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ongoing leg pain after discectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
9 days post op l5-s1 l4-l5 discectomy and still hurting. Had intense hip/ butt pain on both sides and lower lateral leg pain on both sides pre-op. Post-op the hip pain was gone on both sides and right leg was pain free. Lower left leg still hurting. Worried that I may have to live with this forever. Please let me know of any experiences with this situation. Can I expect recovery and relief down the road?

The pain on left side is much more tolerable than it was pre-op but bothersome and depressing overall. will it ever get better? I want my life back.

Everyone says it takes time for nerves to heal...but I am worried that too much damage has been done.



  • to the forum. You are so early out of surgery , your body really does need time to heal. If you are very concerned then please call your doc and let him know. We are all different and we all heal differently so it is really next to impossible for anyone to tell you if you are facing permanent damage or not , only your doc can truly help you with that. Please do keep us posted as to how you are doing. Hang in there....take care....Miki
  • Hi dealinwithit. Niki is right , everyone is different but don't let it drag on. I still have severe left leg, hip and calf pain after a year. Had L5-S1 Laminectomy /discectomy and 3 epidurals. Will have L5-S1 fusion Oct 27th to fix the problem I didn't have before the first op. Don't wait or suffer like I did . Give it some time to heal but if it does not seem to get better see your doc.I wanted my life back long ago.
    Good luck on your recovery.
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  • I had leg pain for a good 4 months after microD and yes, it did get better. But it is true that everyone is different. Call your doc to be sure.
  • Dear Retired Boater - -

    hi, I hope you don't mind but I have a couple of questions for your, in that I had an L5-S1 discectomy a year and a half ago and all seemed kind of ok (I was recovering and so on, the odd bout of pain but nothing unexpected, all following major exertion/travel), but for the last 6 weeks I've had major onset of pain - - not as much as the original slipped disc, but as you mention left leg, hip, and in my case calf/foot pain. I'm trying to work out follow-up, and I do have my doctor on my case, but I hadn't know what any options were until I see that you are having fusion. I'd be interested to know anything of how successful you've found it, what the basis was for having it, any info you would be happy to share. I am quite young to have these problems (less than 30), and I work a v.hard job (18 hours a day at a desk), so clearly it's vital to as you say "get my life back" and I feel I had been doing ok but now am not. And I wonder if it is just as so many people tell me that this pain is something I will be stuck with, or whether there is perhaps something that could be done. Any advice or experience you are happy to share would be valuable, I am really stressed about this,
    all best,
  • I also had a discectomy 2 months ago. I had pain from lower back all the way down to my foot, but I only had numbness in my lower leg and foot. Now I just have numbness on the left side of my left leg, and in my left foot including my toes.

    The nerve pain in my foot is pretty bad right now. I am on Lyrica to help it, but if I do too much, it hurts really bad, mostly at night when I'm trying to sleep. Actually that is why I'm up now because my foot is hurting pretty bad and I can't sleep. My doctor keeps telling me that nerves take longer to heal, it will eventually get better, etc. I'm worried about it myself that it won't get better.

    I will be going back to work in two weeks, and I will be on light duty, but I know after a while they are going to get tired of it and want me back on regular duty. I am pretty sure it's going to take months if not longer for my leg & foot to heal (if it ever does). I try not to look at it that way, but I am afraid it may never get better. Sorry I cannot be more cheerful for your outlook, but I'm feeling pretty down myself about mine. The worst part about it is the feeling I get that nobody believes me. Like my husband and work. I get the feeling my husband is thinking I'm just being lazy, but if I don't lay down on the couch to rest my foot every once in a while, then it will hurt worse later. I hate that more than anything - not being believed.

    Well I guess I better try to go back to bed. I am rambling on here. Hope yours does get better though.
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  • I'm not a surgeon. I'm a retired physician pain specialist, and still trying (without success so far) to get my own pain blog up and running. Enough about me.

    All the posts on this thread point to one thing. Back surgery can work wonders, or can fail miserably to relieve pain. I saw the ones who didn't get better, or got worse.

    Question: does your pain go into the leg below the knee? If it does, does it pass through the knee or skip the knee? If it skips the knee you probably have pain that starts in the Sacroiliac joint, not inside the spine. That can mimic the pain of disk disease, and make you miserable.

    If the pain goes through the knee it is probably arising with the nerves in the back.

    The best answer I have for pain that continues after back surgery is a spinal cord stimulator. This device uses wires inserted inside the spine to electrically stimulate the spinal cord, and can be wonderfully effective in relieving the pain you describe.

    You need to consult an interventional pain specialist who knows about these things, and puts them in. That evaluation is absolutely worth the effort, and can give you better understanding and marvelous relief!

    This is the best way I know to take charge of your life and get good things done!

    Have a happy!

    Ken Noel
  • This knee thing - by skips the knee do you mean by-passing the knee, as in pain free knees??

    My problems are most defo from my L5 area in spine and I have NO knee pain. Grion, buttock, deep thigh (sometimes) outer calf, grand toe - toes, topa nd bottom of foot. Getting worse...is this possible? The coldness, OMG!

    I am nearly 3 months post removal of hardwear (bit different to MicroD, although the rationale for surgery is similar) so I appreciate the worries around slow healing nerves.

    Why are they worse at night? It isn't like the nerve knows it is bedtime!!???
  • Hi Ken,
    I found your post helpful... I had discetomy at L5S1 and have
    been in pain for almost 3 months! The pain in my left ball of foot started immediately. The doctor ordered another mri and it shows the same disc now has a bulge. The doctor wants to explore my L5S1 disc because i am in so much pain... but im not so sure... the surgery got rid of my sciatic pain but left me debilitated with my left foot pain etc which i never had before surgery!

    Thanks in Advance for your input!
  • Hi just wondering if your pain ever got better? Im almost
    3 months out after L5S1 discetomy and in more pain now than
    before surgery. I have throbbing left foot and numb calf that just won't stop...Mine also is bothersome at night and Neurotin only gives me a little relief! 5 weeks of physical therapy and no progress :''(

    Let me know how you are doing?

  • well alot of what u all are going through sounds alot like what i am going through.im also in constant pain.had a herniated ruptured disc pinching a nerve in my right leg.L4/L5.i had surgery in feb/2007.i was ok for a few months but then i started getting pain again.right hip pain.cramping in legs.lower back pain.had an mri done..turns out i have annular disc bulging from L1 all the way to L5..and one of my discs is bulging towards the right side of my spine..i was also diagnosed with osteoarthritis..lumbar spinal stenosis.found out i acquired scoliosis when i was a child..also have carpal tunnel..in left arm..i get numbness in feet.feels like my right foot is burning..one thing after another. :''( :''( im going in for an epidural next week..and continuing on physical therapy..
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