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l4-5 open discectomy

hello everyone i am new to this site. 2 weeks ago i had a open discectomy to repair a massive disc bulge, the operation was a success. lately i have been having a very small amount of sciatica (1.5 out of 10). my disc was bulged for one and a half years so i guess that's why i have a bit of pain still in my butt leg area, i guess the nerve may be a little damaged but overall i feel good. my surgeon took me off for 8 weeks, i am a welder so there is quite a bit of B,L,T. i have been listening to doctors orders very well by doing exercises and walking about a mile twice daily. i also have some seroma built up around my incision but family doc says that my body should absorb it in time. im hoping my recovery keeps up this way rather then having any setbacks. has anybody experienced any butt/leg pain post-op? and does anyone have any advice they would like to share?


  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/announcements/spine-health-announcements/welcome-spine-health-how-get-started

    It's wonderful that your recovery is going so well, and you are following the post op restrictions, which is so important to making sure that your recovery goes smoothly as it is expected to....
    If there was contact with the nerve prior to surgery or even during surgery, it is common for there to be some mild flaring of that neuropathic pain for a few days, to a few months until the nerve recovers. Nerves in the spine can take some time to do that, so it can be a bit of a slow process.
    It may disappear as suddenly as it showed up. If it becomes bothersome, you can always talk to the surgeon about using one the neuropathic pain medications to help ease the pain the meantime, but from the sounds of it, you are managing quite well.....
  • MK1151MMK1151 Posts: 13
    edited 04/12/2014 - 6:07 PM
    My situation is very similsr to yours, but im several weeks further along. The seroma definitely.caused sciatica (i thought i reherniated) but it seems to have shrunken enough for the pain mostly subside. It took about three to four weeks. Main problem now is leg pain/soreness early mornings. I think mainly caused by building back strength in my weak legs since i barely did any walking or standing for 3 months before surgery.

    Only other issue is numb toes, which i understand takes a long time to recover. However, it is not painful and i can walk, so it is not a major concern now.

    Best of luck.
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  • chriscarsoncchriscarson Posts: 5
    edited 04/13/2014 - 12:38 PM
    The only thing I'm concerned about is the seroma. My incision is completely healed, my family doc said not to worry about it but after going through all the stress and worry about surgery and success rates it is only normal to want everything to go well, so to see this lump at the bottom of my incision is like oh no here we go lol. I guess if my body don't absorb it they can drain it? Its probably the size of two small marbles on top of eachother, its not causing me pain.
    Thanks Sandi/MK1151
  • I just had my discectomy on March 20th but my disc only started causing me butt/leg pain since last November. I have no pain at all now. I have no issues with my incision site. When I first started walking, I noticed a slight tingling in the toes on the side of the bulge but not much. Like you, I am trying to follow the doctor's orders to the letter.....I'm working with a 5lb weight limit now. My first post-op apt is Apr 23.

    March 20, 2014 - L4/L5 Laminectomy and Microdiscectomy
  • thanks everyone. again im doing great so far with my recovery. i have been doing my exercise everyday but when i do my hamstring exercise while sitting at the edge of the bed my legs shake uncontrollably, wow i must be out of shape or maybe its where i was close on 2 years with my disc buldge. have you guys had this problem with exercises?
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  • I was prescribed (by a chiropractor) a movement where I had to lay in bed and look at the ceiling. Next, I was to bring a knee slowly to my chest to loosen the lower back muscles. Hold it, and release and alternate to the other leg.

    Well, that movement REALLY angered my disc and put me in pain for a couple of months. I don't do those anymore. Then, during aquatic pt, I was "pushed" by the people there to do the prescribed amount of reps even tho they hurt. I did them,but I paid the price. Me, not them.

    Just pay very close attention to your body and what it tells you. Nice and easy, no need to to hurt yourself.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • ChrisC-

    I can relate - I've experienced that shaking in many exercises. I couldn't stand or walk for 3 months pre-surgery - it is amazing how muscles can atrophy due to inactivity. It is normal to feel weak and get some muscle soreness (not TOO much - that means you're overdoing it). Just part of the deal with recovery. The name of the game is slow and steady progress.

    However - speak up if you feel any unusual pain - like recurrence of sciatica or sharp pain on/near the incision site. A good therapist will immediately adjust your routine. Like Paul said, listen to your body. Take your time.

    For the first couple of weeks, my PT focused on stretches rather than strength building - you may want to ask if you are being rushed. At first I felt like my hams were two or three inches shorter - very limited range. Gradually my range of motion increased. At that point the PT started bringing in more strength exercises. Progress is good overall. Make sure core-strengthening is included - I had no idea how many disc-friendly exercises exist to build your core. Very valuable and necessary to have a strong trunk to help compensate for the now structurally compromised spine.

    Because I promised my son that we'd do some hiking late summer, I have become a PT geek and am doing all stretches/exercises exactly as proscribed every day. I've also started swimming again - not the long sessions of my past but a slow/steady 20 minutes sidestroke/backstroke. Feels great. I highly recommend if you are comfortable in the water.

    Good luck - keep us posted.
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