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18 weeks post Op Discectomy Foraminotomy L5/S1 surgery

tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 44
edited 05/18/2017 - 5:41 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I am 4.5 months post op from a Discectomy and Bilateral Foraminotomy at L5/S1. Leading up to this I had been sufering from Sciatic down my left leg the past 2 years that was getting worse, then it spread to the right leg.(not as bad) I saw many Dr's and specialists up to this point trying to figure out what was going on. I was slow to get diagnosed as my MRI's did not really show much, but the latest Spine Surgeon was able to see the S1 nerves being pressed by a moderate L5/S1 disc protrusion, as well as some moderate foraminal stenosis on the left side. Main issue was Sciatic pains and extreme numbness in left leg and outter foot and heel. Ache and pain down the legs, could not sit for very long. Classic Sciatica. (Not much back pain though, it would fare up over the years and go away.) Sciatica was getting worse by the day. Could not sit for 5 minutes in the end. Tried Chiropractic, PT and Spinal Decompression therapy. Anyway decided to have surgery on Jan 4th 2017. Went well. Felt ok after surgery, but on day 3 it felt like a truck ran over my legs! First week was ROUGH. Got on a Medrol Dose Pak and over the next 2-3 weeks got a little better. But post op my right leg/foot was much worse. I figured it was the nerves being manipulated during the surgery and swelling that caused this. Over the next 2-3 months it gradually got better and I was able to sit much longer, up to an hour before I had to get up and walk. I get up frequently and walk to relieve the pains. I also had been walking 2-3 miles every day per the Dr. Did not start PT due to finances but have been doing stretching, and leg excercises every day. Around 10 week mark I fet good enough to start doing things around the house, and was working on my son's car. Was very careful, but the next day I had some pains around the incision site. At this point the pain lasted about 1 week and I had more Sciatic nerve pains in my feet and more numbness. I also started to get some numbness in my groin area. I got realy scared and called my Dr. Put me on another Medrol Dose Pak. After 2 weeks I stared to feel better, no more back pains and groin sensations went away. Started taking more Ibuprophen to help with Inflamation since then. Also started taking Turmeric 1000Mg every day, drinking lots of water, being careful, etc. The past few weeks my feet have been hurting more, burning sensations and hot/cold. More numbness especially in the right foot. But the sharp Sciatic pain has been less and less in the left foot, but still there at times, especially if I lay on my leg wrong or sit too long on the left side. I decided I need to get an MRI to see what is going on. I feel I should be doing better than this, but then again it's only been 4 months.

At this point I am desperate and am thinking about getting back on my Inversion table! It was not clear at my last appt if I can do it but was cleared for all activities, even running so I am going to give it a try.

Not sure if this is part of the healing process, or more mild compressions/inflammation going on? Or just continuial DDD that I have been battling for the past 10 years. I just know I need to do all I can to decompress my discs as this will not magically reverse itself! Very frustrated.


  • I hope your sciatica continues to improve, mine did after my laminectomy/discectomy operation and then very very slowly over the last few months (6 post op). Good sign that it is better than before, but I share your frustration about not being closer to what might be termed 'normal'. I'm around 75 per cent compared to where i was early 2016.
  • tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 44
    It is very frustrating. I have had increased upper thigh pains and calf pains the past few weeks. Also get some intermittant twinges of pain around the incision area that go away after a bit. Trying to be very careful and am doing my 2 mile walks every day.
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  • tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 44
    edited 12/27/2017 - 5:05 PM

    Just a follow up. I have had 2 MRI's since having surgery in Jan 2017. Since May and this post, things got a little better but still has some discomfort and nerve irritation and pain in my legs, mostly left side. Well this fall (maybe the cold weather makes it worse?) It's gotten worse and I started to have some back pains, and sciatica jolts down to the left foot/heel. Have intermittant burning and pain in both legs and feet, and occasional back pain if I sit or sleep too long and need to reposition myself. Had another MRI and everything is the same since before my surgery. It looks like the left foraminotomy was not done at all according to the images. Still Moderate/Severe left foraminal stenosis. The back of my legs are doing better though, and I think that is because he trimmed the disc a bit that was touching the S1 nerve root. But the L5 exiting nerve roots are still compressed, especially on the left side. Right seems fine in MRI but also having minor issues there too. Been using my Inversion table 2 times a day for about a month now and it seems to help. Even when I have pains in the lower back and leg, after a session it's gone. I am trying to lose 15 lbs and going to invert 2-3 times a day (complete inversion) and see if that helps. If not I will look for a new Surgeon that can do a new type of surgery that I feel will really address and fix the issue (should of done that to begin with!) It's called a Endoscopic Transforaminal decompression. Instead of going through the back center like they do for a discectomy, they go from the side at an angle with just a thin tube the size of a pencil. Local anasthetic too. Problem is trying to find someone that can do that locally. Might have to travel out of state.

  • I can relate. My husband had surgery in May ‘17, had 5 procedures. As if today really doesn’t feel better, still on pain meds. He had the endoscopic surgery first time around. It is beyond frustrating. He has never had much back pain, but his feet feel like they are lit on fire beneath the 2 outer toes.

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