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5 weeks post discectomy, MRI showing nerve damage

Hi All, I'm 32 and have had back paim for the last 4 years. In february this year it got significantly worse whilst jumping out of bed. I left this till June to have it looked at just due to being fobbed off so many times in the past with different doctors and thought it would hopefully get better. It turned out I had a severe prolapse

I ended up having I had a L5/S1 discectomy five weeks ago and my recovery has definitely been up and down. After 3 weeks it became clear that my recovery wasn't normal as was having substancial back pain at the site of the surgery. Walking agorovates the pain and my back gets what can only be described as bruisiing on my left side and goes up the back. I also have mild pains down my right leg and pins and needles in my foot this is sporadic and not all the time. My surgeon sent me for another MRI which has shown no signs of reherniation but does show thickening of on the nerves which he assumes must be givimg the pain. The results were given to me by a different surgeon over the phone as my doctor is away till the 2nd of sept. He said this should, ease and basically don't do anything that hurts and rest, including walking and PT whilst the damage heals and the swelling goes down.

Whilst I'm taking this advise I have concerns as have been given so much different advise at every turn I feel very lost. I was of the understanding that walking was important to reduce scar tissue and the pt should help with the pain etc. Has anyone else had similar issues or can help with any advise?


  • A lot of us had post surgery nerve pain, including me. Mine seemed to improve a little each week. I'm now 6 weeks post op and my leg is 90% pain free...thats with just walking. My nerve was blocked only 3weeks before my surgery. If yours was blocked longer, it may take longer for it to calm down. Everyone is different. I would trust that the MRI does not show a reherniation and give it some more time.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks for your reply. Did you still have pain in your back or is it just the pain in your leg left?
  • Before surgery, my pain was in my back....until I herniated my disc fully, then the pain was mostly in my hip, leg, foot. leg pain was so bad I didnt even notice any back pain. after surgery and my leg calmed down, now I have surgical back pain.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • I'm worse then my surgery in May. Left side is numb/tingling. MRI showed no rehernation but my nerves have not relaxed and a lot of scare tissue surrounding the nerves. Going for EMG next week. Pain is so much worse. Cant walk for more then a few mins can't sit for more then 10 mins. Doc says I might have RSD or cronic pain. Still on std might have to apply for SSD, and I'm only 37. Horrible!!!!
  • Have you thought about a 2nd opinion? Seems like a lot of pain for a clear MRI. These nerves are tricky things Seems like there is a different outcome for every case. Sorry you are in so much pain.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • encasing or surrounding and in contact with the nerve roots, that may very well be the cause of your pain. Are you taking any neuropathic type of pain medications, such as Lyrica, gabapentin , topamax, cymbalta, or other medications such as those? All of the ones that I listed might help significantly if the cause of the pain is indeed neuropathic.
  • newjersey05nnewjersey05 Posts: 23
    edited 10/03/2013 - 1:53 PM
    My MRI isn't clear. Yes the MicroD took care of the disc hernations, however, RSD, DDD among other things - I just don't have my report in front of me. I took 2 nerve medications, nuration and a nerve pak, didn't help. I am going for an EMG this week or next, and based on results, he will see which medication will help. I am seeing top doc at EDIT in NJ.

    Yes, scar tissue from the surgery showed on MRI that it is surrounding the nerve root. We are trying to find the cause of all the pain....radiculopathy, RSD.... I am now on Valium for mind blowing spasms in the back. I have to say...it takes the edge off as no other muscle relaxer worked. Also on Vickion....doesn't do anything, but give a good nights sleep.

    so, so frustrated!!!! I am keeping an open mind that this is all temp and not perm. My 3 little kids need their mom!!!

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  • EMG says-the right sural sensory nerve showed no response (calf) All remaining nerves were within normal limits
    Neede evaluation of the left vastus medialis and the left gastroc muscles showed moderately increased spontaneous activity.

    the lesion is incomplete
    reveals evidence consistent with a left side S1 radiculopathy

    yep...not sure if I should have had surgery, thought living in pain was not an option so I said yes to surgery. Now I am worse.
  • just saw this post from almost a year ago :(
    update: EMG in Sept 2013, nerve damange, Topamax and gabapentin do not help, I stopped taking Topamax after 30 days, still on gabapentin
    approved for SSD in 2 months-
    complete failed trail spinal cord stimulator in April. Leads feel 2 levels and coiled, 1 rested on a nerve (imagine that pain) went in on a Monday, out by Wednesday afternoon DISASTER!!
    still pain/numb/tingling on left side. Tingling is worse with walking. Lost a lot of "power" in left leg

    new pain management doc today
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