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Pain after L5-S1 microdiscectomy.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
Hi All

This is my first post, I have looked over the internet for answers but with no luck, so I hope you guys can help.

I am 10 weeks post opp and I still seem to have constant sciatic pain all down my leg/buttocks. Ive been taking over the counter Ibrofen every day since the opp, and although this makes the pain "bearable" it does not cure the problem. My straight leg raise is non existant and walking/standing can only be done at a minimum due to the pain. The mornings seem to be the worse but im not sure if its because of the position ive slept in or if the pain killers have worn off!

I had a follow up MRI scan (with fluid injected into my bloodstream) 9 weeks post opp, which shows a "white fragment" in between my disc and nerve. The surgeon was not sure what it could be and suggested it could be a piece of disc from the opp. His gut instinct was that if it were disc it will just degenerate away with time (not sure if this is true?).

He then suggested that if the pain was still there at 12 weeks he would reccommend me to have an epidural, does this not just mask the pain and not solve the problem??

This is my second opp on the same disc within 6 years. The first opp I was pain free within days although this time its entirely different. My problem is Im compairing this surgery to the last one, so im really worried!

Im currently having physio once a week, but this only gives me more pain!

Im 33 years of age, and up until the last opp, very fit and active. I have my first child due to arrive in 3 weeks and im really concerned I wont be able to lift/hold/play with her like ive always dreamed of.

If anyone out there has been through anything similer or has any advise it would be much appricated,



  • Sorry to hear about your situation. I would advise you to get a second opinion as soon as you can before you take any epidurals or anything else. Is this the same doctor you had both your surgeries with?
  • Hi Raj

    Thanks for the reply.

    The opperations were done by 2 different surgeons. Yesterday my post opp MRI was looked at by a specialist and there conclusion is that its another "disc bulge" from L5/S1 and not a disc fragment as first thought.

    So basically they said, although this is quite rare, im back at square 1. The physio is continuing every week and "HOPEFULLY" it can be manulipulated back into place, hopefully being the key word!!!
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  • I have had a L5-s1 discectomy in March of 06 and I still am in pain. I sympthize with you sooo much.
    I am in the process of getting another mri to determine if there is a disc fragment out there causing the pain. In the meantime I try my best with my child and hope that there will be some resolution very soon.
    take good care.
  • just a quick update on my progression. I have still got sciatic pains down my right leg, although physio is being performed every week there seems to be little or no progression.

    Yesterday i had a turn for the worst, basically i was on the toilet and as i pushed there was a loud click/pop in my lower spine followed by tremendous pain down my sciatic nerve. The pain is now consistantly worse and stretches such as leg extensions are non existant. Does anyone know if this click/pop in the lower spine followed by leg pain ring any bells, as i have never had this before!!

  • Mikey - I'd give you doc a call. Have you had any problems going to the bathroom since? Something doesn't sound good there. I hope you get to the bottom of this (okay, okay, - pun intended!).


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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  • Hi Linda

    Ive had no (toilet) problems since, but the sciatic pain is worse. Bar the fact that the pain is worse, the thing that really scared me was the pop followed by pain!! There was no pain in the spine or surounding area, I can only presume the "pop" was maybe a disk pushing out because the sciatic pain was instantanteus (although im only guessing).

    Ive emailed my surgeon to see what he suggests, fingers crossed.
  • It is more common than the Drs would like us to beleive that a disc on either side top or bottom of a previous disc surgery will rupture. I had ACDF surgery. Afterwards I had worse pain but this time on the right side. Arm all the way my fingertips and neck shoulder pain. After months of me complaining he ordered a CT and sure enough the disc below the surgical site was herniated. He did another ACDF removed all previous hardware and a huge amount of scar tissue. After that I still had pain difficulty swallowing and talking. He did a x-Ray post-op visit at 2 wks it showed a screw backing out. That was in January last year and I'm still waiting for him to decide what to do with me! I'm much worse now than before I had the first surgery. Wish I could go back in time. I would not have had it done. I wish you luck! Don't sit back and wait call him everyday if you have to.
  • Just a quick update!!!!

    Had another MRI yesterday and follow up meeting with the surgeon and the conclusion is to have further microdiscectomy surgery, which is now booked for the 22/12.

    The scan showed a l5/s1 disc buldge and this seemed the only option as im 3 months post opp and 3 months into physio with no further progression.

    The only other option is epidural, which is only 50% succesfull and also only masks the pain not solves the problem.

    If I decided against further surgery it could risk in permenant nerve damage, which im not willing to risk, esp at such a young age.

    I will keep you posted after surgery......fingers crossed!!!

    Happy Christmas.
  • I am so sorry to hear this. I hope that this next surgery will do the trick and you will be pain free post op.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Now I have not come close to looking at all the messages posted here but I am seeing a trend. It has me wondering. I think I read or was told the microdiscectomy had a 90% or better success rate. I spent some time checking out before the surgery and post-op I wondered if it necessary to come back. I felt so good, so I wasn’t looking for help. I thought it might be good to also share a success story. Well, the story is not over yet, though I would really love to have all this back pain stuff behind me forever. So, maybe it is not so bad as it looks, maybe the people that had their sciatica cured just don’t post.

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