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I recently had surgery on a ruptured disc in my lower back L5/S1, it was accompanied by terrible sciatic nerve pain down my entire left leg. I was hoping that after the surgery the sciatic pain would be relieved and completely gone but I was wrong. The pain is still quite prevalent in my left buttock. I should also mention that this is my second surgery on the same disc. The last surgery was 3 years ago and I also had the sciatic nerve pain but it was much less severe and I was still able to be completely active up until the surgery was performed. After the first surgery, the nerve pain was completely relieved and all pain gone, I healed well and was fine within 6 weeks to do everything normal again. This time the sciatic pain was much, much worse almost debilitating, I could barely walk without pulsating spasms down my leg. Now, after the surgery I do not have the severe pulsating spasms down the leg but still in the buttock. The Dr. says the nerve is damaged and must take time to heal maybe months!!! I am freaked out by this as I feel I still can't do many things or be very active. I must mention that I am only 27 years old. I am also an avid horseback rider, probably reason for the disc damage in the first place. Anyways, just feeling depressed and down about the whole ordeal. Could use any advice/suggestions to help the nerve heal quicker so I can get back to my normal life. Anyone have this same experience or go through a similar ordeal. TIA!

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I was very interested in your post. I am also 27, just had a discetomy between my L4/L5 this December and had roughly 4-5 weeks without any sciatic pain which I had been dealing with all down the Left side of my body for over 6 months. I have begun to feel what they call "healing," which to me is a burning feeling down my left leg and mainly have all of these symptoms when sitting. I currently cannot sit for more than 10 minutes without feeling it but I can walk for 3-4 hours without an issue.

I have begun physical therapy which includes massaging the sciatic nerve and strengthening my core. I would recommend getting a good physical therapist; you are not supposed to do the hamstring stretching on that side because it agitates the sciatic nerve and cool packs on the lower back are things that I was told and taught.

I understand the pain in the buttock - I have been told that scarring buildup can cause the same sensation or it could just be healing because of the damage to the nerve that was done. Like I said above - nothing beats a good PT.

Also, I know what it is like to have a (literal) pain in the ass for a very long time and it has thrown me in a depressed mental state. I would say to take a look at the medications you are on to see what the side effects are and if one is depression to see if you can switch... also you should try to get out as much as possible if you can and get to as many normal activities as you can even if it is just minimal....

Finally... it can take a very long time for the nerve to heal - they say roughly 1mm per day (around an inch per month is also what I have been told) - it is not pleasant and I have been told months as well. I have also been told that the taller you are the longer the recovery - which I guess makes sense - but I am almost 6' tall ...

I hope that you are doing well - I do understand your pain to some degree and truly emphasize.

Best Wishes and speedy recovery
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I am a 35 year old female, and I also have recently had surgery for a ruptured L5 S1 disc that had fragments broken off as well. My symptoms came on very suddenly; I literally woke up one morning with excrutiating pain down the back of my left leg. I was fortunate to not experience much pain after the initial onset of symptoms; I was/am experiencing numbness and significant muscle weakness in my left leg which causes me to have a significant limp when walking and makes running/jogging (my prefered exercise) impossible. What are the chances that I will regain strength in my leg, and if so, how long will it take? Thanks in advance!
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hi,
To all you troubled people, I would like to tell you what your surgeon has failed to tell you.
A disc surgery is mostly a preventive surgery, as it prevents further damage to the nerves.
Depending on the time between symptoms and surgery, the pressure of the bulged disc
causes injury to the nerves. So a surgery cannot heal that injury instantly, rather it prevents
additional injury to the nerves.

The injured nerves will take around 6 weeks to 6 months to recover from the initial trauma and
the trauma caused by the operation.

However, since disc surgeries are quite complicated. Sometimes an inadvertent injury to the nerves
is also possible which may leave a person with additional disability !

I hope this clears your doubts !
Also some neurovitamins can help speedy recovery of the nerves ... consult your physician for the
local brands of these medicines.
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I am a 24 yr old I had surgery october last year after spending 4months with heavy sciata, I had a 10x7mm rupture crushing and removing the root of the nerve 10months on and I am still feeling pain in my leg, would this ever heal or did to much damage occur?
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I recently had surgery on a VERY herniated disc at L4 and L5. The surgeon warned me there is often a "honeymoon" period after the surgery in which the pain is gone for several days, but then can return for a few weeks. I am totally falling in that category. I went from excruciating pain before the surgery -- basically unable to walk without agonizing pain in the right calf and foot -- to being able to walk around the hospital, almost giddy, only hours after the surgery. Now there is a radiating pain in the right leg, but this is the result of a nerve swelling from having so much compression and chemicals on it.

It's disheartening for me to read a few of these "don't have surgery" posts, that seem obviously borne out of fear and a bit of ignorance of how non-invasive modern-day spinal surgery is. Don't think that a herniated disc is going to be solved by injections, acupuncture, physical therapy or a chiropractor. Do your homework and look for a PROVEN, GOOD, CONSERVATIVE (medically, that is) surgeon. Life is too short to just accept intolerable pain .. especially when there really is an alternative.
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Wow I didn't think disc problems affected so many young ppl. I'm 23 years old and have been dealing with 2 bulging discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 and the disc between L4-L5 now has an annular tear and is protruding and impinging onto my L5 nerve root. Serious pain in my butt and legs and lower back for the past year which has physically and mentally taken its toll :-( . How are you doing now and does anyone regret the surgery? I went to 5 months of physio (very little relief if any), how long did you go before surgery? I have a consult with a Neuro Suregon in a couple months.

My current MRI results are:

L4-L5 - Moderate dehydration and narrowing of the disc space (has anyone had this??)
L4-L5 - Annular tear with a broad based right central and paracentral disc protrusion impinging onto right L5 nerve root
L5-S1 - Mild broad based disc bulge

Would love to hear if anyone else has had similar issues and gone through surgery.
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I am 23 years old. 2 weeks after i turned 21 years old something happened (i have no idea what) but i have spinal stenosis (my spine narrows as it gets lower towards my pelvis).

I have a bulged disc, i believe L2 or L3? and a degenerative disc.

The reason why my disc wont heal is because there is no where for it to go because my spine is so narrow. Its pressing on all my main nerves making my hips ROCK hard.

I have incredible pain in my hips, lower back, and moderate pain in my mid to upper back that even reaches my neck. Many months ago before PT and chiropractor's i had pain going all the way to my toes.

I have never had pain like this in my life and i have been seeing several different chiropractors for several years, best nuerolgist in the northeast, PT for 4 months, many medications (btw screw medications 100%).

I bought a machine called back to life (useless) i have an inverison table that i stretch on every other day (helps actually). but i'm just scared to get surgery, yes scared because i have had many surgerys that freaked me out. Appendix burst, 30 min away from dieing etc. etc. hernia's bla bla

I was very very fit in college, lifting 5 days a week, always had perfect form, just have no idea how i did this.

I dont even know what kind of surgery i would get because the Nuerogist says he would carve out the inside diameter of my spine (what!)

Any advice and/or help would be amazing. If anyone has symtoms like mine and has any answers, please email me.
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Wow, after reading some of the posts on here, I can totally relate. I had been having back pain during the month of January, unknown where it happened but it did. I was going to the chiropractor, resting but the pain stayed, eventually spreading down my legs. Then of course, on Feb. 14th of this year, of course it was Valentine's Day, the roof caved in and I spent the night curled up on my couch in the fetal position because the pain was so bad. By 5 a.m. the next morning, the pain was so bad I couldn't straighten my legs and fell trying to go to the bathroom. So off to the ER in the ambulance I went. A few hours and an MRI later revealed that I had one disk completely gone and one (L4-L5) was badly blown and my sciatic nerve was completely crushed, to the point where they were not going to let me leave the hospital and tried to rush me into surgery that day (I later found out from the surgeon that I was close to paralysis). I had the surgery two days later and can honestly tell you, it was the best thing that happened to me. I woke up from surgery feeling immediately better. Now granted, the first week home from the hospital was hard. There are unintended consequences they don't tell you about. You will be constipated.....badly. Sitting down for the first few days will be excruciating. You will get depressed. Sneezing/coughing will feel like getting a lightning bolt shoved up your ass. You will feel like you are never going to get better. But you will.

I should probably give you a little background. I am 33, a police officer, and avid weightlifter, a wrestling coach, and was two weeks from training to start MMA. The surgeon later told me I was probably an eyelash or less away from paralysis and that I was damn lucky to be in such good shape. I am now 6 weeks post surgery where I am at.

For those who are thinking about the surgery, get it. I was scared too, as I have never had surgery in my life prior to this. But do your research. Get the best surgeon you can find. Research doctors in the area, especially online, as you can find out a lot with little effort. I got very lucky in that the surgeon I had was listed as the best guy in the state. This is the most important decision you may ever make, so do the work, you will not regret it!!
Secondly, LISTEN to your discharge notices. I cannot stress this enough. Don't be a hero here. Go home and rest. Then walk. You are going to be doing a lot of this. Have someone around that can help you, they are going to be invaluable. But do your walking.
Lastly, get a great PT. Also very important. Don't just go with the first guy. Again, research them. Talk to them before going all in. Because trust me, at this point, you will be all in with them. Make sure they understand the job you will be returning to, and what your expectations are for your post recovery life. If they know you are an athlete or do a physical job, your therapy will be different then someone who sits at a desk for 8 hours.
As I said before, i am 6 weeks post-op. I still have the pain through my hips and legs. This is normal from what I have been told and may take up to a year to subside. Sleeping sucks a lot of the time. But it will get better. I am back to doing a modified variation of P90X exercises, with PT 2x a week for an hour and a half. Your PT will give you exercises to do at home (bridges, leg swings,resistance walking with bands, etc.). DO THEM! They will hurt at times (you will be muscularly sore, just don't hurt in your back or STOP!!), but push through, you will be glad you did. I still have about a month before I will return to work, but I am keeping on fighting the good fight.

P.S. Once you are able to do so, check out myofacial release massage therapy. Some hate, but some it works really well for. Maybe it will work for you....I love it so far!

P.P.S. Look into vitamins to help with your recovery. Especially glucosamine/chondroitin. I have been using it for a while now and I believe it really helps out.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I don't know it all, but I can tell you what I went/am still going through.

Dave
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Dave,

Thanks for your post. I am a 37 yr old Police Officer and about 2 weeks ago was getting my son dressed and dropped to the floor. Previous to that I had some minor probably a bulged disk in January from shoveling, went to a chiro and did not get good results but enough to return to work. Anyways, called my husband home from work and a 6 hour ER visit followed. I had an MRI which showed a herniated L5/ S1 with a small annular tear. I had a steroid nerve root injection 1 week ago which apparently didn't work. I have sciatic pain into my left buttock about to mid thigh. I've been in PT and they are unable to get the sciatic released for any length of time....like not more than a few hours. I see the neurosurgeon on the 20th. I am scared to death....


First the pain isn't going away down the leg and secondly the pain is increasing at the actual disk location. (my pt said that is normal). What are the chances I can put a belt back on my waist and do my job? And how long will this take.

I'd appreciated any feedback!

Sarah
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Interesting to see so many police officers.  My husband is a 34 year old officer and is looking at his 2nd surgery after an injury he incurred while tackling a bank robbery suspect.  He had his first surgery in August for a completely blown L5/S1.  He was doing great and then suddenly we're back to almost where he started with pain and weakness.  Im terrified that he will never be the same.  He is heartbroken at the thought of having to leave the field. I am feeling so helpless and overwhelmed by the amount of information that seems to all lead to different recommendations.  So frustrating.  
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I am a 59 year old that just had surgery, because of the narrowing in the spinal canal, the surgeon went in, made a 5"cut and bored out the canal no chance of being parallized, was up and walking within a couple of hours after the surgery, can be done on an out patient basis, no stitches, just surgical tape, hardly any pain after the first week, get it done.
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Hey Dave, I'm 44 years old and have been on the job in CT for 16 years. I'm having surgery in about 6 hours from now to remove a recurring tumor on my L 5. The Dr. says that he has to cut the nerve. Right now, I'm only having the pain and numbness that goes with it. I'm worried that after it's gone, I'm going to have the foot drop thing and even more pain. What about work, are you back, will I be alright to go back? I don't care about the pain, I've been in pain for over 2 years from previous surgery and radiation damage, my worry is not being able to control my foot.
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i too have l5 s1 sciatica left leg. also horse ride. currently had steroid injection 4 weeks ago and am improving. still on lots of painkillers, but see the nuro surgeon 26th of april. how are you doing now and can you horse ride again?
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wow poor thing i had my ledft pain in leg and the buttock cheek had surgery very depressing to not be able to wake up with a good night sleep and not to be as active as you like i just saw a small machine nurex its $450 they say it helps heaps just 4 minutes a day i have a reversable table thats not correct name but you put your feet in and then hang upside down and it stretches out the spine to help with the compression on the spine this helps im 47 my hips and both buttocks are bruised an ache i wont do a second opperation
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