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Was my L5/S1 discectomy a bust?

juleejjulee Posts: 2
edited 12/23/2014 - 8:17 PM in Recovering from Surgery
After years of back pain and sciatic pain in right then left, things got much worse for me in Oct (when I threw my back out out and had to be taken to the ER in an ambulance). My primary care doc decided it was time for a new MRI which showed mild DDD, spondylosis, etc. Most significant to him was a large herniation at L5/S1. In short, I had a lumbar discectomy on 12/15.
It's been well over a week and the only benefit has been decreased pain in my left foot, calf and (to some extent) thigh. My bottom and both hips are still killing me and I've started having spasms on both sides of my bottom. My lower back feels worse and I have new pain in my left groin area.
I've been through many of your posts over the years and notice that (unfortunately) a lot of you have had multiple surgeries. I know it's early but the surgeon lead me to believe that I would experience immediate relief. I'm losing hope that this surgery worked for me.
Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated.
Best wishes, J.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    edited 12/23/2014 - 8:20 PM
    welcome message




    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • to your surgery being a failure.........some people wake up with complete relief, only to experience flare ups in the weeks post op , and others still experience residual pain that may also flare and then recede as time from your surgery passes. Don't expect an instant cure, those are few and far between.
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  • juleejjulee Posts: 2
    edited 12/24/2014 - 6:05 PM
    Thanks for your reply. The woman in the bed next to me actually left the hospital feeling great - like a new person. Of course, I'm happy that her surgery (she told me she had a bulging disc) was so successful. But I can't help being frustrated (and a bit envious).
    One of the other surgeons I met with said I'd be back at work in 2 weeks. At this point, I feel barely better off than prior to the procedure. There's no way I could be at a desk for 8 hours and I can't imagine being without pain meds - which I'd like to get off of. I suppose I should be giving myself and my body more time...
    Best wishes, J.
  • Julee, I feel your pain - literally. I had a microdiscectomy yesterday to address severe pain up and down my left leg related to an L5S1 rupture that was causing nerve damage which was getting worse. I woke up feeling like a million bucks. The hideous hamstring pain was gone and the Charlie horses in my calf and numbness in my foot were barely noticeable and infrequent. But here I am awake at 4 in the morning with severe aching at the surgical site and pins and needles in my calf and foot. I hope it is just because both of us are expecting too much too soon. Does anyone out there have a timeline for when we can start expecting more normal sensation in our legs and backs after microdiscectomy?
    Victoria Langley Heller
  • https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/microdiscectomy-microdecompression-spine-surgery


    your surgeons should have explained to you, that recovery is staged in spine surgery.........the acute post op phase is 12 weeks , then there is a another intermediate stage. the acute phase is in the immediate weeks post op, with restrictions and limitations. as i explained previously, some experience immediate relief with a discectomy, and others do not. it depends on whether or not there was contact with the nerves in the spine, how large the herniation or bulge is, it's impact on other structures in the spine.
    what is important to remember is once your surgeon clears you to return to your activities, take it slow and ease back into things......don't go from lifting a gallon of milk to carrying a 20 pound laundry basket up a flight of stairs. the disc still needs more time to heal and doing too much, too soon can result in a reherniation or return of symptoms.
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  • Julee, is there a possibility you had other issues that were not diagnosed from your MRI? I experienced immediate pain relief in my sciatic nerve. So far so good! My doctor gave me restrictions: no twisting, bending, lifting more than 10 pounds, forceful movements, limiting sitting to 20 to 30 minutes at a time for 4 weeks and strictly walking. After that I have instructions to slowly increase my activity.
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