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

L5-S1 microd. recovery and continued lower back pai

I am currently 5 1/2 weeks post far left lateral microdiscectomy at L5-S1 and while my leg pain is much better, my lower back/hip pain/stiffness is much worse.

To be more specific: Prior to surgery the worst problem I had was severe lateral calf pain and that is now essentially gone. I also had a variety of foot pains/tinglings/numbness and that is still present but to a much lessor degree. Prior to surgery I had minimal achiness in my left lower back and hip area which decreased as the day wore on. Now when I wake up in the morning I am so sore/stiff in my lower back and hip that I can barely get out of bed and hardly move around for about an hour. This is far worse than I had presurgery. If my home were on fire in the middle of the night, I doubt I could get out in time!

What I was wondering is whether this is just part of the healing process or if I'm stuck with one problem instead of another (although I will admit this is not as bad as the original radicular pain I was having)? Have others had similar issues and if so what happened? Is this related to muscle trauma? To scar tissue? I'm hoping to get better and return to my previous very active life (running, exercising, etc.). I would welcome any thoughts or advice. Thanks.


  • It could be from all of the listed concerns...........scar tissue, muscle trauma, and just post op increased pain and muscle spasms, or a combination of all of those things. Usually there is an increase in back pain after surgery, while the muscles and nerves recover and it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months before your body adjusts to the back surgery. Walking will help to decrease the muscle tension and pain, and if it does not ease some over the coming weeks I would contact your surgeon and talk to him about it.
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 08/24/2013 - 6:54 AM
    I'm your mirror....I had a far right L5S1 with the whole leg/foot thing you describe on the right. had my surgery 6 weeks ago. Like you, my leg pain is virtually gone and back to normal. I am also now having back and tailbone pain, but mine is in the late afternoon/evening. I wouldn't call mine stiff....just very achey to the point I can no longer sit and I have to lay down. I dont have trouble getting up and moving.....just sitting. I take a hydrocodone and it settles down eventually.

    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • Well, since I posted I now have had a little leg pain returning; I just hope it's not a recurrence. It may be that I (at my MD's advice) cut back my gabapentin from 300 mg 3x/day to 2x/day it started. I've gone back to 3x/day and hope that's it. Also my back stiffness seems to get worse when I lie down. All I know is this whole process has been a lot more difficult than I thought (or was led to believe) it was. I had my followup visit with the surgeon on 8/28 and all he could tell me was that because it was a "far lateral procedure" it takes a lot of time. About the lump I still have on my back he said "somewhat unusual but just rub it and eventually it will go away". When I asked what eventually meant he said he had no idea. I did do a lot of walking this week and maybe that wasn't a good idea...I just don't know and the doc gave me no guidance...he said I could do whatever I want now but that I should always avoid severe back twisting exercises.
  • Hi im new to the site. I had L5/S1 microdisectomy just over 4 weeks ago. After an emergency MRI, surgery was done 2 days later. Like you the worst of the leg pain was relieved almost immediatel. Now 4 weeks on I am in agony with lower back pain and the leg pain is starting to return. My biggest issue is that I am 11 weeks pregnant and time is of the essence. I have been back for a repeat MRI and surgically everything is sound. My surgeon has told me that the pain is now from the surgery and fluid build up and muscle spasm and is quite normal. Whilst I realise that there is s lengthy healing process, I feel a bit abandoned. I am taking TRAMADOL which to be honest just takes the edge off the pain but otherwise makes me feel awful. I struggle to get up in the mornings, I can only walk a few metres before everything seizes up and I have to sit/lay down. My physio therapist says its too early for him to do anything and that im stuck between a rock and a hard place and my GP thinks I should be considering returning to work!!! I feel im getting depressed about the whole situation and really dont know where to turn for help!?. Its like the professionals are saying well you have had surgery now get on with it. Any advise welcome.
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 09/04/2013 - 2:09 PM
    P0506, the lump on the surgical area could be from healing. My physical therapist got my lumpy scar area flattened out by using this suction thingy. Felt kinda good too. As long as your surgeon sees no infection, just ask your PT person to work on it. As for activities, I do walking, the sit down bike, gentle stretches, some arm exercises with low weights, etc.

    Annie, I had leg pain after surgery too. Most do. If your MRI is clear, I would expect it to taper off eventually. Are you icing your back? That helped me some. Also...forget about going back to work too soon....tell them no way. Doing that could set you back on your healing. My surgery was 7/12 and I'm returning part time on 9/16.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
Sign In or Register to comment.