There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Still having pain after surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
This is my first entry. I have come to this site many times before my L4-L5 discectomy surgery for information on how it should go. I had been suffering from lower back pain for 13+ years, also suffering from "DDD", and in Aug.08' I began to have severe sciatic pain from my lower back, all the way down my right leg into my calf. My PCP (who is not an Ortho) got me an MRI and said I would need physical therapy for what he called a bulging disc. I went through and failed PT twice and my PCP did nothing more than put me on steroid pack after steroid pack. To make a long story short I finally got to see a Orthopedic surgeon in Jan. 2009, who looked at my MRI from Aug. 2008 and said I had a major rupture and needed surgery.
He gave me another MRI that showed it was even bigger than in the old MRI. I had my first discectomy on Jan 19, 2009 and for the first week I was so happy to not have the sciatic pain in my leg anymore. A week passed and the pain was back and seemed worse than before :''( . I had another MRI done that showed the disc re-ruptured. Being that the disc is degenerative the Dr. said it could of happened from anything, and I did nothing wrong. So he scheduled me for another discectomy on Feb. 9, 2009 :jawdrop: .
Now here I am 3 months later in severe pain. I have serious swelling near the incision and if any pressure is applied to my lower back I fall out in agonizing pain. The pain is still in my leg and lower back but not the same as the sciatic pain was. I have weakness in my legs, a grinding sound in my lower back, and can hardly get around without pain medication. Even having pain in both of my knees now too?. DR. had me on Percocet 10's than decided to take me off and put me on Lyrica for the "nerve pain" which I hear bad things about. I am scheduled for another MRI this upcoming Thursday and hope to get some answers.
Dr said fusion surgery would be next if I rupture my disc again...if I still have one, but he also said he would want to put it off for as long as he/I can. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)

L4-L5 Discectomy 01/19/2009
L4-L5 Discectomy 02/09/2009


  • I am 16 weeks out of surgery, and still have swelling! I had a Lami,at L5 S1, and a Foraminotomy at S1. My back still hurts, and the Dr. said swelling could go on for 6 months! :''( Today I had PT, and she said the same thing! Nerves take a long time to heal, and I still have sciatica if I over do, and nerve pain that comes and goes. Try to relax, and walk and stretch. I find that very helpful, along with lots of ICE! Remember, it takes 6 months to a year to heal from back surgery and it sounds like you have had your fair share! Hope all turns out well for you. sweetpotatoe57

    Lami L5 S1 and Foraminotomy S1 Jan. 15th, 2009

  • Man i hope you can get some pain relief. I had my micro don november 08 and am doing good some pain but mainly if i sit to long. I have to stay moble and use ice alot. But im on no pain meds except advill when i need. I wish yoyu the best of luck.
  • advertisement
  • That is good you are getting the MRI. This is what happened to me and I didn't have DDD. Most surgeons will only do two Lami/Disk before they do a fusion because the chance are another conservative surgery would not last very long before you would be in the same boat.
    Was there and reason you could not take both the Percoset and the Lyrica? Lyrica takes a while to get into your system.
    Try to keep moving. Update us on your results if you would.
  • I sure do hope you get to see a NS soon.How old are you? My NS would not do a discectomy due to my age and DDD.So I had fusions.But..I too have had some of the same pain return. It's disheartening to say the least,and hard to accept.At first I wondered about my surgeons ability,but after reading experiences here and doing some research I have had to adjust my expectations. I still have leg pain,but now in both legs,terrible hip and groin pain,spasms a gogo.I am glad I am in great health other than my spine troubles.I hope you can find relief for your issues.Welcome to the board. Keep us posted on your treatment. Have a good day.
  • Well yes it seems like forever for the next MRI, 3 more full days of waiting. And than another whole week before I see the Dr. The Doctor told me the same things like "it'll take up to a year for nerve pain to heal", "the swelling 10 weeks after surgery is still normal be it that I had two discectomys so close together"(1/19/09 & 2/9/09). The Dr said I would more than likely need Fusion someday, but being that I am only 32, he would want to put it off as long as possible. I can't wait forever. I have heard once you get any back surgery you are screwed for life. I just want to go back to work, which seems near impossible since I am an Auto Mechanic, even though the Dr said I would be able to go back to my job "No Problem". Well I tried when he released me to work and BOOM! More pain like before, and I barely did anything. Now I can barely sleep and when I wake up it's a living nightmare. As the day goes on it's not as bad as in the morning (cause of pain meds), but it's still bad if you know what I mean. I can put up with it if I have to. I do have a Wife and 2 kids to take care of no matter what. I will let everyone know whats up after the MRI from what I can tell and I will let everyone know what the Dr says next week about it too. Hope I don't need to go Doctor hunting again...
  • advertisement
  • I agree with Gwennie, swelling and pain to the touch around the incision is not "normal". Have you been back to the doctor to have it looked at? Are you having any discharge from the incision? Are the sutures completely dissolved and the incision healed toegether? All that with or without fever could indicate an infection. That's the last thing you need right now.
    The leg pain and weakness are going to take some time to get better. I had my surgery over 2 years ago and I still have numbness in my lower leg and foot, pain occasionally, but always numbness, the weakness has also improved greatly but it took over a year.
    Hang in there!!!
  • The incision has been healed for a long time now. it was like 2 months ago that the sutures dissolved. I actually had the outside knot until I forgot where I put it for a souvenir. The swelling I was told (by the Dr.)was normal since I had the 2 surgeries so close together...I don't feel that way. It hurts so much when any pressure is on it. Especially in bed (Mornings are the worse). He said my nerve was just inflamed. It's like the doctor doesn't believe I am in as much pain as I am telling him. What do I need to do? Cry in front of him? Tomorrow I am having another MRI and next week I go back to the Doc.

    2 weeks ago he released me back to work and after one day I was in worse pain than before and all I did was change the front brakes on a car. I used a wrench...I didn't lift 100 lbs or anything like that. So needless to say I am peeved. The Dr. won't give me more pain meds for whatever reason. He is the only one I have ever gotten them from, I am not a "drug seeker" like they make people in pain out to be...I just want to function normally.

    I am afraid I will need to see another Doctor. A stranger...but one good thing is my Brother-in-law (who lives over a thousand miles away) is an Ortho. Surgeon and I am mailing him copies of my MRI's so I can get his opinion on what he see's before they say "Let's do Fusion". So hopefully I will stop getting jerked around. Thanks for your concerns. I will post up any new news.
  • I left you a comment about my swelling and pain, and just an update. My MRI looked great, and once again the Neurosurgeon told me, "It just takes time!". He said everyone heals at there own pace, and at this point, there is still lots of inflammation inside. He told me that the pain and swelling will get better over time, and gave me a 6 to 9 months time period. Glad you are getting the MRI, at least it put my mind at rest, as I know that the stress of the pain, and fear of hurting yourself again, causes pain. Its a vicious circle. I also have pain if I lay on my back at times, and I do stretches before I get out of bed in the AM, which does help. Before I was totally stiff, and hurt! I do go to PT, and that has helped, and my son-in-law is a Dr. also, and he said all of this is normal! So, the saga continues, but I am glad you are getting the MRI. I insisted, and was so glad it looked so good. So, there is hope. My surgery was on Jan. 15th, 2009, and I had a Lami at L5 S1, Foraminotomy at S1, and a mesial facetectomy. I hope all turns out well for you! Also, ask your Dr. about massaging your scar. My PT started it at 5 weeks, and my incision area looks perfect. No lumps, or tenderness at the incision site at all. Also, look into flossing to keep your nerves gliding. That also helps. Hamstring, piriformis, and adductor stretching helps, as does the knee to chest before getting out of bed to open everything up. Hope this helps, and I hope your MRI will look great.

  • Got the MRI done today. Came home and stuck in my copy to see whats up. Looks like the disc is ruptured again (having bad DDD it was expected I guess)and there is all this white area in a GIANT void that I didn't really see after the first surgery's MRI from point of entry to the vertebra?. I know I am no Doctor or Rad. Tech but it doesn't look good to me. I will know more next Thursday when I see my surgeon. I am in no hurry for a fusion or to try the same surgery for a third time but it looks like I have no choice.
    Now I have tons of questions...first one is money$$$. Should I apply for disability now? Temporary? If I have a fusion how can I pay my bills if I'm out of work even longer. Should I go to another Doctor? Wait for fusion? Or get it over with?
    As you can see I am stressing out!!!!! ~X( I will keep you guys posted. I need a REAL vacation!!!!!
  • Sounds to me like the Fusion is necessary at this point in time, and that your lack of going that direction is probably why your Doc is reluctant to prescribe more pain meds. Doc's always want to see a patient be pro-active in correcting their issues and in your case that would mean now opting for the surgery.

    Best wishes and keep the faith, hopefully soon your saga will least for awhile anyways.

Sign In or Join Us to comment.