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Old 10-07-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

I am new to this board! I will try to make this as short as possible! I herniated my L5/S1 disc weightlifting ~6 months ago. I dealt with on and off severe sciatica in my left leg. The pain would get intense if I stood or walked for a few minutes.I tried PT, chiropractic care, epidural injections and just resting, but nothing really helped. Being 29 and very active prior to the injury, I was becoming frustrated and depressed over this. I saw a well respected neurosurgeon in the area, went for an MRI, and after looking at the results, it was clear I needed a microdiscectomy.

I had the microdiscectomy 4 weeks ago. At first it was amazing, no pain immediately after the surgery. About a week ago I started to have sciatic pain in the upper part of my left leg return, however it was about 1/5th of what the pain was like. Since then it has slowly increased, and I am pretty concerned my sciatica is returning. I have a follow up appt 2 weeks, but I am wondering if I just contact the doctor now regarding this?

Has anyone on here had any experience with microdiscectomy surgery? What was post op like? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

 
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

There are a couple things that could be going on. One is the possibility that the disc has reherniated. Unfortunately, this can happen as the disc is vulnerable for about the first six months.

Hopefully though, you are just going through a fairly normal experience post surgery. When the surgeons are closing, it is common practice to flood the area with steroids and antibiotics to help the patient heal and avoid infection. It has the added benefit of minimizing the pain in the earliest stages.

However, it can have the effect of scaring the patient. They start to feel fairly good right after surgery. For the most part the pain they've been experiencing for weeks or months is gone. As the steroid wears off, the person becomes more aware of the pain...and it seems like it is returning. But usually, it has always been there. It was just being masked by the steroids.

Hopefully this is what you are feeling. If you feel the pain is getting worse you can call your surgeon, but usually they are reluctant to do anything this early in recovery. There is still enough swelling around the surgical area that MRIs aren't really very effective...so the doctor tells the patient this is all a normal part of healing and to give it time. You are probably better off waiting until your next appointment...but again, if pain is increasing go ahead and make that call.

 
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Thanks teteri! I think the toughest part is not knowing what to expect after the surgery. I don't have a clue what is normal and what is not. Are certain sensations or pain part of the healing process or an indicator something is wrong. Man did I feel great first 2 weeks, as if nothing happened at all, it was great.

I can only hope it is a normal part of the healing process and not a re-herniation or something of that nature. I have wondered how long steroids/antibiotics can have an effect after the surgery. That logic seems to make sense and I hope that is exactly what I am experiencing.

I notice if I sit for a little while, when I get up I get a sharp pain the first 2 or 3 steps and then it seems to go away. Outside of the it seems like low level pain, but certain motion can trigger it to get sharp.

I may call the PA from the neurosurgeon's office this week if it worsens.

 
Old 10-07-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

I had no relief after my first operation. Took 6 months to see new MRI. I would ask dr when they can check as inflammation is down. Best wishes.

Will answer if other questions.

 
Old 10-08-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Yes I would say that once you are about three weeks post-surgery if you have pain that is getting progressively worse, you should call your surgeon. This is assuming you haven't gotten carried away with resuming old activities in a less than judicious manner!!

Sometimes people are so eager to become active again that they walk too far and aggravate the sciatic nerve or the piriformis muscle, or just get the inflammation going again, just when it was starting to settle down. Try to do everything in very small increments when you are adding a new activity, increasing mileage when walking, etc. You'd be surprised how little it can take to get a flare going again.

Is your returning pain on the back of your thigh?

 
Old 10-08-2012, 07:11 PM   #6
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

I too had herniated disc L5-S1' did discectomy and reherniated soon after, but took drs 1 year to do another MRI.1st herniation 11mm and second 3.5mm..finally got disc replacement 2 weeks ago...the thing is take it easy for a while, don't overdue it even if you feel good...I hope your pain sensation decreases.I am not saying you reherniated because everybody case is unique...I am currently experiencing right leg sciatica sensation that i did not have prior to surgery, and hope too it is just inflammation from the disc replacement...I'm hoping everything goes well for you...

 
Old 10-11-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

What are the typical limitations on how much exercise one can do, or pounds of weight one can lift, after a microdiscectomy? I am thinking that housework, going back to sports too early, or lifting a heavy suitcase could cause a problem while healing.

 
Old 10-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Its crazy how similar you situation was to mine. I too herniated my disc at the L5/S1 level. I was an avid athlete and hit the gym 5 days a week in college. I loved working out, but I was not educated on how the spine works.

I was doing very heavey squats and deadlifts. One day I felt a pop in my low back and it was all down hill from there. I tried every conservative method from chiro, pt, injection, massage, stretching, traction it goes on and on. After nine months of agonizing pain and sleeping 3 hours a night in the fetal position I had the surgery.

However, after surgery I was pain free for over a year (just a sore back) but as far as nerve pain I was Goldin'. A year and a half later I am having slight sciatic pain that some docs are thinking may be scar tissue.

As far as exercise after a Micro D just dont be stupid and hit the squat rack. I woudl advise you walk though. I hear it decresses the chance of epidural fibrosis from binding downt he nerve root. (ask your surgeon first though.) The sad thing is once a disc is herniated you will probably always have some issues with that area of the back

 
Old 10-13-2012, 07:53 PM   #9
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

The pain seems concentrated in the lower left buttock, but extends to the back of my thigh down to just above the knee. So yes, it is returned to the back of my thigh as well. It seems to hurt the most after I get up from sitting and is at its worst trying to walk immediately after the motion. It also seems moving my leg can trigger the pain as well. It has been getting worse and more frequent throughout the week.

I decided to call the PA from the neurosurgeon on thursday but played phone tag and could not reach the PA, so I'll try again next week.

I have really taken it easy since the surgery. I haven't done anything much, other than walking.

I am pretty frustrated at the moment this is happening, I was so happy after the surgery when I had no pain at all, I got my hope up that in a few months my life would be back to normal. They have been crushed by this. They told me there was a 20% chance I'd have a re-herniation and I fear this is what has happened. I am praying that it is not. Maybe some swelling by the nerve is causing this, or a muscle has tightened and is causing this. Wishful thinking maybe.

Mike, I hope your situation improves as well!

Last edited by Cfrost7; 10-13-2012 at 08:04 PM.

 
Old 10-13-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

[QUOTE=Strike554;5070868]Its crazy how similar you situation was to mine. I too herniated my disc at the L5/S1 level. I was an avid athlete and hit the gym 5 days a week in college. I loved working out, but I was not educated on how the spine works.

I was doing very heavey squats and deadlifts. One day I felt a pop in my low back and it was all down hill from there. I tried every conservative method from chiro, pt, injection, massage, stretching, traction it goes on and on. After nine months of agonizing pain and sleeping 3 hours a night in the fetal position I had the surgery.

However, after surgery I was pain free for over a year (just a sore back) but as far as nerve pain I was Goldin'. A year and a half later I am having slight sciatic pain that some docs are thinking may be scar tissue.

As far as exercise after a Micro D just dont be stupid and hit the squat rack. I woudl advise you walk though. I hear it decresses the chance of epidural fibrosis from binding downt he nerve root. (ask your surgeon first though.) The sad thing is once a disc is herniated you will probably always have some issues with that area of the back[/QUOTE]

You are right, our stories are so similar pre-surgery.

I am curious about the scar tissue they think is causing your pain to come back. Is it scar tissue on the disc?

I have read enough about herniated discs to realize that its going to be an issue for the rest of my life. I could live with minor on and off low back pain. The sciatic pain is the terrible aspect of this, pre surgery it got to a point where it was intolerable. I could not walk a few feet without pain.

I have kind of accepted no weight lifting, sports etc from this point on. I really just want to be able to swim in the mornings before work and do cardio/light weights to just stay in shape. What type of weight lifting were you able to resume and how long did it take before you tried it?

 
Old 10-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #11
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

I was big into heavy weight lifting and cardio. Hell I use to run 6 miles on concrete a week no issues. As of now, I jog on grass and only do body weigh exercices, push ups , pull ups etc.

The docs say weight lifting is fine as long as you do high reps low weight. I love sports, I played college soccer and club ball but as of now nothing. My surgeon said golf is fine. I played probably 30 times with no issues. I played on one Sunday afternoon and that Monday morning my calf started to tingle. I have no Idea if golf caused it or if its something else such as scar tissue.

I have come to the realization that as much as I love sports, and weight lifting messing up my back is nowhere near worth the risk. You never realize how important your back is until you screw it up. I get paranoid lifting ten lbs now.

I suffered from depression and anxiety from all this crap. Im just ready for it to be over!

Its been almost 3 years haha

 
Old 10-13-2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Are you jogging now despite the sciatic pain?

 
Old 10-14-2012, 07:13 AM   #13
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Teter


Yea I havent jogged in a few weeks, but it was part of my PT. Physical therapist said it tones low back muscles. Dont feel much pain while jogging.

My sciatica is always the worst when I wake up in the mornings. i guess from lack of movement.

 
Old 10-14-2012, 07:20 AM   #14
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

How soon after your surgery were you able to jog? Everyone's case is different, but I was wondering how long they advise people to stay away from moderate athletic activity like tennis, biking, etc.

 
Old 10-14-2012, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: Pain after Microdisectomy? Any help appreciated!

Some of these activities may be considered "moderate" under certain circumstances, but not when you are discussing the healing of a disc. Tennis and golf both involve a great deal of torque and twisting. And it is the combination of doing that movement while at the same time exerting physical force (to hit the ball) that causes the issues.

I can think of about ten better physical activities to strengthen lower back muscles than jogging. PTs or spine surgeons will sometimes acquiesce to light running if a patient loves it and fervently wants to continue to run, but I can't imagine someone recommending it over other less harmful options, especially for rehab.

Since you were jogging and since you now have sciatic pain, I would suggest that next time around you wait until you are completely healed before resuming running. I know it can be done. My husband is an avid runner and he hated being sidelined while his ruptured disc healed. He ruptured his disc the day before Christmas, had no surgery, and I think he resumed mild running at some point during the following summer. He did give up playing ice hockey though.

 
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low back pain, microdisectomy, sciatic post op pain, sciatica, surgery



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