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Post Op Micro disectomy pain

I have been reading a lot on this forum as well as others and thought it was time to post about my story to get some input from other members.

I had a micro disectomy in June of 2012, 10 months ago from this post. It was a large herniation at my L5/S1 disc. I waited 6 weeks before having the surgery. Immediately after the surgery I had relief from my leg pain. I lost use of my calf muscle and the outside of my leg was numb for a while. I have since gained some use of my calf muscle back and am hoping to gain more back in the next few months.

I still have severe pain in my back where the herniated disc was. I think I may have re-herniated it slightly because a few months ago I was having leg pain again. The leg pain has subsided a little now but the back pain is severe. Any time I stand up from sitting, or bend over it really hurts. Even if I just brace myself I get a sharp stabbing pain in my back. Sometimes just walking hurts also. My doctor is telling me a little pain is normal and it will go away. I am frustrated and need a better answer than that.

Has anyone else experienced severe pain 10 months out from a surgery like this? Did the pain ever go away? Do I have any options here?



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 03/27/2013 - 8:19 AM
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Sorry, but I'm only about two months into my recovery from my L5S1 micro discectomy but my doctor did tell me it could take up a year to get back to 100%. Have you had severe back pain since surgery or has it suddenly appeared recently? If it was me I would find another orthopedist who specializes in back issues and get a second opinion if my original surgeon was blowing me off. Depending on how long the back pain has been going on, possibly an MRI to determine if you've re-herniated the disc. Good luck!!
  • i also had a discectomy in june 2012 and my pain came back full force in oct. it has gotten worse ever since. my disc is bluging again and i am having a fusion on april 15.

    i dont think the pain you are experiencing is normal. at 10 months you should be doing a lot better (at least i would think).

    can you talk to your doctor and insist on an mri?

    i hope your pain improves. please let us know how things turn out.

    june 2012-microD, l4/l5
    april 2013-fusion, l4/l5
  • That much pain 10 months out does not sound normal to me either. An MRI or some other testing sounds appropriate.

    Debji: how are you doing after 2 months? I am also two months post L5S1 microdiscectomy and, although I continue to improve, I am worried that the pain in my leg and foot has not gone away since the surgery. I am doing much much better than before the surgery, but I still can't sit comfortably for more than 15 minutes. I suppose that is progress, since a few weeks ago I was limited to 10 minutes, but it is worrisome... And I go back to work part time as of next week.
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1; Jan. 28, 2013
  • I'm doing pretty good according to my doctor. I saw him on Friday and told him my back gets achy pretty easily, my energy isn't back at 100% and I still have some intermittent leg pain. He said that's all par for the course for the time frame I'm in. Apparently some people are back to playing basketball while others are still in a lot of pain after about two months. I had bad sciatica for about 5-6 months before I had my surgery, how long was it before you had surgery? Maybe you still have nerve pain because it was a lot longer? It takes a while for the nerve to calm down, that much I know. I'm back at work full time but I still have to lay down during lunch to give my back a rest. Part time is a great idea, I did that for the first two weeks and let me tell you, I was exhausted by the time I worked for four hours/day that first week!
  • You are right: "some people are back to playing basketball while others are still in a lot of pain after about two months." So I guess you and I are somewhere in the middle. I have had sciatica on and off for 25 years as a result of bulging discs. There were times when it would keep me from being active, and other times where I could play Bball or tennis. I had good years and bad months. That was the pattern. But the 6 months before surgery were bad, and since it herniated in November (2.5 months before surgery) it was excruciating. So you are right again: it can take time for the nerve to settle down. It is hard to be patient, and remain positive, but we have little choice. It is encouraging for me to hear that you are back at work full time.
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1; Jan. 28, 2013
  • I am now a few days shy of 7 months since my micro, and def still consider myself in the recovery phase. Right around 2 months I did start to spend some time on the court, but it was very light shooting and moving around to catch the ball. It took at least another 2 months until I was "playing" basketball. It is still not all out by any means, and I do still have to stretch and ice after pretty much any activity.

    Also, after about 3 weeks of feeling pretty damn close to normal I worked more last week than I had since surgery. I had a new guy to train here at work along with alot of deadlines for the week. I ended up putting in like 44 hours of work with almost all of that spent on my feet. By saturday I had developed some pretty good swelling and some decent nerve pain. It has lasted all weekend into today still also. On sunday it was so nice outside I had to get out and throw the football around with the fam on easter. Again, lightly but I do believe the activity is important even if I might have avoided it with the pain I had already been in.

    I had also been dealing with the sciatica for 2 years before surgery, so hopefully some of you have it a bit easier than me.

    Westcyd, if your pain is severe after all this time and not subsiding you should def push for an appointment if not testing to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.

    Good Luck all, talk to ya soon

    The pain I have been in though is mild. I have not had any severe pain since shortly after surgery. But the pain I have now may have had me questioning reherniation 2-3 months ago. But this has happened before at least a dozen times by now. My pain may be gone today. It may dwell for a week or more. And although still having these flare-ups 7 mo post-op can be frustraing I have learned to deal with them. I may need to take some meds this week. I will def need to do my stretches daily. And I will be doing my best to take it easy today.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • that one got mixed up a bit, but you guys get it
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • My Dr. told me that the discetomies he did for me should make my leg pain better, but that it could make my back pain worse. Apparently because they remove some of the vertabrae for the operation, it makes the joint less stable, leading to back pain. I have had three levels done now and my back does hurt every day. I am 6 weeks out from a double discetomy, and it seems to be getting a little better every week. I would think 10 months is a long enough time that they should re image you to see what is going on.
  • Ben: Thanks for sharing. It is helpful to hear that you still view yourself as recovering 7 months out. Perspective!

    UsedToGolf: It is amazing how much variability in results there are. My Dr. said something similar about helping the leg, but not the back pain. In my first two months, though, my back has been dramatically better, but not my leg. Go figure!
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1; Jan. 28, 2013
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