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still having sciatic pain 2 months after L5 S1 demi laminectomy discectomy

tata098ttata098 Posts: 2
Had the surgery 9 weeks ago. Started having sciatic pain again 4 days after surgery but wasn't bad because I was taking pain meds. 10 day post op the doctor said it was probably nerve pain, gave me 600mg ibuprofen and said to take it easy. 3 week later went back to get prednisone. Those meds worked but pain came back quickly especially after sitting. Now 8 weeks post op, went back to doctor, said to still take it easy and put me out another 8 weeks from work. Told me to take gabapentin again. Seemed to work first day. But had a cold and coughing fit seemed to cause sciatic pain again. Keep getting told it's sciatic nerve pain because their might be scar tissue pressing on the nerve or its just the nerve still aggravated. Gabapentin is not working so well And I need to take 600mg ibuprofen at least once a day. I guess I'm just not convinced that something else is going on here. If it was just leftover pain, why would it hurt more when I sit for any length of time or when I move out of bed. Only seems to be ok when I lay down all the time. Feeling discouraged. Is that normal for sitting too long (barely 30 minutes) to cause more pain if it's just sciatic pain? Or is it more likely that something got re-herniated soon after surgery. Doctor said that I can't get MRI yet so I have to wait.


  • amailiaaamailia Posts: 3
    edited 02/11/2015 - 9:14 AM
    I am having a similar issue, I definitely understand your frustration. I had an L5-S1 bilateral laminectomy 10 weeks ago. I was taking Vicodin and was almost constantly laying down for about 4 weeks after surgery and had no sciatic pain, only surgery pain.

    Since then I have been taking it very easy, only doing my physical therapy which includes some core exercises and 10-20 minutes of walking daily - I have been really good about doing them and feel stronger than I have in years, but they do not seem to help my pain in any way.

    Other than PT I have been basically sedentary - I sit on a kneeling chair at work all day then I go home and lay on the couch till bed. As a result I haven't had as much pain as I did prior to the surgery, but my activity level is drastically reduced. Prior to surgery I was doing 2 hrs of volleyball 1-3 times a week, 1 hr long dog walks almost every day, 2-5 days of swimming, etc. - so now I am worried that my pain is the same or even worse because I am still having quite a bit despite such reduced activity.

    I have my 12-week appointment with the surgeon coming up, so I thought I should start doing some things I know are triggers so I can have a good idea of what to tell him. So I sat in a chair all day the other day instead of my kneeling chair, and within 30 minutes I was having pain, by mid-day it felt really bad and I started taking ibuprofen, and it hurt the rest of the day until I went to bed.

    I am still on gabapentin, which I've been slowly reducing from 3600mg/day to now I am taking 1800mg/day. I did not notice a difference till recently, so I am going to stay at this dose or maybe raise it back up a little higher and see if that makes a difference. One good thing is that I have had no right leg pain since surgery (my left was always the worst by far, the right had pain relatively infrequently, but now it is gone!)

    I went in for an 8-week appointment with my surgeon's assistant, and she felt discouraged that I had not seemed to notice any relief. She told me that if things weren't getting better by my 12-week appointment, my surgeon would likely do another MRI to see if the nerve is getting pinched at a second location. My pain does feel different, though no better, so maybe it was being pressed in two spots and a second location will need fixed.

    She also mentioned that nerves heal very slowly (1mm/day), so you may start to feel relief higher up in your leg to start, and it may slowly move down until your whole leg feels better. So if you aren't feeling as much pain higher up, that may be a good sign that the nerve is healing. I thought too that it should be instant relief with the pressure off the nerve, but if it has been pinched for a long time (mine is 2.5 years) then it will take some time to heal the nerve. I would just try to be patient until you can get another MRI and they can see what is going on now that the surgery is over. I understand your frustration though, it's not fun to go through a surgery and have it not help!
    DDD, facet arthropathy, mild bulge at L3-4, bulge at L5-S1 resulting in spinal stenosis (more pronounced on the left)
    12/3/2014 - bilateral L5-S1 laminectomy
  • Abo1AAbo1 Posts: 1
    edited 06/27/2015 - 1:42 PM
    hi , i'm new on the forum, i have only five days after my disc fusion l5 -s1- , really i feel better, just pain on my lower back incision. and my cogsic . i'm only taking panadol if needed . just wait 2 or 3 more weeks and i will discuss my results..

    welcome to spine-health
    please click on welcome to,learn more about sh and how to navigate this site to best benefit to you.
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  • I had an emergency Microdiscectomy at L5S1 6 weeks ago. For 7 days post op I was completly pain free! On day 8 I stood up from a chair and felt terrible nerve pain down my right leg. Scared me so bad because I was convinced I had re herniated. I had a second MRI done at 2 1/2 weeks post op because the surgeon requested it after what happened. Results were lots of swelling but it did not look like I had reherniated it. ... For the last 5 weeks now I have had nerve pain in my right leg all day. Some days it's much worse then other days and at some times its much worse then other times. I have read so much about this and see that people say this is normal... That it takes 6-12 months for the nerve to heal... But I can't help but feel scared everytime I have a "ping" muscle cramp. I never want to go back to where I was... My story cut very very short...
    One day I woke up with a cramp in my right leg.... 2 days later I couldn't walk from the pain I had in my right leg... Never had back pain during the entire thing... 6 days later I had an emergency Microdiscectomy. They said I had a herniated disc that was 10mm.
    I have had back pain in a different location for a seperate issue... I have been seeing a chiropractor for a year and a half for another herniation that effected the other side of my body and caused lots or back pain... But it was Improving. It is frustrating it's hard to shake the thought that something isn't right and something more should be done to fix it! Good luck I hope things work out better for you
  • I am on recovery from my second microdiscectomy just 4 weeks out and also still have pain. Freaking me out I now have new pain in both legs and some in my back. Mine started at 2 weeks which is totally frustrating because I have been so very careful this time around. I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow and a appointment with my ns. Of course I'm hoping for the best, but am coming to realize my back has a mind of its own!!! Anyone have a second microdiscectomy fail that didn't lead to a fusion???
  • The doctor at my 8 week appointment said that I have to wait for an MRI because it will be too hard to see anything that soon after an operation.. At almost 3 months I feel like it should be better than it is without the help of gabapentin (which is starting to help a bit) and it started so acutely and it says online that may be a reherniation. And he said no physical therapy because it may hurt me more. Maybe he is being overly cautious in case it was reherniated, I'm not sure. Also I feel like I'm sitting on something in my buttock area just like it felt before surgery. Hopefully he can do an MRI at my appointment at the end of March (Almost 4 months after)
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  • tczlttczl Posts: 1
    edited 06/27/2015 - 1:40 PM
    similar issues here as i lie in bed not sleeping 5 weeks after l5 discectomy. still getting all sorts of pain down left leg. surgeon not interested - i had to ask for physio as he seemed to be happy that his part of the job was done they had my money and no longer his problem.

    i have never been more depressed. 30 years of sport being my life, 2.5 -3 of misery which i thought would be remedied and now in as much pain, if not more than before the op. two children under three that i can't do anything with as well.... happy to endure the pain if someone can guarantee it will improve but right now notvery much to cheer about....

    welcome to spine-health

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  • Debs14DDebs14 Posts: 1
    edited 06/27/2015 - 1:44 PM
    i am 7 weeks post op and just had my post op visit with my surgeon.. he told me that the back looks stable and i could go back to regular duty, impossible as i am in so much pain similar to all of you..
    sitting for more than 10 minutes, walking and just about everything, the only relief i get is laying down.. i am so stressed, i just do not know where to go from here, i really think there is something wrong!
    the company i work for sent me to the states for surgery and the doctor gave me options, either fusion or lamendectomy, of course i chose the latter and i think he was annoyed that i did not chose the fusion.
    i am still in pain meds and am to start pt soon, ibut was told i could do emergency duties including heavy lifting, boat launch climbing rope ladders etc.. i can hardly walk at times how am i to do this , i think it is too early.. i don't want to re injure my back..

    today i am off to the emergency room once again as the pain is too much...
    has anyone gotten relief after pt? i need help....

    welcome to spine-health
    please click on welcome and learn more about sh and how to navigate this site to best benefit you.
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