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7 weeks postop microdiscectomy, severe numbness after sneezing

terrapin1tterrapin1 Posts: 5
edited 10/30/2014 - 4:09 PM in Recovering from Surgery

wanted to share my story I am a 31 year old female

I had a central herniation L5-S1 for about 3 years.  Before this date, i had only pain and discomfort time to time.  But This year on july2014 i started to develop neurologic deficits after injuring my back again. Tingling sensations first started on my left foot then went on my right foot.. thinglings progressed to numbness and the area effected increased to my both legs and feet. Then numbness on my feet turn to somewhat kind of stiffness. As if somebody ducktaped under my feet and i was trying so hard to squeeze them..  It was a true nightmare watching your spinal nerves dying for 2 months.. I was crying for surgery on my second week..  waited for surgery for about 2 months with progressing deficits.

Finally I got my microdiscectomy, foraminotomy 7 weeks ago. It was a relief. My neurosurgeon is a good one. But I lost so much time. I even have pelvic floor pain on my left side and muscle twichings there. Some sort of pelvic floor disfunction cannot squeeze my muscles there as before. But im good with urinary process. No retention nor leakage. So i start to get used to it... After 4 weeks microdiscectomy,  i was more able to walk, my mobilty was progressing good.. day by day. i had muscle twitchings on butt cheek, burning sensations on both of my heels, a little siatica radiating down my left butt time to time.. But so little and was managable. I m taking these as a part of the recovery progress.  I raised my walking 20 minutes each day but i am so slow as i mean i can only walk 500meters in 20 minutes. Resting at home, no working, no sitting other than toilet. No lifting bending twisting... I even lost 12 pounds after surgery (150 pounds before, now 138) i thought i was taking good care of my self...   

Until now... what happened is couple of days ago i started a flu in my room sneezing all the time in my bed while laying on my back. my back was flat all the time, i was getting weird twitches after sneezing on my pelvic floor. Was very weird. But seems nothing so important since i have muscle weaknesses... But two days ago I started new numbness on my feet, throbbing numbness. After surgery numbness was gone almost. even i have strengthtloss  i was taking a good care of my self. But this new throbbing numbness freaks me a lot if i got a reherniation or not?  what are your thoughts on this? Any suggestions? No pain in back no pain in legs but severe numbness got me after my sneezing attacks. I managed sneezings no more sneezing anymore but what happened during this attacks i was worried so much? since i have an ongoing numbness for 2 days. Non stop not getting any relief yet... 


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • compressed for so long but given you being ill and the sneezing, accompanied by spreading , new numbness, the best advice would be to contact your surgeon for a follow up sooner , rather than later.
  • Thank you for your reply sandi!

    Today is my 6th day with pins and needles. Some numbness resolved but it still resides in the tips of my toes. I've called my neurosurgeon today. He was so laid back and indifferent to my overexcited manner.  I was so sure that i had a reherniation. He told me that they will resolve in 2 weeks?

    My numbness in left leg was resolved on 3rd day  i was symptom free for one day. But pins and needles started again today much worse and spreading again. Ive said all of these to him and he was uninterested. It made me feel as if I'm making things up .. he said  "soak your back and legs in warm water... and somethings about muscle spasms... said so normal after sneezing but i dont know why they reside still after 6 days? I have some back pain while laying down on my back as if its a reherniation?  Never had back pain after surgery. Ever.  I'm really worried... hope it will resolve as he says.. I've learned how not to sneeze and how not to cough even. But it was too late i guess.
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 361
    I can identify with you on the pelvic issues, waiting for discectomy at L5-S1 hopefully early December (had a date for October 29 but it was postponed). Muscle relaxants are helpful, but my physiotherapist works alot with nerve pressure and that is giving me the most relief in my pelvis/hip...but it may be too soon for you to see a physiotherapist yet. I've had a couple of cold/allergy problems with sneezing/coughing since my disc rupture in March and it IS scary and painful...even laughing was painful for awhile. I was worried about dealing with a cold post surgery too. Perhaps the surgeon's lack of empathy was due to the fact that he gets a lot of calls from panicky patients, some who are making mountains out of molehills, and in most cases people just need to exercise a little more patience. Not saying you're over-reacting, but I would try to relax, think positively, and trust the Dr. It sounds like some things are improving? As long as there is some progress, I would try to focus on that and count the baby steps.
  • terrapin1tterrapin1 Posts: 5
    edited 11/09/2014 - 10:30 AM
    Thank you for your response smartens162,

    I guess so, it seems like he's(my ns) turned out to be right.. I first started with severe tingling and numbness in my left leg and both feet. Then numbness subsided in 3 days. After that I got muscle spasms on back and leg radiating even to my toes.. aching pain all over lower body.. pain resolved in 2 days. Back muscles are so stiff as steel now. It literally feels that way. mostly when laying on my back. Never had those stiffnes that much before. No pain at least for now.

    Today is my 15th day of the setback, pain and numbness went away mostly (Hopefully doctor is right.) But tingling and pins and needles in feet are still emerging time to time. especially at nights when laying on my back. Not having a full relief yet. Still worries me much but maybe i need more time on that..

    thank you
  • It is normal to get those sensations after sneezing. Every time I sneezed I got bad pains on my buttocks and nerves prior surgery and also after. I had a stomic virus some weeks after my surgery and was throwing up. It was horrible as I felt my leg nerve got real angry if it. As I remember the nerve was angry 1 week and again I thought now I reherniated..
    I m now at week 7.. I have had bad weeks and good weeks and today a bad day after I did too much yesterday..
    I have called and emailed my surgeon many times that I have reherniated but then I get better so I m not too scared of my bad days any more...
    I m not doing PT yet..
    36y old female, s1-L5 micro discetomy 18th of September 2014
  • Well what comes on the stiffness.. I could not even bend any more.. I feel pain even if I try to do so..
    No so fun to get this way after being former professional ballet dancer and acrobat..only in my dreams I can bend.. Maybe 1 day in the future I m somewhere normal..at this moment I don't need any pain killers nor did after my surgery but I feel some pains if I twist my neg.. The pain is on my lower spine. Does somebody think it is normal to get that after your surgey?
    My surgeon said it was.. But kind of hard to go to shops with no twisting my neg..
    36y old female, s1-L5 micro discetomy 18th of September 2014
  • I can understand you very well. I started to swim after 15 years (former swimmer in early childhood and teens) 2012-2013 attended and finished some open water swimming marathons.. it was such a joy felt like im reborn again.. first, on 2013 i injured my supraspinatus tendons on my shoulders.. which prohibits me swimming even short distances after 1.5 years of the injury.  So depressed and put on some extra pounds  And  this disc injury happened... i am so frustrated my last 2 years full of injuries and health problems.. prior to that i was very good. Never been fit but i was so good with my overall body health.. going to hiking, could walk 12k, bicycling even sometimes.... 

    now i can only barely walk 1k in 30minutes.. which is a progress after my operation. And i am glad to that even. Now its my 70th day after surgery... 

    post op 10 weeks... i have no more muscle spasms after my setback (3weeks ago) as the doc said numbness resolved fully okay.. aches resolved too. But this time i started to have tingling sensations mostly in my feet, sometimes on my genitals and rectum too! I have siatica on left buttock to legs too.. but not always..  which bothers me so much right now. This is a new occurence.. i think i should call my surgeon again and maybe an appointment is needed...  I'm so tired and so discourged right now. so tired of being not able to get well. And it feels most probably like a reherniation to me... with the new symptoms and new siatica... hope i can get the proper attention from my ns...
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