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ongoing leg pain after discectomy



  • hi there i'm new here. had my surgery l5s1 l4l5, 3 weeks ago. i have the same pain as all of you. after my surgery i was fine for about 4 days until one night i had back spasms all night. since then i have pain in my lower hip, and the sides of both legs. the pain in the hip is always there and the leg pain starts when i walk or stand. i'm on Oxycontin for the pain but they don't work. i have been off work for about 9 months and i'm afraid if this goes on i'll be of longer.
  • I had discectomy on l5-s1 back in august and i thought all was going great till recently. I have started having the hip pain and ankle pain. Although my case might be a little different a month after my back surgery i had also had the left knee scoped and 60% of the cartilidge removed. So rt back herniation 10mm x 17 mm then left knee. I had tried a bunch of pain meds and none helped except to dull senses and reaction time. However i had started taking Gabapentin not designed orignally for back pain but worked great for a while seeing it workes great on nerve pain. Also its not a narcotic :) My PT working on my back is noticing the pain is no longer siactic but seems to be in the hip/medial maximus. We are working on massage and ultra sound to help it heal. I work outdoors and do a physical job it is tough and the pain does get intense. One time i have learned is stretch ALOT (only if you can) hamstrings and some yoga techniques are helping. I also have done acupunture and was surprised to see the pain went away for awhile and the other times it did knock it down some. Those in pt prolly already know this but stregthing your core (below your abs) that will help your back alot too. I will try to keep up on updating this if anyone reads it. Prolly update it also for those who see it years from know. Seeing this is running a lil long i will leave you with this message. Be strong even on those days when the pain is the worse. Do not be afraid to call your DR and if they can't help find another (if possible) and please don't give up.

    Im not a dr or a pt im just passing on some info. Please consult the professionals before you try anything new.
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  • In August 2011 i was diagnosed with ruptured disk, i was experience full left foot drop & server weakness of left leg but strangley enough no pain!!! The neurosurgeon informed me that the damage was done & didn't think surgery would help much, we decided it was best to postpone surgery until it symptons got worse.. I was hoping it wud be few years, i got 2 months before it affected my bladder. :( :( :( :(
    I was told he was going to preform a microdiscectomy & the incission would be sealed with dissolvable stitchs, no aftercare needed. I came out of op with 21 stamples & a 7cm incission!!!! Erm didn't go quite to plan. (has anyone else needed stamples??)
    Bad news didn't stop there:
    The surgeon told me that he ended up removing significant portion of the disk. (my gp told me that cliff notes from hosp say nearly 2/3)
    That the pain im now experiencing will never go away. (none before op loads after, sods law!!)
    My gp told me yesturday that i'll have to get use to it & tramadol, co-codamal will be my life long partners!! Gabapentin as well probably.. Now i've still got left leg weakness & can't walk around without leg splint..
    Q1. Has anyone else had similar problems
    Q2. From personnel experiences does it get better mentally (Can you just get use to it)
    Q3. Can taking pain killers long term cause health issues

    Weirdest thing is this all happened while i was sleeping, went to bed fine woke up unable to stand properly!!! They reckon i'd damaged the muscles around the disk before & combination of co-codamol plus seizure meant f***** disk (Epilepsy) (basically worst timing for a seizure coz the damaged muscles acted as a weak spot on my spine & shot the disk out)

    Sorry its so long just needed to get it off me chest & tbh just going to sleep scares hell outta me na!! First time is bad, second will be horrific!!
  • from what ive read online co-codamal seems to be tylenol with codiene if you have to take pain killers thats a mild one compared to what they had me on. (thats good for you) if it helps ( i was on percocet 7/325 and was supposed to start taking morphine (i passed on those)). I just started taking tramadol and it seems to help with the pain (only take at night cause i operate heavy equipt.) Will be trying during the day this weekend to see if it puts me in a haze. I was told i would have a 1-2 in. scar turned out to be closer to 6 in. but they used a glue/adhesive to seal up the wound. Staples seem a bit excessive to me. Pain will get easier (or should) in time. You feel it now cause of the surgery the pain i feel now is different than before and alot less but i was in severe pain before. (morphine/demeral shots twice a week before surgery) the gabapentin takes a few weeks and it is supposed to help the nerve pain. Its helped mine alot i found that out when i ran out for 2 weeks :( . I stopped taking my pain meds after a few weeks (i don't like the false sense of security of no pain) Therapy might help but you gotta go slow and remember this will take time ALOT of time. I didn't have the leg drop with mine just herniation that moved the nerve completely outta place ( also found out i have spina bifida occulta) so im missing some bones in my spine (gotta love what they find when inside ya) Don't give up right now your body is pissed and is gonna hurt. Getting used to it you can do even though you may never "like it" Pain-free??? prolly not 100% but it just shows you are alive. I wish you the best and i'll try to keep up on this posts.

    I am not a DR or have i had any training in medical just relaying my personal experience. Always consult your DR beofre trying anything "new"
  • Thanks for reply pal its reassuring to speak to someone who's had same operation.
    I'm hoping the pain will eventually get better, atm its hit or miss whether I'm practically immobilised from pain or I can walk round a bit. (its a horrific amount of pain after I've had a minor seizure)
    Yea I thought it was a bit excessive 21 staples.
    So I've actually asked my GP why and he said its because the incision is 7cm long & nearly 1cm wide, apparently its that long & wide because of how much the of the disc they removed. I didn't know that the entire left side of the disk was removed leaving a gaping hole where it should be, that's why I still get leg weakness because when I stand the left side squeezes together & slightly rubs or pinches the main nerve. If or when the remaining portion of the disk ruptures then they'll have to preform a spinal fusion but that's only as & when needed. (I think I got a raw deal really)
    I can't believe all this was caused by a single seizure & I was in bed, didn't fall out or anything. ((( How did you rupture your disk??? )))
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  • not really sure if doing this right.. i am new to this. i continue to have pain after surgery. originally diagnosed in nov 2010, after emergency room visit. started with epidurals and occasional emergency runs for toradol. op was nov 11, bilateral compression L5-S1. right after surgery i noticed discomfort in left area, heel. started pt and had to stop because pain increased. back to meds.
    new mri shows no new hernia or scar tissue issues. but i am still unable to stand still longer than 10 minutes w/o feeling pressure in my back. same situation if walk longer than 1 hr. now, back to pt. pain in heel, shin, hip area. just had another toradol shot and finally able to walk this week. a lot of pressure on back. current pt is tens treatment. i would like to regain a somewaht normal life.
    if you had something similar or can provide info i will appreciate. again, thank you for your replies and the website for the avail info.
  • Sjm sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I was bounced off a concrete wall while i was in the military (working on a install job). It took years before it finally got to bad for my body to not be able to keep keep everything where it was supposed to be. So im guessing you probably got hurt a long time ago and the seizure was probably the straw that broke the camels back (so to speak). I am roughly 8 months out of my surgery and i still have pain in the lower back and leg it is better than before but my PT told me it might be a year or so before the pain goes away (and it may never go away completely). I would say don't rush getting back to doing what you were before you got hurt it will take alot of time (and pain). From what i understand after talking tomy Drs and pt the surgery will cause pain because the body has been damaged and it will take time for the body to heal itself. If you can walk do it slowly and with caution if you start getting pain stop and relax in time you should be able to go farther each time. My PT has taught me to work on the lower abs (core) and it has helped alot and it is easy and you can do it at anytime. The best way to describe it is when you urinate try to stop the flow. You will feel the muscles in your abs tighten. You can tighten these muscles even when your are sitting walking and laying down. Tighten them for 10-15 secs and relax stop if your get sore. Do this 3-4 times each time for as many times as you can a day. Don't over do it go slow. As i always say please consult ur dr or pt before you go try anything i say but i believe this might help with weakness. Best of luck.
  • When was your surgery and what medications are they giving you. As you can read in my last post its has been awhile since my surgery and i still have some pain the heel (rt side) It comes and goes sometimes after working and sometimes it just shows up. DRs and pt are still not sure if it back related. Like i told Sjm it will take time (along time) to get the most relief. As for the mri and scar tissue you might not see swelling from fuilds the body naturally produces to heal itself. Kinda like if you cut urself and you see some fluid that eventually lead to a scab when internally the scab doesn't get hard like on the outside. So the pressure will be a little more than on the outside. So id say go slow and go easy. And as always talk to your drs or pts before doing anything i say. Im just relaying information i have learned from my pts and drs and from hours of searching the net. I am not a medically trained person just someone who had alot of time to learn about what helps and what hasn't. Best of luck and i will keep up these posts as often as i can.
  • I am almost 1year from surgery date of lower back surgery and still have chronic pain in lower back. My right leg now has numbing pain and spasms. This is taking longer than I though and for someone who was very active and in great shape it is getting harder everyday to fight of depression. The doctors tell me that nerves are like a sponge that has been compressed and is slowly coming back into form. That is why the pain, but hard to Believe.
  • I understand the depression part it is hard to avoid but try to not let it get to you. (easy to say) I deal with it daily not being able to do half the stuff i used to do is never easy to get over. You have to remember that if you let depression take over you stop trying to get better. Even if you don't feel that you are getting better you have to fight it and try to stay in charge of yourself. Being depressed cause you are hurting is normal it doesn't hurt to accept it and try to do something that makes you feel happy. (watching a movie or going to a good dinner or just chatting with friends) Hiding it doesn't help either if you want you can always msg me i'll talk with ya about it. Are you doing pt or anything? Have you tried acupunture or massage therapy? Also are they giving you any medication to help the pain. I have been on glucosamine/chondroitin its takes awhile but it has knocked it down a bit (my job is rather physical so the muscles are usually tight at the end of the day)

    Im not a dr or medically trained in any way always ask a dr or pt before making any changes to your treatments. Best of luck Roll
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