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Re-herniation or Flare-Up?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm 3 weeks post-op from a microdisc and I've had the leg pain return over the last couple of days. Not to the same degree as pre-op, but it's there. It's worse right when I wake up in the morning or stay sedentary for a prolonged period. Once I get up and move it goes away almost completely. A few days ago, I had a household problem that required me to be hunched over for about 15 or 20 minutes, that was about the time this started. The NR's nurse says she thinks I'm just having a flare-up, but it "could" be a re-herniation. Given my symptoms, what do y'all think? I'm a little nervous about this, so any experience would be great. Thanks...SC


  • After surgery, I immediately felt better. I had a little twinge of pain behind my left knee...but nothing major, and this pain subsided after about two days. I was feeling really good so I called my doc and asked if I could go to baseball practice (I coach) the following week (8 days out). I wasn't going to participate, but just wanted to be out there with the team...and out of my house. The doc agreed and I went. I was unable to lay down for over 3 hours (including time in the car).

    I was a little sore when I got home and then the next day..BAM. I had that familiar pain behind my left thigh that was very noticeable. It wasn't pre-surgery level...but it was by far the most pain I had been in post-surgery. I called my doc in a panic, just knowing I had re-herniated by being up so long the day before.

    The nurse told me that she gets these calls from just about every patient this doc performs this procedure on. She said as the nerve "wakes up" old pains will reappear and new ones may appear. She assured me that all was well. I wasn't convinced, but took her word for it. Fortunately, she was right. Over time the pain slowly subsided. Now with that said, if I am on my feet for a long time I still get twinges of pain behind my thigh/knee area...but they don't require meds, and go away over night.

    My doc has told me that if I re-herniate, there will be no doubt as the pain will be greater than it was before my surgery (due to herniation and now scar tissue.)

    Good luck
  • Around my 2nd and 3rd week of recovery, I too was feeling a ton of pain.
    In my mind, I was sure it re-herniated and wanted another MRI and another surgery.
    The pain eased around the 4th week.
    I was feeling pretty good, so I tried a little lite gardening.
    That flared up the pain again and took a couple more weeks to settle back down.
    At 8 weeks out,I went back in to get injections into the left L4 thru S1 foramens.
    Took a week more, but most of the pain has gone!
    I was told it was "edema" swelling from fluid and lack of PT.

    Good luck, and I hope it resolves for you.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I've been wondering the same thing. I'm 5 1/2 weeks post op and feel nervous that I've reherniated my L5/S1 disc too. I've recently had pain that I haven't had since before surgery and new pains too. Also I've had pain in my other leg that I never had before surgery! Glad to hear that most of you haven't reherniated your disc and I hope I haven't either.
  • I am 7 weeks post-ops, I felt really good until last week. Believe me it was worse then before surgery, I screamed like a baby. I was awaken one night by the pain, it felt as it I was hit by an airplane, all I knew is I was clinging to the headboard screaming like a child. My PT told me that it's normal and will go away over time. I called my Doc and he put me on Flexeril, feeling better now. but I honestly thought that I had broken a screw.

    hope you feel better soon.
  • :O
    I had my first Micro-D on June 16th and two weeks ago my leg pain returned just as it was before the surgery. My NS said the herniation was bigger than he anticipated and my disc was more degenerated than he expected. Anyways, aprox. three weeks post op I was well on my way to recovery...No leg pain since the surgery, only numbness, and best of all I was only having to take about two Lortabs a day for discomfort or pain. THEN, at about three weeks post op I was physically assaulted in my home by a family member. I was pulled backwards by the shoulders forcefully and almost fell down the stairs before I twisted to catch myself on the railing. Ten minutes after this happend I began to feel a very familiar pain in my leg. Just as before the surgery, I have terrible pain down the back of my leg and a deep throbbing pain throughout my whole leg again. Need I say how scared I am?? It has been two week since this happend and the pain has been constant. My NS is an angel because despite the fact that my insurence ended right after the surgery, they have decided to do an MRI on my back tomorrow for FREE...What a gift!! I will update on the results. In the mean time, can anybody offer any thoughts or experiences on whether this sounds like a reherniation or just big time inflamation???

  • so sorry to hear u are in pain. I think i am experiencing a similar thing....

    Ive had a discectomy a week ago and am feeling so low now, my leg pain is back worse than ever! i thought id be painfree after my op. it lasted 2days. really dont know wot it cud be? please if u have any advice I would gladly appreciate it.

    My surgeon said that the disc they chopped was very large but the op was successful, so i wonder what it is? xxxx
  • I am exactly 4 weeks post-op Micro-d and have been pretty much pain-free so far. Over the last couple of days, as my activity level has increased, I have noticed a tingling tight sensation in my left shin, where I had unbearable pain at one point before surgery. Luckily, I consulted this board before I freaked out and it sounds like inflammation vs. a reherniation. It's definitley sciatica since the "slump test" was able to reproduce the sensation, but I'm hoping it will continue to improve.
  • If I had to guess I would think what you are having is just a flare up. I had a similar worry 2 weeks after my MicroD and called my surgeon, but he was very reassuring and sure enough the next few days brought a lessening of the pain and then the road to recovery continued.

    Hope all is well

  • Although my left side leg pain was cured by my MicroD, I too got some pretty bad pain on the other side that I hadn't had prior to the op.

    My physio said it was probably always there but my body couldn't tell as the pain from the left was so bad it overrode it.

    It is apparently quite common with people who have been in a car accident and have a bad knee and only realise when thats been sorted out that they have another injury site like a shoulder or a hip.

    My right side pain gradually subsided over the next 4-5 months as I regained strength and my core has got into better shape. My NS was prepared to give me another MRI if my leg pain was no better at the 6 months mark but I am glad to say it is now OK again.

    I hope your pain subsides soon and that you haven't had a re-herniation.

  • Clark, I had similar symptoms starting after the first week postop. At my 4week postop dr. visit, I expressed my concerns and after yet another MRI, it turns out that I have a reherniation at the same level. My advise to you is to talk to you doc, hope for the best but prepare for the worse. Good Luck.
  • Im 5 weeks post op from L5-S1.
    As my activity increases so does my legpain.
    Nothing serious,but Im getting twinges and phantom pains in my butt and foot.Im convinced the nerve is still healing and by me moving so much, Im stretching the still irritated nerve.
    It does seem to go away if I take a long walk.
    Ive read it takes many months for the nerve to heal properly

  • Clark: I had my original surgery (discectomy) on L5-S1 back on 8/5/01. Before the surgery my neuro told me "you will be pain free" after the surgery, but when I woke up I still had the pain and was then told it would take a few days for it to calm down. I went home from the hospital the next day and did nothing but stayed in bed (due to the pain) but on 8/8/01 the pain got 10 times worse than before surgery! I called my neuro who told me to get back to the hospital and after another MRI it showed I had a disc fragment under the S1 nerve and a re-herniation (don't know how as I never did anything to cause it) so at midnight I was back in surgery to remove the fragment and trim more off the disc. When I awoke this time I was pain free and remained that way until 5 years later when the same pain returned in the opposite leg due to a new herniation on this side and scar tissue. Now I'm having to deal with the decision of what I should do now. My neuro is telling me that I will need fusion surgery eventually, but I am thinking I would like to try another discectomy on the other side first. I have an appointment with him on 8/4 to discuss this option. I would like to go the conservative route and if I can get another 5 years before I will need the fusion, then that is what I think I will do. If the pain doesn't get better it might be a good idea to have another MRI just to make sure there is nothing else going on.
  • I'm 6 1/2 weeks post op, and I'm in the same boat as you Pete. As I increase my activities, the remanining nerve pain (which is MUCH improved since surgery) flares up on me... especially at work later in the day. A few Tylenol is usually enough to settle it down.
  • I'm almost 4 weeks post op, and I'm starting to have sciatic issues again on both sides, pre op was left side only. I'm also still having numbness in my left foot. I go formy 4 wk post op tomorrow so i guess my questions and worries will be answered then. Also, I am having some leakage at the top of an incision which was healing beautifully.
  • discddisc KentuckyPosts: 1
    Hello all,  I'm 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy and hope I have not reherniated my disc as I was trying to wash my feet in the shower.   I am having a little more pain, tingling and numbness than I have since post op but nothing like i was having pre-op.  I'm trying to lay down and take it easy and I think I learned the hard way to leave my feet alone.  I hope I did not reherniate my disc but it sounds like if I did the pain would be the same as if not worse than it was preop.  My neurosurgeon stated that most people do have pain,  numbness and tingling for a long while after surgery but it's mild compared to the preop pain because the nerve is working to repair itself. He also said that the first 3 months are the highest for reherniating the disc and that it takes up to a full year for that nerve to repair itself.   So I'm praying that I didn't reherniate my disc.  Can anyone who has reherniated their disc say that the pain, tingling and numbness is the same as or worse than their preop pain? 
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