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8 months post op swelling

I am going on 8 months post op L4-L5 discectomy. I had normal incision swelling after surgery that eventually went away. I did not come out of the surgery sciatic pain free and have had mild to moderate pain on a daily basis since(waiting for the "18 month nerve healing" period to pass). I had a 3 month post op MRI that didn't show any additional herniation and that the nerves were as free as my surgeon could get them, according to him.

A few weeks ago I noticed that my back around the incision would swell up a little bit from time to time when I would sit too long or have a harder work day. About two weeks ago the swelling became more permanent throughout the day and I noticed that my hip/leg pain became a little more severe and bothersome. I used to be able to feel my spine down the incision area but now I can't feel it due to the inflammation. The swelling has not really gone down at all despite taking ibuprofen on a regular basis and icing the area several times a day. There is no noticeable increase in back stiffness/pain, just more leg pain and occasional foot tingling. The swollen area is just over 2 inches long and starts an inch or so above my incision and ends at the bottom of my incision.

I called my surgeon's office a few days ago to ask about this and the assistant I talked to pretty much said that it is NOT common for anything to be swollen this far out of surgery, but there is nothing they would really do right now for me unless "it really starts affecting my quality of life). I said that I would keep an eye on it, but the whole reason I called was because I did notice a difference and my leg pain has increased.

So has anyone who has had surgery experienced this? Or is this something that is normal? It has been long enough where I am really starting to get worried. If it was a minor tweak or something, I would have expected the swelling to go down by now.

Thank you.


  • JeffwBrokenBackJJeffwBrokenBack Posts: 1
    edited 04/06/2014 - 3:51 PM
    Your back swelling sounds just like mine. My swelling is a bit larger area than yours, over 4 inches. So the pain is hip, leg, foot. and lower back. The pain level has increased from 2 percocet's a day to 80 mg Oxycontin and 4 percocet's a day. This is after a 2 operation total fusion of the lumbar area. My pain level continues to increase monthly. For the past 4 months I have had no relief from the pain. The pain increase seems to be accelerating. I can no longer sit for more than 10 minutes. I only leave my house one day a week to shop for food. If I drive over 30 minutes in traffic, I have to pull over and walk for a while until the pain subsides. I can only sleep on my stomach because the pain is so bad in any other position. Using the Oxycontin I no longer can self medicate with alcohol. I had restricted this boost to super bad pain days. Now I simply go to bed.

    My neurosurgeon just says I have 2 big procedures and recommends time to heal. My pain doctor says to talk to the neurosurgeon. My quality of life is pretty non existent. I am now spending 15 hours a day in bed and the swelling no longer goes down. I use both ice and heat neither helps at all.

    I need help because I'm giving up hope. I need someone who knows what is going on.

    Thank you.
    Jeff in Miami Still In Pain!
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