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Post op L5/S1 recovery


I had a micro discectomy 2 days ago. The MRI showed a small herniation but I knew something was wrong because on of a burning sensation in my back which 3 weeks later turned into pain in my legs. Right leg to the knee and left leg to the knee and below the knee was tingling. I was still able to work and even went on a very painful 20 mile bike ride. The day before surgery I gardened and got everything ready because I knew I was not able to do it after the surgery. My doctor studied my MRI and was giving me more time to think about it because my herniation was not that big and knowing that I was still doing active things made him think twice about doing the surgery. I wanted him to go ahead because I knew something was wrong.

Once her opened up the space he found a large herniation. My left side was much worse but he was able to get material out of the right side as well. 4 months prior I had ACDF in my neck and the same thing happened (MRI did not show the severity of the injury). My questions are.
He said that if I did not have the micro discectomy at this time - the entire disc would have blown in 2 months. It was a good thing I decided to do this.
1. Is this typical for MRI's to miss the severity of the herniation.
2. Do I have a very high pain tolerance?
3. What would be my symptoms if the disc would have ruptured completely?
4. Is it typical for the sciatica to come and go in the first few days of healing? I'm wondering if there is swelling in the area and may still be compressing part of the nerve.

The numbness has improved greatly and my hips feel much better...the tightness in my hamstrings is also improved but it's somewhat a little sore...I'm guessing this is normal for the first few days but wanted to know other people's experience. Thanks


  • Hi Barbara! If you look/post under the L4/5/S1 experiences topic in the "recovering from surgery" section, you will find a number of active members who might have some answers to your questions. :)
    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
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