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A 27-year-old male asked:

discectomy l4 l5 three months ago. i had almost no leg pain after surgery. last week severe pain came back down my leg could this be nerve damage?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ki-Hon Lin
Orthopedic Surgery 25 years experience
Recurrent herniation: One of the primary possibilities is a recurrent disc herniation, which occurs in about 10 - 15% of patients. Alternatively, there may be scar tissue developing at the surgical site, or you may have a disc herniation at a different level. See your physician if symptoms persist.
Pain Management 19 years experience
Nerve pain: You need to see your spine surgeon again. It is most likely nerve irritation, that could be treated with an epidural injection and conservative care. But, it could be a re-herniation of your disc. Important to rule-out new neurological changes. Your surgeon might decide to get a new MRI after they perform a physical exam.
Dr. James Marx
Pain Management 48 years experience
Muscle Spasm: More likely than not you are having muscle spasms that in fact do irritate the nerves which travel through the affected muscle. Treating the spasm with ice, anti-spasm medicine like tizanidine, pt modalities like electric muscle stiimulation and ultrasound as well as trigger point injections can provide dramatic relief. Defer epidural injections as a last resort. Talk with your surgeon or pain doc.
Dr. Lauren Elson
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 16 years experience
Nerve inflammation: It is possible to have pain going down the leg, after surgery, for a number of reasons. They can range from re- herniation, to a little disc inflammation, to muscle spasm pressing on the nerve. Often this can resolve with a short course of anti-inflammatories and an individualized core strengthening program to prevent future recurrences. Go back to your original doctor for re- eval.

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Last updated Jan 20, 2017


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