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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Back surgery
May 19, 2002
I had my first operation, a micro discectomy done on L4 n L5 almost 2 weeks ago now (12days). My back is feeling better but I still have pain in my right leg. It is worse then it was before the surgery. i called my doctor and he called in a prescription for cortizone pills, which I am on my 3rd day now.
Has any one else experienced this pain after surgery and for how long did it last, or what was done to take care of it.
During surgery - my doctory ran into a problem where he saw another nerve run up around my dic which wasn't suppose to happen. he said I may need fusion later or go through pain management. I am really quite scared of what I may have to go through in the future. Is this normal pain or am I not allowing myself the recovery time.
Also, how long before I can return to making love with my husband.
Any advise out there is appreciated....
Thanks, mank17

Re: Back surgery
May 19, 2002
Hi Mank:

This sounds about normal to me. I had a microdiscectomy L5-S1 in March, 2001. About a week after surgery, my right leg (bad one) was ON FIRE! I couldn't believe this was happening. It was suppose to get better, not worse! Well, the NS did bloodwork for infection. I didn't have an infection. But at the same time he was checking for infection, he was thinking that the "fire" and pain was due to inflammation. He immediately put me on the 6 day steriod pack (methylprednisone, 4 mg.). On the third day of taking these, 95% of my burning/pain was gone. Sounds like you are on the same pill, so I am hoping this helps you, like it helped me.

Two weeks out of surgery is not a long time at all. Backs take a long time to heal after surgery. The docs say "6 weeks to 3 months" for a microdiscectomy. They usually allow you to return to work at about 6 weeks post-op...depending on your symptoms, of course. I personally believe it takes longer than 6 weeks to 3 months to heal. I think by 3 months, things are stabilized, but healing can take up to 1 year. Can still continue to heal up to 2 years.

You will be feeling different sensations, pains, tinglings while healing. This is all normal at only 2 weeks. You will continue to get better.

I don't quite understand what "other" nerve was wrapped around your disc (???). Can you explain that a little better to me?

About sex....well I think I would hold off on intercourse for at least a month...and if you feel up to it after a month....go EASY! Just do "other things" with your hubby for a few more know what I mean!

You should continue to feel better in the weeks to come.

Keep in touch as to your progress.

Take good care,
Re: Back surgery
May 21, 2002
I had surgery April 9 2002 l4-l5 and s1. six weeks into it and my right leg pain is still alot worse than before the surgery. I had a Laminectomy and micro disectomy. new mri shows nothing wrong so we will see.
I was told that i should have no more leg pain after surgery just post op pain.
Re: Back surgery
May 21, 2002
Hi Mank:

I need to clarify that I did not have a fusion, but I did have a microdiscectomy L5-S1. No, I have had no other back surgeries. I've never even had a back problem! One day I just got a mild pain down my right leg....nothing big....but then it got progressively worse. After about 6-8 months or so, the pain started going away, but then both my legs started becoming weak and I started getting muscle twitching in my right I KNEW I had to do something! I had loss of ankle reflex also. Toes could be bent down easily (when trying to keep them up). Had (have) right outer thigh numbness. That never went away. This all started in December, 1999, so I went 15 months before I had surgery (and I did try everything else, stretching, rest, name it. Everything except the steroid injections).

Surgery was successful and I was feeling great for 3 months. Then something happened -- went back to my nuerosurgeon, and had a second opinion from othopaedic surgeon who said that my disc space had collapsed. BUMMER! So, I was back to some of my original pains (butt cheek, sometimes leg pain, right sided low back pain). But it is still better than before surgery. I don't limp anymore. My reflexes came back. Both legs feel strong again. So, if this darn disc space didn't collapse, I think I would be feeling really good. The only thing that never was "cured" was the outer right thigh numbness that happens after standing for 2 minutes, or walking for 10 minutes. Can't do more than that, otherwise the numbness sets in. Have to sit down or lay down, then it goes away. I think it's because when I bend the spine, it opens the canals up to free the nerve that is now being pinched due to disc space collapse. I believe it is my facet joints coming down on the nerve. My next step would be a fusion. I'M REALLY NOT INTO THAT RIGHT NOW! ha ha. The neurosurgeon said that he is not recommending fusion right now, and that he would consider it if I couldn't get up out of bed without the use of narcotic pain medications.

So....all in all I am better, but still not 100%. You really have to take it easy during your healing stages. I don't believe there is a way to prevent the disc space collapse after a micro-d....if it happens, it just happens! I think it depends on how physically fit you were before your back surgery. Also strengthening exercised may help. Wish I could help more.

About your leg pain....yes, this is still normal at only a few weeks out of surgery. So, don't give up hope! You will continue to get better. Is the dose pack helping you any? I sure hope so!

Let me know how you're doing!

Take care,
Re: Back surgery
Jun 3, 2002
Hi Mank!

Thanks for the quick response! Glad to hear everything seems to be under control! Boy, these doctors sure do get 'em in and get 'em out quick, don't they? That's the way it ended with my neurosurgeon too. I saw him 2 times after my surgery. Actually, my month post-op visit was with the physician's assistant. I would rather see the doctor! Oh well....

I remember feeling some pain BEHIND my knee every now and then. I KNOW it was from the surgery and weird things happening. But I don't have that knee feeling any more. Feels normal again.

As far as how I'm doing....ok. I think I may have over-did with cleaning and washing mats outside this weekend and I can feel some different sensations (not pain), in my left (good) leg. Hopefully if I take it easy the next few days, it'll go away. This back stuff is really crazy. Good days and bad days. And I can't figure out what triggers off the bad days. It just happens, I guess.

Are you going to go to Physical Therapy to work on your exercises? Or just go by the pamphlet? I think I would feel better if I was shown by a physical therapist on how to do the exercises. But some are self-explanatory, so you should be fine. Yes, walking is the best. But it's hard to do, especially if you're still having some leg pain. I remember starting my stretches again about 3 months after surgery. Some docs say to start a month or 6 weeks after surgery. I think 6 weeks would be a "safe" time frame to gently start some stretches.

Hey...I work for a school system too, as a secretary. But I have to work ALL SUMMER! Ugh! I've been with the school for 22 years now! Started there when I just turned 21. Boy, time flies! What do you do at the school? I'm jealous that you have all summer off! Ha ha.....

Well, thanks for keeping me updated. If you have any questions about the way you feel while healing, or anything else, just ask....I'd like to be able to help.

Keep in touch and don't forget to update us on your progress! You should start feeling better and better as the weeks go on!

Take care,

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