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4 weeks post lumbar discectomy, could use outside opinion. i have speicific questions.

Okay, so this may be a little long but i will try to make it as short as i can.

Years ago i developed sciatica, starting in the buttox and down the leg. It was VERY bad.
Fast forward 7 years. The nerve pain is isolated to the right calf and it hurts much less, not sure how the pain evolved in such a weird way but it was certainly for the better. If i didnt do anything, the pain wasnt there.
However it still hurt sometimes and i still couldnt do any exercise. I felt limited and i wanted it to go away because it depressed me.
I did physical therapy 3 times (10 sessions + each time), decompression, acupuncture, chiropractory, epidurals. Not only did i get no relief, but whenever i did these it made it worse for a week then would subside again. I was convinced a discectomy would solve the problem. Got an mri and confirmed i had 3 herniations, two were the l4/l5 and the si joint which both are classic causes for sciatica. Doctor agreed to do l4/l5 discectomy since that was the most herniated and most likely the cause.

Surgery was november 12th, today it is december 15th so 4 weeks. Today was the worst pain ive had since getting the surgery. I really believed it would solve all my problems and here i am today and it is worse than when i started.

The reason i am writing this post is because i need some inspiration that this will go away, i have been dealing with this for so long i can imagine having to deal with it worse than what ive had.

Now, i worked two nights ago doing delivery. I also slept on a couch. Im sure these contributed to the increased pain. But my problem is why am i still having pain at all! If the offending disc is gone why should the nerve still hurt? It never hurt in the past if i didnt bother it, so the symptomology must have changed. I want to believe a month is a young recovery period but i figured the pain wouldve started to go away if i was making progress.

So whats your opinion!


  • hey oldhockey.

    I have nearly 0 back pain, it is just the reoccuring sciatica pain in the right calf. I did some work doing pizza delivery, i just hate not having money and being stuck in the house, seems it was a mistake since i was carrying food and getting up and down from the car. I worked counter a few days prior and didnt really have a problem so maybe it was just doing delivery.

    My doctor told me prior to surgery that i could expect to return at about 4 weeks so thats why i was surprised to still have pain. I just thought the whole process would go smoother than this. I am hoping i will start seeing relief soon. I did not have pain like this before surgery and it did not often interfere with my delivery work.
  • I'm gonna guess you're getting pain from the discs themselves being stressed. A discectomy doesn't remove the disc, it just removes the nucleus that's bulging out. The disc walls (annulus) still have nerves in them, I think. You slept on a couch? Delivery as in babies or packages? If you're bending and flexing and holding in a non-straight position (by sleeping on a couch) you might have stressed or even herniated another disc. 4 weeks postop is pretty soon to be doing all that. See chirogeek dot com for the technical stuff. I'm 5 months post-op from a stenosis decomp and I blew out the adjacent disc 2 weeks ago from bending etc while working on a car. Now I'm going in for an ESI. Apparently 5 months is too soon to be exerting ones self, but the Dr. released me 2 months ago and said I'm ok.
    Life's short, play hard.
  • I had 2 failed L5-S1 discectomy surgeries. I was totally pain free in my right leg for a short time after each micro discectomy surgery.
    Luckily, I'm a healthcare professional and my surgeon trusted that I knew my body the best!
    The 2nd micro was done a few weeks after the first and he said he had to suction disc material before he could even get to the actual disc space (not good, but explained exactly why I hurt so much worse after complete resolution of pain for a short time)
    Your surgeon should order an MRI with contrast to assess if the disc re-herniated. That is assuming the leg pain did go away for even a short time post op.
    If no relief post op it is most likely the wrong area was operated on:(
    Be your own best advocate !!! Fight for your right to be nerve pain free if it is at all possible!!
    Best of Luck:)
    L5-S1 micro x2, L5-S1 fusion, ACDF C5-7, Anterior and posterior cervical fusion C4-7, plus 4 right arm surgeries:(
  • to work? Flare ups are common during recovery but going up and down stairs, and climbing in and out of cars isn't the best idea after having spine surgery.
    A month is not that long after spine surgery, and unless and until your surgeon tells you to return to your activities and employment, doing so puts the outcome of your surgery at risk.
    If the symptoms continue, then calling your surgeon to a sooner follow up might be the best option.
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