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Young, Active, 22 year old Male Leg pain

Hello,
First time post and new to SpineHealth, hoping to learn a good deal and also share my experiences and such with those that have my pain.

Here is my demographics: 22 year old male, very active and fit prior to injury, L5/S1 rupture pinching S1 nerve, officer in US Navy.

About 10 months ago I woke up after a night of pick-up basketball and then generic college var scene with severe pain down my left leg (8 or 9). At first thought it was a pulled hamstring from the basketball since I had zero pain in the lower back region, it was all in my left leg. Needless to say, took me a month to go see a chiropractor who eventually referred me to a back pain and spine doctor.

He did and MRI and turns out I had a severe L5/S1 disc rupture. Did a set of 3 epidural steroid injections after that and I had significant relief but never completely gone (about a 1.5 lowest) and I still had very limited flexibility in my legs. A out 6 to 7 months after the injections, the pain started to creep back up again, and trying to stay on top of it, I immediately went to my doctor and was set up for traction and PT. Did that for a month and it took the pain from preventing me from sitting comfortably (which is what it had been for the previous time after injections) to where I could sit but standing was horrible. Finally saw a pain management doctor and then a neurosurgeon.

After another MRI, it was found that my herniation hadn't changed at all and we scheduled a microdisectomy at L5/S1. Surgery was on December 11h and for the first few days after I was just a couch potato lung on my back with short walks. It has now been 13 days since the surgery and I walk every day but the pain has started to come back in the same way it was pre-surgery.

I can manage the pain with naproxen-sodium doses twice a day but I was hoping that I could get off pain meds after the surgery. Pre-rupture, I was a very active athlete in excellent shape. I am hoping that I can one day get back to running and lifting and 'normalness' but scared that this leg pain won't go away.

Hoping to get some answers as to how long the leg pain will last after the surgery and if anyone has had this same experience and is willing to share what they went through so I have an idea of what to expect in the future.

Thanks for any help you guys can give! And happy Christmas Eve (currently driving to family's house to celebrate)
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Comments

  • hi tito. it's early days for you. also welcome.

    my microdiscectomy was a fail but am getting better after fusion.

    he are a few quick threads for you.
    https://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/sciatica-leg-pain-radiculopathy/post-discectomy-sciatic-nerve-pain#comment-285203
    https://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/sciatica-leg-pain-radiculopathy/young-active-22-year-old-male-leg-pain

    using the search at top of page for 'reherniation' and other appropriate keywords will give you lots of stories. there has been quite few discussions almost identical to yours in last few weeks.

    at 22, the spinal discs can still regenerate / repair up to about 25 years old. a positive for you. reherniation in low bmi people is approximately 15%.

    sciatic pain generally, is all gone immediately, if the pain generator is addressed. if the pain generator was not addressed, it continues to generate pain (obviously, lol). nerve regeneration pain and numbness is normal and lasts generally a few weeks, but can be longer depending on length and severity of nerve compression.

    there are good articles on failed back surger in website, once again, search with 'failed back' to find them.

    good luck and keep us updated.
  • Tito37 said:
    Hello,
    First time post and new to SpineHealth, hoping to learn a good deal and also share my experiences and such with those that have my pain.

    Here is my demographics: 22 year old male, very active and fit prior to injury, L5/S1 rupture pinching S1 nerve, officer in US Navy.

    About 10 months ago I woke up after a night of pick-up basketball and then generic college var scene with severe pain down my left leg (8 or 9). At first thought it was a pulled hamstring from the basketball since I had zero pain in the lower back region, it was all in my left leg. Needless to say, took me a month to go see a chiropractor who eventually referred me to a back pain and spine doctor.

    He did and MRI and turns out I had a severe L5/S1 disc rupture. Did a set of 3 epidural steroid injections after that and I had significant relief but never completely gone (about a 1.5 lowest) and I still had very limited flexibility in my legs. A out 6 to 7 months after the injections, the pain started to creep back up again, and trying to stay on top of it, I immediately went to my doctor and was set up for traction and PT. Did that for a month and it took the pain from preventing me from sitting comfortably (which is what it had been for the previous time after injections) to where I could sit but standing was horrible. Finally saw a pain management doctor and then a neurosurgeon.

    After another MRI, it was found that my herniation hadn't changed at all and we scheduled a microdisectomy at L5/S1. Surgery was on December 11h and for the first few days after I was just a couch potato lung on my back with short walks. It has now been 13 days since the surgery and I walk every day but the pain has started to come back in the same way it was pre-surgery.

    I can manage the pain with naproxen-sodium doses twice a day but I was hoping that I could get off pain meds after the surgery. Pre-rupture, I was a very active athlete in excellent shape. I am hoping that I can one day get back to running and lifting and 'normalness' but scared that this leg pain won't go away.

    Hoping to get some answers as to how long the leg pain will last after the surgery and if anyone has had this same experience and is willing to share what they went through so I have an idea of what to expect in the future.

    Thanks for any help you guys can give! And happy Christmas Eve (currently driving to family's house to celebrate)
    I've been in the USAF for 17 years and the problem you're going to find is that you are going to have to complete a PT test in the future. After my first surgery, same as yours, I was okay, I probably wouldn't have gotten another surgery so soon, but I needed to run to avoid an MEB. So there were 3 surgeries to follow and a fifth in the near future. If you are experiencing nerve pain after surgery hopefully it's just an irritated nerve from the surgery but my nerve pain wasn't and that's why all the surgeries that followed. If you have found something that makes your pain bearable then I would stay with that, the majority of us will never be 100% pain free once we've had that first surgery it's about keeping the pain under control. If the pain isn't controlling your life or affecting your daily activities then I would say your surgery was successful, if not you might want to schedule a follow up with your surgeon and discuss this with him.
    Microdiscectomy/Laminectomy/Foraminalectoy L4/L5/S1 Oct 2009, Mar 2012
    Laminectomy L4/L5/S1 Dec 2009, Oct 2012, Dec 2012
    Microdiscectomy and Synovial Cyst removal Feb 2013
    St Jude Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted January 2014

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  • thepretendertthepretender Posts: 36
    edited 01/01/2013 - 9:53 PM
    After 3 surgeries, all including a pinch nerve, I can tell you that that is completely normal at this point for you to be experiencing sciatic pain still. Usually surgery does provide instant relief but will seep back I after 5 days or so as that part of your body becomes inflamed.

    Your nerve will take time to regenerate. That's something that is hard to predict how long it will take but definitely a couple months. It can take up to a year really. So basically don't worry too much at this stage. You could get in contact with your doctor and ask for a steroid. Those can be very effective.

    Hang in there, I feel confident it will get better for you. Sadly it's just a tricky non-instant process. It's a hard lesson in having patience. Good luck!
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