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3 Weeks Out from MicroD

Had a 2 level (l4-S1) MircoD 3.5 weeks ago. I thought I would explain where I am currently in recovery as well as a couple questions at the end.

I have basically had back problems for 5 years (search my post history if interested) and finally took the surgery plunge the 5th or March. Prior to surgery I was having bad sciatic pain down into calf and general back pain.


Went in at 10 AM and was home by 4 PM the same day. Right after surgery I noticed some numbness my toes on left foot which was not there before. Sciatic pain was gone, felt pretty good.

Week 1:

This week was a blur, pain pills turn me into a zombie but I felt pretty good. The end of the 1st week I was walking around the neighborhood with ease. A little slower than normal but I was active.

Week 2:

Seen my Surgeon one day before the 2nd week out of surgery (Tuesday) and he said I was doing well, he gave me a brace to wear. On Thursday I felt some hamstring pain in my right leg which scared me. I instantly thought it was a re-herniation but on the other side. On Friday, after a good icing I felt a burning sensation around the incision, left work early as it was a Friday. On Saturday I felt like crap, i was actually getting sciatic pain down my left leg into glutes. I had 6 of the crazy shooting, sharp pains. I then work up on Sunday feeling great. Huge relief. I slowed down on my walking.

Week 3:

I had important work training all week and had to go to work, I felt pretty good. I have been taking IBProfin 800's as prescribed and Icing as much as possible. My foot numbness has decreased by about half. (another great sign IMO)


Those that had a 2 level MircoD, was your recovery a little slower than expected compared to people who had just 1 level?

Those who have actually re-herniated, did you know the second it happened?

Those who have developed scar tissue, what was your activity level the 1st month out of surgery?

Thanks everyone for all the stories, even the bad ones because it prepares me for the worst case scenario.
MircoD of L4-S1 on 3/5/2014

MRI stating either re-herniation or post-op granulation tissue- 5/16

Re-herniation confirmed, ESI on 5/29


  • My recovery for the 2nd surgery was indeed much slower than the 1st. I was in bed for 4-5 weeks whereas I was up and around pretty soon after the 1st.
    It does take awhile for things to settle down; I know in my case, it took a good 6 months for everything to resolve.

    In one instance of reherniation, I was at work one afternoon and felt a tightness in the lower back. It kept getting progressively worse. I didn't really understand what was happening and just kept working. By nighttime, I was at home and it got to the point I was laying on the ground unable to stand back up. That's when I knew LOL.

    When I had my 2nd surgery(L5-S1), the surgeon told me they "touched up" the disc they had previously worked on a year earlier (L4-L5). I asked if there was any scartissue; he said no.

    How big is your incision? Are you in pain?

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • BirdbackpainBBirdbackpain Posts: 39
    edited 03/29/2014 - 2:15 PM
    Since it was a 2 disk MicroD my incision is pretty large, I would estimate at 3 1/2 inches.

    My pain comes and goes, I refer to it as a pain roller coaster. Day by day I am thinking that my pain is a nerve regenerative pain and not a re-herniation. I see my PT for the first time on Monday, I heard she is good and can usually tell if the patient has re-herniated.

    Thanks for your comment.
    MircoD of L4-S1 on 3/5/2014

    MRI stating either re-herniation or post-op granulation tissue- 5/16

    Re-herniation confirmed, ESI on 5/29
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 03/30/2014 - 4:34 PM
    and of course when you increase your activity. It is vitally important to the outcome of your surgery that you follow all the post op restrictions and rehabilitation instructions you were given by your surgeon.
    Do not return to work unless you are medically cleared, do not increase your activity levels until instructed by the surgeon.
    If nerve related pain does not decrease after a few days, it is wise to contact your surgeon to discuss your concerns.
  • BirdbackpainBBirdbackpain Posts: 39
    edited 04/02/2014 - 10:38 AM
    I felt great all weekend. My numbness has all but gone away, it was a beautiful Las Vegas weekend. I was in high spirits, elated that my surgery had been so successful to that point.

    On Monday @ 2 PM I started PT. I done some stretches and some very basic core strengthening which made me feel even better.

    Tuesday I woke up and done the same stretches and exercises, again I felt great....UNTIL.... a sneeze at 10AM. I was sitting in comfortable chair at work. I braced myself like I had 50 times prior but the sneeze made me say "OWW". The initial pain was on the opposite side than the original herniation. I went home and had some leg pains on both sides, no shooting pains like before surgery, it was more like dull pains in random places. I slept ok, not as comfortable as the previous nights.

    Wednesday (today) I woke up feeling better than I thought I would. Yesterday I was at home bawling my eyes out preparing for the worst. I am still really sore with some pains getting into my glute area but no further. I am currently waiting on my surgeon or PA to get back with me on my questions.

    I don't expect these to be answered here but I am posting the questions I will be asking surgeon, if you have answers please go ahead and answer them from your experience.

    1. After a month of healing would it be possible for a little sneeze to herniate?
    2. If not herniation what is physically happening in my body when a "flare up" happens? Are small muscles being torn? Is the nerve just temporarily xxxx?
    3. Would it be possible to herniate out of the opposite side? (my thought on this if there is already a weak spot, how could the herniation tear through the outer wall? Just like water, I would imagine it would take the path of least resistance.)


    EDIT- Just to clarify, I know it is a possibility that the PT made the muscles sore. It doesn't feel like typical muscle soreness thought.
    MircoD of L4-S1 on 3/5/2014

    MRI stating either re-herniation or post-op granulation tissue- 5/16

    Re-herniation confirmed, ESI on 5/29
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