How painful is bulging disc surgery?

Answered by Willie Powers

Having undergone a microdiscectomy myself, I can speak from personal experience about the level of pain associated with this type of surgery. I must stress that everyone’s pain tolerance and experience may vary, but I will do my best to give you an idea of what to expect.

Immediately after the surgery, you will likely be given a small amount of non-opioid pain medication to manage any discomfort. This is typically enough to alleviate the initial pain caused by the incision and the manipulation of the affected area. Additionally, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed to help ease any tension or spasms in the surrounding muscles.

In terms of the pain caused by the herniated disc itself, most patients experience rapid relief following the surgery. The main purpose of a microdiscectomy is to remove the portion of the herniated disc that is pressing on the nerve root, which is what causes the pain. By removing this pressure, the pain is often significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.

Of course, it is important to remember that surgery is still a form of trauma to the body, and some discomfort is to be expected. You may experience soreness and tenderness around the surgical site, which can make certain movements or positions uncomfortable. However, this pain is typically manageable with the prescribed pain medication.

It is worth noting that the recovery process can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience more pain and discomfort than others, depending on factors such as the extent of the herniation and the overall health of the patient. However, in general, a microdiscectomy is considered to be a relatively low-risk and minimally invasive procedure, which often leads to a quicker recovery and less post-operative pain compared to other types of spinal surgeries.

While there may be some discomfort associated with a microdiscectomy, many patients experience significant relief from the pain caused by the herniated disc. The use of non-opioid pain medication and muscle relaxants can help manage any post-operative pain, and most individuals find that the benefits of the surgery outweigh any temporary discomfort.