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  • mpelle1
    Post count: 1

    Hey everyone. I’ve never posted but reading was helpful when I was first going through this. I herniated my L5 disc for the first time in 2007. I bought these wonderful arch supports and it aligned itself back.

    Forward to July of 2012. I was in the worst pain. I was bedridden for a month. The pain radiated from my behind to my right ankle. I had 2 epidurals and everything was great. Come Thanksgiving, the pain was back. I had 2 more injections but they didn’t help. I had the microdiscectomy at the beginning of January and I have just been so thankful.

    I’ve had very minor phantom pain. It was sticking to my right calf. I still have numbness in the area, but the numbness in my foot is gone.

    Today I have been experiencing sciatic pain in the same area, the right buttocks. It isn’t horrible- maybe a 3-4/10. It has only been going on for a couple of hours and comes and goes. I’m just very nervous. Has anyone experienced this? My doctor told me (after the surgery) to worry if the pain came back at the same intensity or worse. Anyone who has experienced this, I would GREATLY appreciate your thoughts.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8460

    Return of pain four months after a microdisectomy in the same leg along the same pathway might be a recurrent disc herniation which occurs about 10% of the time. However, there can be other causes of this pain.

    “Phantom pain” after surgery (or as I call it “echoes of pain”) is not uncommon. The nerve was compressed by the disc hernation and decompressing the nerve allows it to heal but that takes time. The nerve could still be sensitive and generate aberrant signals until it heals.

    Numbness is not uncommon after a microdiscectomy. The numbness was most likely there before the surgery but unidentified due to the pain in that same dermatome. Removing the pain uncovers the numbness. Normally, the numbness will recede with time (6-12 months).

    If your pain is now at a relatively low level (3-4 VAS-visual analog scale) and has only been present for hours, this might just be nerve inflammation. The nerve can still be sensitive and if you stretched it somehow, it will complain to you. Your surgeon might prescribe you an oral steroid for a short period of time to reduce the inflammation.

    Only if the pain becomes worse or stays for a prolonged period of time do you have to be concerned for a recurrent herniation.

    Dr. Corenman

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