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Old 10-12-2008, 09:29 AM   #1
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Leg pain after microdiscectomy

Hello, I was reading everyone’s replies and loved the site so I joined.

I have had a herniated disk (L5 S-1) for years. I have tried physical therapy, injections, decompressions, and finally agreed to a microdiscectomy. Prior to surgery I had severe back pain and stiffness, and leg pain radiating down my leg. Post surgery I felt great. My doctor advised me to walk 30-60 minutes a day. I did, even pushed it to 90 the first few days then I started to experience, minor calf burning so I gradually scaled it back. I am now 11 days post surgery and I am having difficulty when I walk. The pain is better than it was, the stiffness in my back is better, but I am still having leg and calf burning. Around the house I am okay but once I walk the pain begins at the top of my buttocks and down to my calf. Lying down I get sporadic pains in my calf. I was wondering is this normal, how long does it last, what can I do for it? The walking will help with scare tissue, should I stop the 30 minute walks? Pre surgery I was on Celebrex, for inflammation (works great) post surgery, the doctor prescribed Percocet. I was off all meds for a while and now I need them again. **REMOVED**

Last edited by Mod08; 10-12-2008 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Per the posting rules, be sure to ask your doctor for medication recommendations.

 
Old 10-16-2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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Rolex HB User
Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

[QUOTE=ken12345;3758592]Hello, I was reading everyone’s replies and loved the site so I joined.

I have had a herniated disk (L5 S-1) for years. I have tried physical therapy, injections, decompressions, and finally agreed to a microdiscectomy. Prior to surgery I had severe back pain and stiffness, and leg pain radiating down my leg. Post surgery I felt great. My doctor advised me to walk 30-60 minutes a day. I did, even pushed it to 90 the first few days then I started to experience, minor calf burning so I gradually scaled it back. I am now 11 days post surgery and I am having difficulty when I walk. The pain is better than it was, the stiffness in my back is better, but I am still having leg and calf burning. Around the house I am okay but once I walk the pain begins at the top of my buttocks and down to my calf. Lying down I get sporadic pains in my calf. I was wondering is this normal, how long does it last, what can I do for it? The walking will help with scare tissue, should I stop the 30 minute walks? Pre surgery I was on Celebrex, for inflammation (works great) post surgery, the doctor prescribed Percocet. I was off all meds for a while and now I need them again. **REMOVED**[/QUOTE]

WOW I could hardly walk around my house for 10 minutes at 11 days, I can't believe you are walking 1-1/2 hrs at 11 days!! You must have a really low pain tolerance, because my back hurt so much at that point!

Good luck to you with the pain... Maybe I should have been on celebrex, but my Dr. advised against taking it.My Doc says it could take up to 18 months for the nerves to heal. I would suggest cutting down on the walking some.

Last edited by Rolex; 10-16-2008 at 02:46 PM.

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:14 AM   #3
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Hey Rolex! Thanks for the response. I was walking 3 thirty minute sessions a day, Now that the pain is back I am walking 10 minutes. I have done so much research and everything I read tells me that my nerve is simply irritated the best analogy I heard was; " it is like having a car door slammed on your hand, and surgery is meant to remove the car door, but your hand is still swollen and hurting, i.e. will take time to heal" Your doc said 18 moths??? Oh my God, I can not live like this for to much longer. I trued to go back to work Monday and Tuesday for half days and was in excruciating pain after so I stayed home and worked from the house the rest of the week. I am going stir crazy but the pain is manageable with pain pills. I am day 16, my pain is in the top of my buttock, it feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife and twisting it... I had both back and leg pain pre surgery, and now post surgery it is just in the buttock. It is so debilitating and my wife is sympathetic, but nobody can truly understand until they go through it...

Enough of me, where was your surgery, and what type of pain are you having?? Are you on pain meds? I am so afraid of becoming dependent on them...

 
Old 10-17-2008, 02:20 PM   #4
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Pick of the Litter HB User
Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Hi Ken,

Have you been pushing yourself a little too much maybe?

I had micro-D July 24th of this year. I had a very large left extrusion displacing my left S1 nerve root. After about the first 10 days I was feeling pretty good. The excruciating leg pain was gone but I still had some numbness & occasional pain down the leg after over-exerting myself. I was walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes twice a day at 2 mph and doing my suggested leg stretches to prevent scar tissue from forming. At my 4 week check-up the doctor thought I was pushing it a little too much and asked me to scale back. No housework, lifting over 5 lbs. and of course the no bending, lifting or twisting.

If you have had troubles with the herniation for years & have had damage to the nerves it can take quite a while to heal. My doc also told me 12-24 months for the nerve to fully recover and that some damage could be permanent. The way my doc explained it was sometimes you get immediate relief from the pressure being removed from the nerve root but as the nerve starts to fully recover and return to its normal state that pain can return as the nerve heals. Have you spoken with your doctor about the pain suddenly getting worse again? Maybe a nerve pain medication could be prescribed. Lyrica has really been working wonders for me. Or is it possible you injured yourself again. I definitely recommend seeing your doc.

Unfortunately I reherniated L5/S1 5 weeks after my micro-discectomy. If your body is telling you to stop pushing so hard you really need to listen to it. I just went through a L5/S1 posterior fusion on October 1st. It definitely wasn't fun & I am kicking myself for not listening to what my body was telling me.

Best of luck to you!

Kim

 
Old 10-18-2008, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Hey Kim!! Thanks for the response. I had micro D on 10/1 and I felt pretty good and was pain free so I was walking 30-40 minutes a day right away. I think when I went off of the steroids the pain gradually came back. I went into my office this past Monday and Tuesday after being out for 10 days for a few hours, and was in so much pain I took off the rest of the week. It is odd the pain in my back is gone, and the pain in my leg is gone but now I have pain in my buttock and upper hip.... to the point it is almost unbearable. I only walk 10 minutes or so a day as I am scared to aggravate it, but at the same time I am scared to death about scare tissue healing. How common and prevalent is this? I am seeing the doc on Wed, but I have a feeling it is just the nerve healing. He wants me start PT Thursday. Unfortunately everything I have read indicates it can take some time to heel. Currently I am taking Celebrex and Vicadent, and the pain is tolerable.

I do think I reherniated, I have not done anything. I feel like I am going stir crazy in the house, my wife is empathetic but can't fully appreciate the pain and severity of it. My poor daughter (18 months) wants me to pick her up and I can't... so it is tough.

I have a tens unit, do you this think would help?
I think another steroid pack would help but my surgeon thinks it has to many side effects….


It is odd, I herniated my L5-S-1 left side 6 years ago and had a decompression done 2 years ago and have been pain free ever since, The right side I THINK became herniated this summer when I was carrying my daughter on the beach, and the micro d was performed art the L5-S-1 on the right side. I am preying this was not herniated for that long. Everything I have learned indicates that the longer the herniation and protrusion on the nerve root the longer it will take to get better. Need to run, but let’s chat more later...

 
Old 10-18-2008, 07:00 AM   #6
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Hi Ken - You must have an amazingly high pain tolerance. I took 6 weeks off when I had my micro d/decompression 7 years ago and it definitely took me a long time to workup to 30 minute walks. I've had 2 kids, lots of PT/epidurals, and 1 surgery since my first surgery. As for your daughter, I can totally relate. I have two boys (5 and 2) and I miss out on a lot due to my pain. I took them sledding last winter and never fully recovered. Even though I can't really lift my 2 year old, I have him get on my lap so I can cuddle him and still have that contact.

Anyway, TAKE IT EASY!
Lisa

 
Old 10-18-2008, 10:05 AM   #7
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ken12345 HB User
Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Hi, Thanks for the response. I actually have a low pain tolerance. When I was walking I did not have any pain. Now that I am having pain I am only walking 10 minutes or so. /today the pain seems to be better.... still on pain meds.... how long were you on them? to the mall with my wife and daughter and felt okay. I came home and resting now, and will go back out later.

One of the main reasons for the surgery was I wanted normal life. I guess everyone wants that,lol. Playing with my daughter and picking her up are so important to me. I am preying my never root is irritated and it needs time to heal......

I wish it was still summer. It is a lot easier to rehab in nice weather...


I am in Philadelphia

 
Old 10-18-2008, 10:13 AM   #8
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ken12345 HB User
Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

I had my micro d on 10/1 as well.... how are you feeling? do you ave a spouse or signifigant other to help pyou? My wifes friend had the same fusionas you. The good news she feels 99% better today, the bad news, it took alot of hard work and was frustrating at times and took 12 months...if you want i can ask her for reccomendations for you?

let me know

 
Old 10-18-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

I went back to work after 6 weeks and was off the meds by then, but I can't remember exactly when I got off of them. I know it must have been 1-2 weeks before returning to work. I know what you mean about the weather...I live in Montana. I have a fusion scheduled for Nov. so I'm pretty sure I'll be rehabing in doors. I live in a small town, so there aren't any private gyms. I'm going to see if I can walk at the public school.

 
Old 10-18-2008, 11:53 AM   #10
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Re: Leg pain after microdiscectomy

Ken-
I am sorry to hear of your new pain since your surgery. I myself have had 2 discectomies for a herniated disc at L5-S1. I was 19 weeks pregnant and had a 13 month old (who wasn't walking yet) when I had my first surgery. Talk about stress! However, 6 hours after my surgery I walked out of the hospital pain free and was for almost a year. Then the pain slowy returned. I was put in Physical Therapy and 2 weeks into it, I woke up one morning in horrible, horrible pain. I felt like my back broke. My right buttock and the back of my right thigh was partially numb. 2 weeks later, I had my second discectomy on that same level, L5-s1. However, the outcome wasn't as good this time. The pain was gone for about 4 weeks, then again, slowly creeped back. I was told the herniation was the largest my surgeon had ever seen and it would take time for the nerves to heal. I was told up to one year. Well, it's been a year exactly and I am in lots of pain. My pain has spread down to my calf now though. I recently went to a new dr. for another opinion and they ordered a CT myelogram (the MRI was showing nothing) and they found that I might now have some new issues going on. I am in the process now of getting more testing.

I guess my long-winded post was to let you know that I totally feel for you. Especially the part about not being able to pick up your kids. I am not suppose to lift mine under any circumstances. But I have a 2 and 3 year old and there is NO way I cannot lift them. When my son is about to fall off the playground equipment, I cannot just not scoop him up in my arms. However, I have thought of many creative ways of how to NOT lift them. I could probably start a whole thread about!

Take care and my advice to you is to not give up. If your pain does not go away, then keep searching for answers. And don't be afraid to take the pain meds. I have finally come to realize I need them to be a mom to my kids.

10imom

 
Old 10-18-2008, 04:29 PM   #11
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Re: Leg pain after microdiscectomy

Hi 10Sox. Thank you for your reply. It was not long winded at all. I truly enjoy reading everyone responses in their entirety. do you have anyone who can help with the kids? (Husband or significant other) I am luck my wife has helped a lot, and we have a nanny that we have asked to come more frequently. Y wife understands, but doesn’t understand the 24/7 agony…..y But I am a guy and I am at work m-f and for me not to pick up my daughter is probably al t easier than all the moms out there suffering, I truly feel fro you, It stinks... Please stay in touch and let me know wheat the doc says, I go back to the doctor Wed, and will post after the appointment. Knock on wood, today I feel a little better. It is a weekend and I actually go to go out...

Ken

 
Old 10-18-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
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Smile Re: Leg pain after microdiscectomy

Hi 10Sox. Thank you for your reply. It was not long winded at all. I truly enjoy reading everyone responses in their entirety. Question; do you have anyone who can help with the kids? (Husband or significant other) I am lucky my wife has helped a lot, and we have a nanny that we have asked to come more frequently. MY wife understands, but doesn’t understand the 24/7 agony….. But I am a guy and I am at work m-f and for me not to pick up my daughter is probably a lot easier than all the moms out there suffering, I truly feel for all of you, It stinks... and is debilitating. Please stay in touch and let me know what the doc says. I go back to the doctor Wed, and will post after the appointment. Knock on wood, today I feel a little better. Lets only pey it continues...It is a weekend and I actually was able to go out...

Ken

 
Old 10-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #13
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

Alpine, if you have on ein your town, try a local Mall... may be good exercise...

 
Old 10-18-2008, 04:37 PM   #14
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ken12345 HB User
Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

[QUOTE=alpine;3765307]I went back to work after 6 weeks and was off the meds by then, but I can't remember exactly when I got off of them. I know it must have been 1-2 weeks before returning to work. I know what you mean about the weather...I live in Montana. I have a fusion scheduled for Nov. so I'm pretty sure I'll be rehabing in doors. I live in a small town, so there aren't any private gyms. I'm going to see if I can walk at the public school.[/QUOTE]
Alpine, if you have one in your town, try a local Mall... may be good exercise...

 
Old 10-19-2008, 06:01 AM   #15
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Re: Legt pain after microdiscectomy

It's a REALLY small town. There is a town about 25 minutes away that has everything I need, but I have to travel over a mountain pass to get there. Normally I don't mind driving it, but there are lots of curves that are not fun after surgery. Also, it can be kind of dangerous in the winter. I'll find something...I may even bundle up and brave the cold unless we have snow and ice.

Let us know how your appointment on Wed. goes.

Lisa

 
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