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Sciatica even after lower lumbar laminectomy/discectomy

After 2 months of pain (also tried epidural), I finally got my surgery done ( L5S1 lower lumbar laminectomy/discectomy ) in the hopes that I would get rid of the leg pain in 1-2 weeks. Everyone I know who has had this surgery said there was 100% relief in leg pain and they were back to work in a weeks times after surgery! This had set my expectation. I just completed 4 weeks after surgery and though I do not have excruciating pain going down my leg anymore, I am far from being 100% ok. My leg still hurts, gets numb, tingles, burns, pins and needles sensation etc. Standing in one place for more that 5 mins brings the unpleasant locking sensation in the buttock right back. My neurosurgeon has put me back on anti inflammatory (Indocin 50mg 3 times a day for 2 weeks) to help calm the nerve down. My neurosurgeon says that since my disc herniation was very large and my nerve was impinged for 2 months, the nerve is still very inflamed. She also tells me "nerves take a long time to heal". I am very disappointed and was wondering if there are others with the same experience.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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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
  • Hi Malkanim,
    I don't think you should be worried. Depending on how long your nerve was being pinched before surgery, it can take several weeks for the nerve to realize 'hey, i'm ok' and stop sending the pain/numbness/tingling sensations to your brain. Some people are lucky and wake up without the nerve pain right away. But my nerve pain was still there, but in the opposite leg! I am almost 3 weeks post op and it is only now starting to go away. Give yourself time and let yourself heal.

    I also think that back to work in 1 week is a little unrealistic. Take care of yourself - heal, and then measure yourself to others.

    Good luck
    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
  • Thank you for the quick response Sarah. I have been off work (working from home actually) for over 6 weeks now and I really did not think that even 4 weeks after surgery I would not be able to go into work. I now just either walk or lay in bed-----standing in one place brings the pain back in 5 mins. Though I do not have excrutiating pain down my leg anymore, my sciatic nerve is very irritated. Are you still taking any medicines? if yes, which ones?
  • SarahLindeauSarahLindeau Posts: 767
    edited 01/07/2014 - 12:10 PM
    So I had a fusion, not a discectomy, so I'm on a slightly different path, but I'm still taking oxycodone as needed, together with Tylenol. I've come off my Valium completely but still take flexeril as needed. I do think you should try moving around, as tolerated, as it will help you feel better. Even if you're only able to take a couple steps, moving around will help. I have a treadmill that I walk on every day, even just .10 of a mile. Then I rest most of the rest of the day.

    Have you contacted your doctor with your concerns or been checked to see if you've re-herniated?
    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
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