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Old 02-22-2011, 09:54 AM   #1
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2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Hello All,

Thanks for all your past posts and comments. Been a big comfort to me reading all of them. Now I could use some more direct hand-holding! Sorry this is long-winded. I'm stressed! After 10 months of unrelenting left sided sciatic pain, numbness and weakness from a left sided L5-S1 herniation, I had a microdiscectomy 2 weeks ago. It felt like a miracle. I woke up with absolutely no left sided pain just some expected incisional soreness. Never even took a tylenol. Couldn't believe the weight that had been lifted....I forgot what it was like to live with out pain.

Anyway, 5 days post op I was out for my twice daily little walk and I had some RIGHT side sciatica.....same exact distribution as I had previously had on the left. (remember , I had surgery on the left!!) I freaked. It wasn't excruciating but it was definitely sciatica. It lasted 5 minutes or so then resolved. It showed up 3 more times that day....walking, standing and laying down. I tried to keep my cool but I have not had a twinge of sciatic on the right side in 20 years...and then it was just a transient buldging disk.

Now 9 days later, I am finding the new right side sciatica is more consistent. While not prompting me to take an advil, it is there about 95% of the time. And as all you sciatica sufferers know, even when sciatica isn't excruciating it weighs on ones mind...irritates and aggravates and has the power to leave you tossing and turning in bed from discomfort . When standing, I find myself shifting my weight off the right leg and onto the left. My BAD leg 2 weeks ago is now my GOOD leg. My left side, BTW, not a twitch.....even after that disk had been crushing the nerve root for so long. If I was experiencing this sciatic pain on the left, my surgical side, I wouldn't be concerned. But the opposite side?

Could this just be post op inflammation? Did I reherniate in a different spot? Could I have reherniated in the same spot and a hunk of disk has shifted to the right? Despite the severity and duration or my initial disk herniation, I rolled into the OR for surgery in great athletic condition. A blessing, perhaps. But maybe a curse. I am following "the rules" but have probably been too active. I live alone so have had to drive some from day 2 post op and some lifting (with perfect technique) has been required. Did I mess myself up? Has anyone had post op sciatica on the OPPOSITE side? Suggestions? Thoughts? Somebody talk me down! And thank you so much in advance.

Thanks,
Stacey

PS: I called my surgeon. He's away this week. Spoke to his PA...excellent but not exactly a hand holder. I could use a little of that right now.

 
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

The answers to all your questions in your last paragraph are yes and possibly. Everything you mention is a possibility. Inflammation from surgery could be irritating the spinal nerve root on the right side. The surgeon may have had to tug on the nerve somewhat to get it freed up.

It is not unheard of to have a small disc fragment "escape" as the pieces are being pulled out. At some opportune moment it breaks free and roams around enough to cause irritation. Or, it is possible you have reherniated the disc. It would be impossible to say for sure without having a new MRI.

Hopefully you have just been more active than your body liked and you are now paying the price. Try to rest a bit more and see if it will quiet down. Are you using ice? You can use the icing technique 15-20 minutes at a time, every hour around the clock, taking care not to freeze your skin, of course. This should help if there is inflammation.

When your surgeon returns, if it is still bothering you, he may want to prescribe oral steroids or even order an ESI if he feels inflammation is the cause of your sciatic pain.

My surgeon says he has the worst problems with patients after microdiscectomies because they often feel so great afterwards that they do too much too soon, despite his instructions and warnings... and often create problems for themselves.

Hopefully, yours is just a little flare and you will be feeling better soon. In the meantime, try to rest more and limit your activities to MODERATE walking!

 
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:47 AM   #3
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Hi tetonterri66,

Thanks for the reply...I read it the day you wrote it but "mentally" I am not dealing with this situation very well....trying not to think too much...although the sciatica is a constant reminder. Anyway, I have my recheck today with the doc. Stressed about how this will go. Historically I tend to get blown off by doctors.....and in the past it has almost got me killed! Literally. Apparently my unassuming nature, failure to be pushy, and high pain tolerance are a bad combo when it comes to being a patient. So I am afraid I will be dismissed as "it's nothing" and "give it a few weeks". So probably I am writing this today to pump myself up. It may be "nothing" but I'm NOT leaving the office without the ok to get an MRI. If I have to break out my credit card to pay for it, so be it! I need to know it's "nothing".

Thanks for listening and for all of your great advice..here and in other posts.

Stacey

 
Old 03-02-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Hi Stacey. I agree with what Teri has said....as always, she is right on target.

I'm glad you have your appt today and hope that you are able to "convince" the dr. that this problem needs looking into. He should know that after a discectomy a patient can easily have setbacks, or even worse so I hope that he doesn't brush you off. Often, a short round of oral steroids can be really helpful if you have inflammation.

I'll check in later and see if you have posted again.

Carol
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

How did your appointment go?? We're eager to hear how you made out....

 
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Dear Carol and TetonTerri and everybody else listening out there,

Well, the appointment went better than expected... I think I have a doc who is aggressively on "my side" for once! He was scratching his head about the new symptoms on the "wrong side". First, he told me he strongly felt that I wasn't going to be one of the 5-10% who re-herniates based on how it looked in there at the time of surgery and the tremendous amount of disk material he removed. I don't know if that is medically based or a gut reaction. Also, the statistical probability of me re-herniating on the left and getting pain on the right he said is even less.....and another herniation, another site...possible but...

Anyway, he said this situation was "unacceptable" and that I should be pain free on both sides and I cheered! There was an MRI cancellation as I was walking out the door of the office so they turned me around and stuck me in the thing. Results Monday. IT IS SUCH A RELIEF!. I was afraid I would get the...lets give it a month..then in a month..let's give it a month...

BTW, I have a question. When they do the microdiscectomy, do they have to flex and extend you and bend you side to side on the OR table to get good visualization and access? The reason I ask is that immediately post op my only soreness was on the right (the original good side!)....right side of the incision , right lumbar muscles. I wondered then about it ... Maybe it's just wishful thinking but I am hoping maybe something is just aggravated... wishful thinking...but I experienced 4-5 days blessedly and absolutely pain free and I WANT THAT AGAIN!!! Selfish me!

Ok, I need to turn off the brain until Monday!

I will keep you all posted...and again, thank you. You cannot believe how much you are helping me.

Stacey

 
Old 03-03-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

BTW.....to Maltluver and Tetonterri and all you other chronic back sufferers out there. I just want to say you all have my upmost respect and admiration. I feel like a whimp and a complainer in comparison to those who have lived with chronic pain for decades and endured countless surgeries just to keep their pain manageable.....and in many cases just barely bearable. Hats off.....

Stacey

 
Old 03-08-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Just giving the update...good news....my post op MRI looks good. No reherniation, no new disk extrusion, no resitual fragments.... The new right side sciatica appears to be inflammation related as there is nothing seen on the MRI to account for it. I'm still ouchy but relieved. Now I just have to sit back and let things settle down. Thank you all. Stacey

 
Old 03-09-2011, 07:04 AM   #9
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

It's a hard thing to do but ya have to slow down! or it will never get better and WE ALL WANT YOU TO HAVE WHAT YOU HAD FOR THOSE 5 DAYS! It makes us all hopeful that it can happen for us as well! ya gave me hope
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:13 AM   #10
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

I am so glad the MRI was negative and there doesn't seem to be any new problems. Now you have to make yourself do less and rest more, tho you should continue your walks, perhaps at a slower pace and not quite so far. Then you can build up again. For the next few days, just take it easy as possible, avoid any lifting or twisting or bending, and let your body heal.

I'm happy that you posted again and hope you will continue to give us updates on how you are going. Don't hesitate to ask questions or vent your frustrations....it's important not to bottle things up.

Carol
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:28 PM   #11
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Hi Stacey, I'm Zoe. I,too have had a lumbar discectomy exactly 10 weeks ago to remove a huge herniated disc in L5-S1. Just like you, the excruciating pain was on my left hip all the way down my ankle and as soon as the operation was over, I felt like a billion dollars! Only this evening, as I was walking on the treadmill did I experience for the first time abrupt and sudden pain on my left hip and alarmed me to say the least. I will call my neurosurgeon first thing in the morning and will update you, too. Be safe and take care of yourself.

 
Old 03-30-2011, 02:12 PM   #12
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

My post op sharp sciatica pain went away within 2 weeks of my last post. Scared the livibg daylight out of me. No explaination for it was found....it was pain on the side opposite my surgery site. I just took everyone's advice and rested, rested, rested. Let us know how all goes for you.
Best of luck at the docs and in your recovery! Stacey

 
Old 03-31-2011, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

Snowyjoy ~

Welcome to the board.

I just wanted to mention that you might want to try walking outside on a flat surface rather than on a treadmill for awhile to see if it makes a difference.

We've had this discussion on the board previously, and many of us were told NOT to use a treadmill in the early stages of recovery. One thing about it is that it is much more of a repetitious activity which is never good for a spiney. When you're walking on regular ground, the body automatically varies the length of the stride, the speed, and the posture much more than on a treadmill, so the joints don't get as pounded down as on a treadmill.

It is normal to have unexpected pains and aches during recovery, and they usually go away after a couple days of rest.

 
Old 04-01-2011, 04:49 AM   #14
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4719860]Snowyjoy ~

Welcome to the board.

I just wanted to mention that you might want to try walking outside on a flat surface rather than on a treadmill for awhile to see if it makes a difference.

We've had this discussion on the board previously, and many of us were told NOT to use a treadmill in the early stages of recovery. One thing about it is that it is much more of a repetitious activity which is never good for a spiney. When you're walking on regular ground, the body automatically varies the length of the stride, the speed, and the posture much more than on a treadmill, so the joints don't get as pounded down as on a treadmill.

It is normal to have unexpected pains and aches during recovery, and they usually go away after a couple days of rest.[/QUOTE]

 
Old 04-01-2011, 04:58 AM   #15
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Re: 2 weeks post op microdiscectomy Left side, now sciatica Right?!

[QUOTE=snowyjoy;4720572][/QUOTE]

Thank you so much for the info about the treadmill. There have been varied opinions about using it or not and I have started working on it after the 6th week since my surgery. 10 weeks and counting have already passed and apart from this sudden sharp pain on my right hip I felt a few days ago, I've been doing great. Spoke to my surgeon this morning and said that I am and will be experiencing some mild muscular spasms here and there, nothing to be alarmed about.

I did ask my doc if I can practice yoga and told me he sees no reason why not as long as I will not bend over at all and always listen to the cries of my body. To tell you the truth, I'm a little skeptical about yoga. What's your input on that? And when can I start running again?

So looking forward to your feedback as it is highly valued.

Thank you.

Zoe

 
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