Short term memory always suffers immediately after anesthesia. I have had patients mad at me for not seeing them immediately post-op even after I had spent ten minutes talking with them in the recovery room.
I cannot answer for your surgeon but I will tell you what I would answer to my patients.
Tightness and some mild burning in the leg is not uncommon after a surgical decompression for a disc herniation. Most patients have had significant pain prior to the surgery and after the pain is gone, these symptoms are uncovered. The symptoms were actually present before the microdiscectomy but were not noticed because the searing pain covered these symptoms up. It might take as long as three months for these symptoms to fade away.
Intermittent numbness can take as long as six months to disappear. The area of numbness will shrink down over time.
I cannot speak for your surgeon as far as going back to work but for my patients, they can go back to a sedentary job within one week to as much as six weeks. It depends upon how well the symptoms are relieved and if the job allows frequent position changes and part time work in the beginning.
I want my patients to walk after surgery a reasonable distance. Short walks are better and multiple “laps” instead of one long walk are preferred. Sitting time is to tolerance.
Ibuprofen is OK to use after about one week from surgery. Ibuprofen will not cause scar tissue to form.
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.