I am feeling lots better this week. Last week was rough but I am not having near as much pain now. I am hoping that I may be over the hump on this thing. Don't get me wrong, by the end of my workday I am limping and hurting pretty much but last week I started the day off like that. So far I have gritted my teeth and have only had to take one pain pill since last Saturday. My wife commented last night that it was the first time in a month that I spent the whole evening sitting in the living room as opposed to going straight to bed when I got home. I hope this trend continues. Friday will be one month out from surgery. It's been long enough that the bills are starting to come in. Now that is REALLY PAINFUL. :-) I go for my first follow up Appt Monday.
  • Sounds like you are getting back on the right track! I really hate to hear that your doc told you no limits and that you cannot undo what he did! Reality is that you can cause damage in there if you push too hard. I am over 5 months post-op now and I still have limits for myself. My activity levels did not increase dramatically until the last 4-6 weeks. Esp considering the amounts of pain you had the first few weeks.

    I did walking only first 2 weeks then moved on to 14 weeks of PT. It seems most dont need that much PT but for me it was necessary. It taught me limits of activity & stretching & good excersices to do. I also had a great therapist who gave me alot of support & understanding of the ups & downs after back surgery.

    The big risk is feeling better and thinking, oh yeah I can do that. Well whatever that is dont do it. Take it slow & easy and gradual into whatever activities you wanna do. Dont rush it! Just like deb says, you gotta listen to your body. Many of the setbacks I had were delayed reactions. It felt ok when I did it but then I was hurting & freaking out for days after! Remember you had back surgery on your spine! However minimally invasive it was it is still spine surgery!!!

    Good Luck, I hope you keep getting better and avoid many of the setbacks I had!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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