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What is "normal" to expect?

On Dec. 28th 2015 I had a laminectomy (for stenosis) and 3 herniated discs repaired (l3/l4; l4/l5; l5/s1).  Before surgery, the sciatica was horrible, but I had little to no back pain.  My recovery has been pretty successful for the past 4 months.  Early on, while the nerves were healing, I had various levels of numbness and occasional twinges of pain down my left leg.  All of this my doctor told me was normal and part of the healing process.  He advised me to take an over the counter NSAID like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.  He even shared with me that when he had a similar procedure several years ago he used NSAID's regularly for a few months.  I took his advise and it helped greatly.  I stopped taking the NSAID's after about 2 months because I didn't need them anymore.

Here it is almost 4 months later, and all of a sudden while I was standing at work talking to a colleague, the twinges have come back.  My leg feels weaker.  There is some numbness again in my foot.  None of this I would consider severe levels, but it is very noticeable.

My question to the community is, Is this normal to expect so far out from surgery?  I have left a message with my doctor and I am patiently awaiting a reply, but haven't heard back yet.  I am a natural worrier, and I have let this cause me some anxiety.  I don't want to go down a similar path to another surgery.
Dec. 28, 2015 - Laminectomy L3 - S1 (Due to congenital stenosis.)
Dec. 28, 2015 - Discectomy L3-L4; L4-L5; L5-S1 (L3-L4 & L4-L5 were bulging and L5-S1 was herniated.) 
May 20, 2016 - Selective Nerve Root Block Injection L5 Nerve Root.
July 15, 2016 - Epidural Steroid Injection L5 & S1 Nerve Roots.
Oct. 31, 2016 - Microdiscectomy L5 - S1
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Comments

  • bugslybbugsly MinnesotaPosts: 36
    Sorry to hear this.  My surgeon said I can't  have any ibuprofen or naproxen for at least 6 months.  I hope you feel better and get answers.
  • AWMAAWM NebraskaPosts: 75
    Well, I have yet to hear back from my doctor, or his nurse practitioner.  I have left a message at their office every day for the past 4 days.  I am getting very annoyed.  I really need to hear their opinion on my situation.  I think hearing their opinion would ease my anxiety quite a bit about the scenario.  On a positive note, I may have figured out some of the problem myself.  I am a teacher and stand for extended periods of time.  I know this puts extra strain on my lower back.  Taking time to sit for a few minutes in the day has really helped.  Also, Ibuprofen has become quite helpful for later in the day.  Hopefully, I am just doing more than I should in the day causing my back to get tired, which in turn outs pressure on healing nerves.

    Thank you so much for listening, and I would love to hear others opinions/similar situations.
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Laminectomy L3 - S1 (Due to congenital stenosis.)
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Discectomy L3-L4; L4-L5; L5-S1 (L3-L4 & L4-L5 were bulging and L5-S1 was herniated.) 
    May 20, 2016 - Selective Nerve Root Block Injection L5 Nerve Root.
    July 15, 2016 - Epidural Steroid Injection L5 & S1 Nerve Roots.
    Oct. 31, 2016 - Microdiscectomy L5 - S1
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,518
    4+ months out of spinal surgery is not a very long time in the scope of everything.  There will always be those better days mixed in with some bad days, its sort of the nature of the beast.

    But, I think you sort of figured the problem out. Standing is tough, or sitting or anything for extended periods of time.    We all need to make sure we move around and not stick in just one position,  those just some things that you will see doctors recommend.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • AWMAAWM NebraskaPosts: 75
    After finally getting to talk with my surgeon's nurse practitioner, we think it is scar tissue causing my discomfort.  She has me taking ibuprofen and doing some nerve glide exercises.  Not sure if the exercises are doing anything, but the ibuprofen helps a lot.
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Laminectomy L3 - S1 (Due to congenital stenosis.)
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Discectomy L3-L4; L4-L5; L5-S1 (L3-L4 & L4-L5 were bulging and L5-S1 was herniated.) 
    May 20, 2016 - Selective Nerve Root Block Injection L5 Nerve Root.
    July 15, 2016 - Epidural Steroid Injection L5 & S1 Nerve Roots.
    Oct. 31, 2016 - Microdiscectomy L5 - S1
  • HualaniHualani Big Ilsland HawaiiPosts: 57
    "it only hurts when I stop" !!!  LOL, one of those things many heard growing up...
    Life is too short to be serious all the time.
    so if you cant laugh at yourself, contact me
    I'll laugh at you. B)
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  • HualaniHualani Big Ilsland HawaiiPosts: 57
    Seriously though is there an article here that talks about after 3 months? for your surgery?
    My ACDF resources have articles in time periods post op for what to expect.

    Life is too short to be serious all the time.
    so if you cant laugh at yourself, contact me
    I'll laugh at you. B)
  • AWMAAWM NebraskaPosts: 75
    Well, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.  I have started to get some searing nerve pain shots down my buttocks and left leg.  Fortunately, they are only a few seconds long.  I have also started getting more numbness in my foot, and general leg weakness.  My spine surgeon has scheduled me for an MRI and prescribed an oral steroid.  My MRI is tomorrow night.  I see the spine surgeon on Monday for his evaluation of the MRI.  Something is irritating my nerve.  I hope I get some answers.  I am trying to stay positive, but this is all too familiar.  It feels like the last problem that I had when it started.  (Herniated discs and stenosis).
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Laminectomy L3 - S1 (Due to congenital stenosis.)
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Discectomy L3-L4; L4-L5; L5-S1 (L3-L4 & L4-L5 were bulging and L5-S1 was herniated.) 
    May 20, 2016 - Selective Nerve Root Block Injection L5 Nerve Root.
    July 15, 2016 - Epidural Steroid Injection L5 & S1 Nerve Roots.
    Oct. 31, 2016 - Microdiscectomy L5 - S1
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