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Can anyone explain why sitting would cause leg pain if a herniation was just removed

I know everyone here has their own problems so sorry to bother you with a stupid question but I am thoroughly confused... I had a herniated disc and had a microdiscectomy 6 wks ago to remove the herniation. Dr. said the surgery was a success and herniation was removed. However now that I started driving again and sitting for longer periods of time I get the pain back exactly like before the surgery. I don't understand why this should happen if they removed the part of the disc that was hitting the nerve? They won't do another MRI right now so I am just wondering if anyone can explain why this would happen. I understand my back is still healing and I am fine if the nerve is still irritated, but why should this happen only when I sit? The only reasonable answer I can think is that there is still more disc hitting the nerve.

Thanks for any responses. Take care, Maria


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Your question is not stupid...... :) And sure we're all dealing with something...the list of forum titles indicates how complex these spinal issues can become.
    But on my good days, it is a pleasant distraction to hear from and interact with others who understand my life better than anyone else.
    You are not alone. We are here for each other!

    That being said...here for each other...I really don't know how to respond to your concerns.
    You said doctor will not yet order MRI. When he told you that, was it in response to you explaining your symptoms?
    You are not that far out from surgery and I'm sure doctor would want to know your symptoms...and then be able to give you guidance and or reassurance.

    I wish you the best! Please keep us posted on how you're doing!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hi,
    I also had a discectomy and never had pain when sitting before surgery. I had surgery 12 weeks ago for radiating nerve pain, numbness, and tingling. I didn't have issues with sitting before my surgery but now I do. I understand completely what you are going through.

    My surgeon said sitting is the worst thing for my back and for the first part of recovery to spend my time laying down or walking. When I returned to work to work, he also told me not to sit for more than 30 min in a clip. I ended up getting a standing desk because the more I sit, the more pain I have.

    The way my pain doctor explained it is once they remove the pressure of the disc on the nerve, the nerve can sometimes wake up and it could cause an increase in pain while it heals. I guess it makes sense to me but this is frustrating because after surgery you expect not to have any of that pain again.

    I would def talk to your doctor and let him know of any changes in your pain. I just talked to my doc again and now we are moving forward with PT again to see if helps my pain.

  • I can't thank you enough for the replies. I'm so sorry you're going through this to runner, but to at least hear your surgeon say that it is normal and can get better in time gives me hope, something that I have begun to lose which is really bad. I even thank God that I can walk and stand without pain, I know there are others that aren't even that lucky. I I have even considered moving to shorten my commute which is crazy but I know I need to do something.

    My doctor said to give it two weeks of physical therapy, something I just started this week, and if I still feel this way he will do another MRI.

    I will keep you and everyone on here in my prayers. I remember many years ago when I first had issues after visiting the site I would always remember all the people here suffering.
  • I had a micro in july 2014. Clear MRI showed the rare "extrusion" herniated disk for left sided leg pain, Never really had "back" pain. I opted for surgery over epidural knew too many people who these were "bandaids for" , and I needed to be back to work have a family to support...And the first few weeks I really started feeling better, then entered in PT and spiraled from there., and oddly enough it all hit the right side, had such pain sitting. But it was rare unlike sciatica, femoral disorder, then periformis, then SI joint, so then we just diagnosed me with pelvic pain. My profile pic shows how my back was swelled every day no answer why my pain was not typical sciatica, mine came around my hip along the crease of your hip when you sit and into the inner thigh, sometimes down to my foot numbness and tingling... I had blood tests,to rule out all systemic, I never wanted an epidural so I had surgery and then forced (not by dr) to have a spinal epidural, because I needed relief, toradol didn't work steroid packs didnt work, and sure enough I did it and for me that was a "wet tap" and bed ridden 5 days, then I continued to reach out to anyone and everyone in the medical field, I hit the computer hard like I was a med student and researched not only to try to find a diagnosis but to research and learn about what I could be living with. Prior to this surgery I was healthy 46 yr old physical adult 127 pd 5"4.

    11 months of pain , it felt like I had been sitting on a rock right in the center of my buttock and I could never get it to go away unless I laid down and did NOTHING!!!! and tests, drs scratching their heads, I saw a neuro surgeon who did not know I went into the city and saw a neuro who said maybe its nerve related but didn't want to take me as a patient, I saw a neurologist, had a nerve test came back negative, a rheumatologist , a gynocologist, I had 9 MRI's, showed some scar tissue but left sided remember I'm dealing with right sided pain now...a full body scan an anesthesiologist/PM dr, to make sure I wasn't just "drug seeking" that was humiliating, but I understand they kept doing tests and I kept getting worse..in and out of PT hydro and land....activity continued to make my pain worse, I had a good dr that stuck with me trusted I knew my body and it was never about the pain meds it was about whats wrong with my body since I had surgery... the 2 failed epidurals, ended up with another on the right side because my pain also didn't come back on the same side it came back all right sided..and along with all of this I lost my job of 10 years, so not only my life changed my whole families life changed. Something was seriously wrong and I wasn't giving up.

    I sit here now post op 2 weeks monday for a bone fusion on the same disk L4-L5. All my spiney friends WE ARE ALL HERE FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, I AM NO DR. THIS IS MY STORY wether it be a surgery you had a fall you had an epidural ..follow your gut know your body....I sat up one night at the end of my wits researched and found a test the dr had never mentioned....I dont know why and I don't care I found it read about it, the test freaked me a bit more then surgery but it gave me chances of a diagnosis and maybe less fusion then I would need. A discogram....I emailed the dr office and scheduled an appt to see if he'd be willing to do the test.
    We did the test, and sure enough, posterior annular tear, fluid leaking out onto the nerve causing pain and damage...which was not detected on a MRI, body scan with contrast, xrays ect....one week later surgery scheduled....

    Ask your dr for an MRI, discuss the discogram, its your body your pain you have to live with for your life time....be your own advocate kkuylen . I had post op pain and had an MRI right away I don't know your exact surgery but we are so prone to re injury and fusions not taking and re herniating...I'm not a dr just passing along what I've learned . Good luck . Call your Dr. :)
    I am hoping over time things will resolve themselves, I have to be very careful very limited I wear a shell I have a cane, I'm just walking minimal and the most I'm in the car is 10 mins. I still have leg pain, but Ive got a lot of swelling and you put it into perspective 11 months of pain thats 11 months to repair not to mention the 6 months of the original injury., and original surgery...( I fell shoveling snow in feb 2014) had surgery July 2014, and now my bone fusion may 11 2015.
    This can't be happening
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