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Leg pain four weeks after MicroD...Help!

TahouTTahou Posts: 6
edited 12/04/2013 - 1:45 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi. My peace of mind is falling part by the minute and I need some help.

It's been just less than 5 weeks since surgery to remove an L5/S1 herniation. My symptoms first appeared 2.5 mos prior and progressed quickly. The main symptom was explosive leg pain when standing -- debilitating. Walking was great. Sitting got uncomfy quickly. Two surgeons and a physiatrist all said the same thing -- surgery is a reasonable option. Tried epidural, didn't do anything. So went for surgery. First few weeks were good, at three weeks things felt great (almost normal). I am very fit and the surgeon advised that I get back to working out as soon as I could after surgery, with some restrictions - no weights, no running, or anything that would compress spine. He recommended walking, cycling and elliptical and said to follow what my body was telling me.

At four weeks, I upped the level of intensity for only one workout because i felt really good. Still some residual leg pain, but very minor. Maybe a 2. The one thing I added were dips (he actually told me push-ups were fine too). So I did 10 dips. Much harder because I had not done them for about 5 weeks at that point. I contracted my stomach muscles to help. I still felt great all rest of that day.

The next day, however, the leg pain was much more pronounced and did not fade. Mornings are now pretty bad. Pain is not the same as pre-op, but it is level 5-6 now and always there. 2-4 advil help a lot. In fact, two days later, two advil in the morning had me feeling normal that day. Today I had to take four. Pain is there still, but way less. I am also sitting much more due to a changing work situation. Doc isn't sure why this is happening, but is going to start me on oral steroids.

I am scared as heck that I reherniated the disc doing those dips, or intensifying my workout that day. It's been a week now and the pain has not subsided. It's not the debilitating pain I had pre-op (which hit a 10 at it's worst). But it is enough pain to be concerning. Any thoughts? Please -- I am so so worried. Thank you.


  • Sorry t hear that you are going through all this. From my experience if the steroids don't start giving you relief you need a MRI to rule out re herniation. Hopefully you have a surgeon that is willing to go the extra mile to help you.

    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
  • FloridaGuyFFloridaGuy Posts: 8
    edited 12/04/2013 - 2:40 PM
    Sorry to hear that. Maybe your higher activity level irritated the nerve.

    Definitely go through the round of steroids and lay low for the duration. I would think that walking would be good, but no more than that, to help stretch the area.

    I will admit that your comment concerns me personally. I'm due for a microD among a couple other related procedures in a week and a half, and like you, I am an active person who likes to exercise daily despite the pain (I have not let the pain stop my daily routines, I just take a pain pill before exercise and do my thing.) And I know I will be itching to get moving. It sounds like it may be a better idea to just rest and lay low until I'm released back to work.

    Good luck and please keep us updated!
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    edited 12/04/2013 - 2:53 PM
    Not to be a downer but I continue to have leg pain 6 months post a microdiscectomy. I also thought I had re herniated something and had a repeat MRI back in September, it was normal! I also was very active before my injury, last December shoveling snow! My surgery was in May and I had a herniated disc fragment compressing my L 4 nerve root. I recently saw a neurologist who said that most nerve healing takes 18 months and at 6 months half of the healing has taken place. I would love to run again and he suggested trying to start if I can tolerate it. I am hesitant because I tried to run a few steps and it seems to make things worse.
    After my surgery I was told to limit my activity which I did. I started with only walking up to one mile the first month, daily. Then slowly increased the distance. Now I am up to 5 miles but my leg and back still are not like they were before my surgery.
  • Hi
    I was told that MRI post-op too early in the healing process does not give a clear picture of what is going on.
    Too much swelling and inflammation!
    Most surgeons if not an emergency, want to wait at least 3-4 months post-op for a better view.

    Just my two cents worth
  • Thanks for all your comments. I'm becoming more convinced that I overdid it in a single gym session at the 4 week point and I have a reherniation. Dr. has prescribed a prednisone regime. Wants to see how that goes before doing another MRI. I'm at the five week mark now. Four advil in the morning seem to reduce the pain considerably for most of the day. It's still there, but maybe level 2 (unless I induce it by stretching, etc.). I'd love your opinions based on your experiences about these kinds of setbacks. Is reherniation as likely as I think it is? Has anyone had a similar experience but finally start feeling better? To recap: Had a microD, first week or two were ok, but lingering pain. Week 3 was excellent. At the four week mark I pushed myself more at the gym doing cardio and added a set of dips. Was still fine, but next day pain came back in my right leg and has stayed, slightly increased since. Level 5-7 without advil. Level 1-2 with.
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