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back pain below surgery levels (post 3 micro d's)

Since having 3 microdiscectomies, 2 at the same level, I battle some low back pain. It aches if I sit for long periods, stand still for long periods (standing is still better than sitting) and feels better when I move. Most of the discomfort is below the surgery levels, right above my bottom and also including the higher part of my glutes. It's a combo of aching and pressure. I pushed myself yesterday sitting too long and also felt my glutes and low back muscles tightening, attempting to spasm.

QUESTIONS: Anybody else get most of their pain below the surgery level? Could someone reiterate why the pain is below the surgery level?

I did experience some of this pre op, but the reason for each of my surgeries was severe sciatica. Post op of surgery #1 I only experienced this within the 8 week recovery period. Post op surgery #2 I experienced this pain for nearly a year with some time (usually a week, maybe 2 at a time) with very limited pain that surfaced ~2 to 3 days a week. I must note that I did not allow myself an actual recovery period post op because I was trying to not fall behind in college. I really pushed myself so I know that played a role. It was not until 1 year and 4 months post op from surgery #2 that I had 100% relief from this pain when I had an ESI. I reherniated L4-L5 also and had sciatica so that was the main reason to get the ESI. It also got rid of the back pain though. I had a PT do myofascial release on the area and that helped too.

I am now 2 weeks post op from my redo micro d at L4-L5 and am trying to fight off this pain. I can sit anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour right now before getting this pain. Once I experience it it tends to hang around for the day unless I lay with my legs up for an extended period of time. I understand recovery could be very long- I took the semester off school and work so I can recover however I choose. I am also aware that the pain may never go away due to my number of surgeries. My discs are just not as supportive- my surgeon explained that.

25 years old: Herniated L4-L5, L5-S1 December 2008. L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2010. L5-S1 microdiscectomy March 2012. Redo L4-L5 microdiscectomy Sept 2013. Redo microdiscectomy Oct 2015.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    and more difficult to analyze your immediate situation.
    I have had pain and discomfort below the actual disc levels, but it was related mostly to scar tissue. That took some time to get bad. Its hard to imagine that after a short period of post op time, that you would see that type of pain.
    I am just guessing, but I think its still too early to judge whats going on. After 8 weeks, so how this is going, but of course if it gets worse in the meantime talk it over with your doctor.

    Maybe you should just contact them know and explain your situation
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com

  • I don't have experience of a microdiscectomy, but I did have a laminectomy and fusion of L4/5.

    Part of the post surgery instructions was to not sit for too long.
    Certainly at 2 weeks I would not be able to sit for longer than 20-30 minutes before having pain.
    I was instructed to slowly increase how long I sat according to my tolerance.
    I wonder if this applies to post microdiscectomies too.

    I do know that it is important to follow all the rules after surgery, especially for the first 6 weeks or so to avoid reherniating the disc.
    At 2 weeks into recovery, do take things very easy.
    As Ron says, do speak to your doctor if you are worried.

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