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4 months post-op L4,5 & S1 Laminectomy and EXTREME pain

edited 06/11/2012 - 7:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi. I'm now 4 moths out from having laminectomy/discectomy on L4, 5 & S1 and have been doing very well. Went back to work (office job) after 2 months and all of a sudden I started tightening up and having extreme pain whenever I move.

Anyone else experience this? I called surgeon and he put me on 75mg Dicolfenac 2x/day and 50mg Tetrazepam 1x/day. Pills are doing NOTHING to relieve pain.

I can't sleep very well, as every time I move, I wake up. I can barely walk without screaming. Pain almost seems just as bad or worse than before surgery, except I don't have the radiating pain down the legs now.

Pain is very much localized to lower back and glute area.

Any help, advice, etc... greatly appreciated.



  • Oh, JD. I'm so sorry to hear about your new pain! If I were you, I'd get in to see your surgeon ASAP, even asking for an MRI, and here's why: If you re-herniated your disc (or herniated another one), the sooner you get into PT, the more likely it will be resolved without surgery. Catch it while you can, and you should be back on your road to recovery.

    I wish you all the best. Please keep us posted!
  • I had a laminectomy March 5th and was doing great. Went back to work at my desk job after 3 weeks. About 2 months after the surgery I started feeling terrible. I had severe pain in lumbar back and both sides of my glutes. Went back to doctor and 3 months out from surgery he sent me to PT. It has been determined that my piriformis muscles were inflamed and that is what caused the pain in the glutes. I have had 5 PT sessions so far and they seem to be helping with the glutes but I still have significant pain in my lumbar back. Some of the exercises have helped with the lumbar back pain but I think it will take several more months to see if all the pain gets resolved. If not I guess I'll have to go see the surgeon around the end of September and see whats next. Good luck!
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  • Do you have a lumbar pillow at your desk? Do you have access to a therapy pool? those helped me after my lumbar operation. when I went back to work my pain level went up too. I now take anti inflammatories to reduce the inflammation. I still have back pain over a year after my surgery. No pain down my legs thank god! Muscles take longer to heal around the incision site. It could be that. I would also use a heating pad to relieve some pain. Its worth a shot.

    I just had a cervical laminectomy and my muscle pain is very high. The reason for the operation has resolved but the trap muscle pain is far from healed. I use a cervical pillow at bed time. soak a lot in my pool or tub. Hubby gives me lots of massages too. My surgeons wife had same operation and 1 1/2 years later she still is having muscle pain. So exercising the muscles is very important after 12 weeks he says to repair muscle damage.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I'm sorry your symptoms resurfaced again, and I agree you should call your surgeon ASAP and hopefully he'll order another MRI for you. I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy before, and 1 month post op I reherniated L4-5. I also had vertebral slippage (retrolisthesis) and other problems listed below that required a 2 level fusion later on. I don't know if you reherniated a disc but you really need to contact your doctor right away. Take care
  • It almost sounds like your body is telling you that you are doing too much too soon. If I were you, I'd call your surgeon back and tell him the meds aren't doing it for you. Make it very clear you are having a very hard time functioning, and keep them on the phone till they give you another appointment to go in!

    I am so sorry you have to go through this, and I hope you are feeling better soon!

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  • Thanks everyone for your comments. I went back to my surgeon and he said it was a tendon problem and effectively, Piriformis syndrome and he gave me a cortisone shot in the back, which seemed to help along with 2 weeks of rest, anti-inflammatory and pain meds. All seemed fine, it's been about a month since then, have had a few bad days until last Wednesday and it's been getting worse daily. Now have constant pain, mostly in right glute and nerve pain shooting down leg all the way to my foot again. Lost all feeling in entire leg yesterday when out walking around after about 10 minutes.

    Looks like I'll be heading back to the surgeon again and demanding another MRI this time. Something's telling me I'll need surgery again.

    Will keep posted.
  • more time to recover ..at least 6 months at home if fact after the surgery that you have had i would say 12 months ..unfortunately i have never recovered from my last operation but you may if its your first ..don't blow your chance of a good recovery by working.rest and swim ..trust me ..its your back .
  • Hey everyone. Ended up in the ER last Sunday before I could get back in to see the surgeon and was admitted to the hospital. MRI showed I had re-herniated L4 and L5 "massively" and needed to have surgery, which I had on Wednesday of this week and am now back at home recovery from 2 lumbar spinal surgeries in 6 months. What an exciting life I do lead huh?

    I know I'm only 2 days out from surgery now, but seems already as though i'm having a tougher time with this one. my body is much more sore than it was the first time around - and getting about is much much much slower. Still determined though.

    Just hope it doesn't happen again, as my only option at that point is a fusion.

    Anyway - Thanks all for your support, advice and just for being there. I'll be in bed for a while. Back to the doc on the in a few weeks for a follow-up.

  • Hi JD,
    Wow, after reading all your posts I was surprised at the turn of events and you ended up in the ER with masive re-herniations and had to have a second surgery! You did the right thing to go to the ER, I hope your pain eases soon for you and that once recovered your pain will be truly gone.

    I read alot of people posting going back to work several months after surgery, I am back at work 4 weeks post op from a Laminectomy/doscectomy at L4-L5 and still having issue with pain and numbness and had a facet joint injection, steroids and now I am scheduled for a nerve root block, surgeon said its scar tissue causing my problem, I am only 5 1/2 weeks post op. Work is hard but my surgeon cleared me to work so I have to go, I work as a teacher assistant for kids with disabilities so I am always on the move and I have to ride a school bus 3 hours a day, its killing me!! Again my surgeon said no reason I can't work!!

    I worry JD that I may end up re-herniating like you did, did you do anything that you wern't supposed to do? Do you know how you re-herniated at both levels?

    Take your time to heal, get plenty of rest and listen to your body, great people here can give you lots of great advice and I truly hope you get better soon,

    Take care,
  • Sandra,

    Thanks much for the post. As far as my re-herniating, there was not anything specific that I did (at least that I know of) that would have caused the re-herniation. To be honest, i think it is just my back was initially such a mess to begin with.

    I would not worry about re-herniating and just go about your day to day as best you can and follow-up with the doctor as you are. If we worry too much about what might happen, we may end up helping it to happen.

    However, that being said, i don't think that the 3 hour a day bus-ride is helping you at all. If you feel that you need more time to rest and recover, then tell your doctor that you need the time and if he won't sign for it, find another doctor.

    Mine has been great - he's told me to listen to my body and don't do any more than what it will allow. Remember - it's your back and your life, not the doctors - he works for you. Tell him how it needs to be for you.

    best of luck,

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