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Piriformis following discectomy

Hello. I'm new to this site but it has helped me a great deal in the 7 weeks since I had my double discectomy- thank you all.
Here goes:-
1 week post op (L5/S1).
Woke up with horrendous buttock pain- sat up in bed and nearly shot through the roof. Walking in severe pain for at least an hour- rolling a tennis ball under my right buttock as it seemed to 'untrap' whatever was causing me this pain. For an hour or longer, had to walk with a stick, bent over to lessen the shooting pain which hit in spasms. I'm no baby but this pain was worse than childbirth. My neighbour called round to see if I was okay as she had heard me crying out in pain that morning. This happened every morning for two weeks. However, after that first horrific hour or two, the pain completely subsided and my day went normally. I managed to walk quite a bit, no stick, no leg pain.

Week 3 post op
Morning torture had almost ceased- thank God...... To be immediately replaced by searing sciatica pain down my right leg. Much much worse than before my op.

Week 6 post op
Sciatica-like leg pain so bad my surgeon did another MRI to see if anything had gone wrong. Nope! No re-herniation- very little scar tissue and a surgeon scratching his chin as to what could cause this level of pain. He thought it may well be the healing process taking much longer than usual and has said he will see me in three months time. I also saw the physio at the hospital who said the same thing, but did start me off with the first 'set' of gentle post-op exercises to do every day.

Week 7 .... Today
I can barely walk for a minute due to this stabbing pain in my legs and buttock, pins and needles in my calf and under my foot- cramping sensation that feels like a vice around my calf and a deep pain in my buttock. I am however lucky in one respect- I have no pain whatsoever when I am sitting or laying so I can get to sleep and relieve my pain immediately if there is a chair around. Additionally I have no back pain either... It's just this wretched right leg.

This pain and immobility is ten times worse than anything I had before my discectomy and I feel I now have no life. Whilst I can drive now, I cannot function normally, as I can barely stand long enough to make a cuppa let alone a meal. If I have to move out of my chair I know I will be in severe pain in my leg.... It's just dreadful.

In addition to these issues, I can now clearly see that my pelvis is misaligned to a huge degree- my right hip is considerably higher than my left, making me feel like one leg is longer than the other and to get around I have to do the 'penguin waddle' from side to side.

Despite the hospital physio saying I cannot start any private physio till week 12, I'm fairly desperate here as my hip alignment is getting worse every day, so I've consulted a private local physio who told me on the phone that it sounds like my three weeks of buttock spasms were piriformis syndrome, which she believes may have trapped the sciatic nerve which is now causing me so much bother. She is going to see if she can help me- starting next week.

So there we have it- great mobility and no leg pain for the first few weeks to now nearly lame now at week 7 with the worst pain in my leg I have ever had! Here's wishing I never had the op now.
Sorry to be moany and thanks for reading.


  • BEFORe you allow another physical therapist to work on anything, you need to contact your surgeon to clear that . Too much , too soon can cause more problems. Nerve pain is common post op, and it sounds like that is what it is. It can cause the spasms and the numbness and tingling/pins and needles type of pain that you are experiencing. Before adding more physical therapy into your post op recovery, contact your surgeon about using a medication used to treat neuropathic pain.....gabapentin ( neurontin) or Lyrica, or one of the other medications used to treat that type of pain. It may and should resolve on it's own, in time, but I would not engage another physical therapist without making sure that your surgeon is okay with it first.
  • Hello Sandi. Thank you for your reply. Yes I have tried Lyrica but it made me too poorly to get out of bed. I couldn't stop the nausea and dizziness, which I believe is common with this drug. So my only meds now are ibuprofen and paracetamols.
    I hear what you say about physio, but I am laying my trust in a qualified practitioner who will only guide me in the gentle stuff for now. I suppose, as I feel I have no life right now, doing something proactive feels better than doing nothing right now. I hope you are right Sandi, in your belief that this should eventually. Thankyou.
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  • There are several other medications that work similar to Lyrica, on nerve pain, and may be easier on your system than Lyrica was. Gabapentin, cymbalta, amitryptaline are just a few that might offer you some relief.

    www.spine-health.com/.../exercise-and-physical-therapy-disc-disease- treatment-and-pain-m
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