Microdiscectomy Recovery--so slow!

Welcome to Spine-health’s Back Surgery and Neck Surgery patient community. You can also read doctor approved Back Surgery and Neck Surgery Articles and watch Surgery Videos.
134 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
Microdiscectomy Recovery--so slow!

Hi all,
I had a microdiscectomy on L5-S1 on 4-7-08. In only a week or two, the numbness in my foot was gone. The sciatic pain is another story. I feel as if the pain has made very little progress since the initial improvement after surgery. At first I did too much, and have backed off, but I still don't see much change for the better. Is there something I should be doing to facilitate nerve recovery, such as B complex vitamins? My doc says I don't need PT, and I've been told it takes the sciatic nerve a lot of time to heal. Any insight would be appreciated, especially if you have advice or a good story to tell about your recovery from a similar surgery. I'm nearly 3 months into my recovery and it seems I should be doing better?!?!

crankygirl (not verified)
Title: Member
Nerve pain takes time to heal - blah blah

So they say - the nerve may take up to 18 mos to heal.

1) How long were you struggling with the back pain before your surgery?
2) What exactly does "did to much" entail?

Not to be forward or anything... but is it just leg pain or does your butt and hips hurt too?

*I had my surgery in Feb - I have not gone for a bike ride yet. Sad

Hawk (not verified)
Title: Member
Best of luck Mike, don't

Best of luck Mike, don't lose patience, from my understanding it just takes time.

Smurf (not verified)
Title: Member

The sciatic nerve takes along time to heal. It is one mad nerve Sad . Please have patience and take your anti-imflammatory (if doctor say's it is okay)

Hang in there.....

Smurf Smile

cosmic222 (not verified)
Title: Member

Were you using ice?
Are you still using ice?
Do you walk regularly?

My NS told me to ice the area 20 minutes of every hour and be up and about the rest of the 40 minutes. That was for the first couple weeks. But really, ice is a God send to "chill out" that area. Walking retards the growth of scar tissue as well. If scar tissue is forming over or around that nerve you're certanly not going to feel any better.

Just a little food for thought.


pittpete (not verified)
Title: Member
Incomplete relief It is

Incomplete relief

It is important to remember that most people will have some leg pain after the surgery and this pain often comes and goes especially in the first six weeks. This is to be expected. Incomplete relief refers to continuing symptoms that do not go away. The symptoms may include leg pain, numbness, pins and needles or weakness. It is often minor and no more than an inconvenience but occasionally can be severe. It happens most commonly due to nerve damage that has occurred while the disc prolapse has been pressing on the nerve. Simple removal of the pressure does not always mean the nerve functions normally straight away. An analogy I use is dropping a brick on your foot – taking the brick off gets rid of a lot of the pain but some pain continues. If the brick has caused enough damage, some of the pain may never go away. The nerve may continue to recover after discectomy for up to two years (this especially applies to weakness in the foot) but the majority of recovery occurs within the first three months. The other reason you may have incomplete relief is that all of the pressure has not been removed. This may be because some of the disc material has been left behind, because there is some pressure due to bone overgrowth that has not been removed, or that the wrong level or side has been operated on. This is mentioned below.

cgb728 (not verified)
Title: Member
I feel you pain.... literally.

Granted I'm only 3 1/2 weeks post op. But I feel your frustration. My leg has hurt worse since the surgery than it did right before. Driving in the car is killer, sitting at work is not good. I've tried icing, but where exactly do you put the ice,.. this nerve runs the length of your leg, and the pain seems to wander. Walking helps, but if I've been sitting for a while and then try to walk.. my leg locks right up and I end up walking like Frankenstien.

I guess all we can do is wait it out, keep up on whatever meds the doc will let us have and push on. And pray.


cosmic222 (not verified)
Title: Member

Nicely stated. Smile

jro (not verified)
Title: Member

Slow down and take your time. I had surgery on 12/21 and I am still healing. Your body needs time to heal. I found that if I put the ice at the incision sight or slightly below works best for me. I also finally had to concede and start taking Neurontin. Your nerve was really ticked for a long time and needs some space and understanding. I promise it does get better.

cgb728 (not verified)
Title: Member

....for your support. It really does help ease the frustration to know it's not just me. I was pinched for roughly 9 months before I had the surgery. My first Dr. thought it was a hamstring pull so we did nothing for a long time. Surgeon said it was a bad pinch too.

What does the Neurontin do for you? Right now I'm taking Naproxin twice a day and Darvocet as needed... some days it's needed quite a lot! Surprise

jro (not verified)
Title: Member

Is used for specific nerve pain rather than just a broad spectrum anti-inflamatory. Honestly, I can not say how well it is working for me but alot of people here use it. The generic name is Gabapentin. Here is what I found online I hope it helps:

Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a medication originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy. Presently, gabapentin is widely used to relieve pain, especially neuropathic pain. Gabapentin is well tolerated in most patients, has a relatively mild side-effect profile, and passes through the body unmetabolized.[citation needed]
Gabapentin was initially synthesized to mimic the chemical structure of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), but is not believed to act on the same brain receptors. Its exact mechanism of action is unknown, but its therapeutic action on neuropathic pain is thought to involve voltage-gated N-type calcium ion channels. It is thought to bind to the α2δ subunit of the voltage-dependent calcium channel in the central nervous system.[citation needed]