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My L5 - S1 Micro D's

I was experiencing pain for about 5 months before realizing i had herniated a disk in my back. I initially thought I pulled a hamstring, or messed up my IT band, as i had really bad pain in my left leg, and not much in my back. After waiting and waiting for the pain to change, i got an MRI and showed L4-L5 L5, S-1 herniation.

I had my first MicroD on 11/9/13, and my second MircoD on 12/9/13.

I had initial relief from the first surgery, but days after I herniated again. another MRI confirmed and back to the OR i went.

My 2nd surgery lasted 2.5 hours, instead of the 45 minutes they usually last. My doctor said that there was a lot of scar tissue to move and navigate thru, causing the surgery to run long.

After the surgery, my pain remained unchanged. It wasn't like my first where i had immediate relief. My doctor said with all the scar tissue, and pressure on my nerve for so long, its going to take time before i get relief.

The pain started in my butt, and ran down the entire length of my left leg. It was constant, sharp pains that would shoot down my leg. It felt like my left cheek was always clenched if that makes sense.

New Years Eve my pain changed. My cheek finally "released". I still have a little pain in my cheek, but nothing like before. However, now my pain concentration has moved. It starts behind my left knee and shoots to my heel. The pain behind my knee is similar to what i had in my cheek. It's extremely awful, and my calf feels like a cramp that never stops. The top of my left foot has been pins and needles numbness, and tender to the touch.

I've been taking Norco, Lyrica, and some anti-inflamitorys to help manage the pain, but they really haven't helped much.

I'm wondering if this change in pain is a good sign or bad sign. I have my appt with my Dr. Tomorrow to have my stitches removed, but I've been so anxious and eager to know what the change in pain may mean.

I'm so tired of being in pain for the past 6 months, sometimes it seems i may have to accept it, and live with it the rest of my life.

Maybe talking with people who have gone through the same experiences I have may help. My anxiety is off the charts.

L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13


  • A little backround info. I'm 36, and before my surgery I was in the gym 5/days a week, very healthy and considered a great candidate for the procedure.

    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • 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
  • Well I had my Dr apt. He had said that the change in pain is a good sign. He also recommended to start PT in a week.

    Today the pain in my toosh area has returned. It's also about -10 degrees outside, and wondering if this could be part of the reason for extra pain the past couple of days. Does anyone else out there feel extra stiff/sore when the weather drops to this degree?

    I honestly don't feel ready to start PT, and kind of scared to see what kinds of things they are going to have me do. Can anyone tell me what I should expect in starting PT. What kinds of things they will have me do, and what I can expect to feel like? relief? Pain? soreness?

    I just don't want to over exert myself and be back at to square 1.

    As you may be able to tell, I'm very nervous about everything.
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • I had 3 epidurals for the L5/S1 and L4 issues. My last epi was dec 27th, seems like I was told that I needed a fusion but only 80 percent work. Still recovering from 4 level PCDF in June and maybe I will have to wait and see. I now have different leg pain. I hope no nerve got damaged from the epidural.jin
  • I tried 2 epidurals before my microD's...unfortunately i had no luck with any of them. They didn't give me any relief...and they were pretty painful to have administered too.

    I've been experiencing a little depression, and tons of anxiety through all of this. Wondering if anyone else has/is too?

    I want my life back, I haven't been able to do the things I used to do since July of 2013.
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • well, 22 days post op.

    walking 2 miles per day, and starting to feel a little better. It seems walking is the only thing that has been helping really.

    Also weening off the Norco slowly.

    Starting to realize that there is hope!
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • That's great to hear! I only saw your thread for the first time today. I'm glad you went from being so unsure to feeling more confident. Cheers!
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • StoryoftheGhostSStoryoftheGhost Posts: 23
    edited 01/13/2014 - 3:51 AM
    My walking has been going great...however the mornings are still incredibly awful. It's the time when the pain is the worst starting in my buttocks and runs down my leg...and the soreness at its highest. Not until I get moving take my lyrica and norco does it subside a bit. I'm kind of scared I'm completely masking the pain. I have brought my norco down a lot, weening off a bit each week...maybe another reason the pain seems to be so bad in the AM.

    Or, am I overdoing it trying to get a 2 mile walk in each day, or every other day? It just seems that when I move and don't be a couch potato that is helping me and not hurting me. Can anyone with the same experiences chime in with their opinions?

    Also..my dreams have been incredibly vivid and intense. Possibly the Lyrica? I've always been a good dreamer, but not to this intensity or level. Anyone else on Lyrica have this experience too?

    One day my hopes are high, and the next they are completely gone. It's a roller-coaster ride I wish I never got on.

    I hope you all are doing well.

    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • A terrible roller coaster ride on one of those old wooden ones that don't look very safe. The pain is always a surprise. It's like a jack in the box every day upon waking, you're always wondering what you'll feel like.

    I think that's great you're able to walk, I try and it becomes very painful. Not the actual walking part, but when I stop. I'm sure the weather has a lot to do with it.

    I hope you continue to ween of your meds and feel a bit better each day.
    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
  • SteveTSSteveT Posts: 178
    edited 01/13/2014 - 4:42 AM
    I had a 2 level fusion in October and mornings are still a bit rough for me. I don't need to take any meds and haven't for some time, but wake up with some leg pain, but once I get moving, it subsides. Like you when I am active and not just sitting around, I feel great. I walk every day and have been doing so since the day I was discharged, walking is really the best thing to do post-op.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • are one of the side effects of the Lyrica. They should lessen in time once your body has finished acclimating to the medication.
    The increased pain in the morning is part of the entire recovery process. A muscle relaxer might be a good idea for the interim while you are still recovering and entering physical therapy especially since a lot of sounds like muscle fatigue and soreness.
    Walking is the best thing you can do and it might help to break it into smaller segments but increasing the distance/endurance at the same time......
    As far as physical therapy, their goal is not to hurt you or cause you pain, but there may be some increase in pain for a bit because they will have you using muscles that are weakened from the injury and the post surgery phase, but they are there to help strengthen your core, build muscle strength to protect your spine and get you back amongst the land of the living. It is something to look forward to, not fear.
  • StoryoftheGhostSStoryoftheGhost Posts: 23
    edited 01/14/2014 - 3:00 PM
    The mornings have gotten so bad, its become extremely difficult to get out of bed. My entire torso is sore as can be. Maybe the weather has something to do with it, I'm really not sure. Even though I know that getting out of bed will help, sometimes I just can't do it right away.

    Included in the morning soreness...I now have lower RIGHT side pain in my back...which is opposite of my original pain that started this all. It worries me.

    The roller-coaster continues. A few days I think I'm cruising forward on the right track, and then BLAM, im back to feeling like bird doo. The ups and downs are killing me.

    Dr prescribed some valium to help with all the anxiety that has tagged along for the ride. I'm on too many damn meds now, I feel like an old man.

    And I don't want to sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself..I'm more scared than anything., and don't have the experience to know how to deal with it.
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • StoryoftheGhostSStoryoftheGhost Posts: 23
    edited 01/21/2014 - 3:15 PM
    One month Post Op on my 2nd Micro D.

    I still feel like i went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson every morning, and all he did was throw shots to my lower body. My Dr. says that it's the Norco causing that...But I'm having a hard time believing. He wants me to ween off which I'm going to try. Making a switch to Tramadol, which I have tried before with no success, but he wants me off the narcotics. However, the Norco is the only thing that seems to at least dull the nerve pain out to a bare-able level.

    I still cannot sleep at night either. Even after 2 micro Ds, i have nerve pain radiating from my tuchas to my heel. One month post op on my 2nd, I would have thought the nerve pain would have been gone by now. At least subsided.

    I'm thinking about going for yet another opinion with a new DR. Maybe I should see a neurologist instead of another Orthopedic..Anyone have any thoughts on this???

    Scared and losing hope that I will ever return to what used to be my life.

    Diclofinac for inflamation, Lyrica for the nerves, Norco and Tramadol for overall pain, Valium for my anxiety and muscle spasms...im 36 for gods sake, and have too many medince bottles.

    Is anyone going through or gone through anything similar to what I've described? help, please.
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
  • I take gabapentin for my nerve pain. Maybe you need to discuss changing your nerve meds. Just a thought. The gabapentin does make me tired sometimes though.
    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
  • DR changed me to Tramadol yesteroday, weening off the norco at the same time. Keeping with the Dicoflinac for inflamation, and lyrica for the nerves

    I tried the gaba before lyrica, and didnt have good success with it.

    We'll see how this goes.

    Took some valium last night before bedtime and finally had a full nights sleep.

    UGH so many pills.
    L5-S1 Herniation. 1st MIrcrodiscectomy 11/9/13. 2nd Microdiscectomy 12/19/13
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