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13 months after discectomy

I am new to spine-health and have a question. I had surgery Jan 2012 L5,s1, nerve pain has never gone away and seems to actually be getting worse. Around month 7 had a mri that confirmed that I have scar tissue that is constantly in contact with the s1 nerve and has caused the nerve to be almost twice the size of a normal nerve. I have had pain that comes and goes which feels like a knife being inserted into my calf which happens at random times, generally in the middle of the night. Yesterday I woke up and this pain is quite constant, like the knife is stabbing my calf once every few minutes... I am not seeing my surgeon anymore as he has referred me to a pain specialist and the only thing I get from them is pain meds which we all know only sweep the real issue under the carpet... I guess I am curious if anyone has had a similar experience and if so, what you did to calm the nerve down. Thanks in advance for your advice.


  • Sorry for your pain but I'm glad to hear I'm not alone! This is my first time on here, too. had my first discectomy (l5s1) in 2002. I was pretty good for 10 years. I injured it again in January 2012 and gradually the pain continued to get worse. In July 2012 I had another discectomy on the same disc. For the first 2-3 weeks I had some relief except for the usual post op pain. During the 3rd week my leg pain came back and was worse than before surgery. I was sent to PT for about a month with no relief. (He was scared to do much bc of the leg pain.) I had another MRI at 2 months post op and my neuro dr sd everything looked fine, there was nothing he could do for me surgically, and released me to a pain management dr. PM dr said at the 3 month mark, I should be healed and that was as good as it was going to get from that surgery. PM then tried nerve block injection with 0% relief and his opinion is a spinal stimulator or a spinal fusion. He wants me to see an ortho dr and get his opinion. I've had a hard time finding a dr to see me. They tell me I have to wait 1-2 years post op before they will see me. Meanwhile, PM dr just gives me pain meds. (They take the edge off but the pain never goes away. Stays between a 6-8 constantly) I did find an ortho who agreed to see me and I'm hoping to find some relief with him. I do have back pain (this was expected and that I can deal with) My issue is with the constant leg pain that starts in my back and goes all the way to my toes. My butt/hip, knee, and calf muscle is the worst. Like you said it feels like burning/being stabbed with a knife. Soo aggravating! All I want is to do normal things again! It's hard to make any plans bc I never know how I'm going to feel that day. I'm only 35 and this is not how I want to spend the rest of my life! I just keep reminding myself that lots of people have it a lot worse and I should be glad for how I am. Sometimes it's really hard because I feel like no one understands. It has to get better at some point, right?! I would love to know if anyone else has had these issues and found relief!!
  • Dgwayne: hi

    Sorry to hear that your surgery has caused scar tissue build up around your s1 nerve.

    A suggestion is to search this site using 'scar tissue' or similar for info.

    I have heard many folks here getting revision surgery that addresses scar tissue. But you will probably have to find a senior / top surgeon for this revision surgery? Is your surgeon of that calibre? Would you consider fusion?

    My consultants recommended swimming to prevent scar tissue hardening. Freestyle swimming with snorkel and goggles.

    Take care.
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  • I am nine months out and your story sounds like a replay of mine!!!!!! My surgeon told me well your disc has collapsed more and you have scar tissue. Basically live with it till you can't stand it anymore then come back and I'll fuse it. Wow.. thanks.
  • My brother in law had the same problem with scar tissue after micro d. So bad he could not move and was hospitalized for a week. It took 5 hours for the ns to remove it. He has been pain free for 10 years now. One of the lucky ones. Not like me reherniated my l4, l5 disc and I am laying on the couch with horrible pain and can't see my surgeon till march 13th. I really feel bad for all of us with back pain. I wish there was a miracle that could cure all of us but until then I just keep praying things will get better eventually.
  • I get sharp "knife stabbing" nerve pain.... It took like 2 months before the neurotin actually started working, I'm glad I stuck it out with that medicine... I usually only take it at night when the "stabbing" is worse, however sometimes I get them during the day (more than just a couple) so I take another dose and it really works!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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