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L5/S1 Lumbar Microdiscectomy experience

Hi guys,

New to the forum and hoping to share my experience with others in regards to an L5/1 lumbar Microdiscectomy I had done back in November 2018.

Before all of this I was a very active footballer and gym lover. Almost every day of the week sometimes twice a day if I could and to have this all taken away from me has been very hard to cope with. Not only physically but mentally has been a very hard challenge. 

After terrible sciatica pains and hip/bum pains with multiple visits to the doctor I was sent for an MRI which showed a herniated disc and therefore required surgery. Was keen to try and avoid surgery but after 2 months physio, chiro and steroid injections (none of which helped) I was then faced with surgery. Leading up to this I had been on gabapentin (300mg 3 times a day) and naproxen (500mg 2 times a day) for about 6 months which never really touched the surface and alleviated the pain. I was struggling to raise my right leg much higher than 1 foot off the ground without terrible sciatica and pain in the back of my bum that spread around the hip and all down the back of my right leg.

I am now 10 weeks out of surgery and having similar issues with bum/hip pain when raising my right leg, though the sciatica has been mostly relieved. I am concerned that I may have some ongoing nerve damage that may get better with time. Taking just ibuprofen massively eases this which leads me to believe that It may just be an inflammation issue which is positive if so. I am due to see Pain Management and to hopefully be referred for some injections again to try and ease the pain around the affected area.

I am back in the gym cycling, incline walking and stretching as much as possible without aggravating too much. Am due to get into swimming sometime soon too. 

Interested to hear if anyone has shared similar experiences 10 weeks out and beyond, generally being the bum/hip with a leg raise and if over time this eased off. I’m quietly confident and will keep posted about how I get on as time passes. 

Any questions, throw them my way!





  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,372

    hello dan!
    welcome to spine health
    all new members should take the system tutorial

    thank you for sharing your experiences with your surgery and recovery. hopefully this will help other members as they go through the same surgery. 
    before you go to see your pm doctor, make notes of what is going on daily with the pain. it also helps him in trying to give you the best options of care.
    good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • Hi Dan,

    I’m 14 weeks post op for microdiscectomy as well as bilateral laminectomy L5-S1. Very similar pain pattern as you however with my left leg. I noticed a big difference 6 weeks post surgery, back at the gym, walking, physio, stretching, then about week 12 had a set back, physio stopped my weights at gym, has got worse, pain now in buttocks all the way down my leg past knee. My toes have been numb since surgery and have lost feeling in both of my thighs as well. 

    Dr keeps telling me it’s a long healing process, be patient, but the pain is a huge concern for me again. I’m off all meds and don’t want to go back on them. 

    I find walking and stretching helps with pain, tried a anti gravity treadmill today, wasn’t bad. Have tried massage therapy which actually hurt after. 

    But one of the best things I’ve tried is a floatation tank. It’s like an isolation tank with high solution of salts so your body floats with no effort on your part. An hour float session does wonders for your back as well as your mind (depression). 

    Best of luck, let me know how you’re 

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,372


    It is a long process and takes time and patience, for everyone. Some patients heal faster than others and the nerve pain goes away. But it all depends on long and how bad the nerves were compressed before surgery. 
    You are lucky to be able to get in a flotation tank. Water therapy is really the best way to go.
    Take care and let us know how yu ae doing.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • Nerve pain is usually the last thing to go away, if you think about it they were moved, decompressed and stretched all around during surgery, there are times you have pain where you didn't prior to surgery because you may have had small numb spots that you didn't even realize, they can also start waking up anytime afterwards, or reaggrevated when your activity level increases, it can take nerves 1-2 years to completely heal, danlamb92 mentioned that they were on Gabapention prior to surgery at 300mg 3x daily which is actually a low dosage, nerve specific medications can be very helpful with the nerve pain both of you are dealing with, only your doctor can say if you are able to start or restart those medications. The most important and hardest part of recovery is patience, but you should also report any new pain to your surgeon.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Hi Dan, Just to echo the previous posters, healing takes time.  I had L5 S1 microdisctomy in February 2018.  A few weeks after my surgery I had the sciatic pain and tightness return in my leg.  Walks were difficult due to tightness and raising my leg while on my back was difficult.  I decided to go on a low dose of lyrica of 75mg a day to deal with nerve pain.I had waited close to a year  before doing surgery and was told my nerve would take some time to heal cause it was compressed for over a year and disturbed during surgery.  The first week of February I celebrated a year since my surgery.  I can tell you that I feel great these days.  I'm back at the gym, I am jogging,  crossfitting ( smarter this time though).  I can raise my leg 90degrees with no issues. Just remember it takes time, I was inpatient and going bonkers thinking my surgery was a mistake.   I'm not 100% where I was before my injury but feel pretty damn close.  


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