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3 Months Post Op...pain is back!?

Bilateral Laminectomy L5-S1, spinal stenosis with compressed root nerve, decompression microdisectomy surgery was on Halloween 2018. Now more than 3 months post op pain has returned down my leg past my knee. Very concerned. Was doing well with physio and had a program working out at the gym 3-4 days a week, thought I was on my Way to recovery. Weeks 1-6 after surgery I was in a lot of pain, then started to see positives. Was able to leave house for first time in months ! Anyone else have pain return this long after surgery? Had started to kick the depression I’ve been having for months and off all medication, really don’t want to go back! Already lost 6 months of my life! 




  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,209
    edited 07/15/2019 - 11:37 AM

    Welcome to Spine Health.

     Have you reported this to your surgeon and possibly gotten updated imaging? mbe worth talking to your doctor about restarting or starting to see if it would help. I know it is hard to keep your head straight when pain starts again, but try not to get downhearted, talk to your doctor and come up with a plan. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


  • Thanks Chip, I was on Lyrica for months and stopped taking it with surgeons permission in December. Hated the way it made me feel. My Dr says it will take 12-18 months to heal and for me to wait to April appt with neurosurgeon. 

    However that’s still a few months away. 

    Physiotherapist has me on rest and wants me to do nothing but walking until I see him next week. It’s the pain that shoots down my leg past my knees that has me concerned and the leg weakness. Thanks for your response challenger. 

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  • I could not take Lyrica because of the way it made me feel either, I hated it, doctor put me on Gabapentin and I still take it for the nerve pain, it may be worth a call to your doctors office to see if you could start taking one or the other to get you thru. I have been fighting a pretty bad case of sciatica myself this week, I have a L5-S1 herniation that I am trying to avoid surgery on and nerve medication helps me get thru the tough times. Hope you have a good night and are able to rest.


  • What was your 3-4 day gym routine like? Hopefully you were not doing anything that put a weight load on your lower spine, because it is likely way too soon for that.  Or perhaps you were instructed to do this?

    Personally, I would stick to resistance bands (non standing exercises), isometric exercises and body-weight exercises...if any of that, at all. The latter 2 have been extremely helpful in my recovery, but also my physique, and I have had zero setbacks since I have incorporated them. This is a safe, effective and chill way to recover and develop your muscles while waiting for a full return to form.

  • Thanks for the reply’s, my gym routine consisted of 20 min stationary bike, 30 min elliptical, 20 min of stretching, then after a few weeks of this I introduced weights into my routine. Started off with very low weights to strengthen core, 20-30 lbs instructed by my physiotherapist. After a few more weeks of this I started adding more weight, up to 50-60lbs. Machines were seated rowing, pectorals and standing pulley. 

    I’ve now had 10 days of rest, no gym, just walking and stretches. I see my physiotherapist tomorrow. Pain still present, worried I over did things. 

    Three months post surgery and three months pre surgery, six months of being a prisoner to my house. Just want my life back! You’re right though, I guess still early days. It’s frustrating to hear some people are good to go weeks after surgery, back to work, sports, etc. However I guess everyone is different and every back unique. 

    Will let you know how physio assessment goes tomorrow.


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  • Off to see neurosurgeon tomorrow morning for 5 month post op assessment. I’m still not back to work due to pain, can only sit or stand for 20 min at a time. Pain shooting down leg, weakness in left foot. Numbness in right thigh as well as burning/itching, but mostly it feels as if above the surgery (L5/S1) there is awful pain in spine closer to L2/L3. Lateral Recess Stenosis was main cause with disc herniation with compressed S1 nerve root. Anyone out there have any suggestions for questions to ask surgeon tomorrow?



  • Tell the surgeon exactly where the pain is, what it feels like, when it is at it's worst.

    Write any and all questions down and take them with you, if you are anything like me when I get there, I always seem to forget something.

    Hopefully you have not damaged anything, and this is just a bump in the road.

    Good luck and let us know what the doctor says.


  • Met with neurosurgeon yesterday. He is concerned with nerve damage and possible further disc herniation. He conducted reflex tests that showed no response on a few spots he tapped. Sending me for MRI and EMG, mentioned possibility of 2nd surgery depending on what MRI shows...grrrrrrr so frustrating! Until then stay on Cymbalta and Lyrica, unfortunately they’re not doing much for pain. 


  • Sorry to hear that, hopefully it will not turn into surgery, the only advice I have right now is try to stay positive, I know that is hard right now, but is does help.

  • Thanks Challenger 

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