Why do I still have pain after disc herniation surgery?

Q. Why is the pain recurring even after disc herniation surgery?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 10, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jan 18, 2020

Hi doctor,

Five months ago, my wife had a disc herniation surgery. She was fine for the next two to three months, but again she is getting the pain. Her doctor advised us to go for repeated MRI. We are yet to meet her doctor, But, I am looking forward to know what is going on. I have attached the reports for your reference. Please help.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below.

  • There is disc problem in the L4-L5 disc level. Though the pressure on nerve roots might have decreased after the disc herniation surgery, it is possible that the recent activity is causing pressure on the nerve roots again.
  • There is persisting mild right lateral recess obliteration in the L4-L5 disc level. The spinal canal shows slight narrowing as a result of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy.
  • It is important to review the images of first MRI scan to know how the situation was before the herniated disc surgery. I want to compare the new and old images.
  • There is a congenital sacralization of L5 vertebra (L5 get fused with sacrum below or with the ilium on the side), which can predispose to the disc problem which she has.
  • Herniated disc surgery cures the patient in 20 percent cases. In 40 percent, the pain and symptoms come back after surgery and in another 40 percent there is worsening of the condition after surgery.
  • Any heavy physical work in recent time can bring back the symptoms after surgery. You can please upload the first MRI scan and send me in the follow up. You can also mention the details of the surgery and send me the discharge summary of the surgery.

Revert back with the first MRI scan to a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Hello doctor,

I do not have a soft copy of first MRI. I will get it at the earliest. Here, I have attached the discharged summary, old MRI report copy and new MRI report copy. I am not so much familiar with these terms and doctors usually do not talk clearly regarding the issue. I am so much worried about my wife. I would like to know few things. If herniated disc success rate is just 20% as you said, then can you give me your estimated rate where we are? I have started giving her basic yoga exercises. Can you guide us on the same. Is it safe to do it twice a day? In the new MRI it is written as desiccation. Do I need to be concerned? Please advice me how should I proceed next.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • The problem is not too serious, but even this can cause significant pain. Since surgery is done five months back, we can still think of going for medical treatment for at least a year from surgery.
  • I will say that this surgery is a partial success and there is scope of improvement by physiotherapy under supervision.
  • The exercise given on internet sources are good, but not a complete set. I request you to get physiotherapy sessions from a professional neurorehabilitation physiotherapist for at least 15 days and continue the exercise for few months.
  • Please ask the physiotherapist in detail about how to participate in daily activities and how much weight to carry. They will also guide you on what can be done and what is to be avoided.
  • Disc desiccation is loss of water content in disc. This is a degenerative change and not a serious condition. You should not worry about it.

For further clarifications consult a radiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/radiologist

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
What are the reasons for left side hip pain?

.. seems not to be related to the periods. If the pain is more towards the back, then it is likely muscular. In that case, muscle relaxant should help like Tolperisone 450 once a day for five days. If it is more on the side, then it could be a referred pa   Read full

When can physiotherapy be started after bilateral hip replacement surgery?

.. when a hip replacement is done, that day itself, other joint movements should be started as early as possible. First, non-weight-bearing physiotherapy should be done, followed by partial and full weight-bearing exercises.   Read full

Is surgery necessary for grade 3 dislocation of ACL?

.. clearly acromioclavicular joint injury (attachment removed to protect patient identity). There are two ligaments which basically keep our ACL joint in position. In type 3 injuries, both ligaments are torn.   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Radiologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.