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New pain 3 weeks after microdiscectomy

I am now 3 weeks past my L5S1 microdiscectomy. It was large herniation, sequestrated. I had neurological deficit pre op, could not stand o the tip of the foot, pain to the fingers of the left leg. After the surgery I still have some nerve leg pain, it is getting better every day. 

What I did not expect was  pain of my back which started yesterday. I did not have back pain pre op. It is present all the time, after one week off pain medication I had to return to it. My surgeon told me it s still too early to make any opinion. It might be nerve pain or dis pain from L5S1 or L5L4 (both slightly degenerated). Or soft tissue pain. We decided to wait for 2 weeks, I should take my meds and try short walks.

My question is - has anyone experienced new pain post op he did not have before ? Did it went away or was it a start of a different problem ?

Thank you very much,




  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,399


    Welcome to Spine-Health!! Please click on the Welcome and Tutorial link below for more information on the forum.

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    Three weeks is very early. You still have a lot of healing to do. If this is nerve pain, it is very common as the nerves are trying to wake up after being compressed. Walking will help strengthen the muscles in your back and get everything moving again.
    Below is a link that has helped a lot of members out.
    recovery, the most important phase - patience required

    Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • Lucie

    Sandra gave you some very good information, it is not unusual to have pain in different places after surgery, if you think about it, muscles were cut, nerves were moved and stretched during surgery, it takes time to recover and there are a lot of variables from patient to patient, if you are not already doing so, ice packs can be very helpful with pain control.

    Take care and keep us posted


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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  • Dear Sandra, Dear Chip, thank you very much for your quick and helpful answer. I am able to manage the pain with Advil. My PT thinks that lower back pain is a natural effect of my prolonged lack of movement combined with some nerve pain. She agreed with the doctor that slow walks up to 2hrs total a day should be the most helpful. Thank you once again,


  • I am 4 weeks, 1 day today post L5S1 microdiscectomy- also large herniation. Also, pain in lower back for the first time on both right and left sides, whereas before only pain in right leg. I am constantly worried about re-herniating disk, so hearing others having similar situations is uplifting - thank you. I walk 2-3 miles a day and gentle stretching seems to help somewhat. Ice is also good. Hopefully soon I can stand on my tippy toes again... my test for everything 100% healed.

  • Hi SciaticaL5S1 !

    Thank you so much for your post, exactly as you said, it´s very supporting to hear other´s experience. My back pain has faded somehow, it comes only here and there, walking and stretching, thats it. Great you are walking up to 3 miles, my max is about 1,5 mile a day and I want to make it up slowly. My leg is bothering me the most at the time. Still standing on tippy toes is impossible and my walk is very slow and funny. I hope the nerve is going to heal at least so that I can walk without problems. How are you feeling today ? 


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  • I too had a large sequestered fragment removed (L4/5). At 8 months I'm doing great, but weeks 2-6 were riddled with weird little flare-ups. Nothing close to pre-op pain, but enough to make me feel depressed. Anyway, I read lots and lots on these forums and committed to being patient and positive while these little issues slowly resolved themselves.

  • Lucie and Androo,

    Thanks for your posts.. only saw them now. Going well here in general. Feels like only thing left over is also "a weird walk." Still cannot stand on my tippy toes of right foot... might never be able to. My walking is better but my right leg gets very tired and if I walk fast, I have a slight limp. I have looked at maps of muscles and have identified what I think is the one muscle in my calf which the nerve still doesn't fire up. Let's hope it still happens. If not, I actually feel so much better and will just have to get into a different sport (was a runner before.)

  • Hi! I also had a microdiscectomy (left side, L5-S1) about 17 days ago, and it’s been a rollercoaster for me with regards to return of pain and fear of reherniation. As for feeling new pains though, I did not feel any new back pain in addition to the incision, but I did feel some new sciatic pain on the opposite side during the first few days, which I thought was completely strange and worrisome, but that has subsided since (although maybe returned a bit on my more worse days). I believe it was likely due to the area just being so inflammed post surgery. However, now, with respect to the original pains, I am struggling with going from being completely pain-free for a week after surgery to feeling sciatic pains and sensations felt prior to the surgery. I saw my surgeon, was put on more anti-inflammatories, and am now crossing my fingers and hoping that I am just being a hypochondriac with regards to reherniation.

    Best of luck to you! From my research and readings of others’ experiences, it seems the entire recovery process for the first few weeks out of surgery is just one blindfolded rollercoaster with regards to new pains, phantom pains, old pains, etc., and much won’t be clear until weeks have passed. Until then, just stay positive, do less than more to be safe, and try to keep your mind off of what is worrying you as there’s nothing that  can be done at this stage anyways before the dust settles (funny to be giving the same advice that I should be taking during my own current moments of panic and worry). Please keep up updated!

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