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Was my surgery a failure?

hamlin4thhhamlin4th Posts: 6
Hello Spine Health! I'll make this short

I'm a 21 y/o male in pretty good shape. Underwent a L5-S1 microdiscectomy on 3/16/15 after suffering from a moderate bout of sciatica (still hurt a lot though :/) for four months (although I am sure I herniated way before in May 2014, had slight signs then). Tried a myriad of conservative treatment to no avail.

Four days after surgery, I noticed my sciatica return. Not as bad as before, but I've also been in bed pretty much the whole time, so it wouldn't flare up under these conditions anyway. Also, it was mainly concentrated on the side of my left foot. Before the fourth day, I had felt light sensations that weren't even a 1, which I figured was normal, but I've become worried after the fourth day. This morning (the sixth day), I had a slight flare up after getting up from my seat at breakfast (a 3 of pain), popped an Ibuprofen 800mg, and went backed to bed. This time, the sciatica started at my butt cheek and went down to my foot (just like pre-surgery).

I am fine as of this moment, but disappointed. I really want to get to the point soon where I can be drug-free. Been taking pain medication for months, and that bothers me.

I'm worried that my surgery was for nothing. I recognize that nerves take along time to heal, but shouldn't flare ups not be possible anymore now that the disc that was pushing on my nerve has been clipped? I figured some inflammation will happen because the nerve was bothered during surgery, but not like this (especially since I felt no sciatica at all after I awoke from surgery). Furthermore, I can immediately activate nerve pain by sitting down and then bring my chin and face downward. Shouldn't that not be possible post-microdiscectomy?
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Comments

  • MountaineeringGalMMountaineeringGal Posts: 23
    edited 03/22/2015 - 9:43 AM
    Hi there. :)

    Sorry to hear that you're still having pain. You are only 6 days out from having surgery, it's not at all unreasonable to think that you'd be experiencing pain here and there. It takes the nerve some time to realize that there's nothing pressing on it anymore, so it will feel angry every now and again. Also, there's bound to still be some swelling and inflammation around the surgical site.

    I know how you feel when you say you want to be done with the pain! It sounds like you're actually not doing too badly. Be patient. :) Are you walking and at least getting up and around? That's really important.

    Best wishes to you!
  • Yes, I get up occasionally for food and such. Alternate between my bed and a standing desk for using the computer. I also go on hour walks each day. So yeah, I'm really not doing all that bad other than my worry over the nerve pain. By day 5, most of the stiffness in my back disappeared, although I'm still avoiding any bending and twisting. No pain at the surgical site. I can also walk a bit faster now. Still, I spend a lot of time in bed since I get tired easily now.
  • I agree with mountaineering gal, you sound normal from my experience with microdiscetomy surgery(I've had two), but of course, definitely keep your doctor well informed on what you are experiencing, just in case. there is most likely trauma from the surgery, in addition to swelling and the nerve just taking its very very very slow self to recover. It is so hard to be patient after having to deal with this pain for what seems like forever, but it will get better in time. This is definitely a marathon type recovery though, not a sprint.
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