Suspected reherniation

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I had a microdiscectomy on my lower back about 3/4 years ago (L5/S1 I think). I was told that I had 2 discs bulging, one more than the other, they only operated on the disc that was bulging the most. I had instant relief from after the operation. However, for the past few weeks, I am having pain around the location of my scar, and sometimes sciatic pain (not as bad as previously) However, the back pain is worse, hurts when I am walking, sitting, laying down etc. I am going to go to my GP to request an MRI (I don't live in the same area as when I originally had my operation) 

My question is, what is the likelihood that my other disc has herniated??

Thanks in advance


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  • Posted

    Hi Nicola

    Is the pain in the same place as before? If so then you could have re-herniated

     the same disc.  If that has happened and physio, steroid injections etc don’t help then you can either have a revision (re-do) of the original surgery or if the disc is just too far gone then you will need to have a fusion. 

     have you spoken to anybody about a steroid injection? They do help sometimes by reducing inflammation of the nerve. 

    Good luck 

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    • Posted


      I keep putting off going to the GP...But it has gotten that bad that I think I need to go! Before my op before I didn't really have back pain, just the sciatica pain down to my right foot, if I move my leg a certain way then I will get the leg pain but not always!

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    • Posted

      Something similar happened to me after my microdiscectomy. My original hernia had been very bad and was operated on within a couple of weeks.  Most of the pain was gone after the Op but I returned to exercise too soon (hiking about six weeks post op) and It all went wrong after that.  Like you I had only leg pain before the Op, then minimal pain for six weeks then bad leg and new back pain after I overdid the exercise. I then had months of trying to recover but was never able to get back to being able to sit or walk or stand without pain after a while. About a year later I had a dynamic stabilisation operation which  probably shouldn’t have had and it failed. It more or less dealt with the direct pain from the nerve but messed up my joint in other ways and left me with different backpain and recurrent leg pain from the joint rather than the nerve. I was significantly worse after the second op than before.

       I then had a fusion about seven weeks ago. I am currently recovering from that.  I think it’s been a partial success but only time will tell. 

      I think in your situation I would maybe try to jump the queue by  going to A&E to see if they will examine you there and then. For diagnostics you need another MRI. They will then probably want to schedule a steroid injection to see if that can improve the symptoms. If it does it might last for a few weeks or a few months.  The NHS don’t prioritise these conditions as they ought to so if you have the option to go private then I would do so.

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    • Posted

      I think mine is where I keep picking up my 2 year old! I was putting her in a the back of the car Saturday...2 door vehicle...and after getting out each time, I had quite a bit of weakness in my right leg. Definitely can't go private...although my last operation was done privately but paid for NHS. I was offered the injections last time but we agreed that they arent guaranteed to work, so went for the op...2 year waiting list!

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    • Posted

      If you have weakness in the leg then you really do want It looked at sooner rather than later. If the motor that part of the nerve is damaged but can become permanent. I have lost about 20 to 25% of function in my calf for this reason. This all happened during the original herniation and that was only present for about two weeks. I think if you go to  It looked at sooner rather than later. If the motor part of the nerve is damaged that can become permanent. I have lost about 20 to 25% function in my calf for this reason. This all happened during the original herniation and that was only present for about two weeks.

       I think if you go to  A&E reporting weakness then they should take you more seriously for this reason. Definitely try to stop lifting when you’re bending over if you possibly can.  I know that this is much easier said than done with a little one but this will really stress the disc more than anything else.  If the disc has ruptured then it will make the problem much worse  as it will pump the gel from inside of the disc out into the spinal column. That damages the disc irreparably and will severely irritate the nerve.  If you can lift with you back straight that will be better. 


      As a stopgap, see if you can get your GP to prescribe you some oral steroids like Prendnisone. They worked for me after my initial herniation although not after I wrecked everything with my overexercise after op 1. If inflammation  is the main problem rather than ongoing mechanical irritation of the nerve then they ought to be effective.

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    • Posted

      That's okay...I am at the hospital tomorrow anyway for my diabetes...might mention it to my consultant there and see what he says.

      I am already on loads of medication....sertraline, propranolol and amitriptyline! Can I take the one you suggested??

      The pain is so weird, sometimes it randomly gets worse for a couple of minutes and then its just a dull ache again!

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    • Posted

      Prendnisone is a steroid. The drugs you are already on are an antidepressant, a beta blocker and another (very old) anti depressant that is sometimes used to help with sleep, respectively. None of these meds treat nerve pain effectively. None of them are anti-inflammatory which you should have if possible. They all have various interactions with other meds but I am not a doctor so I cannot give you any advice on what you could add. Steroids are the most powerful anti inflammatory drugs you can take but they have side effects like lack of sleep and irritability, but you only take them for a 2 weeks or so. NSAIDs are things like Ibuprofen which are non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Not as powerful but fewer side effects.

      I would check with your doctor if you can taper off any of your existing meds as they don’t be helping with you back, but maybe you need them for something else. I have heard of the NHS using Amitriptyline to mask some effects of nerve pain but it fixes nothing and creates dependency. 

      I don’t know if your diabetes doc can help with a nerve problem but you can try I guess. I would try to see a neurosurgeon. They are the best qualified for these issues. An orthopaedic surgeon would do but they are more about the mechanics of bones, not the fine nerve structures in play here.

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  • Posted

    Hi Nicola,

    So sorry to hear you're going through this right now, just wanted you to know I empathise as have been going through lower back issues for the last 15 months or so, and I've been fortunate in that haven't needed surgery God willing, but have still found it very tough to cope with. 

    I'm hoping very much that the pain can settle down for you and that your GP can do the MRI and it can offer some hope / help / reassurance, and that this is just a minor setback in the grand scheme. The osteopath I have been attended recommended a book to me called 'Back Pain Decoded' by Robert Shanks. I haven't read it yet but have had a look through and looks really good, explains things simply and some practical things you can do to help and different devices / gadgets that you may never have thought of. I think you can get it on Amazon or Ebay, a black and white version is cheaper maybe about £20 (UK money).

    Hoping you feel much better soon and thinking of you - praying for God's healing for your back.


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  • Posted

    Most likely. I see dr Turchin he's in Sebastopol  he says 80% of the population has a misdiagnosed herniated disc. Definetly get that mri. 

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