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Pain After Mocrodiscectomy?

Hi All - so I've had bad spine problems for the last year... In Jan I had an ACDF on my neck - 2 weeks after that surgery, while walking my lower back suddenly had severe pain. My NS said the lower back pain would prob work itself out within 3 months, IT DIDN'T!

After 3 months of awful low back pain I had an MRI - It showed a bad herniation at L4/L5 with severe nerve root impingement. There was also some disc degeneration, pretty surprising for a healthy 30 yo male. I proceeded to try everything under the sun from chiro, PT, weight loss, swimming, etc.... The pain would come and go and the flair ups would be terrible. The chief complaints I had we're lower back pain on the right side, pain in hip, butt, & numbness in big toe... Last week and into this week the pain was so awful I decided to have a microD - The Doc got me on the schedule for this past Thursday (10/31), as of now a little over 4 days ago.

NOW - The leg & hip pain are mostly gone although some numbness in the big toe... I do also keep getting a sharp pain here and there in the quadricep. I went for a short walk yesterday with wife and son moving very slowly. Right now my legs are moving slowly and not lifting normally. I also have pain still present in lower part of my back (idk if it is incision pain or the same pain I've had). After log rolling from laying down to a seated position, it is difficult to get into the standing position. Also my body leans to the left form the waste up, as it has for the last 9 months, I'm sorta crooked.

Wondering if the difficulty walking, pain in quadricep, & pain in lower back are just due to surgery being less than 4 days ago? Nerve heeling? Lower back heeling? How was everyone their first week post microD? Also, was anyone crooked? How long did it take for your body to straighten out? Curious if my symptoms post op are similar to everyone else's?

Going to walk another 1/2 of a mile tomm with the family...


  • If you are still having pain you may want to reconsider walking /2 mile all at once. My nerve pain was so bad after surgery but the Dr told me that was normal. It was them healing and firing off causing spasms. Just be very careful. I felt over confident too soon after surgery and ended up reherniating and also herniation another. L5 S1 L4
    Best of luck and just remember to take it real slow.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • Thanks so much for the response. I will be careful with the recovery.

    Anyone else care to share how they felt after their microD?

  • UsedToGolfUUsedToGolf Posts: 37
    edited 11/05/2013 - 3:03 AM
    Hi MattyL-

    4 days is really close to surgery. I would give it a full 6 weeks before you start to assess whether it was a success or not, maybe even longer. I too lean to the side at times, and it is a muscle spasm that causes it. The muscles tense up on that side and lock my back in place - are you taking muscle relaxers?

    I too had some pain down my leg for a while after surgery, and it did go away, although my last one has left some numbness in my foot. Sounds like you are doing the right thing, just take small walks, ice a lot, and don't bend or lift too much. Let us know!
  • MattyL............ Slow it down! LOL

    You are not even a week out of surgery! If you feel that good now, I bet you will be doing terrific in two or 3 weeks. I am a 32 year old female, had mircodisectomy on 9/26 for L5/S1. I had severe sciatica, but was operated on because I was developing CES (Cauda Equina Syndrome.) Other than the CES, my back and legs feel pretty good. I still walk with a limp, but that is because of the CES. If you eliminate the CES symptoms, I am doing terrific. I still have some pain here and there, but nothing constant or unbearable. Just DON'T over do it. I know that as a 30 year old, it is hard to slow yourself down, but your body needs time to heal. :) I would say your incision pain is going to bother you for maybe 2 weeks. It should steadily improve. Good luck to you!!
    Cauda Equina Syndrome, Incomplete
    Surgery 9/26/13
    L5/S1 Microdisectomy
  • 2 weeks later and the pain feels like it has gotten worse over the last 2 days. As I lay in bed the numbness in my big toe is present and some pain in my quadricep and hamstring.

    This pain feels the same as prior to the surgery but slightly duller. My back pain also has not improved. It hurts my hip when doing very basic rehab exercises. I am now concerned that my surgery was a failure :(
  • Mama-SchueMMama-Schue Posts: 337
    edited 11/13/2013 - 5:26 PM
    You need to call your surgeon. It isnt that your surgery was a failure but it is possible your disc reherniated. They can put you on a steroid pack which may or may not help depending on if your nerve is just inflamed. There are things that can be done but some doctors just like to use the "wait and see" method. Which really bugs me because it is a lot easier on the patient to just go and have a MRI and find out if something is wrong. Peace of mind is what it brings to the patient, instead of waiting around for the pain to go away and wondering how long to wait until you should say something if the pain doesnt go away.

    I hope you can get some answers and be able to find relief.

    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
  • I think I may have just over did it yesterday. I walked over a mile without resting and then sat down at lunch for 45 minutes afterwards. I woke up this morning feeling sore, but minimal pain in my quad/hamstring and only slight numbness in my foot. My lower back still hurts, but I expect this more, so it isn't as alarming, I honestly don't know if the microD will help the pain specific to my lower right back as it will with my leg/foot. Overdoing it like I did yesterday is dangerous, I'm going to take it easy today.
  • What type of pain was everyone in post surgery?

    When I wake up in the morning, I am just stiff - As I go about my activities during the day, it gets more painful. Currently I am 2.5 weeks post op - I just went for a walk and my have some pain behind my knee, pins and needles in my foot and big toe, and a little pain on the side of my leg above the knee. My lower back also hurts on the right side. My lower back pain feels about the same as pre op, but even though I describe all of this leg pain right now, it is still better than what it was before the microD.

    For those that healed after surgery, what was your pain like the first 3 weeks?

    For anyone who reherniated, was your pain worse, the same, or better after surgery?

    Thanks in advance!

    I am actually scheduled for a follow-up this Wednesday.
  • I reherniated twice within 2weeks after each surgery and both times the pain was less intense than the time before but it was still intense enough to cause me to call the surgeon. I wake in the middle of the night with pain once the meds wear off. I have days were the pain is better and then I have days were it is worst. I can't sit for more than 15-20mins without being on pain meds. I do not have any numbness or pins and needles. Mornings and evenings are the most painful but that may be due to pain meds wearing off. I do get back pain but that does not happen every day, but when it does it is pretty intense. Each time I have started to get pain after surgery my surgeon has never once told me that it is the nerve healing and that this is normal. I am thankful that I have a surgeon that doesn't give me the "wait and see" speech, I have been put on a Medrol Pack for 6 days and if no relief is experienced he sends me for a MRI to find out what is giong on right away. And unfortunately each time the disc has reherinated. So now after having 2 MicroD's and the disc has once again herniated there is not enough disc left to do a third MicroD so I have to have a fusion.

    I really hope that you are have not reherniated and you are experiencing normal pains.

    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
  • Jessica11JJessica11 Posts: 70
    edited 11/19/2013 - 1:59 AM
    I'm almost 2 weeks post-op

    I definitely wake up stiff every morning.
    The last couple days, I've had some muscle pain in my quad.
    The ball of my foot/toes are numb. There is also a numb patch on the side of my calf.
    My ankle has been sore, kind of like I've been doing strenuous workouts.
    And, I get tired really quickly.. After about an hour I need to go lie down.

    I have my first post-op appointment tomorrow.
    Compressed Discs/DDD - L2/L3, L3/L4
    Major Herniation - L4/L5
    Bulging Disc - L5/S1
    "no healthy 24 year old's back should look like this without a major trauma"
    MicroDisc L4/L5 Nov 7, 2013
  • Thanks for the replies... Mama, so sorry to hear about your troubles - I hope your next procedure is your last and helps you get rid of all of your pain!

    Jessica, hope you continue to improve, good luck with your follow-up.

    When I woke up this morning I didn't have any numbness or pins/needles in my toe, it only gets worse as the day goes on. The only pain I have is like a sharp pulli in my butt... It's at like a 5/10. I just need to keep reminding myself I'm not even 3 weeks out. I have a follow-up tomm, so I'll be asking a ton f questions there.
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