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Recovery after Discectomy L4/L5

Hi all,

This is my first post. I've been reading through the forums prior to surgery.

I've had lower back pain on and off for 16 years. I'm now 33. Prior to my surgery 3 weeks ago I had tried to manage the pain with osteopathy, physiotherapy, yoga; I saw a chiropractor once. I've tried acupuncture and I had spinal injections a few years ago. I had a bad flare up in March this year and for the first time my back pain was accompanied by sciatic symptoms - pain in my right buttock, hip, leg, pins and needles in my right foot and weakness in my leg; my leg collapsed under me twice. I had my third MRI and this time instead of bulging disc, there was a large herniation at L4/L5 causing severe compression of the cauda equina, The surgeon suggested a discectomy so I went ahead.

Three weeks later I am seeing little improvement. I don't think the pain is as bad as before the op, but I still have a fair bit of pain in my right buttock, top of thigh just under the butt cheek and also a new pain in my calf muscle. I have tried to become a bit more active and have been going for short walks around the block, but after about 10 minutes the whole of my right leg gets pins and needles in where before I was just experiencing it in my foot. It is very painful to lift my butt up a little to shift positions in bed and if I stand for longer than a few minutes I get a numb feeling in my butt and top of thigh. I am also feeling a lot of twitching in that area.

I've stopped taking the codeine I was prescribed (as I'm worried about dependence) and have been taking ibuprofen instead, but it doesn't seem to help at all.

Should I be worried or is it just part of the recovery? Should I ask my doctor for any different medication? This is really getting me down. I'm due for my check up with the surgeon tomorrow.



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