Back Pain Support Group

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. In fact, about 3 in 4 adults will experience back pain during their lifetime! The term back pain includes pain affecting the neck, midback and low back. Acute back pain may begin suddenly with intense pain but typically lasts fewer than three months. Usually, chronic back pain is persistent, steady, and ongoing.

1 Online
1 Online

still pain after microdiscectomy....SO concerned

I am a 23-year old who has been suffering from back and leg pain for 7 months now. I feel like I have been part of a nightmare...and it is just never-ending. I hurt my back teaching an exercise class for my job. I had excruciating pain in my leg.....I ended up getting an MRI, showing that I had torn two disks, and one was herniated. It was affecting my L4-L5 and my L5-S1. I still tried to avoid surgery....tried literally EVERY option. So exhausting, losing hope.

I finally had a microdiscectomy last week on my L4-L5. I was so hopeful that relief would come! I woke up in the recovery room and my leg pain was gone! The doctor said they were able to remove all the herniation away from my nerve. I was thrilled...no leg pain for two days, just the normal back soreness from the procedure. But then, it came back. It is just a throbbing pain in my whole leg, and sometimes the pain medication doesn't take it away. Is this normal after the surgery, and could the nerve just be really sensitive now from the procedure? Has anyone else experienced this? I am getting NO help from my surgeon. I feel so alone and so scared.....I just want to know what to expece! Please, please, please if you have any similar experience or words of support I would be greatful. Thank you.

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Meg ~ I would bet that this is just your nerve HEALING. Healing can be very painful after surgery. They have to push, prod, poke, and of course that nerve has been inflamed for a long time. Now it's trying to heal and it's going to hurt. SHAME on your surgeon for not explaining this to you. He's a jerk.

He also should have given you something for the pain. Ask your GP to prescribe something. This shouldn't last TOO long, but try to be patient. I can really feel for you - I've got permanent sciatica. God bless and keep us posted. Check in from time to time. Hugs, Lee
deleted_user
deleted_user

Meg,
You are a week away from surgery, didn't your surgeon tell you that it could take about 6 months for you to get some real relief??? Nerves take a long, long time to recover, and this is going to be a long haul, I can tell you, I've been through 5 lumbar surgeries, including a fusion.
Another thing, did you surgeon explained to you what a MicroD can do, and can not do? Unfortunately, MicroD's usually do not work, and I am sorry to tell you this.... but here is an excerpt of an article from Mayo Clinic;

Microdiscectomy success rate
A recurrent disc herniation may occur directly after back surgery although they are most common in the first three months after surgery. Recurrence rates after a patient has a disc herniation are between 5 and 10%. If the disc does herniate again, generally a revision microdiscectomy will be just as successful as the first operation. However, after a recurrence, the patient is at higher risk of further recurrences (15 to 20% chance). If herniation continues to recur, a fusion procedure might be considered.

Recurrent disc herniations are probably due to the fact that within some disc spaces there are multiple fragments of disc that can come out at a later date. Through a posterior microdiscectomy approach, only about 5 to 7% of the disc space can be removed and most of the disc space cannot be seen. Also, the hole in the disc space where the herniation occurs (annulotomy) probably never closes because the disc itself does not have a blood supply. Without a blood supply, the area does not heal or scar over. There also is no way to surgically repair the outer portion of the disc space (the annulus).
Superduck
Superduck

{{{HUGS}}}

I am so sorry for your pain and your frustration and fears ... this is a very big procedure and it I think Leeall is right, SHAME on your surgeon for not being more empathetic and honest with you.

I have not had surgery for my issue...though I have had several consults now with my MD and two different NeuroSurgeons

Here is the information that they all agree on

The longer your nerves are irritated or compressed, the greater the probability that they will not have full recovery after a surgery.

Surgery does not cure nerve issues. Nerves may or may not regenerate fully. Surgery can only fix mechanical problems (broken bones) repair injuries (gunshot wounds) alleviate illness/symptoms (diskectomy, appendicitis) etc.


You are very young and it sounds like in very good shape. This will greatly help in your ability to heal and to have a good outcome from this surgery. Tipper is absolutely correct...it will take several months for you to feel more like your "normal" self. Physical therapy is also recommended after back surgery.

The Sciatica pain that you are experiencing may take a long time to go away...I would ask your primary care provider for some medications that would hlep with this and maybe see about getting involved with a pain management doc. You absolutely SHOULD NOT be suffering in pain. Is some pain normal, sure it is...but suffering is not acceptable and is not normal...they have medications that they can help you with.

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress. You will find many wonderful people on here who have tons of experience and are very helpful. Take Care!
fifercats
fifercats

Hello

I have been suffering since April 2010 with similar problems. My L5/S1 are bulging, L4/5 is torn and L3/4 is just starting. I have been through pt, injections, chiro and am now doing decompression as to avoid surgery. I tried pain meds in the beginning but nothing helped and I didnt want to become an addict because they kept upping my dose. I had high hopes for pt as I do a lot of heavy lifting at my job but pt continues to be a struggle for me. I cant stand or walk for more than 10 minutes without pain in my leg. My back has never hurt as bad as my leg does.

My doctor has explained to me that if we do the surgery it may not be successful. I may still have pain but it will hopefully be less than before. He also told me it could take a while to be out of pain after the procedure. My Dr seems to think that pt after surgery would be a waste of time. You are much younger so it may be an option for you. I have also heard that decompression can be helpful after surgery if all the pain is not allieviated in 4-6 weeks.

My prayers are with you and I wish you good luck. I may be getting back to you myself for advice if I decide to have surgery.
deleted_user
deleted_user

fifercats,

I want to clarify something......... There is a HUGE diffference between addiction and dependancy, and most people that are in chronic or intractable pain, do NOT become addicted to their medications, they are dependant on those medications to live a more "normal" life....

Addicts do not take medications to alleviate pain, addicts take medications to get high! Most addicts do not go to a Doctor to get their pain medications, they either get them from the streets, steal them from family members, or go Doctor shopping, which is illegal...
Addicts will steal, lie, rob and do anything to get their "fix".

Us people in chronic pain are not addicts... we take our medications as directed, we do not buy our meds on the streets, we get them from a Pharmacy, we get treated by a pain management Doctor, and besides pain meds, we use other modalities and therapies to treat our pain. So you see, there is a big difference. I just wanted to clarify that, since I get mad whenever I hear someone saying; "I didn't want to continue my pain medications because I was going to get addicted", that my friend 98% of the time, does not happen.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I agree with Tipper, about pain meds. I only take them when I can't stand the pain.And then it doesn't work until the second dose because I waited to long.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Your story is very similar to my own Meg, I severely herniated my L5/S1 and I can relate to the never ending excrutiaing pain. I'm going to be going for an epidural to see if I can get some relief but the Doctor says it's most likely that I won't be able to avoid surgery and he recomends a microdisectomy so it's interesting to hear your experience. Please keep us updated on how it goes, I'm very interested to see how you make out. Best of luck and hope you have some relief and feel better soon!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Well, I am now about two weeks out from surgery. I thank you all so much for your advice, support and replies to this post....it is so helpful! I guess I had a surgeon that just didn't do a very good job at explaining things! That is the challenging thing....actually getting time to talk to doctors, surgeon's especially. It seems like they just want to cut, and leave the other thinngs to their nurses and scheduling staff, who often are hard to get ahold of as well!! Not a great system.

My leg pain has gotten much, much better. I am trying to slowly wean myself off the pain meds. There are still some times that it throbs and is just sore, but I don't have the horrible pain like I used to, mostly when I changed positions, etc. Although now I am experiencing just some general back soreness....even in my upper back. I think that is because of my return to work, even though I am only working half days. I am doing a lot more sitting than I used to, and I think it is going to take awhile to get adjusted to that. Anyone experience that??

Ben1975.....SO many people turned me away from surgery. Told me horror stories, etc. Yes, it is true there is risk of re-injury, it is not a permanent solution, etc.....but would you rather stay in this much pain and constantly wonder if surgery would relieve that or not?? You have to be your own advocate.....go with your gut. Surgery is not for everyone, and I am not trying to convince you to get it.....but in my experience I would have done it months and months sooner. I know I will have to manage this for the rest of my life....but I would have to anyways!! Research, talk to your doctor, be informed!!

Good luck to everyone here, and I will continue to keep you posted, as I hope you do the same!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Meg,
Is good to hear that you are doing better and that you have been able to return to work PT. I know what you mean about surgeons... mine never told me that it was going to take a full year to recover from my fusion, and of course never told me that the cadaver bone that he used was been recalled, but that is a whole another story... :-/ . I hope that you keep on improving, and that you will recover fully. Take care,
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks for the info meg. I just had microdiscectomy between L4andL5 8 days ago. The pain has started to return about 2 days later and over the last week getting worse by the day. Seems to have leveled off. I don't have the severe limp I had before surgery, so maybe progress? I'm glad to hear that there is hope this may improve with time. I'll check back in as things develop with my experience. My doctor too doesn't give much info unless the question is asked directly. When you don't know the questions to ask you get frustrated.

The pain is sciatic in nature on the right side. Bottom of the foot feels taught, like walking on a overly tall arch support. The nerve on the back of my thigh is sensitive to pressure. The hip aches. Walking is when I notice most of the symptoms. Laying down, just the foot feels odd. The hip not too bad laying down.

I hope this recovers to where I can be active again. I'm forty and in great health. So here's to hope.
Thank you.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Meg, I'm in the exact same boat! I've been ruined since 2008. I had a microdisectomy at L4/5 in April of 2010. Prior to surgery, I exhausted every option available from hot stones to spinal decompression. The pain returned fairly quickly post surgery. And has increased to epic levels! I recently had a second MRI, which I plan to discuss with the neurosurgeon tomorrow. I've been researching fusion, as well as, disc replacement. Fusion seems to have a higher success rate. But may cause additional stress on the adjacent discs. Replacement looks to maintain a bit more mobility over time. However, no long term results are available. I'm also a bit concerned about arthritus. Pros and Cons for each. Also, who knows what insurance may pay for? Only 37 and worried about arthritus?! I'll be deciding in the next few weeks and will let the forum know the outcome. It's unbelievable that the human body can actually create this much pain against itself. Good Luck!!!
deleted_user
deleted_user

meg, i also had two microdiscectomies way back when, no relief from the first and more pain after the second, nerves were involved in the second and i felt lik my leg was on fire. I have had to endure 8 surgeries, and I dont want anyone else to have to go down that road, take your time on this, try to do pt after you feel better, hopefully you will get good results. if not really think about surgery, its a tough deal to have to keep going in and try to fix problems a little at a time, if you have to, make sure you get everything looked at and try to fix it all in one surgery. good luck
deleted_user
deleted_user

HI Meg, I have 3 bulging disk and have had sciatica for 7 month and neck pain , but now I am not so sure that the pain in my leg in coming from true sciatica. when I do the "leg raise test" I have no pain in my sciatic nerves, but pain is real and has being for 7 month in my thigh and calves and foot.. Now since 1 week I started to do trigger point therapy ( book from Clair Davies). when I started I did not think that would work at all . ( one of those goofy tech) But I have to say that in one week my neck pain is practically gone..... but my leg feels sore for the treatment, but less sore then the usual pain. and yes I am discovering as I am doing the self massage with a tennis ball that I have many sore point...and muscle that feels like wood.. Basically if you starting to have upper back pain and sorennes all over you may want to try the egoscue technic for realignement and the trigger point therapy for the wide spread pain. I don't do meds much, as my stomach is fragile, so I am looking for a natural way... of healing. hope this helps virginie
deleted_user
deleted_user

I know this thread is a little late but some people - like me - will still come across it. I had a micro-discectomy last Tuesday after a year of ups and downs from the consequences of a bi-lateral prolapsed disc. Like some of the contributors here, I felt great for about 2 days (apart from the wound) and then the sciatic pain came back, particularly sciatic twinges turning in bed and standing up from a chair etc. There is about a 10% chance of re-prolapsing in general so naturally my first demoralising thought was that I had done it again. However, I am encouraged by the contributions here and my discussion with the medics who told me that re-ocurrence of sciatic pain is not uncommon after surgery and not necessarily a sign of re-prolapse. My understanding is that it is the inflamation around the nerve causes pain and I've also heard people talk about a sort of nerve memory of the pain. These things take a few months to settle down. The thing that catches people out is that there seems to be this inital couple of days straight after the surgery that feel great. Don't despair!
deleted_user
deleted_user

To all that come across this in the future:

I am going to continue this commentary going either the symptoms subside or it turns out that I have had a second prolapse. It is sometimes frustrating to come across threads where you never find out how they concluded! It is now 11 days since my microdiscectomy/decompression at the S1/L5 and I have been suffering the same level of sciatic pain now for more than a week post-op. As I said in my previous entry, I think this fairly typical and not alarming. I think I under-estimated the importance of convalescence - you really do need to treat it seriously and slowly and progressively extend the time you are upright with the spine under load - not be in too much of a rush. I've learnt that now and I am spending more time horizontal throughout the day and this seems to be help.

Mark