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Post-discectomy pain

I had a L4L5 discectomy/laminectomy done on March 20th. I would like to hear if anyone has an "I was in pain for a few weeks but did eventually feel better" stories. I had been feeling semi-ok, but these past two days have been almost as bad as before! I just want to believe that this is all part of the healing process and that it's too soon (3-1/2 weeks) to say whether my surgery was a success or not. The painful "pulled muscle" sensation that I had before is mostly gone, but it's been replaced with straight-up pain. Most of the weakness had been gone but my legs are feeling a little weak again. I know everyone heals differently, but I would like to hear if anyone has had a similar experience. Thanks!



  • Jenni,

    I had the same problems. When surgery sites are healing there can be swelling, scar tissue, and nerves healing, which can cause major pain weeks and months after the surgery.

    I think it was 3 months after my first fusion and I coughed wrong. This caused a new pain, convincing me I had new problems that tuned out to be nothing.

    We go through "Peaks and valleys", and have forward moving, and backward moving events sometimes, so try not to worry. Try icing it every day, and it should get better again. I'm not a doctor and I am speaking from my own personal experiences.

    Take care, and be well. Eric-
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • Thanks! I really need to hear "all hope is not lost" stories:)
  • After my L5-S1 procedure, I was in a ton of pain. A ton. For about 4 weeks I was bedridden and pretty much unable to move. I had to slide and slink out of bed to crawl on my hands and knees to the restroom. Other than that, I didn't / couldn't do much else.

    I was 100% sure the surgery was a failure. I was 100% sure I had reherniated. I was 100% sure I was doomed to more surgery and drastic measures.

    Well, I called in to my surgeons and they had me come in. As it turns out, it was only inflammation, edema, and swelling. They gave me an ESI right into where they did the work and within a week, I was pain-free, up and around, happy, and doing good.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Thanks for sharing! It gives me hope!
  • Jenni2876JJenni2876 Posts: 27
    edited 04/18/2013 - 4:34 PM
    Both of your comments got me thinking about the role swelling could play in my pain. I started icing the hell out of my back and I have noticed a decrease in pain! Still a long way to go but it's nice to see some progress! Thanks for your suggestions!!!
  • BpainFree39BBpainFree39 Posts: 127
    edited 04/19/2013 - 4:45 AM

    Yes swelling can cause all sorts of issues like sciatica, tingling, nerve pain, radiating pain, etc, etc

    Just try not to put the ice directly on your skin. Keep a barrier so your skin does not get burned from the long term icing.

    I ice my back for 5-6 hours a day to keep the swelling down. It is possible to over do it, so keep that in mind if your feel a burning, or pain on your skin you might need to stop it.

    Good luck, Eric-
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
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