Sciatica Pain After Microdiscectomy

Sciatica pain after microdiscectomy

Sciatica is pain that emanates along the sciatic nerve. Most sciatica patients do not need surgery, however, surgery can resolve sciatica caused by a herniated disc. A minimally invasive surgical procedure that may be conducted on a sciatica patient is a microdiscectomy.  Sciatica pain after microdiscectomy is common, whereby, one experiences pain along the sciatic nerve after the surgery especially, on the leg.

A glimpse of microdiscectomy

A microdiscectomy is a very effective surgical procedure that removes part of the bulging or herniated intervertebral disc within the lower spine and leaves the healthy portion intact.  Muscle tissues are removed from the lamina to make a window in the spinal canal. With the disc’s portion now not causing blockage, the herniated tissue is removed. With a herniated disc, the disc can press on the spinal nerves causing numbness and pain in the buttocks or the leg.

A microdiscectomy significantly reduces sciatic pain but some aching may be felt along the sciatic nerve afterwards since, not everyone experiences a complete relief after the procedure. At times the nerve has what may be termed as a “memory” of the pain and it remains quite irritable. A typical microdiscectomy recovery takes place in about six weeks Post Op and the patient will experience an increased comfort level as time goes by.

Other possible causes of sciatica after a microdiscectomy may be;

  • A wrong diagnosis.
  • A secondary disc herniation.
  • Dual problems that bring about the pain, where two lesions cause the pain and the piriformis muscle is not rehabilitated.
  • Central and foraminal stenosis.
  • Nerve damage during the surgical procedure.
  • A scar tissue.

Suggested article: Understanding Sciatica Vs Herniated Disc

Dealing with sciatic pain after a microdiscectomy

A microdiscectomy entails an incision into the skin over the spine and care will be needed towards recovery. The doctor should be the one to give directives regarding pain management.  Instructions will be given about exercising, dieting, and activities. Remember, that you are now dealing with two rather painful situations that need management.

Physiotherapy may be recommended so as to strengthen the muscles that are existent along the trunk and around the spine. Pain medication may be prescribed.

Good posture is important. Excessive strain on the back should be avoided and the performance of daily activities may need to be done differently or minimally.

As you sit, avoid having the knees higher than the hips and avoid prolonged sitting to curb discomfort.

When getting up from a seat, one should move to the seat’s end and using arm support, push themselves up while using the legs to firmly push down. Bending at the waist and lifting objects greater than 5 pounds is not advisable.

Higher impact activities may be resumed at some point but they must also be confirmed by your doctor.


Microdiscectomy has been revealed to offer pain relief from sciatica and even promote a faster return to an active lifestyle. Even so, sciatica pain after microdiscectomy is not a rare occurrence. There are a number of ways to alleviate the pain and necessary actions must be taken, strictly as advised by the doctor.​

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