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Still having back pain post Discectomy

I had a left sided discectomy and laminectomy of L5/S1 the middle of September of last year. The surgery and recovery went perfectly normal and I did 8 weeks of physical therapy. As I started to wean myself off of the pain pills is when I noticed that I still had a lot of low back pain, and now was having sharp pain in my left knee. I do have a good amount of scar tissue build up and while I was undergoing physical therapy I was receiving soft tissue massage after each session which helped break down the scar tissue and got rid of the large muscle knots that I have in the lumbar area. Now that it has been a month and a half since I last had physical therapy and a soft tissue massage, the scar tissue has built back up and the muscle knots are back.

I do not feel that the surgery was a failure in that it relieved my left dropped foot and the numbness that I had in my left leg. That is all that the surgery has done for me. Everything else that I was experiencing prior to the surgery is still a big issue, on top of the scar tissue build up and the sharp pain I have at the incision. I was in great shape before I hurt my back and worked in a very body labor intensive field. As things are of right now, there is no way that I will ever be able to work in that field again. I cannot even carry a 20 lb bag of dog food without the weight hurting by back. It seems that everyone that I have read or known that had a similar surgery is doing great and is back to their normal life. Is there ANYONE out there that is going through what I am going through?


  • How long did you attend physical therapy? Is it possible you didn't do enough therapy, as I would think they would keep going to get you to that level. Sometimes they feel you have peaked or are not progressing and will stop the therapy. However, you might have a reason to return to your doctor and ask them for more. The recovery is a long road, and you will not get back what you had without lots of hard work. The surgeons can only do so much for us and the rest is up to us. I have spent many a day in tears working hard enough to get back to my work.

    You can also see about message therapy, as a stand alone. In addition to that muscle relaxers will help break them down along with trigger point injections. Are you in pain management or still seeing your surgeon? Are you still on any medications? It is important during the recovery phase to have the pain under control so you can attend the physical therapy and get the most out of it. Hopefully you are maintaining a walking schedule? If not google walking programs and get involved in a program. One of my favorites is 10,000 steps. Walking will be a program that you should invest in the rest of your life, to build the core body muscles up.

    Anyway I hope this helps some.
  • Sorry to hear you are having so many lingering problems. I also had L5S1 MicroD sept 6th. When doing all of my pre-surgery research, I read alot that said microD was to address leg pain/sciatica and would not help lower back pain. Also your knee pain should be somewhat unrelated, possibly from favoring while injured? I am just guessing there. you did 8 weeks of PT, I am just now finishing up mine. What does the PT say? Have you been seeing you surgeon? What do they say? It is concerning to hear about your incision site pain also, that should be gone by now.

    I am doing good, not great. I am no means back to my normal life, but I am getting there. Also remember what takes one person 1 month, may take another 4 mo, and another a year. So dont let that get to you too much.

    See your doctor, you have concerns and questions that only the surgeon can answer. How was PT going? Maybe you need more. We all have a different path to recovery, if you add some more detail to your story you may be able to get better advice.

    Good Luck!!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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  • I see my surgeon this Friday. I have not seen him since 2 weeks after surgery, and it was at that time he started me on PT. I did PT 3 times a week for the 8 weeks. My therapist felt I had peaked so to say so they never requested any more. All of the exercises they had me doing was to build up core strength and were kind to my back. I did not have any problems performing my PT exercises. I had kept true to a strong stretching program before I had my surgery and after so a lot of the exercises were easy to say. When I would mention pain issues my therapist would just tell me that I am already doing everything I can.

    As far as medications I am still on hydrocodone. Flerxil is a big joke and does nothing for me and I cannot take oral steroids or NSAID's due to a peptic ulcer I got from taking too many NSAID's when I first injured my back. My surgeon is the one I get my medications from since my treating doctor is a D.C.

    As far as what I expected from gaining from the surgery, my D.C. made me feel that this is what I was needing to fix everything. I expressed to both him and my surgeon that the back pain is and always has been the issue during the many months I waited for work comp to approve the discectomy. My case being a work comp case is the biggest hang up. I have to go through a roll of red tape anytime I need something to be done.

    I admit my walking program has slacked a lot since the weather has gotten so cold and I do not live in a neighborhood where I can just walk down my street safely. Money is a BIG issue and keeps me solitary. If anyone knows of good in-home programs I am all ears.

    I am just glad to hear that no I am not alone in that the discectomy did not fix my life.
  • And again every patient is different, every doctor is different. It sucks to hear that they led you to think it was a fix-all. Also not encouraging to hear that the PT thought you "peaked" when issues were still present. At least you see the surgeon this week so you can tell him all of your issues. He may not have all the answers but make sure you ask all the ?s! Write em down!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Surgeon thinks I am experiencing bone on bone pain from the discectomy. He said it happens sometimes. He had x-rays done to check my alignment and straight as can be there. Next step is MRI. Proposed treatment is to try a couple of EPI's and if and when those fail then fusion. I have a good friend and a relative that have had a spine fusion and they swear by it. Why does everyone always say, you want to avoid a fusion?
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  • jiffreyjjiffrey Posts: 5
    edited 01/14/2013 - 7:14 PM
    after having my surgery it was about a year until the pain came back and then two years before i found a nuero surgeon i could trust. The surgeon that had worked on me retired, guess he got enough money. Anyway all it will do is releive pain for a little while it seems, then the disc squish and hernaite again. I have since had fusion on it to permantly solve the issue i hope, of course i have also had l4 to s1 fused so i have had three disc fused. I am currently doing well and hope to return to normal activity, but yes it sounds like your in my boat with the discetomy. hoping things will turn around for you.
    Jeffrey Alexander
  • If ESI did not work before, what are the chances that it will work this time?
  • dancingnancies14ddancingnancies14 Posts: 50
    edited 01/21/2013 - 3:40 AM
    i am so sorry to hear about your pain, i know how frustrating it can be. i had a discectomy in june and am feeling some of the worst back pain i have ever had. esi s have not worked, pt hasnt worked, meds havent worked. i have a myelogram scheduled for this thurs. to find out what is going on. my advice is to be persistant so that you can find out what is going on. my esi s didnt work before my surgery and didnt work after, but everyone is different.

    hang in there and message me if you would like to talk, xo, becky

    june 2012-microD, l4/l5
    april 2013-fusion, l4/l5
  • Anakalia1980AAnakalia1980 Posts: 20
    edited 01/22/2013 - 9:33 AM
    Found out the MRI has been approved. The doctor's office is just waiting to receive the approval letter. Amazing how slow the mail takes when it is mailed from the IC.
    Hoping the MRI shows something to provide an answer to why my back pain has increased 10 fold. I have been in a bad pain boat going on for a week now. Bad muscle spasms that have my spine pain up to a 8-9 on the pain scale. No matter what I do to try to help the pain, I am not able to predict what the outcome is going to be. One day is decent the next I am back in bed. So frustrating! Just two months ago all was looking up and I thought the end to this horrible nightmare was coming to an end. Now the nightmare has started over.
  • Anakalia1980AAnakalia1980 Posts: 20
    edited 01/22/2013 - 9:29 AM
    Found out the MRI has been approved. The doctor's office is just waiting to receive the approval letter. Amazing how slow the mail takes when it is mailed from the IC.
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