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MicroD for L5-S1 - Need reassurance it will address my issues.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am new to the boards and need some reassurance for my upcoming surgery.

I just had a baby 4 weeks ago. For a month prior to his birth, I was left unable to walk more than 1 minute without having terrible pain in my right buttock and legs. It continued after my baby was born and I had an MRI that confirmed herniated disc at L5-S1 on my right side. I have been pretty much on my back for two months. I'm now scheduled for an microdiscectomy on Monday afternoon. I have been unable to care for my baby, since sitting, standing or walking is excruiciating.

I am looking for some reassurance from other herniated L5-S1 folks that my symptoms are caused by the herniated disc that the surgery will address. I am very eager to begin healing and get back to my life and caring for my baby.

My main complaint is the severe pinching pain in my buttock and pain near my tailbone. I also have pain running down the back of my thigh, no ankle reflex, occasional pins and needles down my leg, and my foot is numb along the outside and pinkie toe - but from what I have read, these are pretty clearly related to the disc and are common.

Has anyone had the severe pinching in your buttock and tailbone pain? And was it fixed by the surgery?

Sorry for the novel - I am just getting nervous about surgery! Thanks so much for reading this!


  • But be aware that the nerve pain does not always go away right away. Some people wake up in recovery and the pain is gone. Some, like myself, wake up and it's worse, but that's only temporary. For me it was pretty bad for about 3 1/2 weeks (pain meds helped a lot), and then began to settle down. I'm approaching 6 weeks now and I still have some leg pain, but it's very much tolerable.

    Follow your surgeon's instructions, don't try to do anything you're not supposed to after surgery. Do you have someone to help with the baby? There will be no bending, lifting or twisting for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.

    I am very glad I did this, and I'm confident you will be too. Just listen to the docs, ask lots of questions and take it real slow and easy for a while after.

    Good luck, and keep us all posted! Our thoughts are with you.

  • this pain i can relate to. i had lumbar surgery 20 yrs. ago when i was 27 yrs. old. i remember that pain all too well. my left butt cheek was pitched , the pain down my leg. i was drugged for mths. before anyone did anything.it was the worse thing i had ever been thru.
    you poor thing, having to go thru this after having your baby, i cannot imagine. i remember could not even lift my leg up to put on clean underwear. the pain was unbearable. they finally did a mylogram on me and admitted me, and did surgery the following morn. now i am going thru this with my cervical. it a little different, but saying here i go again.
    but the good news is the surgery did help me so much. i had a discectomy also. i damaged alot of nerves in lower calf in left leg, by leaving it go so long. when i shave my legs, it seems like they are not there. if i cut myself i don't realize it until i start bleeding. it just goes to show you, just to have surgery as soon as possible , do not wait like i did. congradulations on your new baby! trust me if you just do it and get it overwith you can be on your road to recovery, and be chasing him/her around the house before you know it crawling!! LOL good luck LEOCAT
  • Thank you for the replies. I am just so nervous that the herniated disc is not the cause of my problem since my buttock is so tight and painful. I've been doing too much internet research, I suppose. I have read about piriformis syndrome and was concerned that was my issue instead of the herniated disc. It's reassuring to hear that others had buttock pain as well.

    I definitely have help with the baby. My mom has moved in with us until I am healed. Thank goodness!
  • Hi JClay,

    Just wanted to let you know I understand what you are going through as I had a similar experience but am now 6 months post op and doing really well.

    I ruptured my L4-L5 disc giving birth to my son last August and had the severe pain you describe for 6 months until I had a microdiscectomy. The pain was terrible and went from my lower back, through the bum and down the leg to the foot. The bum pain was probably the worst and there was no position standing/sitting or laying down that would relieve it.

    I am happy to say that once I came round from the op I knew immediately that I had been fixed as my nerve pain was gone and I was able to lie flat on my back for the first time in 6 months.

    I obviously had to be careful in rehab and there have been a few set backs along the way but in the main I am very happy with my progress and was able to look after my baby alone a couple of weeks after the surgery.

    I would plan on having your mum around for at least a month if thats possible, as I know how demanding caring for a newborn is even if your recovery goes really well.

    Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions, and most of all GOODLUCK with your surgery.

  • Has your Dr. suggested a Discogram?

    It really helped cement in my mind that my pain was from the discs -

    It also really confirmed that my Dr. needs to do 2 discs instead of one. The disc that looks better was found to be the one causing the most pain.

    Until my discogram(it's not a fun test, be warned) I was not convinced that my pain was from my back either.

    Surgery is such a big step, the recovery is so long - well, I do suggest making a fully informed decision and this did it for me.
  • If you haven't had the discogram, you can kinda sorta get close by comparing your symptoms to a dermatome chart.
    While it's true that anyone's symptoms can come from any number of things, the dermatome chart did in fact, coincide with what I presented symptom-wise(same as yours).

    The discogram did confirm everything in my case.

    My L5-S1 recovery did take longer than my L4-L5.
    L4-L5 I woke up, and knew the problem was fixed.
    I could just feel it.

    For L5-S1, I woke up in pain, and recovery took a while longer. About 2 months and change.

    It finally resolved.

    Physical therapy can be tough, but it can help.
    Not lifting (especially during the first 2 weeks) or bending or twisting or moving/shoving/dragging anything for a couple months after is also not a bad idea.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I had L5-S1 micro June 18th, legpain was terrible,couldnt walk and developed a limp.
    Today I have no legpain and can walk 2-3 miles a day.
    Back is still sore at times, but trade that for evil legpain any day.
    You are doing the right thing,just get an experienced surgeon.......
  • I had the exact tightness in the buttock you describe. It was bilateral, but more on the left than the right. I did a lot of stretching for the hip thinking it was piriformis as well. I have never had a lot of low back pain.

    I just had a microdiscectomy/laminotomy at L5-S1 2 weeks ago for left radiculopathy and drop foot. I asked a neurologiat, phys med and rehab doc, 2 neurosurgeons, and an orthopedic surgeon if it could be piriformis b/c I had the same fear. They all said that piriformis would not cause muscle weakness and numbness in the feet and legs. My symptoms were textbook L5. They suggested that I had actually been stretching out my low back indirectly rather than my hip.

    The MRI showed a disc herniation at L5. At the beginning of the surgery, a big piece of disc floated right to the top. My surgeon commented that the nerves were extremely inflamed. So all the objective evidence was consistent with a disc problem.

    I have a toddler. I was able to get in for surgery early in the morning and be discharged that same day. The first week post op was the worst for me. But since then, I have been able to resume caring for my daughter full-time. I still have the leg and foot symptoms, but the buttock symptoms are gone. I had some immediate improvement in my left foot weakness, but the drop foot remains. I am walking a couple miles each day and hoping the remaining deficits resolve.

    You will need a lot of help post-op! My daughter is old enough to do a lot herself - unlike a newborn. I am hoping to have another child, so these stories about herniation during pregnancy and childbirth are not encouraging...

    I wish you all the best for your surgery and recovery!
  • Jclay bookmark this link http://www.boss.net.au/spinenotes/discectomy_complications.htm

    Everytime you are feeling terrible post op,read the Incomplete Relief part.
    Also DONT,DONT,DONT bend over the crib to pick up your baby.
    If you have to bend, support yourself with 1 arm.
    Bending,lifting,twisting is a no-no.
    Good luck
  • Hi Redrock,

    Hope this helps to ease your mind a bit about herniating a disc in labour. Mine happened because the baby's shoulders became stuck (shoulder dystocia) and they had to hyperflex my legs really quickly towards my face to get him free. It is a really rare complication and happens in less than 1% of births, so hopefully it is something that wont affect you.

    Good luck with your plans on having a second baby, I'd love to go for a third but I am not sure I am quite ready for it yet!

    Take care

  • Thanks to everyone for their comments. I am going in for surgery tomorrow afternoon. I look forward to moving on from this after the surgery.

    My mother will be staying with us for 6 weeks, so I will definitely have the help. I don't want to risk reinjuring myself when dealing with the baby. I want to be healthy for him long term.

  • discograms are usually only indicated pre fusion surgery to determine if the disc itself is the pain generator. in the case of a disc prolapse causing nerve root compression, which is effectively what you describe, it is the compression of the nerve root causing the pain rather than the disc itself. remove the compression (trim the disc) and the problem goes away...

    ps ~80-90% of microdiscectomies go on to have excellent results and no further problems...

    good luck
  • I had a L5-S1 micro-D on 5/21/08. Continued to have pain afterward. Found out last week that the same disk reherniated ( happens between 5-10% of the time) and that I will need another surgery. So research possible complications so if you have a negative experience, you will be prepared. I am not trying to scare you, I just don't want you to be blindsided like I was. Surgeon told me the procedure was 90-95% effective, it's very easy to be blinded by those numbers and not prepare yourself for any negatives. Good Luck
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