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  • nyquist
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Hello,

    I want to thank you for this amazing resource. I love that you explain things rather than just say “let the pain be your guide” and “it takes time.” I am desperate to better understand my recovery as I feel like I am in the dark right now.

    I am 5 months post-op from an L5-S1 discectomy. I had pretty terrible sciatica down my right side and the right side of my foot was completely numb. All told I had the sciatica for close to a year.

    While the numbness in my foot went away a few days post op, the sciatic pain stuck around and continued to get worse. In a fit of desperation 3 weeks post op I went to my chiropractor who gently adjusted my hip. I had an instant relief in the pain, I nearly wept. The pain would return, although to a lesser degree. I was getting twice-weekly adjustments to my hip, but now it is once every other week or so.

    Since then I have had a slow recovery. The really bad sciatica pain went away about 3 months post-op. Currently I still have stabbing pains in my buttock and hamstring area and my hamstring,calf and right hip get super tight. But, the thing that really makes me nuts is that it is random. I’ll have hours when my leg feels normal, and then suddenly there is pain and severe tightness, then it gets a little better, and then I’ll have days with more pain. I can’t seem to find any pattern to it.

    I have found that Motrin definitely eases the pain and I think it helps with the tightness some too. I am doing PT once a week plus I do most of the exercises at home daily. I do ~30 minutes of walking daily and I get cardio by doing a fitness app in VR that is mostly hand motions.

    So, I guess my questions are:
    1) Is it normal to still have these inflammation related symptoms 5 months post op?
    2) Is the tightness and pain coming from the nerve root itself do you think or is it possible I’ve got some piriformous issues or something else?
    3) Do you have any theories on why I needed that adjustment from the chiropractor to get relief post-op?
    4) Is there anything else I should be doing to help my recovery along?

    If you have time to answer, I will genuinely appreciate it. I hope you have a great day.

    -Jack

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8100

    Is it normal to still have these inflammation related symptoms 5 months post op? It is not normal to have more intense significant symptoms 5 months post-op. You did however wait a full year before surgery so recovery will be much slower than normal. Did you have a new post-op MRI to determine your current status.

    Is the tightness and pain coming from the nerve root itself do you think or is it possible I’ve got some piriformous issues or something else? Most likely, the pain is generated by the inflamed nerve root. The reason we recommend surgery more rapidly is that constant chronic compression of the root can cause further damage to the root, sometimes causing chronic radiculopathy See: https://neckandback.com/conditions/chronic-radiculopathy/

    Do you have any theories on why I needed that adjustment from the chiropractor to get relief post-op?
    That is interesting and an uncommon (but obviously welcome) result from a manipulation. I can’t understand why.

    Is there anything else I should be doing to help my recovery along? I would recommend a new MRI to make sure the root is decompressed and if it is, an epidural steroid injection (TFESI) See: https://neckandback.com/treatments/epidural-injections-and-selective-nerve-root-blocks-diagnostic-and-therapeutic/

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    nyquist
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Thank you so much for getting back to me.

    Is it possible that the epidural steroid injection would help the nerve recover or is it something I’d likely need to keep getting for life?

    My surgeon wants me to wait until 6 months post op before he sees me and considers another MRI. I am (im)patiently waiting.

    Luckily my pain is significantly better than pre-op, and in general it is more of an annoyance than anything like the nightmare sciatica. It doesn’t usually stop me from doing day-to-day things, but it does get tiring. I know this is hard to answer, but would you say it is still possible that I will see further improvements in pain at this point provided there isn’t a new compression?

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8100

    Steroid injections can yield temporary relief or even permanent relief. I am glad to hear you are significantly better. It seems reasonable to wait but if your symptoms increase, a new MRI is a good idea.

    Dr, Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
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