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How long should it take to heal from a microdiscectomy?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a microdiscectomy 10 days ago (L5-S1) and am in more pain than before the surgery. My leg pain is about the same as before and my back pain is worse. What I am having trouble figuring out is how much of the pain is due to the surgery itself and how much is from the old back pain? For the first few days it was easy to tell as the pain was intense, and made worse when I got in and out of bed or a chair. How does one tell?

Overall I have experienced only modest day over day improvement from day 5 to day 10 (today) and I think any incremental relief each day is from the healing, offset by the nerve pain in my leg. Is this normal? What about all the stories I heard about feeling better within days?

My latest episode started a year ago and during the first 9 months the pain was 90% back and 10% leg, while the 3 months leading up to my surgery was almost exclusively down my leg in in my buttock.

As an aside, the recommended surgery was for the microdiscectomy along with a short spinal fusion, but after multiple rejections and arguments with my insurance company for over a month I decided to at least get some relief and get the microdiscectomy.



  • Jason,

    Sorry to hear that you have been having back problems, I to have exactly the same thing you had and the same pain in the same pattern and same spot as you. I go in this Thursday for surgery (microdiscetomy) and was just wondering how you feel now and if you have had a full recovery. I am just wondering how long I will have to be out of work.

  • Hi Jason
    10 days after surgery is too soon to expect to be over your surgery, as long as you are getting better you need to be patient and give yourself more time. You should probably expect 1-2 months before you can get back to regular activity. That is just an estimate though because everybody is different and gets over these differently.

    Like I said, as long as you are getting better just be patient. I know that is easy for me to say, but it really is the answer.

    Good Luck
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  • hey jason
    4 weeks off l5s1microdiscectomy
    going through the same...i was on about a 6/10 (pain)
    now i am about 5/10
    keep us posted annd i will do the same
    hope u feel better soon
  • Jason,

    I am a little over six weeks out after my L5-S1 microD and I felt the same way you do now. I still had the pain I had before the surgery and I also had new pain that I didn't have before. Some of the new pain was on the opposite leg, and that really had me worried. I also had talked to people who felt no pain as soon as they had the surgery, so that had inflated my expectations and frustrated me.

    At about week four I started to feel a little better. The new pain was gone, and the pain became localized at a few places. It's mostly annoying, probably about a 2 on a ten point pain scale. I started PT last week and it really seems to help. I'm still no where near 100% and have a long way to go before I'm back to "normal".

    So give it time and try to be patient. It's tough and challenging, but from what I've experienced so far after my surgery, you will feel better and the pain will subside in time. My NS keeps telling me 6 months to a year to heal completely and that's what my time frame is now. If it happens sooner, great, but I'm keeping my expectations in check.

  • My first surgery was a microdiscectomy l5 s1, I was schedualled for fusion which is what the surgeon said I really needed, but my insurence denied it. So I went ahead with the micro to get some releif from my sciatic pain and it took about 8 wks for me to really be up and going. Even started back to a bit of light jogging again, but within a few months things rapidly got worse and after a new mri was finally approved for fusion, which i am now almost 8 weeks out from. I now have good and bad weeks, still very very stiff and it drives me nuts, but I think over all I don't have much pain (my pain meds norco do a great job with pain control for me). but if i overdo, boy do I feel It. Anyway, back to you, give it a few more weeks, but if what you really needed was a fusion, than this is only a bandaid and you might eventuallly have to just go ahead and have it done.
    Good luck to you, I sincerely hope you improve and need nothing more!!
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