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Five days post op, pre op pain starting to come back

So let me start out by saying, prior to surgery, i had a messed up L1 that they had to clean up. It had caused a lot of pain in my left leg whenever I moved it. A sharp pain that could make you scream your lungs out. This had all gone on for about four months so now my leg is a little gimpy. Well now, it's five days later, had the surgery. Doctor said everything went fine, and that I should recover completely in a few months. Yesterday I started to have the pain in my leg again. It wasn't as bad but it was recognizable. Before surgery it was a 9 or 10 pain scale, and yesterday it was like a 2-3, just enough to notice it. Well now it's starting to hurt again when I sit down or get out of bed, but its getting worse. When I rolled out of bed, I nearly screamed. Is this just going to go back to where I was pre op? Or is this normal at first after surgery?


  • RandystRRandyst Posts: 10
    edited 02/17/2013 - 3:56 AM
    I know what you mean. I was under the impression that once the surgery was over the pain would be gone immediately and for good. Apparently that is not always true. I had surgery 3 weeks ago on my L4/L5 nerve roots and am still hurting about the same as I was the week before surgery. The first couple days after surgery I felt great but days 4-8 were pure agony. I could not even set up in bed. But I am back at work now. Not really able to do much but at least I am there. I called the Dr and spoke to his nurse a couple of times. She basically explained that any time the nerve has been pinched and irritated it takes a long time to heal. She explained the surgery like this: "We got the elephant off your foot but it's going to hurt for a little while yet.". She swears it will get better...eventually. I know from all I have read that the longer it has been going on the longer it takes to heal. For you it was four months. For me it was closer to six. I just hope it does not take that long to stop hurting. I keep waiting for the day when I get up and can really start to see improvement. The one thing that helps me is to walk. I am currently walking 1 to 1.5 miles a day on the treadmill in 1/3 mile increments. I certainly hope you progress quickly. Keep us informed.
  • Shibby, you did not specify. Did you have a microdiscectomy or something more involved? Either way it seems very common for us post-op to have increased pain weeks 2-3 post-op. We try to come off the meds, we try to increase activity and it causes pain.

    Stay in contact with your surgeon. For me the surgeons nurse was just a phone call away for all of those early recovery questions & concerns. Once I started PT my therapist was great in helping me understand my recovery and helping me dictate my activity levels. I started PT end of week 2 and went for over 14 weeks. It seems extreme but I needed it to recover. Your body will dictate your recovery. expect a long, slow process and anything better is just a bonus!

    You are right on randy, the nerve takes forever to heal let alone the surgical swelling and then the internal swelling that can last 6-12 months. I still swell up alot & have to ice anytime I work out or have a long day at work.

    You guys are both very early in recovery and have a long way to go. But you are on the road! take it easy, take it day by day. Communicate with you docs & therapists. And know it gets better. But you have to give it lots of time. there are gonna be setbacks and lots of ups & downs.

    If you have the time seek out my previous posts. i have posted often throughout my recovery.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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  • What did you do in physical therapy after your surgery? My physical therapist is great but before my surgery he was pressing down hard on my back in order to relieve my sciatica pain, which worked wonders. I'm not sure this would be prudent after surgery though. I'm not supposed to start physical therapy until 4-6 weeks after surgery (had L5-S1 microscopic lumbar discectomy on Feb 5).
  • I dont have specific names for the excercises I did. But basically I started with a foam roll, sitting. Turned it left & right like twisting a can top. then pushed it left & right, then lifted up & down. I laid on my back & squeezed a ball between my knees then did opposite motion with a band. Did bridges & pelvic thrusts. Did all that with varying degrees of difficulty & reps. Did what they call a march, pretty much air walking while laying down. They gave light massage & muscle stim/ h wave, and ice. Eventually move to lifting a milk carton to the shelf from the floor. Walk-aways with bands. Twists with bands sitting on a ball.

    Again, I went for 14 weeks so there was alot. By the end I was doing squats on a total gym, lots of stretching techniques, lots of resistance exercises.

    I started at 2 weeks, and everyone is different so def go with what your docs tell you. But if you do not start till 6 weeks make sure you do lots of walking to get those muscles moving!

    I saw a chiro for a long time before surgery but havent and have no plans for any kind of "hard adjustments" anytime soon if ever.

    Good Luck with your recovery. Take it easy, take it slow, keep us posted!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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