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6 Weeks Post Microdiscectomy

I Just wanted to talk a bit about my injury/recovery to hopefully help someone out. I herniated my L4/L5 disc from a hard snowboarding fall in February of 2016. My pain started out as pretty bad right hip soreness, so I assumed I just pulled a muscle or something. As time went on and I continued my physically demanding warehouse job, the pain gradually progressed down the back and outer edge of my right leg. I got to the point where my calf felt like I had a constant debilitating Charlie horse in it. I was at the point of crawling to the bathroom in the morning to get in a hot shower and loosen up enough to walk (with a limp). At this point I didn't have any health insurance, and didn't know anything about discs and nerves. I found that copious amounts of ibuprofen would help me quite a bit in surviving through the days. 

My pain has changed over time, it would go through cycles of not too terribly bad (but still bad) to electric, burning, searing pain in my whole leg. Sometimes when my leg was on fire and nothing would help it, I would just lay down and cry. I wont get into it here but boy did that pain wear me down emotionally as well as physically, and throw me into a pretty bad state of depression. 

I finally got health insurance and got referred to physical therapy. 6 weeks of this did nothing for me, but I had to do it to get approved for an MRI. Turns out I had a fairly large (17mm?) herniation at L4/L5. I got referred to a neurosurgeon and long story short I opted for a microdiscectomy. I didn't try EVERY conservative method but I now had been living with this for 18 months and dropped out of school because of it. I had to do something.

The first week was rough, I could barely make it to the bathroom and back without being drained. After about the third day, my nerve pain came back and I just felt devastated. The thing is, it was a different more dull pain than before. I still was super scared, but had read on here that it could be the steroids wearing off and inflammation kicking in. I hoped to God it was.

On the 7th day it was like a switch flipped, my nerve pain had deceased significantly. Every day after that I felt like I was progressing so much and started walking a lot. It felt so good to get outside. I still was (and am) careful to not do anything I shouldn't because I was (and am) afraid of reherniating. By about the second week, my leg pain was 90% gone. I'm now just under 6 weeks post op and feel a million times better. I sleep through the whole night, and wake up pain free every morning. 

The only issues I have now, is that my whole body is super tight from not being active, and my back gets slightly sore if I sit too long. I'm looking forward to stretching and starting physio to loosen up and strengthen my body. Even though my back gets sore from sitting, its only if I sit for more than about 90 minutes straight, and it isn't even very bad. before I couldn't sit for 10 minutes without pain shooting down my leg.

I know this is a long post, but I just hope I can ease someone's mind out there, especially young people like me. I've never posted here, but this forum helped me out a lot. I also notice that a majority of posts are negative, which scared the crap out of me so I wanted to share my (so far) positive experience. I also apologize if this is in the wrong section but it seemed like a good fit. Feel free to ask anything or offer advice, thanks.




  • hi matt

    welcome to spine-health

    it's very good hear that the forum helped you out and thank you so much for sharing your positive experience.

    it is a roller coaster ride of emotions, depression and the constant can seem to just eat into the brain if that makes sense.  well, that's my description of how it felt over a long period of time.  if you click on my username you can see my history in reverse order.  i have added updated items on there when needed.

    the best tips i can give you would be to walk as much as you can, without causing flare ups and do not sit for so long.  90 minutes is a long time to sit just 6 weeks into recovery.  my surgeon advised me that my disc could be at risk of re-herniating up to 3 months.  at your point in recovery i had just had restrictions lifted of just perching when sitting.

    walking has been recommended after all my surgeries and certainly loosened up the tightness, as it allows all the body to work.

    i have added two links below to help new members with information and these also contain the forum rules.  there is lots of material to research that will give you the power of knowledge.

    welcome to spine health




    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • I don't normally sit for that long, it was really only once that I actually did. It was someone's birthday dinner and I sort of just forgot to get up and move, and when I did I was a little sore. I haven't met with my surgeon yet post surgery, but the neurologist at his office I met with said I was doing well. She said I can drive and even go see a movie if I wanted to, although it might make me sore and would be a good idea to get up once or twice in between. I haven't done that because I don't feel comfortable doing that yet.   

    The annoying thing to me is that, I was also told by my surgeon that I'm at risk of reherniating up until 3 plus months and will be out of work atleast that long. The neurologist I met with said I'll be back to work 6 weeks post op with no restrictions and I found that ridiculous. I voiced my concern and that I was told a minimum of 3 months and she said nooo and acted like I was crazy. It bothers me to have 2 different answers like this, especially when I know she is wrong. I mean even if I wasn't at risk of reherniating, I've lost 10 lbs of muscle during recovery and feel I physically couldn't handle my job right now. I meet with the surgeon on Thursday and will demand more time off and physical therapy. 

    I have decided that even if I get cleared to go back to work, I'm going to quit my job and find a new one that taxes my brain rather than my body. I can't go through this and more again. 

    Thanks for the insight and links, that is helpful!

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  • Hey Matt, 

    I know this thread is from a little while ago, but I wanted to reach out and see how you're doing. I am also quite young a and herniated my L4/L5 disc in a snowboarding fall. I underwent a microdiscectomy 6 weeks ago and am still having twinges of pain in my back and lower left leg. How are you feeling now with quite some time passed from the surgery? Are you able to be as active as before?



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,720

    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I have to close it. If they return we can reopen the discussion.


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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