Main Article on Lumbar Laminectomy Question: Please describe your lumbar laminectomy experience. Submit Your Comment Comment from: Bruh , 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 03 I had lumbar laminectomy spinal surgery four days ago. I can hardly stand up straight. Both my legs want to give out when I stand up straight. Not sure this is normal. Comment from: Michele, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 28 I had a L4-L5 stenosis compressed nerve. Prior to my lumbar laminectomy surgery, I was in extreme pain, with numbness in my left buttock, thigh, shin and foot. I was unable to walk or work. I had 3 steroid injections with minimal success. I ended up with surgery to relieve and 7 weeks down track, my recovery is slower than I thought, but was successful. I have residual nerve pain still and altered sensation still in buttock and shin. I am on pregabalin and Palexia (reducing). The doctor says I may have pain for up 12 months. If it is not gone in 12 months it is permanent. Comment from: Robin, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 30 I had L4-S1 bilateral lumbar laminectomy on 9/9/21. The staples come out today. I'm walking about 4 miles a day at this point, 2 in morning and 2 in afternoon. I started with three 10-minute walks per day, on the 2nd day home from hospital. I wear a brace when not in bed. I was off all pain medicines as of day 10 post operation, just muscle relaxer and my NSAID during the day. I have residual numbness in the right foot which could take a while to resolve, but I'm still hopeful. No real back pain. Maybe an occasional ache. Comment from: Triskit, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 02 I don't understand all the negative stories about lumbar laminectomy. There must be people with stories like mine and I have sympathy for those of you that did not find relief. From a car accident in 1994, I had a partially herniated disc that they would not operate on because they said it was too small, afraid they're going to hurt me more than help me. Twenty-six years later, it became stenosis, and has taken me a year to work for treatment options and processes. Unless it becomes a nightmare after today, I am so glad I had this. I spent many days on my hands and knees having to crawl to my bedroom while making supper or doing dishes. I wish all of you would have had a better experience. Comment from: Rob Australia, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 11 I had an L4-L5 lumbar laminectomy in January 2021 and luckily I didn’t have to wait long as the pain was debilitating and grounding me. It was a 5-hour operation and went well. The pain afterwards was expected and lasted about 3 months although I ditched my heavy painkillers in the first fortnight. Six months on, I am totally pain free and loving it, and have a slight amount of numbness on my right heel. I can live with that. I am 69 next week and back at work. Thank goodness for my surgeon! Comment from: penny, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28 I am a 49 year old that is in a lot of pain due to 2 herniated discs that have mostly gone, which has left me bone on bone in my L4 and L5. I have radiating pain down my left leg into my foot and extreme pain in my lower back. I have developed a curve in my spine. I need a discectomy with a laminectomy fusion. My neurosurgeon is advising against the surgery as it will come with more issues of its own, and told me to research the surgery. I am at a loss as to what to do. Comment from: delphiam32, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 19 My lumbar laminectomy decompression was done on July 4th, 2021. It was an emergency surgery because my disc was on a nerve that was causing me severe pain. My right leg, all the way to my toes were numb. After surgery, my calf and my right foot are still numb, but my back, buttocks and thigh pain is gone. The pain in my foot and my calf, I need to know if this is from nerve damage or if the feeling will come back. I have pain in my calf at night. I just want to be normal. The surgery went well. Comment from: Jim H C , 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: July 12 I had an L4/L5 lumbar laminectomy and discectomy in 1972, aged 25. It cured my severe left leg sciatica. Apart from occasional problems needing other treatments I have led a very active life, hiking, cycling, and doing physical stuff. My left leg suffers continuous painless nerve twitches and is noticeably thinner than my right leg. At 75, I consider myself very lucky. Comment from: Grit, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 09 I had a triple lumbar laminectomy and a discectomy in L4, L5 and S1, approximately 10 years ago. I spent over 6 months in a rehabilitation hospital. I also had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg. I still suffer from balance issues, numbness in my left leg, pain and I also suffer from urinary problems and pain. Unfortunately I also became addicted to OxyContin, luckily with my general physician’s help I have kicked that. I was told that if I didn't have the operation I would never walk again. SLIDESHOW Back Pain: 16 Back Pain Truths and Myths See Slideshow Comment from: Moises D, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 23 I had a lumbar laminectomy surgery 4 weeks ago, so I have a little bit of pain on my right leg from the sciatic nerve that's normal. But sometimes I feel like I'm going to puke and feel faint like if I have no strength. I wonder if that would be normal or if it is because of the pills. I stopped taking the oxycodone, gabapentin, and all that stuff, I'm just taking Advil, so I am just concerned if I'm even supposed to feel tired and feel like puking. I also have cold sweats. Comment from: Mar768, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 09 I had a lumbar laminotomy on L5-S1 in late July 2020. Before the surgery, I couldn’t get off the floor for 18 days. The pain was typical sciatica down the right buttock into the leg and foot. I was pain and numbness free for 7 weeks after the surgery, then the pain suddenly came back. It is not as bad as it was pre-surgery (yet), but it is definitely a nuisance. My insurance won’t cover another MRI until more time has passed. I’m hoping it is just scar tissue and not another herniation. Comment from: L.Smith, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 29 I had my lumbar laminectomy/discectomy surgery less than 2 weeks ago, and my surgery was successful. The following day after my surgery I had no pain and today, besides a reoccurring pain in my right ankle, I feel pretty good and I expect that pain to disappear over time. My doctor told me to listen to my body but walk as much as possible and I believe that advice has helped. Comment from: sylvia56, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 22 My husband had lumbar laminectomy surgery in July 2019. His right leg was extremely weak and he had stenosis. They fused 7 vertebrae in his lower back. Right after the surgery he could not move his left leg, had drop foot and nerve pain. He was in hospital for 24 days and went through physical therapy. It has been over a year and he still has severe nerve pain and drop foot, still uses a walker and has a brace on his left leg. He has hip pain along with the nerve pain. The doctor says the surgery was a success. Comment from: mar768, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 22 I had a lumbar laminotomy on L5-S1 in late July 2020. Before the surgery, I was completely immobile for almost a month and in agonizing pain for about 6 months. I was doing great 6 weeks after the surgery, but all of a sudden, the nerve pain down the right leg and foot numbness returned, out of the blue. All I have been doing is walking. I'm not in as bad a pain as pre-surgery, but it is noticeable and I'm starting to freak out. I'm hoping it is just scar tissue and not a re-herniation. Comment from: 2 yrs after, still p, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 17 I had lumbar laminectomy disc surgery at the 4, 5 level on 5-4-2018 and I am still in pain. The disc had broken away and the sciatic nerve was on top of it. The surgery was successful, but I am in pain more than before the surgery. I can’t sit at all, I can’t pick up any weight over 5 lb. I can’t drive because the seat kills my incision and lower back muscles. I can’t lie on my left side where the incision is. My ankles and feet muscles ache if I walk for over 5 minutes. The sciatic nerve causes hip, feet and leg pain. Comment from: Packer260, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: August 13 I had lumbar laminectomy in L4-L5-S1. It cured the sciatic nerve pain, but the arthritis pain is just as bad. Almost wonder now, why I had it done. Comment from: L5 S1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 10 I am a 43 year old female. I had a lumbar laminectomy with fusion at L5-S1 on April 28th. I am still struggling with having pain in my lower back. Prior to the surgery I was suffering from drop foot on my right side. Thankfully I have very little weakness now on the right side. My recovery from surgery has been rough, and I am building more strength each day. Comment from: Tooty, 55-64 (Patient) Published: July 29 I had L3 and L4 lumbar laminectomy due to sciatica in my right leg. I was up and out of bed the same day as surgery. They got me up and made me walk down the hall the next day. I was discharged and I had a 2 and 1/2 hour ride home. After I got home, the pain in the right hip, buttock, and down the back of my calf, oh my goodness. I'm trying to walk but the pain is excruciating. I am taking oxycodone, gabapentin, and generic Robaxin every 4 hours. I’ve been icing all those areas. Wonder if I should make myself walk anyway despite the pain. Comment from: Ariday, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 16 It is 3 months after lumbar laminectomy surgery. Pain is tolerable and walking is easier. I have numbness on the soles of my feet, left calf and buttock. I am incontinent at times with bladder and bowels. When bending over and picking things up I still have trouble because my left leg is weak. QUESTION Nearly everyone has low back pain at some time during their life. See Answer Comment from: LPN Kelowna , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 25 I was to only have minimal invasive L4-L5 decompression and had an unexpected additional L3-L4 limited lumbar laminectomy with a partial L5 discectomy in September 2019. I learned in February 2020, I have bilateral sacral fractures and severe osteoporosis, when I thought I was a fit 58-year-old woman. I have buttock, thigh, quad, knee pain and denervation to the right lower extremity and now my left leg is affected. I believe I now have spinal instability. Wonder if it is common to have 3 procedures at once. Comment from: Mona, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 05 I had a lumbar laminectomy L4 L5 fusion in December 2019; the worst recovery of my life! I still had pain, developed sciatica also down my right leg, and went to the emergency room to get morphine twice. My pain management doctor is very rude. I told him I don’t want pain medication, it makes me sick, but I got a muscle relaxer instead. I’ve been doing physical therapy, and I can’t walk more than 3 blocks. He didn’t care, he’s returning me back to work immediately and full duty. I begged him, asking him how I can work on these medications. Comment from: Bob, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 28 Today is 02/27/2020 My lumbar laminectomy operation on L2 through L5 was on 06/28/2019. I’m not sure if my limited activity has hurt my results, I am 76 years old. I cannot stand over ten minutes or walk over 100 feet. I was informed that I should have had this operation five years ago; prior to this operation I could stand longer and walk further. This operation was a huge mistake for me. Please, before you go under the knife, investigate your options. Comment from: Dawn62, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 28 I had lumbar laminectomy and excision of area with a lesion 1.5 cm wide and 2.5 cm long, on the 15th of January 2020. I was completely flat on my back until Sunday to prevent spinal fluid leak. Was walking on Monday with caution and home Tuesday evening with medication and morphine. I have been walking to the local store with care and have 2 weeks of night time stockings to prevent clots. I will have external stitches out in 2 weeks which will ease the pain as they are getting tight. I did cough earlier unexpectedly and the pain was excruciating. I will post up again. Comment from: Ron, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 09 As an owner of 2 medical supply companies, I have talked to many doctors and don’t trust 8 out of 10. People do your research as one doctor I went to said he could get me in for lumbar laminectomy quick, like 1 or 2 weeks; well, he wanted to fuse my whole lumbar. The other doctor told me a 3.5 month wait. I’m so glad I did. This doctor did a laminectomy of L2, 3, and 4 with grafting on my facet joints. At 90 days post-surgery I feel great and can’t wait for golf. No more pain in my groin, left or right, and down the legs. Comment from: Rdana, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 03 After four lumbar laminectomy surgeries on my lower back, with fusion, I am experiencing severe balance problems. And at times I feel like I am wearing cement shoes. It’s been 15 months since my surgery. Wonder if anyone else is experiencing the same problem. Comment from: Emmy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 02 I had a lumbar laminectomy with spinal fusion about 6 weeks ago. Everything is going well although my back is sweating like crazy over the last 2 days right above the surgical site. Nothing has opened and I never used to sweat on my back before. Comment from: John F., 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: December 26 Written on 12/23/19, six months post lumbar laminectomy L3, L4, L5. I elected to have surgery 6/17/19 to extend my sports life. Both legs were getting weak and I had left foot drop, no pain. Now my legs are much weaker and I have foot drop in both feet. No pain. In retrospect I wish I had met my post-surgery physical therapy (PT) instructor before the surgery. I feel I would be better off in that case. I am exercising and improving, but I regret having the surgery and I recommend dedication to PT before surgery. Comment from: Woodrow, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 09 I had a lumbar laminectomy about three weeks ago and when I sit and try to get up, I have the most severe pain on both thighs and legs. Also when I sneeze or cough I have the most jarring pain in the center of my back, never felt pain like this. Comment from: jimmy world travelor, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 12 I had surgery 2 months ago on L3, lumbar laminectomy plus tissue removal. Now it is very hard to walk as thighs are very painful, and after quitting painkillers after 2 weeks after surgery, I still need them on and off to deal with severe pain trying to walk. I have bad knees too. I am a 62 year old man 6’ 4” 260 lb. I am wondering if relief is in sight or if I should go to the horse stables and be put down. Comment from: FML, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 10 I am 3 months after L4/L5 discectomy. I had L3/L4 lumbar laminectomy done last year. I have zero pain, I just feel uncomfortable and have to readjust. It’s worse when lying in bed. I never felt any of this before the surgeries. Not cool. Dreading needing a third surgery. Comment from: Hellboy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 06 I had lumbar laminectomy done a year ago. I had no back problems before. My pain was like others on here, down my right leg which I thought was my hamstring. Then it went into my buttock on the right and finally into my undercarriage. It was like lightning bolts strapped to a jack hammer. I got where I couldn't even move my legs. Turned out to be a tumor wrapped around my spine. It's been all good until recently. I'm back in pain but not as bad. Right side of my body has never been the same. Comment from: Kc, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 03 I had L5 S1 microdiscectomy 1 week ago for sciatic pain, and scoliosis after my son was born 8 months ago. I was barely walking/standing for more than a minute, earlier this year. After the lumbar laminectomy surgery I stood straight immediately after, though some tingling and numbness in my left leg continued as expected. I stopped pain killers the next day and continued with Tylenol. The pain is dull to sharp but completely manageable. I have noticed pins and needles down both legs and tops of my feet, probably overdoing it. Happy. Comment from: Cinnamontear, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 21 My back muscles are split like a canyon where he did the lumbar laminectomy. If I rub my neck I can literally feel my bones on the spine. Sometimes when I touch it, it will make me feel weak and want to puke. Not sure if this is normal. I had the surgery 4 months ago. Comment from: Marcus550, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 24 I had a lumbar laminectomy 4 months ago. I have to say it worked very well, I have no pain. I am a month into therapy to get strength back in my right leg and to regain my balance, I'm hoping to be strong enough to fly soon, in need a vacation. Comment from: Casper, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 06 I am 4 weeks post lumbar laminectomy at L4-L5 and L3-L4. I had sciatica pain for 3 years prior with increasing leg weakness. I had immediate pain relief and was up walking the same day. I didn’t realize how much pain I was in until it was gone. I have been very careful with my recovery and felt great up till today. All of a sudden I have a sharp pain in my back when I move. No radiating pain but just very sharp and it is painful when I sneeze. I have no idea why. Comment from: Mystical, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 18 I am 48 years old. I have what they called extreme severe spinal stenosis. I had a decompression and lumbar laminectomy surgery on March 28, 2018. He said I was more likely born this way with a smaller spinal column. Since then I have had severe pain in my lower back down my left leg to the foot. My left foot once in a while goes limp while walking. I have pain coming out from my groin and down my leg, and can't stand. I walk less than 5 minutes and I get severe pain and my knee wants to buckle on me. Comment from: Overthepain, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 02 I am 3 months out from lumbar laminectomy and discectomy on L4 S1. My pain is worse than before operation. Now I have the lumbar pain that radiates into my right buttock and down my leg and around into my groin. I work full time (nurse) and by the end of my 10 hour shift I can barely walk. Now my leg is a solid ache with sharp pains and feels heavy and weak. I'm so over this pain. Gabapentin does nothing, oxycodone does nothing so I suffer. It took 5 years to find the problem so I know there is a lot of nerve damage. Comment from: Sam, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 05 I had a lumbar laminectomy operation on 5th July. It was meant to be a discectomy but my discs had become hard as stone so the surgeon only shaved some off. I have recovered from the surgery but am still in pain. I came off pain control and was awake for 41 hours. I see my surgeon on Tuesday but dreading telling him I’m still in pain. Comment from: Grunt, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: August 10 I had a lumbar laminectomy and microdiscectomy at L4 L5 to relieve pressure on my sciatic nerve on the right side caused by a herniated disc. I’m a US Marine officer, 42 years old who was very active but had to choose between getting this surgery or medical retirement, my leg pain was so bad. Post-surgery the leg pain was gone entirely. Two weeks out I’ve had some minor pain recurrence but rarely, normal for this operation, and restless legs syndrome symptoms in arms. I’m much better than before surgery, so far it’s worth it. Comment from: Becky, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 17 I had a lumbar laminectomy on May 1st on L3-S1 to relieve degenerative disc and spinal stenosis. Surgery went fine. I took it easy for several weeks. At 6 weeks I got the go ahead to do physical therapy. I didn't put my whole heart into it, and now on July 15th, my back is hurting like before. I don't know what to do. I am very depressed. I did have leg pain which has subsided, but they still feel heavy. Not sorry I had the surgery, just wish I knew what to do next. Comment from: Staying positive, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 11 I had surgery on L5, L4, 10 weeks ago in February 2018 and all seemed to go well. But 4 weeks after my lumbar laminectomy surgery the incision area aches badly. I can’t sit for more than 30 minutes or stand for more than 1 hour. I don’t know if it is the muscle or the disc that’s the issue. I was told 6 weeks but that is being modest, from other posts I see on this forum. I’m hoping it will get better from what I have read. The leg and back pain are gone, but it is a different kind of achy pain that’s deep and dull in the lower back. I am scheduled to see pain management next week. Hope it is good news or I will be getting MRI soon. Comment from: Lurija, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 11 My husband had L4 and L5 fusion and now has numbness in groin and below knees. He can go to the bathroom on his own and can walk with a walker. It’s been a week since his lumbar laminectomy and he is getting very nervous. Comment from: Dan, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 02 I am a 40 year old male tree service owner/operator. On December 5th debilitating lower body pain began out of the blue. I couldn’t even climb in the lift bucket. Mainly pain in the right hip down to the knee. I tried everything in the book. January 6th I got the MRI, CT and x-rays. Pain was so bad I wanted to cry. Discovered I needed a lumbar laminectomy of the L3-L4 and L4-L5. Outside of both legs to my toes was numb, hips were on fire and the slightest wrong move about put me down. I was only out of bed an hour or 2 a day. At this point, I would do anything for relief. February 23, 6 pm I finally got the laminectomy of L3-L4 and L4-L5 with disc dissection at both locations. The pain in recovery is the worst I have ever experienced. The night was horrible. I spent it sweating, crying and pressing a little green button every 8 minutes. February 24th noon I turned the corner. Things were slowly getting better almost by the minute. All pre operation symptoms were gone. I was out of bed doing laps around the floor. I wanted to win very badly. Now it is February 28, 8 pm and I'm typing this in little pain. I am slightly limited with bending, twisting and lifting but it is getting better quickly. I am amazed how quickly this is coming together. If not for the first 20 hours after surgery, this is a great experience. Comment from: skiing43, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 17 I have had 3 L4-L5 lower back lumbar laminectomy surgeries. December 2015 was my first. Six weeks later in January 2016 was my second, and then my 3rd was in May 2016. I had 2 bulging disks and they kept rupturing. Laminectomy was performed. I can go on and on. I went through so much pain. I would be ok for a little while after surgery but then the pain came back. When the pain got unbearable again the disk had ruptured again and my surgeon said that I would have to have fusion. This I did not want to do. I changed doctors and went to a new pain management doctor. It took 3 injections and the last one really hurt but that along with physical surgery saved me. I thought I was doing the right thing and listening to my surgeon but having a 4th surgery I did not want to do. I am very careful with everything I do now. I am a 1st grade teacher. Comment from: kinsey, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 22 I had a decompression lumbar laminectomy for staph infection (not MRSA) 5 months ago. Initially I was unable to bear any weight, I have now progressed to using a walker. I am told my spine may take up to a year to heal and my progress for normal ambulation is unknown. Comment from: Tonya, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 14 I have just had lumbar laminectomy surgery a week and 3 days ago. I'm having leg pain in both my legs. I can't stand for a long time, especially in the shower; I have to sit down on the side of the tub to take a shower because of the pain in my legs. I drove for the first time, it was ok until I had to lean up to watch for traffic. I go for my follow up on March the 17th, 2017. I was wondering if anyone else had leg pain in their legs, if it was normal or how long it would last. I felt my back hurt today March 11th, a little bit. That's the first time I felt my back hurt since the surgery, maybe because of my driving put a strain on it. I had the laminectomy on my L5 S1. Comment from: Crumbling body, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 26 I have pain after 11 years after lumbar laminectomy. When I walk, I think I will fall over. I try to walk straight after a while but it hurts. Getting out of bed is hard. At times I sleep in an elastic wrap. Standing is the worst. I am a young 70 year old. Comment from: Klumziekel, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 19 I had my lumbar laminectomy bone fusion with titanium hardware surgery on August 8, 2017. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather changing to the colder air late during the nights and early in the mornings, or maybe just doing some activities (chores at home) that’s been causing my back to really hurt, stiffen, have a tight feeling and also throbbing. I’m even getting that tight and stiff feeling in my quadriceps because of it. Comment from: DebRN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 04 My back and leg pain were relieved by lumbar laminectomy. But, now I have terrible bilateral foot pain. I can barely walk. Comment from: Shirley , 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 27 I suffered for years from back pain. I am glad to read the stories. My doctor says I need lumbar laminectomy. I am inconstant pain. Hopefully it will help. I cannot stand or walk. I would do anything for relief. Comment from: BONKA, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: December 13 I am going on the 3rd January for lower back decompression and laminectomy. My mobility has got so bad I can just manage a few steps with the help of a rollator. I am taking oxycodone liquid 2.5 ml every 4 hours and a 5 mg tablet at night, with 50 mg pregabalin twice a day. I have had problems with disorientation, constipation and nausea, but I think we have the balance right now.