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Old 04-30-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
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6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Hi All,

29 year old male. Herniated discs about a year ago and suffered from major sciatic pain in left leg. Finally decided on surgery on March 16.

I am 6 weeks post op from this surgery on two herniated discs in my lower back. Fairly certain they are L4-L5 and L5-S1.

Surgery was a success. Relieved all sciatic pain down left leg and even reduced some numbness.

I was doing great with my recovery until I felt the ridiculous need to do some stretching (yoga) bending forward to attempt to relieve some new groin pain due to straining. This was 3 weeks post op. I held this forward stretch for approximately 20 seconds. Did not feel any immediate "popping" sound.

Next day I woke up and could barely walk. Definitely overdid it 10000%. My entire back surrounding the incision site was badly swollen. 3 weeks later i can walk but after 15-20 minutes on my feet it feels like my lower back is exploding from the inside out. My surgeon saw me two weeks ago and said it's probably inflammation and i've since been doing PT with little luck to calm the area down. Prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.

Friday will be 7 weeks post up. I cannot describe how stiff, tight, and sore this area is. I started work today. Rotating with ice and some heat. Muscle relaxers do little to nothing.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of setback? My initial thought was re-herniation but could this be a tear of some type? Do not have any sciatic pain but rare in buttocks region. Surgeon has denied my original request for a follow up MRI. Another appt Friday with surgeon.

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

 
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Surgeons do not like to order MRIs too soon after surgery because the amount of swelling and inflammation makes it difficult to accurately tell what is going on. Plus he probably figured he wasn't going to do anything right now if you have reherniated.

I'm sorry you are having these issues. What does your PT suspect is going on? If they regularly work with spinal cases, they often have a good sense of what may have happened.

It is difficult when you set off a cycle that results in inflammation as it can be so difficult to get back under control. Your surgeon may want to order an ESI to reduce inflammation more directly, especially if the oral medication is not having the desired effect.

It is impossible to guess if you have reherniated. There seems to be no rhyme or reason why it occurs. We have had people on here who did nothing more than cough and the disc reherniated. A number of people have reherniated within a matter of a couple weeks after surgery, doing far less than the bending you describe.

I think you will have to continue to be very careful and hope for the best...until you see your surgeon and get a confirmation one way or the other.

 
Old 05-01-2012, 05:35 AM   #3
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Thank you for the response. It has been a very trying time.

 
Old 05-29-2012, 05:17 AM   #4
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

How are you doing? My situation is similar to yours. Microdiscectomy on L4-L5 nearly 6 weeks ago was great until about week 4. I really don't know what I could have done to cause it but started getting lower back pain with some pain in my upper leg nothing like before surgery mostly lower back and burning in my hip. Doctor ordered 5 day prednisone which helped about 50%. I was walking every day about 30 min for the first 4 weeks but now walking half that much before the back pain starts. Starting PT hope that helps. I hope I have not reherniated ny disc.

 
Old 05-29-2012, 05:46 AM   #5
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Hi Cc,

I was 10 weeks post op on 5/25. I began PT about the 5 week post op time after I begin feeling this major back tightness/pain after walking just a short distance.

PT, unfortunately, has not done a whole lot to alleviate my symptoms. My surgeon felt like it was my facet joints that were inflamed. I was given cortisone shots into the joints about a week and a half go. This helped a great deal for the first 5-6 days. It seems to be wearing off. It has increased my mobility but I'm guessing that could be temporary.

My follow up with my surgeon is this Friday to determine the next step.

I am going to ask my Dr about Traction during therapy as the therapist were reluctant to use this method of therapy quite yet. I am hoping I have not re-herniated either. I plan on demanding an MRI on Friday just to make sure.

Are you back at work yet?

 
Old 05-30-2012, 07:28 AM   #6
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Not back at work yet I was hoping to be back by now. I seem to be getting better but very slowly. The mornings are not bad but by evening it is a constant pain although it is nothing compared to the pain before surgery. Still can't get the doc to do another MRI.

 
Old 05-30-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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Re: 6 weeks Post Op Micro Discectomy - Help

Most surgeons do not want to order MRI this soon after surgery. It is common to still have inflammation which makes it difficult to see if something is amiss.

It is not all that unusual with any spine surgery to have one or more nerves that end up pretty irritated as a result of the surgery itself. Sometimes the surgeon has to work hard to free up a nerve, or it is irritated by some part of the surgical process. Since nerves are so very slow to heal, it can seem like it is taking way longer than it should.

Try to be patient. I would suggest that you take a number of small walks each day rather than one or two longer ones. It is very important to keep those spinal nerves stretched out. You are at the point where scar tissue is forming and filling in and you want to walk every so often so the scar tissue does not have an opportunity to attach itself to a nerve. Also, shorter walks will not tire you out, so there is less to recover from each time. Be sure to walk on an even, level surface, too.

Are you limiting the amount of time you are sitting to 15-20 minutes at a time? Sitting too long can result in more pain.

 
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