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Old 12-16-2004, 10:42 AM   #1
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Question When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I am less than one week post lumbar Micro-discectomy on the L-5/S-1. Other than some surgical pain...I'm feeling pretty good.

Before the surgery, I could barely walk, dragging my foot behind me due to how badly the nerve was crushed. I've described myself on these boards as "walking like a stroke victim". Now, maybe, the nerve just hasn't [B]"woken up"[/B] yet, but all in all, I feel great in comparison to how I felt before my Dec. 10th surgery. I had terrible deep pain in my hamstring (I referred to it as Charlie Horse on [B]STERIODS[/B]), and terrible pain in right butt cheek, tailbone felt like it was broken, and the ankle and foot were numb.

The ankle and foot are still numb, but as for everything else, I woke up in recovery only with pain in my back at surgical site....<counting my blessings here>....

Doc did tell me that about two weeks after surgery the nerve "will start to wake up and could be mad as heck"...and I could experience some of the pre-surgery symptoms, just not as severe... ([B]Please NO LORD![/B] )

My question is this....IS it too [B]EARLY [/B] for me to try to take a short walk?? I want to get out [B]SO [/B] bad....I live on a cul-de-sac...so it [B]could be a very short walk[/B],....or is it just too soon?? My doc has not returned my calls....

[B]Also...[/B]does anyone know how long the steri-strips have to stay dry??? The stitches are internal..so they will disolve on their own...but the doc came in to see me and it was 6 am, and I was still pretty out of it...and was discharged later that day....I don't see him again until January 4th...
I'm just [B]not [/B] willing to do [B]ANYTHING [/B] to compromise the success of this surgery, so if that means staying put,....so be it!

Any help is greatly appreciated in advance.

I hope you all have as [B]Wonderful [/B] a HOLIDAY SEASON as is possible for you. And as someone else said in another post, may everyone have less pain in 2005.

Blessings, Peace and Prayers for All

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Old 12-16-2004, 10:55 AM   #2
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

Hi bgsigns, Glad you are feeling as good as you do. All I can say is caution to the conservative side this early. You defenitely dont want to over do it, and have any set backs, even though your are feeling pretty good. See what your doc has to say about it. I know my neuro didnt want me to get the teri strips wet at all, and to keep them on til I saw him my 1st post visit. It was kind of difficult showering/ washing hair but I managed. Then on the 1st visit to him ,he took them off and wanted to see how it was healing and it was fine !! Good Luck & hope you continue to get better !

 
Old 12-16-2004, 11:13 AM   #3
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

Thanks for your response danagc!

Yes, the doctor told me to put saran wrap over them, so it's not difficult..just aggravating! Grrrrr.

My hubby has to help me obviously....but he puts the saran wrap over the surgical site, then uses hospital tape on all sides: top, both sides, then has to leave a little space in the butt cr**k OKAY, a little TMI, sorry.... But it works,...then I make sure I face the water in the shower! (I only have a shower, no bathtub, so this is perfect, and shower has a seat in it )

Again, thanks for your reply. I live in the Deep South, so it's warm during the days, and I'm dying to get outside, but I see your point of not pushing it. As I said, I'm just not willing to do [B]ANYTHING [/B] to compromise a SUCCESSFUL (so far) surgery!

How far along POST OP are you???

Take care, and good health to us all!


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Old 12-16-2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I can only share what my docs told me... and of course, your situation would be different. They had me up walking several yards (even without a walker) while still in the hospital (days 2-5). Then I walked in the house as often as I could, building up my distance, from the first day I came home. I was told I could walk outside, but the weather was not permitting it. Both my surgeons have said walk, walk, walk, as much as possible.

I was told I could shower from about the 5th day after surgery. While I had my sutures, I was to shower with the bandage on, then have my husband remove it and apply antibiotic cream and put on a new bandage. (He used my blow dryer on low to help dry my back before putting on the new bandage.) After my sutures were removed and I had the steri-strip or butterfly bandages, I was told to go ahead and shower with them on, pat them dry, and wait for them to get loose enough to fall off in about 7-10 days.

I had been told that I might not be able to shower or wash my hair for a while after surgery, so I purchased a rain pancho before surgery... never did use it... but it might be easier than saran wrap.

Best wishes, Mary in Texas

 
Old 12-16-2004, 11:26 AM   #5
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I was told to walk as soon as I felt like it. The sooner the better. I walked to the end of the road and back the day after (.5 mile). Be careful about moving to fast, I would feel so good I'd get moving to fast and would feel some back pain.

My surgery was on a Wednesday and I was told I could shower by Saturday. I took off the large gauze pad and bandage after about 3 showers, do this slowly. The doctor took the steri strips off when I went back 2.5 weeks after the surgery. Don't submerse the wound (tub, hot tub, pool) until after you follow up appointment.

When you start feeling better be careful not to over do it. I was feeling really good and I think I may have reinjured myself as some tingling has begun in my foot and hamstring; hopefully it is just part of the healing process but if it continues I'm going to give the Dr. a call.

Good Luck.

 
Old 12-16-2004, 01:25 PM   #6
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I had my L5-S1 micro. done in July. But my first symptoms were low back pain for quite awhile before my legs started giving me problems. My legs went numb and toe aches. So my legs/ feet felt much better instantly and havent had much probs with that. Its my low back pain/ tailbone where myself & Ortho.doc seem to disagree. He thinks chronic back pain is from scar tissue & I think its from L4-5 disc thats 3mm hern. with annular tear all the way through. Heck it could be both I guess. But either one, cant do much about unless I want another surgery, and that doesnt guarantee anything. So I plan on riding this thing out however long it takes to get better. Its discouraging as heck, because I was very active before this, and now its a total different world for me. `I know I need to lose some weight and would pobably help me, but that is so difficult when you cant be active and you are home alot. So frustrating sometimes...

 
Old 12-16-2004, 01:49 PM   #7
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

Danagc,

I had surgery also in July wiht same problem as you and an annular tear top to bottom. Did your doctor say how long til that tear heals? Mine told me to be extra careful wiht my movements and told me my back will only be 50% for the rest of my life. I was told I could get a disk replacement if it tears again. I'm terrified to do anything and it's 5 mons post op.

On the walking BG, my doctor said to walk immediately, but to take it easy. Flat ground, no hills. Build up a little at a time. Around the house or yard or down the street a little. He said walking is necessary to get the blood flowing so the disk can heal. It's tricky to not overdo it though, or you pay for it for a few days. You'll learn what your limit is when you overdo it.

 
Old 12-16-2004, 02:21 PM   #8
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Wink Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

Thanks ladybird:

I decided to "go for it" only two doors down as far as the neighbors driveway on the sidewalk. I made my daughter walk with me. Before I could get to the 2nd drive way, my back told me to "[B]TURN AROUND[/B]" ...so I know what you mean.

I feel it some in my back....maybe I should just start with the mailbox..LOL..

I've been doing a "circuit" around my house....but I've been wanting to get outdoors, and the street has just the slightest incline to it...so I think that's what did it.

I was so winded by the time I got back....couldn't have been more than a few hundred feet...but hey,...I'm not even a week post-op yet...so I guess that's a good thing...HUH?

Anyway...guess I'll let my back be my gauge!

Take care!


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Old 12-16-2004, 04:33 PM   #9
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

[QUOTE=ladybird988]Danagc,

I had surgery also in July wiht same problem as you and an annular tear top to bottom. Did your doctor say how long til that tear heals? Mine told me to be extra careful wiht my movements and told me my back will only be 50% for the rest of my life. I was told I could get a disk replacement if it tears again. I'm terrified to do anything and it's 5 mons post op.

On the walking BG, my doctor said to walk immediately, but to take it easy. Flat ground, no hills. Build up a little at a time. Around the house or yard or down the street a little. He said walking is necessary to get the blood flowing so the disk can heal. It's tricky to not overdo it though, or you pay for it for a few days. You'll learn what your limit is when you overdo it.[/QUOTE]
The nuerosurgeon that did my micro D. told me I would be a good candidate for an ADR in 5 to 10 years, and later briefly said a 2 level when I asked him about it. The thing is at that time my MRI didnt indicate the torn disc w/ HIZ in L4-5, just showed herniated w/ ddd, which is bad enough, but My post Mri w/ contrast indicated a grade 4 tear in the L4-5. When I discussed it to my Ortho. doc about it he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said there's not much to do, unless I want to get " cut on again". I was just trying to figure where my back pain is coming from, and he thinks its the large amount of scar tissue. The thing is to me is the pack pain is real similar to prior surgery but worse. I believe its the torn disc, but I am going to seek another doc.'s opinion. Ladybird, your disc thats torn is above the one you had a microD on ? And the doc says once it heals and if it tears again, possible ADR ??? Just curious cause my doc. wasnt full of much info. !

 
Old 12-16-2004, 06:35 PM   #10
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Wink Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I was told the same as most the others...start walking as soon as possible but start out very short distances and work up to any real amount of distance. Be really careful. It is east to go over board when you are feeling well.

Good luck,

Lorie
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Old 12-17-2004, 08:07 AM   #11
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Thumbs down Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

So much for a good thing lasting!

Well I woke up this am with just a [I]hint [/I] of an "[B]evil[/B]" reminder of the pain down my right leg. And my back is much more sore this morning too. [B] I'm scared now too.[/B] Is this just because of that [B]SHORT [/B] walk I took yesterday? I've done [B]NOTHING [/B] else. Should I just rest today, or [B]PUSH [/B] thru it?? Is this my body talking to me as one thread stated?

It's funny, b/c my doc warned me about my nerve "waking up" and it could be "angry" and I could feel "similar" symptoms that I had pre-surgery (just not as severe)....yet here I am, asking you folks the same thing. And I've even given out the above statement in posts trying to make folks feel better....
Now I'm crying,....I'm scared....Lord knows I hope I didn't do anything to hurt myself worse....I think I just need to breathe.....and [B]RELAX[/B]...

Sounds like good advice...Right!? I'm just scared. Guess I won't be giving out any more advice here too soon till I know what's going on!

Hope everyone else is okay!

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Old 12-17-2004, 10:42 AM   #12
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

Bg,

I'm in the same boat (you probably know from reading my early posts). I have had what I'll call ghost pain and numbness since Monday ( a month after my surgery). I called the doctor today and left a message with his nurse. I'll let you know what he says when they call back.

rbishop

 
Old 12-17-2004, 01:42 PM   #13
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Wink Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

BG-If all you have done out of the ordinary, was your walk yesterday...I am sure you are just experiencing the nerves waking up. I was told by my Dr. that it would take a car accident or something major to do any damage to the hardware or fusion. I fell at 6 weeks post op, hard enough to tear my rotator cuff in my shoulder and my back was fine. (I made them do an xray jsut to be sure.) If you are still in pain, I would suggest walking less distance, even if it is just to the mail box and back. And try to rest until the pain lets up. I know it's hard...good luck,

Lorie
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Old 12-17-2004, 06:02 PM   #14
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

I agree with the above. Your walk will not have done any damage, the nerves ae probably waking up which is a good thing. I had a discectomy on Tuesday (L5 S1). I was on my feet walking a little the next day and by Thursday was walking up and down the hospital, went for a shower etc. Came home today and have been on my feet for a few hours, walked to pick my daughter up from school etc. I'm suffering from a bit of pain now as I've done more today than previous days but that is normal.
I had a fusion at L4 L5 18months ago and had much the same thing only longer recovery. My leg pain was gone almost immediatly as it is now but it began again after a while and then settled down, it is as your doctor said, the nerves begin to wake up but should settleagain.
Walking is about the best thing you can do as long as you are not in pain. Walk as much as you possibly can until your body tells you to stop. And make sure youdon't do any bending/sitting/twisting for the next few weeks and you should be fine.
Good luck and all the best
Regards Andrea

 
Old 12-17-2004, 07:26 PM   #15
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Re: When can I "TAKE A WALK"

BG:

My Grandfather told me: Pain is nature's way of letting you know where you're at.

Take it easy. listen to your body. take things in small increments. Healing will take time. you will have good days and some not so good days. sometimes you'll think your operation was a failure.

I am 9 weeks post-op discectomy of the l-5. I am fairly young, 34, and was in good physical shape prior to surgery. I am walking approximately 6-9 miles a week on my tread mill. I can definately feel a positive difference on the days I walk.

one more bit of adivce, be careful with pain meds they can be dangerously addictive.

Take care
Chad

 
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