Discectomy Feedback (excuse the pun) Please :-)

I have finally received a date for my Discectomy (2rd March) and wondered if I could get any feedback from anyone who has previously had this done - Eg. The pain to expect, outcome, exercise, how long will it take to feel the benefits - anything! I have touched on this in a previous post but would like to hear more please. I have one prolapsed lumbar disc and will only be having a partial removal of the disc - I am on a shed load of medications and my life has come to a standstill so a lot riding on this op. Many thanks everyone x

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8 Replies

  • The horrid pain was gone when I woke up, replaced by another pain entirely, this is normal and gets better quickly and is just where they have been thru your muscles etc.

    If you have had many years of nerve pain and weakness it won't be fixed instantly, long and slow but more than worth it for me.

  • Hi Tracy, I had a discectomy in 2001. I couldn't walk and my life had ground to a halt. My 4/5 disc had shredded rather than burst and noxious inflammatory material was constantly irritating the nerves causing pain. It was not going to clear up by itself. You lie on your front and they give you 'happy' drugs to knock you out for the op. Funny to think you wake up super happy despite pain. I felt battered and bruised but they get you up pretty quickly to move around. Neat wound no major problems. I couldn't pee so needed a catheter but all better the next day. Pain from surgery gone in a week. You just feel battered and bruised. Outcome of surgery is different for everybody. I don't regret my surgery but it has meant that the facet joints at that level have become arthritic and the disc became unstable until I had some interforaminal injections of steroids which I think stopped further nerve irritation. Discectomy is part of the journey.... It's different for everybody. I still have pain due to arthritis now but I felt I really had no option at the time and it meant I could walk again... Best wishes.

  • Hey Tracy. I had my first discectomy in May 2010. The pain your experiencing now, will not be present when you wake up. You will probably feel like you've been hit by a bus, but that pain eases. Before I got to leave hospital, I was seen by Physio, made to walk and walk up steps. You should then see your Physio once you are home, but give it a good while before you do that. You wil be pretty tired for a good while, and everything will be a struggle, showering, dressing, sleeping, but it gets easier trust me. I had my second discectomy in June last year and went through the exact same as above, only this time I knew what was coming. I woke up feeling so much better than the last time, and feeling better came a lot quicker. I'm also had my facet joint removed too, so my recovery was and is still a longer period. I wish you the best of luck. Just remember, every day is different, but every day things get easier. Xx

  • Thank you all for the replies (keep them coming please everyone) and I understand that everyone is different with different degrees of pain and varying problems but it's good to get a rough idea of what to expect. I was told in the hospital letter that I will be in for 3 nights. I was just trying to get a feel for what to expect roughly and how long I would need my partner at home with me (I also have a 6 year old daughter) - how long I would need someone with me basically. I also would like to hear how well the operation worked for people. As I said before, my 1 disc is only partially being removed. This seems like it might not all be over with this op but the start of what may be many :-( I feel like I have wasted a whole year of my life (but compared to some people I know this is no time at all) and I HATE the dependancy I have on my partner. I want all this pain and unhappiness to end. I want my independence back. I want to work. I want to wake up and not feel like my life is over. I want to be happy again and free of this constant grinding pain. I want to stop being defined by my illness. I'm locked in a place where I am alone and nobody can ever really reach me.... I'm sorry - I'm being self absorbed and feeling sorry for myself - I'm having a bad day today. Thank you all for your responses and good wishes. I will try to snap out of it. xxx

  • Hi there

    Hope you're not in too much pain at the moment.I had four micro dicsectomies over a period of 18 months and if I'm being honest with you each one wish different re recovery pain and time ect,what is I will say is like some others have said some of the pain will have gone,the unfortunate thing for me is that they didn't operate soon enough so my damage was done.I then had a spinal fusion and again it improved a little but not significantly as I have so much nerve damage from not operating in time.I an now in the process of having a spinal nerve stimulator fitted as I have just had a trial one fitted with great success.I have been on so many different pain medication that this was really the next option for me.If you want to know anything please just ask and good luck with your operation (what I will say is mine was so bad a prolapse that's why I didn't get the results I perhaps so have).


  • Hi Sharon - Did they give you a nerve block injection? I was given this mainly as a diagnostic tool to see if the nerve responded first before they would agree to operate. As it did repond (although it took 4 weeks to do so and didn't last more than a couple of months) they said that the nerve was NOT so badly damaged so the op would be more successful. I have a feeling though that there is more to my problem than meets the eye as I have developed painful swollen joints on top of everything else for which I am seeing a rhumatologist in feb for. Some people on here have said that they had the same swelling and it was linked to the morphine we take and will resolve itself when I stop taking the meds. Others have offered some interesting info regarding the link to a retroverted uterus and gynecology problems (I have experienced both). The small prolaspe I have should not be causing as much pain as I experience and I am sure there is another underlying problem. My head is spinning with it all to be honsest as I am sure you all know about the foggyness we experience and how it stops the normal thought process - I honestly don't know what to think anymore so I have decided to have the op and see where it leaves me. Thanks you Sharon and I hope your spinal stimulator does the trick - I have read positive things about it! Tracy xx

  • I had my microdiscectomy as part of a decompression which worked reasonably well until several weeks later I had severe pain in my back and down my leg which I had not experienced before because my op was done because of numbness not pain I had to endure this for several weeks as my GP refused to send me back to the hospital, got my 8wk physio follow up and ended up in the A&E dept being admitted then further surgery to drain an abscess which had spread from my tooth so be sure that you have nothing like this going on before you go in for your op. My recovery has been reasonable but as I have fibromyalgia as well this has flared up and have no energy and in constant pain in my joints.

  • That's awful Jane - GPs can be so dangerous with their dismissal of us, lack of knowledge and arrogance. At the end of the day all they have is a limited, general knowledge of various conditions, diseases and medication right across the board therefore you would expect them to be cautious and listen to the patient and put them into the hands of a specialist when they don't have all the answers instead of playing God with people lives - some of them are nothing less than dangerous and should not be in the profession. Thankfully, I have a good GP now but I have had more than my fair share of the bad ones and they far outweigh the good. I was having a tooth extraction just before Xmas and my consultant posponed my op until my mouth had healed properly - hence the wait until early March. So thankfully he is being careful - it really is such bad luck that you had 2 incompetent Drs. My gum has healed well so hopefully that won't be a problem. I also suffer from joint swelling and pain but I am hoping that it is a side effect of the morphine. Thanks for your reply and I hope you have now found a better GP and I hope your pain eases in time

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