Has anyone successfully rehab after relapse after microdiscecomy?

A bit desperate and need advice.
I am a 36yo male and the only bread earner. Office job. Do not ask me why my wife cannot find a job. Have a daughter of 4.5 yo.
-- 2012.5: diagnosis, L5-S1 protrusion, L4-L5 bulge
-- 2016.3: microdiscectomy: L5-S1
-- 2016.11: MRI shows relapse at the same location L5-S1

I kind of desperate to hear it relapsed. Actually I had continuous pain after the microdiscectomy, however both the surgery and the physical therapist told me its just residue pain and asked me to continue rehab exercise, which I listened. They won't let me do MRI until six months after the surgery, saying the wound won;t heal well to give a good MRI picture. (Wonder if I should disclose the clinic and doctor's name... one of the two best clinics nearby and a doctor with very good reviews... maybe just my bad luck...) So I exercise and ignore/tolerate the pains, and go back to work. The pain lingers after six months now I got the relapse on image; I thought it relapsed much earlier, if I had the MRI done earlier. Sorry my mind still collapsed a bit one day after knowing this news... with so much hope in this surgery, in this doctor, for myself, for the family... and it relapsed. If I become disabled and cannot work, will lost income, (don't ask me why my wife cannot find a job), SS disability claim seems can take 2+ year to get approval... and the SS money seems quite little... desperate...

But the point is not just complaining, though there is no one can shoulder my burden and I do need a way out, emotionally.

I do not want to do another surgery/microdiscectomy; have heard several stories that the second surgery has very high failure rate and will lead to fusion and accelerate the disability process. So the question is, can I continue exercise, rehab like nothing went wrong, and be able to continue work and live properly? Intuitively I do not think its possible, but there seems no other way... Has anyone actually gone through similar path and be successful? One story would be a big encouragement to me now... with appreciation in advance...
Can the exercise train the nerve to withstand the pinch and become tougher? Before the MRI I was doing exercise and ignoring the pain, and being doing such for 3-4 months. There is pain and uncomfortness, but I cope with it. I do not know if I should continue? or reduce the work load? or try something else? I asked the doctors/therapist and their answers more diplomatic than helpful: such as "yes the herniation may shrink, but chance is not big", "it may not progress, but cannot guarantee", "try block, if not work, then try another micro surgery", etc. And my wife, no ideas, cannot work, cannot take good care of family, I wont have this issue without her, now its too late and meaningless to complain ... Sorry for the negative emotions... my choice anyway...

Thank you for reading this, and apologize for the negative words, and hope there is a way... any suggestions are appreciated.


  • Ellen625EEllen625 New Jersey, USPosts: 754
    Wow, you have a lot going on. You may be gettin

    g ahead of yourself a bit. Perhaps you should seek a second opionion? I cant give you any medical advice but after having a microdiscectomy  (which I did) and then discovering a reherniation ,  I would most likely cut back on all physical activity, but that's just me. 

    Dont worry about venting and complaining, that's what this forum is for! 
  • Venting to understanding people is one of the greatest advantages to this site!
    Whenever I did PT before my l5/s1 microdiscectomy, I was always told to stop anything that actually worsened my pain, so being told to just continue seems strange to me. I'm only 4 weeks out from my surgery, and I insisted on another MRI because my pain is still worse post-op. I'm thinking I reherniated and the disc is worse than before, but I won'the know until I talk to my doc (I only had my MRI today).
    I'm kind of in the same boat as you, I work retail, and my husband lost his job, so I'm the only one working. I have to go back for the holidays, whatever the MRI says, so I'm gearing myself up for another really painful retail holiday season!
    PT helped me so much when I originally herniated, I'm also hoping that there 's a chance it can help again if my test shows that my disc is herniated again.
    Sorry, I don't have a solid hopeful story for you, I guess I'm hoping to hear one too!
    Anyone found PT helpful after a reherniation?
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  • There's hope......this site helped me; time to try and give back.

    I'm 49 now, and around same age, late 30's or so... 1st micro on L4/5....then went about life, less the jogging though.   But never completely healed, it WAS STILL THERE WITH THE SAME THINGS YOU HEARD, "PT through it, scar tissue, blah blah.......", but you gotta keep working---RIGHT---so I did and actually switched jobs a couple of times to where stopping work wasn't a consideration--because you have to make it work----, but when I switched in 2011 to where I was doing a lot of driving covering 4 states, made it worse .  Around 2012, couldn't take much more of it, so I started going to a new chiro (as I had tried that back in mid 2000's) and new PT....helped, some.....then still just slowly getting worse, to where when I was out of town, down for the count, so I tried acupuncture (at that point I asked if they could just do surgery on the spot....), didn't help, back to PT, bad after 1 PT, I told them either order up another MRI or I'm going to ER......once seeing MRI, they completely stop PT, and send me to pain management.  These folks REALLY REALLY helped, they got me on the pills, complemented with PT that seemed to be able to postpone surgery for a few years.....but made work bearable to the point where I could schedule my time off for another surgery in mid summer 2014

    Of course that surgery didn't produce desired results, and 3 months later, MRI showed there was still some disc protruding, so they did it again in Dec, and I'm still not healed...similar...same.  I have long term nerve damage, I feel pain all the time, just a matter of how much.

    Today, I still go to PM, pills, do PT on my own.   STILL WORK, though I changed positions to where I'm no longer driving but rather flying and have adjusted my recreation, but I'm still active. 

    Advice----ask/demand to be referred to pain management.  That's what their in business for. 

    Am I 100%--no.

    Am I a productive member of my family, company I work for, taxpayer, society....yes!

    100% pain, but it's bearable due to all of above.

    As much as a beating as the ABUSE of these pills take in the press, they are still needed and used for what they are prescribed for.  The press doesn't want to report on those of us who take these daily while still showing up for work, paying our taxes, and productive members of society; but rather the fraction of a percent who misuse them.

  • Young7857, what ever happened with you?  I'm in the same boat now, just found out I re-herniated. It would be great to hear if you are doing better now!

  • I had microdisectomy L5-S1 about 11 years ago. It didn't feel good for few years but was never as bad as prior to surgery. I was doing PT and all good excercise I was supposed to do. There was reherniation, now the other  side got effected too. Few years later I said "screw it " and started really tough excercise program. I lost weight, gained muscle and got in really cool shape, started running, etc. Through pain and all. About 7-8 month later I noticed that all my pain was escentially gone. It was good for few years but later got bad again. I suffered for couple of years ago, it eventually got really bad and I had fusion done, finally. It feels good now. Let's see what happens from here.

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