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Did I Reherinate 10 Days Post L5/S1 Microdiscectomy?

Hello - 

Background: I had a microdiscectomy 14 days ago on the left side for my L5-S1 disc. Prior to surgery, it was painful to sit, use the restroom (number 2), sneeze, stretch, bend, hump, etc. If I did any of these actions, I’d feel pain in my left butt cheek, and if bad enough, it would radiate down to my ankle. I had an epidural shot 3 months before the procedure, which helped reduce the pain (pain-free for 3 weeks after the shot then return with less pain), but because sitting still irritated me and the need to be more active physically, I chose to go through with the procedure.

Microdiscectomy and Concern: Following the procedure, once the drugs wore off (stopped taking painkillers after day two), I felt great and pain-free for 7 days. By day 3, I was walking between half of a mile to a mile around my neighborhood free of pain and feeling like a million bucks. However, on the 8th day, I felt some pains return, which I deemed to be swelling and inflammation following the end of my 7 day cycle of drugs for inflammation. Following, on the 10th day, I was walking my dog (15 pound French Bulldog puppy), and to my misfortune, a big dog across the street escaped its owner and ran towards my dog in a manner that seemed like it was to attack. I instinctively pulled my dog up from the leash without thinking, caught her in the air, and then used my foot to push the oncoming dog off me and my dog (like a push kick) to avoid being jumped on. This invoked a sharp pain at the incision site but NO sciatic pain at the moment or for the rest of the day. HOWEVER, the next day and for the days to follow, slight sciatic pain similar to what I had felt before returned to my left butt cheek region but nowhere near the level of pain it used to be. Freaking out, I immediately took a seat to test to see if the original pain was back, but I didn’t feel additional pain when sitting, however I did (and do) feel sciatic pain when sucking im my stomach or tightening my core.

It is day 14 today, and I have the same sciatic pain in my left butt region that periodically radiates at random and is felt when I move around or when I suck in my stomach/tighten my core. This pain is familiar and was not there prior to this incident or hours following the incident, so I am not sure where it came from. I still don’t have pain when I sit down (thankfully), but I am extremely concerned that I re-herniated the disc during the incident as sciatic pain now radiates periodically in the left butt region and is felt when tightening my core. Sources I’ve read seem to suggest that pain is normal following surgery and to not panic, but given the event and being pain-fee for 7 days after  surgery, could my pains be a sign of reherniation or is what I’m feeling within the norm of recovery and just a coincidence that it was felt around the same time? How easy it for a disc to reherniate at this stage anyways?

It would be great and reassuring to hear similar experiences and their outcomes, whether a re-herniation scare or actual occurrence, and how it was overcome. I see my doctor tomorrow for my post op appointment, but I am almost certain he will say that it’s too soon to tell and to just wait, but I am in panic and can’t stop thinking about what has occurred.

Any information, insight, or experience will help. Thank you.





  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,528

    First thing I would do is to contact your surgeon to discuss this and let them give you medical advice.

    Spinal recovery is a long process and during  this, you may experience good and bad days.

    Please read   Recovery, the most important phase

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,486

    Hi Art91

    Welcome to Spine-Health

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    Have you spoken with your doctor/surgeon about all this?  I'm not familiar with microdiscectomy-but i'd imagine that 14 days post surgery is still fairly early in the recovery from a surgery like that!  One thing my surgeon said to me was that they put all kinds of numbing things into the tissue when they do surgery, and that takes some time to wear off.  for me i noticed a lot less pain right out of surgery, just healing type pain, but then about 3 weeks into healing there was some nerve pain again as nerves healed.  I'm glad you are headed there tomorrow in any event and can mention it to them, and see what they say.  i know i managed to fall early on after my surgery, and didn't manage to do anything bad-but i have a bunch of metal holding me together.....still i had convinced myself that i might have broken a rod, but i hadn't on the xrays....best to talk with your doctor for the ultimate answer :-)  good luck tomorrow and let us know how you are doing! 

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

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  • Art91

    I agree that you need to discuss this with your surgeon, I also agree that he will probably tell you it is too soon to tell, you are most likely having normal nerve pain that happens when the nerves start waking up, nerves were moved and stretched during surgery, when they start waking up, they are looking for their new normal.

    Take care and keep us posted


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • Hello all - 

    Thank you for your responses. I just left my surgeon’s office and, as expected, it was implied that it’s too soon to tell. He prescribed me 2 weeks worth of additional anti-inflammatory medication, which I am on my way to pick up and begin, and told me to see him again in a month.

    As for my pain today, there is no improvement from the onset of post surgical pain that began 7 days after the procedure and dog incident, which is depressing, saddening, and discouraging, BUT I was able to tolerate a 45 minute car ride better than I would have before the surgery, so I’m interpreting that as a positive.

    I’m definitely still worried that I reherniated as the pain I feel does resemble what I felt when herniated prior to surgery but just not to the same degree.

    I will keep you all posted as I take the medication and days/weeks progress.

    Thank you again, all. Please continue sharing your experiences and insights as I foresee this post and forum being viewed by many silent worriers facing similar perdicamemts.

  • Art

    Glad your surgeon didn't see anything serious so far, try your best to get your mind right and give the medication a chance to work, the mental part of all this is harder than the physical.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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  • Weeks 2-6, for me, were tough because I second-guessed everything pain or bit of discomfort, and my surgeon, like many of others have noted, did not prepare for what to expect during recovery.

    Anyway, at day 10 you should commit to being positive, while also consulting your surgeon for all questions.

    Good luck. I'm sure you'll be looking at this in the rearview soon enough

  • Thank you, Androo! I really appreciate the input. And, for all that are following this post, I have been prescribed Meloxicam (anti-inflammatory meds), which I’ve been taking everyday, once a day, for 3 days now (e.g., day 15, 16, and 17 post op). A couple of hours after taking them in the morning, the sciatic pain and discomfort significantly lessens (sometimes almost completely gone), but by the evenings and the following morning, they return, so it’s still unclear if it’s a re-herniation or just the normal sensations of the recovery roller coaster and inflammation that builds up once the pill’s magic runs out (please share if you’ve also experienced this with anti-inflammation medicine). I’ve been told to take the pills for 2 weeks, so I’m just trying to stay positive and monitor how I feel until the 2 weeks are up.

    I am still able to sit down comfortably without feeling the sciatic pain I would prior to surgery, which is a good sign, but the unexplained random jolts of sciatic pain and discomfort that occur throughout the day or when I tighten my abdominals is still worrisome and not clear if normal - I guess this is TBD. 

    Thank you again, all, for sharing your experiences. I will keep checking and updating with regards to progress/outcome. For those reading and searching for answers for your recovery, stay strong and positive (although easier said than done)!

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