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  • Avatarraidoll
    Post count: 1

    Dear Dr Corenman

    I have some questions about sciatic pain after my L5-S1 discectomy.

    Prior to my surgery: I had severe nerve pain in my right leg and glute for about 8 months. They did MRI and found that i have L5-S1 disc prolapse on my right. I tried physiotherapy and some medications/injections, nothing helped. I was able to walk maybe couple of hundred meters (200-300 yards) and i couldn’t stand up straight.

    After surgery: I had my surgery on 20th of May (17 days ago) – L5-S1 discectomy on my right side. I had immediate relief in sciatic pain but it’s still there. I’m able to walk 5-6 kilometers (3-4 miles) almost in pain free (maybe my pain is 2-3 out of 10). But some strange movements recreate my sciatic pain in my right glute and leg. For example if i move my head right or left or try to watch the sky. Also little bit bending forward recreates it (i know i’m not suppose to bend forward). But overall i’m much better, i’m able to walk and stand up straight.

    Sciatic pain is more intense in the mornings. When i try to stretch my sciatic nerve it’s quite painful. For example when i’m in seated position and trying to raise my leg in front of me (i’m not able to straighten my leg in the morning). But after i’ve done my morning exercises and walked around 1-2 miles i’m able to do the same sciatic nerve stretch almost in pain free (maybe 2-3 pain out of 10) and i’m able to straighten my leg. Also when I’m lying on my back i’m able to raise my straight (not bending the knee) leg maybe around 45 degrees when i can feel the sciatic pain in the morning. But in the evening/afternoon i can raise it almost to 90 degrees without any sciatic pain in my leg or glute.

    Why is that my sciatic nerve is more pissed off and painful in the mornings? Is it normal? Also why these weird head movements cause sciatica? Coughing and sneezing also cause little bit of it but its much better than before i had my surgery (then the pain was 12 out of 10 when i tried to sneeze).

    I can understand that tingling feeling in my legs is quite normal after surgery. How long it usually takes the nerve to fully heal and i can get rid of this sciatic pain?

    With Best,

    AvatarDonald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 7481

    Any lumbar spine structure “swells” at night due to the sump conditions. The lower part of your body during the day is your feet obviously which is why your ankles swell during the day. The lowest part of your body at night is your lower back and this can collect fluid causing swelling. Also, surgical sites will naturally swell for 2-3 months.

    You sound substantially better now than you did before which is a good indication. This nerve root can be sensitive for as much as 4-6 months after decompression depending upon how severe the compression initial was. I would ask you surgeon if he or she would consider a short course of oral steroid. I have found this can be very helpful for patients like you.

    Dr. Corenman

    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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