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1 week post op not doing great

Claire76CClaire76 Posts: 6
edited 09/28/2015 - 3:26 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone,
Just need to get this out. I'm now one week out from having had a microdiscectomy to remove a large herniation at l5 which was compressing my s1 nerve root.

Prior to surgery, my condition had been misdiagnosed and I had been trying to function for 15 months in severe constant pain.

Last Monday (September 21), I had he operation. I can't really say if the pain was anything less on waking up as I had so much pain medication in hospital.

The day after discharge, the entire path of the s1 nerve root, from the top of my butt to my baby toe on the right leg had gone completely numb. I called my neurosurgeon who said it could take many months for sensation to return and that even then, I could be left with numb patches on my leg.

I also to him about sciatic twinges I had been having since after the surgery, eg when I push my butt into the bed or move my leg in a certain way.

As the days have rolled on, while some sensation has returned to my right leg, I can definitely feel some sciatic type pain, which is really depressing.

My ns said I could sit for 5 minutes at a time so this morning I did and started to feel my leg cramp up with sciatica again, so I got moving pretty quickly!

I'm having a really difficult time accepting this. I've had to put my babies in crèche (daycare) for the full day, I can't collect my daughter from school, I'm completely dependant on other people to lift my baby, etc. I'm so sad.

I've generally been good with my recovery, but I couldn't help picking up my 7 month old baby and holding her when she was upset a few times this last week. According to the rule book, she is too heavy for me to be lifting at once , but I'm her mom first, patient second.

Now I fear I've done some damage to the disc and reherniated again. The ns told me not even to sneeze too hard as I have a large hole in my disc where he removed the herniation.

Also, has anyone else had stiffness and poor range of motion in the hamstring and lower back following the same surgery? My range of motion is probably as bad if not a little worse than it was prior to surgery. I'm just so stiff!

Sorry if this reads all over the place. I'm just not in a great place right now.


  • Hi Claire, I'm sorry to see you had to go through this type of surgery. You need to give it more time to heal. One week isn't long enough to expect much improvement. The good news is you should start to feel a little bit better every day from now on. Give it more time to heal, as the worst part should be over. Good luck.
  • Hi, I know you're a mum first BUT you have to think of the big picture, you're being a good mum by making sure you recover well so you can get on with your live as pain free as possible.
    Kirsti x
  • For the encouragement . It's just so hard each time I feel electric pins in the back of my thigh and the shot of sciatica down the side of my leg every now and then. I dread night times as I'm so anxious that the muscle spasms are going to come back with a vengeance. Has anyone any experience of how long it takes for the hamstrings to loosen out? I know I shouldn't expect miracles after the nerve had been compressed for so long. It's just really difficult to deal with this psychologically. I had spent the last 14 months prior to this being told it was another condition which would resolve itself and to be patient, only to be told last month that It was a completely different problem and would require surgery. Trying to stay positive tho. Thanks and grateful for all words of encouragement & shared experience :-).
  • Hi,

    Try not to worry about getting sciatica still, I had my microdiscectomy back in May and still get it somewhat in my calf and thigh. It's not there all the time but sometimes comes back just strong enough to play on my mind but not painful enough to stop me going about my day or take any pills! I don't even have to do anything, sometimes it just comes on for no reason and then goes as if it's just reminding me it's still there! It is getting better though.

    If I sit for too long I start getting a numb ankle and outside two toes of my foot, it's gradually getting a bit better though. For a good while after my op, from time to time but especially when I woke up in the morning my calf muscles were really tight and felt like I needed to stretch them or do a warm up or something.

    As my consultant told me, the nerve had been squashed and is then moved while they perform the microdiscectomy which aggravates it even more so it's usual for it to play up for quite a while until it recovers!

    I'm still a bit stiff in my lower back even after this time, it makes putting socks and shoes on interesting!

    For me the recovery wasn't anything like a normal operation where you had a bit of pain afterwards which healed and went away, even now I'm still recovering and getting occasional aches and pains where the nerve does its healing thing. Things do improve though!
    L5-S1 microdiscectomy, May 2015
  • Claire76CClaire76 Posts: 6
    edited 09/30/2015 - 8:44 AM
    mrjolly, it's great you don't have to take any pain meds. I'm no doctor, but it looks like from the experience you described and from so many others on this forum, the nerves are probably the most temperamental and unpredictable part of the body to heal. The neurosurgeon said that he tore the sheath which encases the nerve and then 'put some glue on it'!? As I was just coming round after the operation when he told me this and all I wanted to do was sleep, I just told him 'oh that's ok, that's fine', without really understanding what this meant and just went back to sleep. I'm hoping the 'glue' will hold a long enough time for the nerve to heal, if it ever does heal. Had a lot of sciatic twinges today and leg cramps when I'd get up from lying down. Not a great day today. Tomorrow will be interesting as I will be allowed to sit down as it will be 10 days post op. Really anxious about feeling the same old excruciating pain in my leg after sitting for any period. Getting ready the lumbar roll and wedge shaped cushion!!!
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