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L5S1 Microdiscectomy / Sciatica

Hi all, 

I finally broke down and scheduled my surgery. It will be for this Friday.  My decision was based on how debilitating the sciatica pain has become for me.  My hopes are that I will get some relief.  But at the same time I am extremely scared and saddened that I have gotten to this pot in my life and am haveing a very serious surgery.  

I’m scared of the long term effects of surgery.  I’m worried I will re-herniate the same disc, and I’m stressing that the sciatica will not go away.  

Brief History:  

I’m 34 years old 

Injured back the week of July 1st (doing cross fit)

Dull sciatica pain started 1st week of September. 

Full debilitating Sciatica flare ups:



Epidural injection: 11/26

I’ve been on 4x 800 mg ibprophren daily since September and tried Gabapentin from September till the November flare up. It did nothing for the throbbing leg pain.  Then during the flare up, I was taken off Gabapentin and given Oxycodone, and Flexoril both 5 mg as needed.  

After the injection I slowly started needing the ibuprofen within 3 days.  And the pain started to increase more than before.  Finally the pain management dr. put me on Lyrica (soooo expensive!). This was on 12/11. 2x 75 mg daily.  

Then I began back and leg spasms on 12/15 and the pain has only gotten worse.  

Within 5 minutes of walking, sitting, standing: 

Foot arch pain

Calf pain

Knee tendon pain 

Butt pain

Back pain and stiffness 

So at this point, I had been given a choice, do another round of ESI or get a laminectomy.  I chose the surgery.  But I’m still scared.  

Looking for some positive thoughts and stories that will offer me the hope I desperately need.  



  • mamaASH- I know surgery is scary I have been through it many times but you know you have tried everything else, I have found that the hardest thing is getting your head straight before and after, you have to go into it believing that everything is going to be okay, try to concentrate on something else, be prepared before and after. You are very young and should do fine. Make a list of things you need after surgery, reusable ice packs, grabber, possibly a cane or walker for a short period of time etc. Hopefully you will wake up pain free, but if not try not to freak out, sometimes it takes nerves a little time to heal, you just have to keep the faith and believe. Follow your doctors instructions and plan for a healthy recovery, do not try to do too much too soon,  take your time. Hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PAIN FREE 2019  

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Thank you Challenger.  I’m such a “suck it up and go all in” kind of person that this slow down and take it day by day has really taken a toll on me and is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do this far.  

    It’s really been very hard.  Lots of tears.  And it’s not with out all the support I have at home.  But it’s hard to express my feelings and fears because they come from my own personal experiences.  My dad became disabled when I was in jr high.  And we almost lost everything because he couldn’t work.  Im so afraid I’m re-living this at this point.  And that feeling sucks more than I can explain.  

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  • I completely understand what your feeling, I finally had to quit work at 54 and I know a lot of that was my own doing by being hardheaded, went back to work after fusion surgery at 4 weeks running an auto repair shop and did stupid things against doctors orders because I didn't want anybody else to be inconvencied, that is the reason I tell everybody to slow down and listen to themselves during recovery, in my opinion that is probably the hardest thing. Find anything you can to distract yourself and listen to your doctors, once you start to believe and never doubt it will take a lot of the stress off and you will heal a lot quicker. Look for the little things in recovery, hey my back doesn't hurt as bad today or I can stand 5 minutes longer today than yesterday, you will be surprised how much that can lighten your mood. Keep the faith and feel better. 

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 377

    A back fusion does not automatically mean you will become disabled. To the contrary, hopefully, after you recover, you will have your life back. Some limitations of course but many people have excellent results from the surgery. I'm fused 4 cervical levels and L2-S1 so I can relate to your concern but try to be an outstanding patient. Recovery is slow and you need to be patient and follow your doctor and medical professional's advice about BLTs especially (bending, lifting, twisting) meaning don't do it!! :) PT and OT will help immensely but attitude and patience is what will get you through it. Besides, we are all here to lend a sympathetic and empathetic ear as will as a gently kick in the back side if required. I wish you the very best and please keep us posted. We really do care! Merry Christmas! Jerome

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 377

    Sorry for the typo -- I meant gentle rather than gently but I'm being facetious anyway! Best, Jerome

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  • Thanks Jerome and Challenger for your kind words and support.  I think taking things slow is definitely my life lesson to learn.   

    I’ve been attempting to practice my BLT’s this week.  I’m literally shocked at how much we bend, twist, and lift in any one day ! Even with small simple things like flushing the toilet !   

    Question for those out there who have had a minimally invasive micro discectomy- if you had been on a Nero blocker like Gabapentin or Lyrica prior to surgery- did you continue taking it after surgery?

    Also any recommendations for YouTube recovery stories please PM me.   

  • MAMAash- Yes I continue to take gabapentin after surgery, if you were taking it before surgery I would continue afterwards unless your doctor instructs otherwise, I was told by my doctor to not quit taking gabapentin all at once, that if that time came we would need to taper off, I believe he told me it could cause seizures if you just quit but it's been awhile since I have talked with him about it. As far as recovery stories I don't like watching anything like that because everybody's recovery is different, what's right for them may not be right for you, personally I stick with this forum because of the wealth of experience of the members and knowing that they are willing to help in anyway possible, that's just my take. Hope your recovery goes great and you feel better soon.

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Awesome- thanks for the feedback.  I’ve only been on Lyrica since the 11th.  And I really don’t think it does much for the nerve pain, and I can barely walk or sit or stand for more than 5 minutes before leg pains (nerve, muscle, tendon and fatigue pains) start to act back up.   But I guess what I’m curious about is how do we really know that the nerves are healed if we are still on nerve medication? It’s on my list of questions for my doctor this Friday after surgery.  

    Other question I have - has anyone had the “lateral/collateral” ligament on the side/back of their knee start to flare up as a result of the sciatica or herniated disc?

  • mamaASH- If I am looking at this right your surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, I wish you the best for surgery and recovery, as far as the nerves go they are a fickle beast, some people are in worse nerve pain for a short while after surgery than before, some wake up pain free and sometimes it will kick in 1-2 weeks post surgery, I am not trying to scare you, just prepare you, hopefully you will be the pain free, but if not understand the nerves are trying to find the new normal after surgery and normally find that place in time. The knee pain could be related to nerves but I would mention it to your doctor. Good luck to you 

    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,562

    You should read this  Getting Ready for Surgery

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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