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Severe nerve pain in right leg after microdiscectomy of L4 and L5

Started by Qhorsegal2 on 01/16/2018 11:22pm

Hello All,

I am writing on behalf of my husband. He has been dealing with severe pain in his right hip and leg since December 8th of 2017. It happened abruptly, with no known accident or injury. He has had pain in his hip for years off and on. It is usually resolved with a few visits to the chiropractor. But this time instead of it getting better, it continued to get worse and worse as the days passed. By the 4th or 5th day it was so extreme we wound up in the ER. The pain was radiating from the right hip and butt cheek all the way down the right leg. He kept saying it felt like the front of his shin was going to explode. He could not stand for more than a few minutes at a time, and could not sit AT ALL without extreme pain. The only way he could find any comfort was flat on his stomach in bed. We tried a week of chiropractic care which did little to relieve the pain. By the end of that week the chiropractor decided it wasn't in his scope of expertise to fix him and sent us to the PC to get x-rays. The x-rays showed nothing, so we started the process of getting our insurance to approve us for an MRI. I'll spare you the details of how long it took the Insurance company to approve the MRI...it was terrible! But we finally got it approved and the result was a ruptured disk on L4 and L5. We then started another waiting game trying to get an appointment with a neurosurgeon over New Years weekend. The appointment was scheduled for a first consultation on January 10th, nearly 2 weeks away.

The whole time his pain never got better, in fact kept getting worse. I had to watch as he went from a healthy 41 year old man who never took a day off work in his life, to someone who was stuck in bed almost 24 hours a day. He was only able to get up long enough to walk to the kitchen, or use the bathroom. (Imagine using the bathroom when you can't sit down...not fun)

Even though it was a long, painful wait, we waited. Until Sunday, Jan 6th when the pain suddenly spiked even higher. He was literally screaming in pain for hours at a time. I would pump the pain meds in him as often as possible and they were not touching it anymore. I finally gave in and called an ambulance to pick him up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. I just knew I was never going to be able to get him in the car to make the drive to the doctors office the next day. And if I somehow did, he would never be able to sit in the waiting room.
The minute the ER doctor looked at him that morning and saw his MRI he told him he needed to have surgery. He said it had obviously gotten drastically worse in the 2 weeks since the MRI and he did not need to wait any longer.

The surgery was scheduled for the following day. The Surgeon warned us that the nerves would take awhile to heal and that he may not experience full pain relief right away, but we knew we had to try something. Thankfully everything went well in surgery, and the Doctor later told me that she cut away 3 large pieces of disk from the L4/L5 nerve root. I was so happy to see them wheel him back into the room on his back! It was the first time I had seen that in over a month!

The day of surgery he had some pain relief. He came out saying his ankle was still in alot of pain, but most of the other leg pain was gone. We were sent home the next night.

Unfortunately, the nerve pain came back with a vengeance once we were home. It does seem to be slightly less intense, but not much. The pain meds never take the pain away, only make it bearable. And it is impossible to go the 6 hours in between meds that she wants him to go. It is a HUGE letdown to go through that surgery and come home in almost as much pain as when he went in.

I guess my question is...is it normal to still be having nerve pain to this degree after surgery? What are the odds that this is going to go away eventually?

He is totally incapable of doing most things for himself at this point. Will he ever be able to function normally again?
I can't even think of the possibility of him living with this pain forever. I would appreciate any advice or encouragement you can give us right now!

Thank you,

Jennifer in West Tennessee

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2 Responses


I meant to tell you all that tomorrow will be 1 week since his surgery.


My husband has a very similar problem. Surgery on 4&5 last Monday Ja. 31, 8 days later still excruciating pain in knee and shin. What is the answer?