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3 months post microdisc - still in pain??

sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
edited 01/04/2014 - 4:29 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Im so glad to see that so many people are doing so well...and id be lying if i said i wasnt jealous too! I am 12.5 weeks post microdisc/laminect of my l4/l5...and i knew i wouldnt be 100% by now but i feel like im stuck in pain all the time. id say im 30-40% better than before sugery ....and idk what to do anymore. i have a followup mri with my dr in 2 weeks to see if theres any reherniation or something. somedays i feel better enough to feel kind of "normal" and the other days i feel like i surely reherniated as my pain is a 7-8 (presurgery it was off the charts and constant).
I keep telling myself hopefully its inflammation because it doesnt stay 24/7 like it did before surgery. but then i wonder, how can i be inflammed for so damn long!!!! ive been on antiinflammatories the entire time....which im sick of taking!

its like this, if i spend my days lounging around my house, not doing anything more than 1 "big" activity a day, i feel pretty good. not totally normal but my pain is low (3). These "big" activities as ive started calling them consists of normal everyday things: washing dishes, folding laundry, going to the store and back for 15-20 min, going out to dinner, sitting down to watch a movie, going for a walk longer than 10 min - all not physically demanding things. ive been walking as much as i can but everytime i increase it, even the tiniest amount, i have horrible sciatica pain and lower back pain. i see all these people walking miles by this point and i only walk 1-1.5 miles a day - total, the entire day! my walks for exercise consist of 5-10 min. if i walk more than that all at once, i HURT then i spend the nexxt 2 days crying and laying down.
has anyone else had this pain at 12 weeks+ and got better? i feel like im just hopeless like i had the surgery and im still stuck at home. i still cant make any plans. i have to start working again because our savigns is about gone.... lukliy i work from home (i make cakes for a living) but my job requires alot of standing, and on concrete floors on top of that. ive tried to do a couple small orders that took about 5 hours of work total a week and i HURRRRT. i did this at around 8 weeks...so i took another 2-3 weeks off thinking id feel better. NOPE! i feel exactly the same.
I actually keep a walking/pain log to see how things have changed. im def better than i was right after surgery ( i had pain if i walked for 2 min and was on alot of pain meds). now im on tylenol/advil...sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesnt. id say my progress stopped about a month ago. since then i havent felt better or any progress. its beyond frustrating. guess i will wait until my MRI to see whats the deal..... just wanted to vent adn see if anyone else had thsi trouble!

i should also mention, my pain is the most when im laying or sitting. when i get up to walk around it goes down some but after i walk for awhile it hurts again constantly. before surgery the only position i could get in for a tiny bit of relief was laying on my stomach.
also ive had NO PT. my dr first said he wanted me to have it after 8 weeks, that it would "help since i was pregnant the 9 months before i had surgery/herniated, and i havent bent over for so long and my muscles are very weak" when i asked at my 8 week check up he said "no you dont need it really." i said "well i havent bent over now in 12 weeks and i havent walked more than a half mile in god knows how long cuz it was summer and i was pregnant! then in pain from my disc!" he said "oh ya ur right. that wuld probably help you get some mobility back. but lets wait till i see your new MRI" btw, my new MRI wont happen until im almost 15 weeks post op! i feel like my bodies wasting away!


  • I am calling out your doc. PT IS necessary! You've now got a new back and need to learn how to move it without injury and build up your core muscles again. Am I right to conclude that you had a baby right before your operation?

    If you did, then I'd hightail it right back to your doc and demand a referral to a therapy pool with a PT in the water with you. hydrotherapy is in a pool heated into the 90 degree F range and I found it amazing when I was at my worst. It allowed me to carefully relearn how to do basic tasks, bending and moving. I had my daughter in December 2011 and spent the winter of January 2013 in the therapy pool, where I learned how to sit-to-stand, reach while supporting my back, breathe to support my core muscles, etc.

    I think you could benefit
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • I am 6 months post op and and the only pain I am having is a sharp pain in my back . Leg pain is gone but some times get little twinges . My doctor did the same thing to me . He didn't want to send me to PT .Had to pretty much beg for it because he thought I didn't need it . I did PT for 6 weeks twice a week and it made a huge difference . If I remember correctly at 3 months i still was experiencing some leg pain . My pain level was 3-4 at the point in my recovery . At 6 months my pain is at 2-3 most of it in my lower back
    28 yr old
    Microdisectomy on June 27th 2013
  • thanks guys for your responses!

    Sarah- yes i was pregnant before surgery. i actually herniated my disc a week before i had the baby (which i didnt know at the time, ij ust knew i had pain). 2 months to the day after having the baby i had my microdisc surgery.

    AZGUY - thanks for your input. that really makes me feel better. i thought ther was something wrong with me to still have pain right now. i hate when friends/family ask me "r u getting better?" like they cant believe its been this long and im still not better, mainly because they dont really know what all is involved...which neither did i until it happened to me.

    well my MRI is in 3 days and i also see my dr at that same time. assuming all is well in my back, im going to demand PT because i know a heated pool would benefit me. the time i feel the best is when i take a hot shower. ive actually started my own "PT" of sorts. everyday i take a hot shower and i slowly bend over. i cant bend all the way down or anything but i figure some movement is good (i hope). in the past week (since I posted this) my leg pain seemed to be better, i made sure i laid down every 2 hours to ice my back and rest for 30-40 min. when i continue with that routine my leg pain stays at about a 3-4. however yesterday i think i did too much. i have a 5 month old baby and have not yet been able to take him out with me alone, i always have someone there to help lift him in/out of the car etc. well i felt better and thought id give it a whirl. but i think the combination of lifting him more than i normally do and driving longer than i anticipated now i have more leg pain today :( its at about a 5-6 now.. im hoping a couple of days of rest will help bring it back down (fingers crossed).
    i also think it would help me to lose weight as im 20lbs over my normal weight right now from the baby but its hard to lose when you cant workout. i have been eating healthy now for about 5 weeks and have managed to lose 6 lbs but i still have 20 more to go.
    fingers crossed that my recovery is just slow andnothing is wrong :)
  • please give us an update when you get your MRI results
    28 yr old
    Microdisectomy on June 27th 2013
  • Hey guys! So i got my MRI done last week (on Wed) and several xrays. I got an MRI with and without contrast and LOTS of flexion and extension as well as regular standing xrays. The good news is my surgeon said my MRI's and xrays look "great" he said theres no disc pieces, bulges, herniations that he can see. also theres no scar tissue that they can tell is sitting on my nerves. he also said sometimes they worry with back surgery your spine can settle and curve and mine is not. he said my disc height is still "very good" and he "doesnt see any reason on my tests why i should still have pain" SOOO he basically said it could be either my nerves are just very slow to heal or my muscles are still tight & causing more nerve paind or both.
    he sent me for physical therapy. today was my first day in the heated pool and it was amazing. while i was in the pool my pain went down to a 1-2. before i got in it was at a 5. its been about 2 hours since i finished my appt and my pain is slowly creeping back up to a 5...which sucks. im trying my best to stay hopeful that with time and PT ill get better.
    I still can keep my pain fairly low (2-3) if i dont do alot of anything and just stay home. For example, on Saturday i went to Kohls to buy a swimsuit for my PT and i ended up walking alot more than usual (about 1200 steps all within an hour) i usually only walk about 5-700 steps an hour. well the next day i had ALOT of burning pain in both legs and today im still feeling some of the lingering pains.i actually have to work tonight for a couple hours which requires some walking around so im PRAYING i dont have more pain tomorrow....
    So the good news is my back looks good on paper (or on film lol) the bad news, i still have pain =/
  • Have you tried traction? I bought a home traction device and it really helps me. Might be worth a shot. I found mine, a saunders hometrac, on ebay or craigslist I think for like $130 bux.

    After my surgery, I was prescribed a special air inflated corset / belt. You put it on, and inflate it with a hand-held pump. As it inflates, it... how do I put this? "Makes you taller" by stretching out your lumbar spine which helps unload and support the disc while it recovers and inflammation calms down. It really helped me a ton! I was advised not to get too dependent on it so as not to make the core muscles forget how to support the spine.

    Also, if you want additional imaging, you could look into neurography. It is kinda like MRI but for nerves and way more detailed. It would show exactly where and how much a nerve is being crimped.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • well i had a traction table before i had surgery for quite awhile but it never helped. im not sure why but using one after surgery scares me ...dumb i know but it just does.
    im not sure how id even go about getting neurgraphy done? ask my dr? at this point he seems to think its my nerves healing slowly and my muscles being knotted up causing my pain/sciatica...not sure if thats right or just a go to answer. but im hoping.
  • sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
    edited 01/30/2014 - 9:21 AM
    well, a new update. i had been to 2 PT appts, the first one seemed to help out ALOT. i felt so good. the 2nd one, i feel i may have done a little too much cuz i had some leg pain for a couple days but after some rest it died down. well right after that i got pretty sick (with some flu crap). so i havent been to PT in over a week. today is actually the first day im feel better. however, my leg is not. i now have an immense amount of leg pain in my opposite leg (from before surgery). the pain is staying right around a 7-9 kind of varying throughout the day. i noticed when i lay down it still hurts but after laying still all night (flat on my back) the pain went way down, however as soon as i moved at all it came right back. i also keep getting these very LOUD popping sounds in my back or leg... i cant tell where its coming from.
    well the only thing that happened differnt is while i was sick all week, i had some pretty violent sneezing/coughing attacks. i did everything imaginable to try and stop them but its pretty impossible when your sick. during one of them i got shooting pains down my legs and thats when all this pain started. SOOO needless to say im pretty sure and scared i probably reherniated. i havent had pain this bad since before surgery so i dont think thats a good sign. just when i thought i was on the road to recovery....
    im pretty worried because i just had my mri 2 weeks ago so i doubt the dr will want to order another. so where do i go from here?!?! im now stuck in bed yet again, cant work, cant do much of anything .... i dont even have pain meds anymore. i really cant believe im back here all over again. this has been a 6 month battle of this pain and im beyond over it.
  • sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
    edited 02/03/2014 - 3:06 PM
    another update, i have now been to 2 more PT appts since my last post and after each session on the pool i feel amazingly better for about an hour or 2...then the pain slowly creeps back into my legs. usually my pain would subside when i laid down for a bit and would only return with too much activity. now my pain seems to have a mind of its own. like today, i felt pretty good after PT, came home, did the dishes and laid down. then all of a sudden i started getting ALOT of tingling, burning in my opposite leg - nothing changes it, not walking, not laying down, nothing. its just there. yesterday it was my left leg. its like everyday i have a different weird pain and it stays all day ...then the next day its moved.... i just dont know what could be the cause of this. im hoping im still ok as far as reherniation goes but im afraid ill not know for a long time being as i just had an MRI right before my sneeze-a-thon =/ ugh
  • Sleepy ,

    Your story sounds similar to my situation . I had all my pain in my right leg . After surgery once in a while I would get pain in my left leg . It would go away and go into my right leg or back , buttock , hip on either left of right side . Everyday I would wake up and wonder where I was going to be hurting today ?lol . After a few months the pain I feel is consistent and minimal . I would like to have another MRI post op done just to have a piece of mind . Doctor won't do it . He said if i am still feeling pain 1 yr post op then we can see whats going on .
    28 yr old
    Microdisectomy on June 27th 2013
  • AZGUY - that surprise me. my dr ordered an MRI at 2 months post op ...he said "well lets get an MRI and see whats going on. no need to speculate for months"
    i had no reherniation or "any reason for pain" in his words. then a week later my pain seemed to be alot better with my new PT. then a couple weeks later i got sick had coughing/sneezing fits for a week and my pain is back up....ugh.
    i felt to happy and good about my MRI but now im backed to being scared i could have reherniated from my sneezing fits. sigh
  • sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
    edited 02/06/2014 - 6:27 PM
    i actually have a dr appt tomorrow that i made when my leg pain was at a 9 a few days ago. it has seen gone back down to a 5 so now im debating even going to the appt. i just dont know what hes going to do at this point. with a "Clean" mri im afraid the only other thing he can order is epidural injections and idk that im wanting to go that route.
  • After my surgery my pain never got past a 5 or 6 . Normally for me its a 1-2- or 3 now a days . Sounds like you are experiencing some inflammation , Are you taking any NSAIDS ? is your doctor a neurosurgeon ?
    28 yr old
    Microdisectomy on June 27th 2013
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