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Return of Sciatic Pain 5 weeks after Discectomy?

Hi there, I'm brand new to this site and would like to share my post surgical experience to see if others have had anything similar. I am a generally healthy and fit 46 year old male who has biked centuries (100 mile races) and run marathons. I had a discectomy at L4/L5 for sciatic pain in my left butt and leg back in Oct 2010. I experienced immediate relief of pain and recovered very quickly. I was back to work after a week and off all pain meds after a week as well. After doing PT and getting all of my movement back, I was pain free and able to do everything I wanted to do up until Jan 2013..

In Jan 2013, I re-herniated the same disc; however, my symptoms were on the right side. I tried conservative treatment again, but the pain got so bad, I had a repeat discectomy Aug 9th. I am just over 5 weeks post op and was doing great, leg pain gone, incision healing well up until a couple of days ago when the butt pain and calf pain returned. It is not as bad as per-surgery, but I'm quite scared because I didn't have this experience last time. I don't think I have re-herniated because I can lift my leg straight and coughing doesn't seem to make the pain worse.

Has anyone else experienced a return of nerve pain? Is it temporary? Any ideas of what might be causing this nerve irritation?

Thanks for your support.


  • Yes, it could be a flare up of nerve related pain, especially if the nerve was touched during surgery or there was some compression or contact of the nerve root during surgery. It should settle down over the coming days and few weeks but if it does persist, then you would need to contact your surgeon for evaluation.
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