Numbness after microdiscectomy

I've been reading a lot of peoples experiences and responses to their pain and numbness from sciatica and their life after surgery.  I know that when I went through it I had no idea what is was or why it happened to me so I searched a lot online for any info that would help me.  Since it's almost been a year since my surgery I thought it might be helpful to others if shared what I went through.  I also want to know if anyone has been through what I have and had any improvements with the numbness.  So here goes...

On new years 2018 I got a huge ruptured disc L5,S1.  I left numbness and shooting pain down my left leg.  Part of the lower back of my thigh was numb, as well as my entire calf and foot.  Went to physical therapy to learn how to walk again.  I had the microdiscectomy on June 13, 2018 and noticed immediately after that the pain shooting down my leg as well as the sharp pain in my low back was gone.  Recovery was pretty quick, I was able to move around by myself with moderate pain a day after the surgery.  I noticed the numbness was still there but the surgeon told me it should go away over time.

About 3 weeks after the surgery I felt great!  I was moving around more and didn't have all that pain that I did prior to the surgery.  I still had a lot of weakness in my left leg so walking was difficult, but other than that and the numbness I was feeling really good.  About a month after the surgery I started aqua therapy again and felt my strength slowly come back.  3 months after the surgery I noticed that some of the pain in my back had returned, nothing like the nerve pain before, but still pain.  I spoke to my doctor about it and he told me that the surgery was for the shooting pain down the leg not the back pain so some back pain is to be expected.  I also told him that there was no change in the numbness after the surgery.  He told me that if it does come back it can take 6 months to over a year and that every person is different so it was difficult to predict when and if the numbness would go away.  All of my docs have pretty much said the same thing:  It takes a long time for that but keep up with the exercises as it will help the nerve heal.  

It is now May 8, 2019, almost 1 year after my surgery and so far I feel OK.  The scar on my low back has healed well, I'm moving around with little to no issues, my back feels much better than it did before the surgery.  I do have my days where there is pain in my low back and I feel and look like an old lady when I walk around, but for the most part as long as I don't walk around too much or sit for too long the pain goes away with stretching and rest.  I still walk a bit funny because there is still weakness in my left leg and as far as the numbness there has been no change since before the surgery.  I feel most of the numbness in my calf and foot.  My leg throbs every now and again and I do get these sharp stabbing pain in my foot that comes and goes and can last for hours, but for the most part things have been getting better.  

I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who has had the same thing as me and has felt their numbness get better even after a year has gone by since their surgery.  Someone once told me that if the numbness hasn't gone away after 6 months to 9 months then it will pretty much be like this for the rest of my life.  I've also heard people say it takes years for it to go away.  Does anyone out there know?



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,188
    edited 07/18/2019 - 2:23 PM


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    I had my first back surgery 32 years ago, my entire left foot was numb before surgery, I got most of it back over the course of 2 years, there are still a couple of numb spots, but after all these years I don't even pay attention to them anymore.
  • I had my injury in Dec 2018 with lots of pain and numbness and weakness in my right thigh, calf and foot. I tried PT and Steroid packs which worked for the pain but the numbness and limpness of my calf and foot stayed and my right leg just felt very heavy. I walked with a very noticeable limp. I then had a microdiscectomy L5S1 in March. It has now been 4 months since surgery. Everything is still very up and down. I saw my doctor a week ago and felt so good that I didn't make a follow up appointment. I even went for a light jog at the track - it still feels weird almost is if my one side is somewhat paralyzed.

    Now, a week later my lower back hurts again (cannot think from what as I am still careful with bending and picking up.) Can it be that at 4-5 months after surgery things are still going to be up the one day, down the next? Does anyone still go for PT 5 months afterwards?

    My doctor said that I might still improve 12 - 18 months after surgery... it is just a very frustrating up and down process!

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       Some days I just throw caution into the wind and go for it. It does seem to bother me days afterwards. I was told to reinvent myself. It is hard ! I just want a piece of normalcy before all this pain ! I hope you are feeling better and your recovery continues to move in a positive way.

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