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Microdiscectomy experience

Microdiscectomy experience

I have been reading these forums with some interest over the past months and even year.
i have suffered back pain for many years since around 19, I'm now 33. for many years though it would only get bad every so often, up until may 2012 when i first felt sciatica. I immediately knew that something had changed and went to the doctor as something clearly wasn't right.
he diagnosed a herniated disc and prescribed pain relief. and then sent me home with the advice that if i had trouble going to the toilet then to go straight back. 2 days later i had trouble and he immediately sent me to a & e. I was kept in overnight and had an MRI the next morning which confirmed the L%-S1 disc bulge.
The funny thing is that the trouble i had going to the toilet was purely down to the codeine the doctor had given me.
however if that hadn't of happened i probably never would have had an MRI.
Anyway i was off work for 12 weeks and then only part time for many weeks after that.
In feb 2013 i had an Epidural which didn't really help.
Next on the list was a nerve root block which i had in may 2013, again did nothing than make things worse for a couple weeks, and to be honest was the worst procedure I've ever had done, utterly awful.
After approx 12 weeks i had another hospital appointment in which a microdiscectomy was decided.
I was placed on the waiting list which was 12 weeks.
Had my letter through for a date 12 weeks and 3 days after my hospital appointment. pretty good.
Of course at this point i visited this forum more regularly as the date approached.

Nerves kicked in a few of days before when i had to stop taking my anti inflametories as these have helped the most with my back pain for the last year. luckily i could still take my daily doses of tramadol for the sciatica.

So the day came Friday 6th December 2013

I was second on the list and due to go down at 130pm it was delayed until 4pm, longest wait ever as i had been at the hospital since 1030am and not eaten since 730am and no drink since 1030am.
a couple of hours before i was given about 12 different pills to prepare for the surgery, i was certainly feeling the effects a good couple of hours before i went down as it was delayed.
The time came and just wanted it over with, and of course once i was asleep it wasn't long before i was awake and releaved.
The surgeon was there almost as soon as i was awake and asked about my leg pain, really not with and unsure if it even really happened i replied that there was no pain.
I had 5 mins of violently shaking like i was really cold. soon after i was wheeled out of recovery and had my own room on the ward. A perk of going down late, and therefore the ward had filled up.
there was a lot of pain from the wound area, as to be expected. However i was able to get up and go to the toilet that eve about 4 hrs after surgery.
Of course didn't really get that much sleep for being a little uncomfortable and the obs every couple of hours.

The next day came and the physic visited, had already seen i had been up and about and signed me off to go home.
The surgeon also visited fairly promptly and again said that it had gone well and asked about leg pain which i still didn't have.
I went home at about 2pm.
A fairly uncomfortable 15 min drive.
Once home I spent a good few days largely in bed with the occasional stretch, toilet, short walk etc. Getting up and down was difficult and couldn't get my socks on for example.
Pain in the wound area subsided 2-4 days after surgery.

It is now 9 days post op as i write.
Im no longer in bed and generally back to moving around as normal, of course with in my limits.
Being careful with bending and twisting etc.
The last couple of days I've been out for walks and doing my excerises.
I took the walking a little to far earlier today, and tbh i was hard work to get home.
Currently as for leg pain, Well its hard to say. Im still taking Pain killers daily, if I'm late taking them or do to much i do feel it in the back and leg. However the leg pain is different now. Im not even sure its really a pain, it just feels different.
Whether its just the nerve getting back to normal or the memory of the pain i really don't know. It can be very uncomfortable though if i don't take meds.
I guess only time will tell.

Hopefully ill get back here in the coming weeks to update progress.
But so far glad i done it. and recovery so far has not been as bad as i thought.

Of course we all heal differently and have different levels of symptoms. I guess thats why i wrote this as it helps to read as much as possible from different experiences.

just for info I'm a 33 old male.
i stopped taking the codeine in favour of tramadol as i really don't get on well with codeine.
age 33 microdiscectomy 6th dec 2013


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • ThegoodlyTThegoodly Posts: 4
    edited 12/18/2013 - 8:08 AM
    so 12 days post op and an update to progress.
    been to the nurse at the local surgery and had the dressing changed.
    can hardly see the incision site at all, healed really nice, still have some dissolvable stitches hanging out.

    been out for a number of walks, sitting or standing for any period of time still very uncomfortable and only find relief laying on my side.
    if i lay directly on my back it can get very uncomfortable after a short period of time, leading to a very unusual sensation like my spine is being compressed. Very difficult to explain but certainly never felt anything like it before.
    a large number of back muscle spasms over the last few days.
    still on pain relief, pretty regular 4 times per day as it can quickly become unbearable. not really a pain, just very uncomfortable.
    and my legs can go very cold and achey.
    I feel I'm doing ok, have some tasks to complete over the weekend leading up to christmas so I'm interested to see how i cope with that.
    age 33 microdiscectomy 6th dec 2013
  • now week 5 1/2 to be precise.
    today is my post op review at the hospital.
    also had a first PT appointment last friday.
    hamstrings are really tight, to the point that i can't sit on the floor and only reach down about a 25 degree angle. results of being unable to do much exercise the first few weeks.
    right leg is massively more sensitive than the left on reflex tests but its also more manoverable than the left.
    only a very small amount of right leg pain, in fact I'm not even really sure i can call it a pain its so mild right at the top of my leg basically in the crease of bottom running round the side of my groin.
    if i do do too much i also get a slight pain in my calf but again very mild.
    Still get the coldness in both legs, the right being worst, feeling like its in a bucket of ice cold water. again though mainly when I'm active or sat for a while.
    sitting is still the worst although it is getting easier and able to sit for longer.
    Had a couple of rough nights sleep because of my back which is unusual as i generally don't have a problem with sleep.
    Woke up today feeling pretty good. The trouble is when you do feel ok is you tend to do more, so today been out for a short walk with my daughter, swept the floor, a small amount of painting, and 2 rounds of exercises from the physio.
    But of course starting to get sore now.

    the last week I've noticed when i am active or even as the day goes on the incision area swells. fine when i wake up and gets worse.
    noticeable when viewed from the side and can also feel its very spongy. not sure what to make of it. of course ill ask the consultant later.

    Overall I'm still really confident that it was the best decision to have this done, with very little leg pain nowim just hoping that as time goes on that my back will improve. Ive been working really hard on my posture as it was bad pretty much all my life.
    (a case of having to because of the early pain, but now continuing)
    Ive also given up smoking 3 weeks ago and doing well with that.

    So the big questions is when do i think about going back to work???
    my doctors note runs out friday at week 6.
    I have an appointment booked just in case.
    The trouble is although i mainly feel ok at home now I'm very much in control of what i do and pain levels i worry at work i lose that control and not sure I'm ready yet.
    but at the same time feel guilty now as largely i do feel ok and undertaking more tasks.
    Im not worried about pay as i have 18 weeks full sick pay, I'm also under no pressure from work to go back as there is someone covering my job role.
    I work in a large supermarket and fairly varied tasks but of course means being on my feet for long periods. sitting for long periods, lifting, a lot of bending to name a few.

    Opinions please???
    age 33 microdiscectomy 6th dec 2013
  • I went back to work at week 9. I could probably have started a week or two sooner but I didn't want to rush. I have an office job, so no lifting and bending for me - be careful with that. Luckily I was able to obtain an adjustable standing desk, so I've been able to alternate sitting and standing, mostly standing initially as sitting was more painful. And walking round the room every 30 minutes or so.
  • on my nervesoon my nerves Posts: 116
    edited 01/14/2014 - 9:55 AM
    I started doing too much too soon after my micro D in June and ended up reherniating. If you have the time than in my option you should take it. Best of luck with your decision.
    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
  • AZGUYAAZGUY Posts: 15
    edited 01/14/2014 - 3:42 PM
    I didn't go back to work in till 5 months post op . My job is physically demanding .
    28 yr old
    Microdisectomy on June 27th 2013
  • thanks for your replies guys. i have a doctors appointment later today so will see how it goes. the consultant at the hospital said i could go back on light duties but tbh i don't feel ready.
    age 33 microdiscectomy 6th dec 2013
  • how much is too much that will end up reherniating the disc?I walk everyday,short distances maybe 10min x 3 a day...im almost 6 weeks post op..still have pins and needles,weakness and numbness in my left foot.. I work as a caregiver with 1 patient.. i help her with everyday needs.. I dont know when and how im going to to start working again
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