Opted for microdiscectomy, but pain has suddenly improved

5 years ago I had a discectomy on the L4-5 disc, after a big herniation on its left side and a lot of pain. The surgery was a success, resolving my sciatic pain issues.

2 months ago I had a recurrent disc herniation. On the same disc, on the right side this time. After trying conservative treatment without any success I decided to go for a second surgery, which is scheduled in two weeks from now.

But in a sudden turn of events, the pain has considerably improved in the last few days. I still have numbing and weakness on my right leg, but it's certainly more bearable, something that puts me into second thoughts about my decision to have the surgery, especially since it'll be my second. Levels of pain and the straight leg test show improvement, but the MRI still shows a big herniation compressing the nerve root.

It is my understanding that herniated discs might become more asymptomatic, but can't just "vanish" on their own, without surgical treatment. Should I postpone my second surgery (it might take months to get the second date) or I am just delaying the inevitable? Is living with a big herniation a bigger risk than having the surgery?

Any similar experience or thoughts in general would be appreciated, cheers !!



  • Welcome asteris we’re glad you’re here!

    We have had this same question a few times, unfortunately no one here can answer it for you, that decision will need to be decided by you and your surgeon. Pain can be bad but according to my surgeon numbness and weakness are the most serious symptoms of a herniated disc and can cause permanent damage if not corrected.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you visited the Neck and Back Surgery Health Center on Spine-health? It has a number of comprehensive neck and back surgery articles, including a Back and Neck Surgery OverviewHow to Prepare Psychologically for Back Surgery, and Rehabilitation After Spine Surgery. I hope you find these resources helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,165


    My grandson had a microdiscectomy 2 weeks ago. Everyone is different, so are the surgeons. His was at L4-L5, ruptured disc sitting a ball of nerves. The minute he stood up, he was out of pain.  He went back to work 6 days later with no pain. 
    But, like I said, everyone is different. This procedure does not require cutting, they go thru the soad muscle. Less chance of arthritis setting in.

    Good luck and take care. Keep us posted on how you are doing.

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  • asteris_aasteris_ Posts: 4
    edited 03/13/2020 - 6:44 PM

    Thank you for your welcome and kind comments. I was scheduled to have surgery in coming Tuesday, 4 four days time.

    Unfortunately all scheduled surgeries in my country, except the urgent ones, were yesterday suddenly postponed until further notice, due to corona. It might take a month or two to have the surgery. Not a fun situation to be in.

    I'll try injections and some physical therapy for the pain in the meantime, and have a second MRI to see if the herniation has gotten any smaller. I'll try to provide feedback

  • @asteris_ I live in the US too and haven’t heard that my upcoming surgery is being canceled. Maybe it’s just surgeries for the month of March?

  • asteris_aasteris_ Posts: 4
    edited 03/14/2020 - 8:53 AM

    @L4_L5 Greetings, I live in Greece not in the US. Sorry for not mentioning.

    I hope the situation improves for both of us. I had my first surgery  at L4-5 when I was 20 years old and at 25 I'm facing the same situation, even though I was very careful and I am otherwise pretty athletic and healthy.

    I know it's a great ordeal.

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