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Help! Did I reherniate? Pain is back.

Hi everyone,
I’ve posted previously, but hoping to hear more about people who have had similar experiences. I had a MicroD six weeks ago. First two-three weeks were good but still some residual pain. The standout pre-op symptom -- explosive pain when rising from seated position that reached a 10 -- was gone immediately after surgery and has not returned. However, at the four week point, I was feeling so good I went more intense in the gym (elliptical, cycle, lots of stretching and a quick round of dips). For the remainder of that day I still felt excellent. The next morning, I had pain in my calf. Over the next couple of days, the pain level increased and now appears in my buttock, rear thigh, sometimes knee, and calf. 2-4 Advil helps immensely. Dr. put me on a 6 day pred pack, which helped bring the pain from a max level 7 in the mornings, to a 2-3. But as I taper off, the pain is coming back. It flares at times for no apparent reason, sometimes when I change positions, sometimes just because. It's present when I stand, sit or walk. This current pain has been present for two straight weeks (week 5 and 6 of recovery). Did I reherniate the disc?


  • know if you did or not. Going to the gym without being cleared to take on more strenous activity may have caused the disc to reherniate, but only your surgeon can tell for sure.
    Sadly, you are not the first person who has taken on more than they are supposed to post op and found themselves with a flare that won't ease or worse, a need to redo what was a successful outcome. I hope that is not the case for you. When do you return to the surgeon?
  • TahouTTahou Posts: 6
    edited 12/11/2013 - 10:40 AM
    I see the surgeon again tomorrow. I was cleared for exercise at the gym very quickly actually. But that day I upped the intensity and now I am about as scared and distraught as I could be. I almost wish the surgeon had been more strict with me about not doing anything. But he seemed to feel walking, elliptical and cycling were all good as soon as I felt ready. No weights, no lifting and no running are the only restrictions I had.
  • For anyone who is interested, turns out according to a new MRI, I did not reherniate my disc. Instead, I have a badly inflamed/irritated nerve that started to become painful at about 4 weeks post-op (I'm now 7.5 weeks post-op). This is according to the radiologist. Surgeon still hasn't weighed in, but the radiologist report is pretty clear. The report notes the image is extensively enhanced (due to contrast) and that it is quite easy to differentiate various tissues and whatnot. There is no compression on any nerve. Instead there is an "enhancing nerve root..." that basically means the nerve itself is swollen and/or irritated. My guess is the nerve was pretty badly impinged for a while because it was very badly trapped pre-op. Then the nerve had to deal with the surgery itself. And then it had to deal with me stretching it as it healed from both the surgery and the herniation. So there you have it. It felt (and still feels) bad enough to make me and my surgeon both think it was a reherniation. But no! So if anyone is out there worried about reherniation, as I was, chances are quite good it could be something else entirely.
  • That's great news! I'm happy to hear you didn't reherniate, I hope the nerve irritation heals up quickly and you feel better!
    L5 S1 MicroD - August 21, 2013
    L5 S1 Fusion - October 17, 2013
    44 year old
  • I'm no doctor but from what I have experienced and from what I read just the fact that being on the Medrol pack you showed improvment told me that it was just the nerve being inflamed or irritated. When I re-herniated the Medrol pack did nothing for my pain. Glad that you did not re-herniate and I hope you take it a bit slower now that you know it can happen and you had a scare. Good Luck!

    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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