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3 Weeks post discectomy and having leg pain! Normal??

ActiveOneAActiveOne Posts: 1
edited 05/15/2015 - 10:37 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am brand new to this site and would welcome insight from any of you who might have experienced this problem!

I am an extremely active 46 year old woman. I have weight trained for 20 years, do cardio daily and take Pilates twice a week. Two years ago I jumped off a cliff in Hawaii into the ocean for fun but landed on my back. Shortly after, I began experiencing severe pain down the left side of my leg. I saw a sports chiropractor and was diagnosed with a herniated disc. After a year of working with him (and NOT lifting weights) I had an MRI done because I felt the therapy was not working. The MRI revealed that I had severe spinal stenosis.

I elected to have a series of cortisone shots which definitely helped!! The pain subsided greatly and I was able to resume MOST of my normal lifting activities. The ONE thing that caused awful pain was having to stand for any length of time (i.e. Disneyland). But, if I wasn't standing for long periods of time, I basically had ZERO pain.

I decided I was too young to have to worry about limitations as I travel a lot and do not want to be hindered by my condition so I decided to go ahead with back surgery.

My surgery was April 23rd. The surgeon said my disc was badly damaged and that he had to clean out a ton of fragments. The very first time I got up to walk in the hospital, I had shooting pain down my leg. NOOOOO!!!!

I am now 3 weeks post surgery and I still have the pain! My doctor gave me a prednisone pack which I'm just finishing up. I am curious to know if this is NORMAL and will get better?? I understand the nerve needs to heal- that's what the articles say. But it seems that if I'm experiencing leg pain, something must be pushing on the nerve, right? Or is it just so swollen in there that everything is compressed?

How long should I give it before I begin to worry?? I am anxious to resume my normal life again and I'm depressed thinking I'm going to have to contend with this pain forever...Help!


  • 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
  • mvelez8735mmvelez8735 Posts: 4
    edited 05/16/2015 - 5:20 AM
    My surgery 1-17-2015 for microdistectomy with lam. I am still having some pain going down the right leg. I am still doing pt and that part is getting better. My problem is that I am not able to sleep on my right side. Within 20 min I get a pain in my buttocks and the pain will stay there for days. I have appt next week for another mri to see if there is something else going on or with it's just scar tissue. It's very upsetting since I cannot sleep on my right side since I also had a rotator cuff repair on 2/27/15. Yes, I was crazy to do two major procedures so close to each other. I wanted to hurry up and heal at the same time. I should have never listened to the doctor who said it would be ok my second procedure three weeks apart. Never again!!! I was told that the leg pain will get better and it could take up to one year. Hang in there because I will also have to wait. I will keep you posted after my MRI....
  • Have you had your post op surgery yet? I have my two week soon this friday.

    Like you I had my nerve wrapped with fragments and basically suffocating it from my disc at L5/S1. It is from what I have read and understood to have similar symptoms for a while after surgery. Your back and more importantly your nerve is inflamed and is healing now. There was a lot of movement in there during surgery with tools, etc., so they need to get back to "normal" and it takes weeks if not months usually.

    I had numbness in my right foot and was unable to stand on my tip toes. I still can't and have some numbness. I hear it slowly goes away, but it is worse in the morn when I get up. I can say daily it gets slightly better, just barely. I feel like its gonna be a long recovery.

    I wouldn't worry too much, if its a huge concern, maybe ask for an MRI again to make sure its not re-hernitated, but I would give it time. For me, I am the type that would rather have an MRI today and know what the deal is then wait though, so its up to you.

    Good luck....you'll be fine. The surgery success rate is very high...and if you read in here, a lot of people have similar symptoms for a while.
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