I had a laminotomy and L5-S1 microdiscectomy 2 weeks ago. The surgery was done 7+ months after having incurred a large disc herniation. I received 2 steroid injections on 7/10/09 and 9/2/09. The second injection was given directly into the S1 nerve root and virtually eliminated the considerable pain I was having in the back of my right leg. During September and October I was back to exercising normally and I thought my problems were over. Then the pain returned in late November and worsened through December to the point that I had a 2nd MRI. That MRI showed the disc was still pressing on the nerve and my surgeon didn't think it would heal any more on its own. I was only too happy to succumb to surgery rather than live with the pain.
Since the surgery I have been feeling pain in the back of my right leg and in both feet. I also have numbness and tingling in my feet (note: I also have MS and sometimes have numbness and tingling in my feet anyways, but I detect a new and distinct pain component in both feet now). My nurse practitioner advises me that since the S1 nerve had been "clobbered" for > 7 months and seeing the surgeon had to reposition the nerve in surgery, all these symptoms are normal for a couple weeks out from surgery. (Note: the degree & location of pain varies from day to day)
My questions are: 1. how long is it likely to take for the S1 nerve to settle down and for the pain to abate? Are we talking weeks, months, years?? 2. is pain a common reaction that a nerve can signal when it suddenly is decompressed after months of being compressed?
I'm one year post op from a triple microdiscectomy. My leg and foot "tingling and pains " still continue but steadily improve. I am taking one 300 mg pill of Neurotin to help with the issue. The rejuvenation of the nerve is way slower than I had anticipated, but it is steady progress. I believe we need to think in longer terms, quarterly results (3 month periods) rather than shorter terms for progress updates. I pray for your steady recovery.
Thank you so much for your encouragement. It's good to hear that things have been steadily improving for you even though you're one year out from surgery. If nothing else, having a herniated disc that requires surgery teaches one patience! It's hard for me because I have MS and prior to the injury I'd exercised with great regularity as a way of combating MS. It's tough to be sidelined.
You said you had a triple microdiscectomy. Which discs? All best to you!
Last edited by elsa50; 02-17-2010 at 10:36 AM.
The three lower lumbar discs. L5-S1, L4-L5, L3-L4. I had tears in each disc, a non-contained herniation and a bulging disc. All were fixed by the surgery. It is the very slow recovery of the nerves that has been a challenge. My age, 58, may be a factor.
Elsa - I had a micro D on Jan 15 this year. So I'm about 5 weeks post-op. I had a large herniation at L4/5. My pain gets better every week. But I am still experiencing pain in my legs (sciatica). I asked my surgeon about this and it seems this is typical. I still have swelling the size of a ping pong ball at the incision that is probably the cause of the pain I feel. T%he doctor said it would be 6-8 weeks for that swelling to go down. Don't worry to much about pain at 2 weeks post-op. It will get better. Don't over do it. Use ice to help with the swelling. Good luck with your recovery.
Sookie - Thanks a bunch for sharing that information. Today I'm 3 weeks post-op and I went to a water walking class which felt great. The pain in both my feet has lessened. The only area where the pain persists is the back of my right thigh. Interestingly, the swelling at my incision has gone down remarkably fast--it's virtually flat already.
Good luck with your recovery too!
I'm a week out from microdiscectomy and am so glad to find out that my twinges etc (nothing like the pain before) are normal. I still have a numb patch and pain just to the left of my left hip, a twinge in my right thigh (most worrying cos that's how this whole thing started), some pins and needles in feet (though this is not unusual for me at the best of times), and the occasional other leg twinge.
Anyone else out there who's had post-op pains they've been concerned about?
You've probably seen my posts, but my only complaint is foot pain. I'm 11 weeks post-op and have persistant pain in my right foot that is almost worse than it was before the surgery. At first it was only occasional, then only when I was lying down, now it's pretty constant. Motrin seems to help. Not sure what's causing the flare up. I can't think of anything specific I did to aggravate the nerve. I'm just hoping I haven't reherniated, have something floating around in there, or have scar tissue. I really don't feel like going through another surgery. Doc doesn't seem particularly concerned but it wasn't bothering that much when I was in his office so I didn't complain too much (go figure).
Hi, I'm one year post op. The foot, leg and hip pains come and go. This is only my opinion, but I attribute the pain to the nerves healing and regenerating after the trauma we put them through. I take one neurontin pill a day to keep these "phantom" pains in check. It would appear that the nerves heal very slowly and at their own pace. Continue to be patient, move forward with your rehab and keep us posted on the website. Until I found this website, it had been a long lonely battle with my recovery. Now I'm glad to have a sounding board to refer to for support. Best wishes to you. AZREB
I had a L4/5 microdiscectomy 2 weeks ago. Actually, I had one 3 weeks ago, re-herniated within 4 days, and had the second surgery 2 weeks ago.
Since then I've had pain around the incision, which has pretty much disappeared. But also lots of ache down the backs of my legs, some back muscle spasms, and just a really achy lower back. Also the numb foot.
A lot of that has gotten better, but today I woke up with some pain in my butt and going down my leg. Exactly the same type of pain I had before surgery, although not as bad, of course.
Is that normal?
It really freaks me out, especially since I already re-herniated once. I absolutely cannot believe I could have done it again. So REALLY hoping this is normal-just the nerve freaking out or whatever.
I'm really glad to find a forum with other people who have experienced this surgery.
First I know what it's like to freak out in this situation - it's hard not to - but don't worry too much. I have a great nursing friend who's looked after a lot of people post these ops and I have done a lot of research. apparently pain down the leg(s) - the nerve recovering or referred pain - is quite normal. Is it a dull achey pain that comes and goes, with the odd shap pain? I have that, and also my leg hits a bit when i move, so i think i've also pulled a muscle. Apparently it's only if it becomes the sciatica that we all know is excruciating that you should talk to your doctor/surgeon. I really feel for you - I have been tiptoeing round for the last fortnight (since my microdiscectomy) in the hope it won't reherniate. But my surgeon says if it's going to do so, it will anyway, so just get back to your normal activities.
Hope this was some help.
It all depends on many factors...one of most important factor is duration of your symptoms... If you suffered for several months (or even years?) your nerve needs time to recover. If it was compressed for long period of time, now normal blood flow is gained, and this nerve needs time to adapt to it.
Sometimes doctor say: nerve recovery time is equivalent to nerve compression time.
I've also heard that nerves can take a very long time to heal and be patient. It's just hard to be patient when you're continuing to experience pain. My problem is I'm not sure if the post-op pain is a result of the nerves healing, scar tissue, reherniation, or disc fragment. I'm 10 weeks post-op now and my foot has been bothering me the last couple of weeks. Doc doesn't seem concerned unless it's continuous pain (I didn't ask what continuous was in his world). I'll give it a bit longer before asking for an MRI.
maybe i am a little late to your conversation... but i figured i'd jump in sinice I just had my l4/5 microdisectomy 5 days ago. My injury date was 3 months ago. Im still pretty sore but a lot less worried about the dull pain in my calf muscle after reading that I am not along. Wishing we all fully recover...