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How do you know if you reherniated?

I know this has been asked many times before, but I'm still scared and hoping to get advice and input.

I had my microdiscectomy on July 2, 2013 on L4/L5. I had a micro-d on L5/S1 back in 2005.

It has been almost 3 months since that second surgery and for the first 6 weeks or so I felt AMAZING. No back pain at all. I had numbness and weakness in my leg but that has been getting better. But the past few weeks the back pain has been creeping up again. I'm stiff and sore at night and in the morning. I had chalked it up to increasing the work done during physical therapy and moving across the country (and doing too much bending, lifting and twisting). I didn't do much during the move, but it was still more active than I have been in months.

Now, today, the pain feels similar to the way it did before the surgery. My back feels like it's "seizing up" when I change positions. I'm walking crooked. I just generally feel scared and sore.

The day before yesterday I did "dry needling" during my PT session because my back had really been hurting and my PT recommended it. I felt great when I walked out and VERY stiff and sore today. I accidentally twisted and lifted today and the pain made me gasp out loud.

I know the only real answer is to get an MRI, but since I just moved across the country my regular doctor is back in LA and I'm in Atlanta. I won't be able to get in to see a NS for a few weeks at least.

I am desperately hoping that this increase in pain is my back's way of telling me that I have been doing too much and that I need to take it easy for a while, but deep down I am scared that I reherniated somewhere along the way.


  • Anyway, besides wondering what the dry needling is

    I find the mire i do, the more soreness and muscle spasms, i too FEAR throwing my back out and re-herniating everything

    I think we ALL live in some kind of fear, that we will do something wrong and then the surgery was for nothing

    I think for peace of mind you do need a new MRI, cant you see someone sooner in Atlanta?

  • Dry needling is an acupuncture-like technique that uses needles to target and stimulate the muscles deep inside near your target areas of pain. I'd never tried it before and it was very helpful at first. She did it on my back and shoulder (I'm also recovering from a shoulder surgery). They stick the needles in, like acupuncture, and then stimulate them which causes muscle twitch. It hurts a little bit at first but you get relief afterwards.

    I am worried that that is part of the problem -- I felt so good afterwards that I did something stupid by lifting while twisting. I am going to rest through the weekend and if I still feel like this on Monday I will start calling around to see if I can find a doctor who will see me soon. I guess the other option is always to go to the emergency room but they never do an MRI (only an Xray) if you go that route.

    Thanks again for the reply.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Around the 3 month mark I knew I re-herniated. I went back to the surgeon and he said well lets do some PT. I refused and told him " look I can guarantee that it has reherniated. Needless to say we had a disagreement and he refused to budge and I flat out told him. Either we can do test to confirm this or I go to another surgeon. Try telling a surgeon he is wrong, they don't take that too lightly. Long story short he sent me downstairs for a CAT scan then back to his office. I was right it had re-herniated and back to surgery I went.
  • Did it feel exactly like it had felt before the surgery? or even worse? Were you doing something specific when you felt it go out?
    I don't understand why surgeons won't authorize the tests to simply find out yes or no. It is so frustrating to feel like you are not in control of your own recovery.
    Did you end up going back to the same surgeon for another discectomy?

    I am worse today than I was yesterday. I stood up this morning and my knees almost gave out. It seems to be fine as long as I'm lying on my side with a pillow between my knees but any change in movement makes me gasp in pain.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I knew something was wrong but what I didn't have a clue until the ungodly leg pain ( different part of leg this time), before it was all in my rear leg, this time it was down the side of my thigh. If you truly feel as if you have re-herniated then you are going to have to be bold with the surgeon ( boy did I have my surgeon mad) until the cat scan came back showed re-herniation. You know your own body, if you feel something is wrong then demand test, at the time I already had been thru 6 surgeries and I told him "look this isn't my first herniation and I know it is herniated so do SOMETHING, I don't care what but do something. Push for the test if you think that it is reherniated
    Good luck
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Yes I used the same surgeon, I knew going in for a discectomy that it could easily re-herniate again. Exact words from the surgeons mouth. No I did nothing out of the ordinary to cause this.
  • I have been feeling more pain and discomfort this past week, but started walking mire and doing more activities

    Worrying at 7 weeks post-op if i re-herniated anything?

  • Today is my post-op appointment (18 days since L5-S1 microdiscectomy). Are there any particular.questions I should try.to ask? I was hoping for an MRI but based on these posts that doesn't look possible.
    I'm 25yrs old and still having pain. I've recently returned to work as a substitute teacher and assistant manager at a laser tag facility. (Light duty). After surgery, I took Lortab as prescribed for a solid week and am now taking it only before bed and I also take Mobic in the morning.
    My question again is: Are there any specific questions I should ask for my post open appointment? Is it typical for the practitioner to order a new MRI? I don't want to miss anything and hope I have not reherniated so soon. Also, how long until I can go back to doing the Mackenzie Method-stretches?
  • stenosisRosesstenosisRose Posts: 489
    edited 10/30/2013 - 8:50 AM
    She can sadly answer your questions with the experiences she has had with re-herniations
  • stenosisRosesstenosisRose Posts: 489
    edited 10/30/2013 - 8:50 AM
    She can sadly answer your questions with the experiences she has had with re-herniations
  • She can sadly answer your questions with the experiences she has had with re-herniations
  • Mama-SchueMMama-Schue Posts: 337
    edited 10/30/2013 - 11:18 AM
    I sent you an inbox message, it was a bit to long for a post. Check you Inbox.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
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