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

1 week post op an pain is still persistent!! L5 S1 decompression

GirlSoBadGGirlSoBad Posts: 24
Hi everyone I just want to begin by saying I'm so happy to have found this forum. You google things and your mind starts to wonder. You also come across very old posts and never hear the end or outcome of everyone's stories!

Anyhow, I am a 32 year old female, and have had a history of what I thought was hip pain on and off for about 3 years. Finally after having an 8 week episode I decided to change careers. I got a desk job and in early October, 2012 i started having the more apparent pains of sciatica ... Back of thigh, then buttock, heel.

I was diagnosed early enough and was referred to a neurosurgeon and was told it would take 8-12 months before I could get a consultation. Fortunately I was able to see an orthopaedic surgeon this past feb of 2013. The pain was very apparent from the get go, and I was one of those less fortunates who wasn't responding to medications and because of that I wasn't able to commit to anything. Not even dr appointments! I spent most of my days laying in bed as butt spasms took a toal on me.

Anyhow I took a painful 1 hr trip to meet Dr F. On feb 22th. He assessed me and told me that the only option I had at this point was to remove the 18mm herniation as he clearly seen I couldn't function.
I was scheduled for surgery March 21st.

I am 1 week post op. very discouraged ...I woke up after surgery with sciatica pain. More so in buttock area. My surgeon assured me the surgery was a success and didn't believe I still had pain. He told me I could return to normal activities ASAP. No restrictions! I would like to know if I should be doing stretches? There's still too much snow so I can't go out for walks. The pain is so bad I can't sit, when I do the pain in my inner heel comes back. I heard about phantom pain but I never got any relief so I'm wondering if its nerve damage?
What does nerve damage feel like because I have no numbness and never have?
Have any of you's experienced newer or worsening symptoms post op?
Is phantom pain something you feel right after surgery or is it pain that returns?


  • Hello GirlSoBad
    Your body has been through a lot. It takes time to heal. The fear and anxiety that accompany surgery as well as your type of pain can often make the pain worse. Lower back and leg pain are very complicated conditions. Removing a large herniation will have helped remove the nerve root compression but may not help the back or buttocks pain. It is very likely the pain you are experiencing now if due to a combination of some weak muscles and other tight muscles and ligaments. Often when we are in pain we significantly decrease activity. This cause our body's to become deconditioined. Has your doctor referred you for physical medicine? A physical therapist or a chiropractor who addresses soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) should be able to help you get some relief.

    The pain you call sciatica may be a tight piriformis muscle. If so light stretching and applying an ice pack (15-20 minutes 2-3 times per day) should help. Good luck.
  • Thanks for your reply Ilyne. I see my surgeon on April 19th. I'm assuming he is going to want me to start physio ,I would hope so anyways. The day after surgery my surgeon came to discharge me. He said I could return to normal activities despite the fact I still had the buttock pain. I was quite suprised, when he said he didn't believe I had buttock pain still as he told me spouse I had a successful surgery. He actually wanted me to bend down and touch my toes that very morning. He gave me no restrictions no stretches to do either.
  • Hello,
    Start physio slowly but as soon as you can,I had many symptoms in the first weeks I hope your buttock pain goes as you will be swollen initially causing possible pressure on nerves this may go away in time.

    Thought I would mention how I'm getting on after approx 1 year 4 months post L5-SI decompression and fusion for spondylolisthesis,some good news some not so good,the best part was a relief from terrible cramps from upper leg down to toes curling up,I still get some spasms but I can tolerate this just,as for the down side my foot has not improved one bit other than crams being reduced, my leg and foot feel stone cold with twitches around the ankle I had foot drop before surgery but this remains,I am told I have scare tissue around the nerves after being squashed they said this cannot be operated on so I will have to live with it.As for my surgery area I have a persistent lower back pain,would I go through surgery again,YES as the worst thing for me was the nerve damage causing sever cramps.I was hoping my foot/ankle would improve sadly this did not happen.
    All the best Des
  • Sorry to hear dez, there's always some good and some bad. I'm worried because i woke up post op with the pain. That's why I'm concerned.
  • BotzBotz Central FloridaPosts: 223
    I had that surgery in1999.When I woke from surgery I had the same pain as you and couldnt move my legs. I must have rolled during the night and reherniated. Right back into mri and surgery. Wokr ip in tremendous pain. They sent me home 3 days later. No bending lifting or twisting. Your doc never should have made you touch your toes. What the hell is that about?
    I was told ice and walking as much as possible. 6 weeks later I went back to work part time walked seversl times a day. I recovered completely.in 04 my disk had completely disintergrated and I had a fusion. I wasnt right after that. I put up with the pain many injections and all the different meds.I had decompression surgery on the 20 th of March. Doing well
    Hppefully your pain will subside soon.

    Take care Art
  • my spouse has a dr appointment tomorrow, im gona sneak in with him and talk to my family dr about this. Ive already seen him but he didnt sound too concerned. he knows when it comes to my health I dont take anything lightly so perhaps hes just telling me things he thinks I want to hear for the moment seeing that I was only a few days post op. My heal pain has returned as well.
  • To add onto the info i gave you in DM more specific to this post.

    There is no reason you cannot call your surgeons office and get a call back from the nurse. Its a good way to alleviate some fears and talk to someone who knows about your surgery. But from my expirience & what Ive read from many others on these forums, Between the previous compression and the fact that they physically move your nerve during surgery it is likely normal that you still have alot of nerve pain. They dont like to be fiddled with!

    As for the no restrictions, I was given no restrictions 4 weeks post-op. Yeah Right! Thats why it is very important to get with a physical therapist somewhere betwwen 2-6 weeks post op. They take over where the surgeon leaves off, teaching you to rebulid your muscles & understand whats OK and whats not. If you doc does not refer you to one you should seek one out yourself. For now though just take short walks, just around the house if you cannot get outside, until you see a PT.

    Also, we can hear the fear,anger, sadness in your post. Its OK & totally normal to have these feelings esp while in pain. You are very,very early in your recovery. Take it slow, take it easy, talk with your docs & eventually your PT and soon you will have some type of roadmap to your recovery!

    This nerve pain is a very tricky kind of deal. The internal swelling can last a long time! Its gonna be a long recovery even if everything goes well. Now that does not mean you cannot start doing "normal" things soon, but they have to be slowly added into your daily routine. And even though the doc said no restrictions, I would avoid the dreaded BLT bending lifting twisting, as long as possible.

    Hope you start feeling better soon!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Do you have any pain medication? I didnt see anything about those in your post. I was on vicodin & valium first week after surgery. Obv you dont wanna rely on them too much but they seem common right after surgery
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • GirlSoBadGGirlSoBad Posts: 24
    edited 04/02/2013 - 12:57 PM
    Hi Ben, I was on flexeril 5mgs 3x day and was on tramacet and toradol evey 4 hrs before surgery. Post op I was given hydromophone slow release and fast relief. My surgery was in Toronto and I had to fly back home. I was devastated seeing that the pain was still there post op. I needed something stronger so I could get home. I weened off of that and sure enough the rest of the sciatica returned. Now I'm back on flexeril 3x day and toradol 3x a day. I use statex when I need to get out of the house. The pain is worst than before surgery. Everyone thinks I'm doing better but in reality I'm not .. Morphine masks the pain.
  • Believe it or not prior to surgery I slept like a baby. Now I'm lucky if I get 4 hrs of sleep. I'm 11 days in and wish I could get some signs of relief, even if it came and went for a few days. Just something to give me hope. I seen my dr today I told him the sciatica is back with a vengeance. He removed the sticky that covered my stitches and told me to come see him after I meet with dr F for my follow up on the 19th.
Sign In or Register to comment.