Hello again everyone I hope you all are having a good day and if any of you have followed my story outlined in this lengthy post First post and a few questions then you will recall that this past Thursday 2/7/08 I had a minimally invasive microdiscectomy for a herniated disc at L5/S1 and while the surgeon said it was complete success everyone in the real world knows that what a surgeon and the normal person classify as success can be 2 very different things.
Anyway to make a long story short it's been 4 days now post op and I still seem to have pain in my leg and ankle. I can take my pain meds and it all but goes away but I haven't really done anything other then lay in my bed and walk to my bathroom which is only a few feet away so I am worried that come a week or so from now when I am sitting in a chair trying to come off the meds the same pain I have had for so long now will simply come back and I will have to come to the realization that I did all of this for nothing.
The Dr did say when he did the surgery that there was quite abit of scar tissue there but I asked him if he thought it would complicate things or prolong my recovery time at all and he did not think either of those things would happen but I don't know so I guess my question is should I still after 4 days time be feeling this pain (the dr had me believe it would go away immediately) but I obviously it hasn't so my question is what is a realistic timeframe where I should start noticing a difference or has that time come and gone already and I'm just doomed to be like this forever.
I am really trying to be optimistic and telling myself not to expect to much to soon and the pain levels are not through the roof (then again they really never have been through the roof for the most part) it's just every time I feel that little hammer hitting my ankle feeling I used to get (no matter how un intense it may be) it just takes away all of that optimism.
Anyway I know a few of you have had similar or the exact same surgery as I have just had so what was the recovery process like for you ... Is it normal to still feel the pain 4 days and when did you start to notice that things were changing for the better...
Hi, I had the exact same surgery 1/06.. At my six week check up the pain was still there in my legs. Doc said to give it 2 more weeks before I panicked. Like a miracle at the 8 week mark all of my pain went away!!! You are only 4 days out of surgery which is way to early to start worrying. Get plenty of rest for the next few weeks and stay positive. I'm sure you will start improving a little every day............Debbie
You are very early in your post op period. While the surgery is considered to be "minimally invasive", the truth is that you have an incision, the muscles and nerves have to be moved to get to the disc and there is swelling at the surgical site. All of these things can cause nerve irritation. The swelling can take 6-8 weeks to dissipate. Ice may help with the swelling and offer some pain relief. If the pain continues your doctor may give you a short course of steroids to help with swelling also. It is very easy to re-herniate right after surgery so at some point if the pain continues for awhile he may do a follow up MRI. I wouldn't worry too much this early, my feeling is that the pain is just related to the procedure. Good luck and take it easy.
Thanks everyone I guess I was just hoping for one of this WOW type surgeries but aren't we all eh. As for the re-herniation goes I am trying to avoid that at all cost and haven't done anything except lay in bed and get up to go to the bathroom. I did take a pretty long trip today (70 miles) but I was extremely careful not to bend, twist, or take anything in or out of the car. I am trying to follow the guidelines to a T (and then some) by being extra careful when getting in and out of bed.
I think tomorrow I will try and walk around alil bit because believe it or not laying in this bed with all it's niceties is beginning to hurt my upper back which never hurt before so I am sure that has something to do with it and I just need to get up and walk around my house for a few mins or im going to just sit here and worry myself to no end.
Anyway thanks again for all your comments. I have my followup on the 20th and so I guess I and the Dr. will know more by then but for now it's med then bed time. Goodnite all and sleep well.
I hate to say this but this early after surgery you can probably expect to have pain. It takes awhile for nerves and muscles to quiet down after surgery. I think they put some steroids in the back during surgery and when they start to wear off, look out. Its important to take it easy right now and the more rest you get the better. I think about day 10 I started having major back spasms and had to call the on-call surgeon for meds. My point is this pain is most likely a normal sign of healing. Take Care, Dee
Cervical fusion C-3,4 June 2004
Lumbar fusion L3,4-5 November 27 2006
Hello again and thanks again everyone for you replies. Was a rough night last night I tried laying on my side in a new bed and my leg or back were not having any of it.
Until yesterday I was staying at my sisters house in a bed that was almost to the ground and thought I would be better off being somewhere where the bed is off the ground but I think I made a mistake in thinking that because the new place / bed I am laying on makes my back hurt 10x as much as the one I was laying on.
However, now it's to late to go back to my sisters because she lives so far away and I have to try and figure out how I can adjust this new (actually old) bed I am laying in because it wants to sag in the middle right where my back is so my new question is firm or soft which is better. I really do feel if anything causes me to re herniate my back it will be this bed because I just seem to hurt all over when laying in it and even now when I am on my meds it hurts more then when I was at my sisters just 2 days after surgery and did not take half as many meds but I am kind of stuck here so any help would be great.
I think firm but not to firm works best for me. But I remember the first few days after surgery nothing felt comfortable. I have a Simmons Beauty Rest plush top. I chose that won because it just felt better to me than the pillow top mattresses. Those pillowtops are nice and soft but not supportive, One of my best friends was over and she has back problems and I had her try that mattress and she went right out and bought one too. My mom couldn't afford a new mattress so she bought on of those foam pads ( kinda like the mattresses they show on t.v.) and she swears by it. You might also want to get a body pillow if your a side sleeper. I curl up around mine and put it between my knees. Hope this helps, Take Care, Dee
Cervical fusion C-3,4 June 2004
Lumbar fusion L3,4-5 November 27 2006
Did you try some ice? I lay on my side and put a long body pillow on the front side with it between my legs and then put a small pillow behind my lower back. That seems to help me. Good luck, I hope you get better rest tonight!
Thanks again everyone for all of your help you have been more informative then I would have hoped. I did go out and get one of those memory foam mattress toppers about 5 months ago and take it with me if I am ever going to be somewhere for more then 1 nite. I am also going to take some of my tax return this year and get me a new mattress that is soft yet firm like suggested as that is kind of how the one at my sisters was. It was comfortable enough to lay on but supportive enough that it did not sag which is the biggest problem with the one I am on now.
As for the ice I have one of those heat/ice pack belts made by Ace something or another which I just found again today and put in the freezer a few hours ago and will be using alittle later.
Another thing that I have now that I couldn't get until today was my muscle relaxers that my Dr. prescribed but now I have them and hope in those in conjunction with everything else will allow me to sleep on my side tonight. Well of my ranting for one day I hope everyone has a painfree and sleepful evening thanks again everyone I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't for all the solid advice.
4-5 days is an awlfull short time to be worrying about pain, I had pain up to six weeks after my surgery and did like you went to the surgeon, he said give it a few more weeks and be carefull. sure enough at 7-8 weeks most of the pain has gone. Keep taking your meds as prescribed and get your pain under control and keep it under control. some walking will really help, keeps your muscles working in your back so it dont get weak on ya.... Give it some time you will get better ..............BASS...................
Also remember to stay on top of the meds. If they say take every 4 hours, I highly recommend doing that at your current level of discomfort even if that means setting an alarm clock during the night. You could set a glass of water on your night stand with your meds and bread or crackers and take them without getting out of bed during the night.
If you take your meds exactly as prescribed and continue to have high level of pain, then I would call and let your surgeon know that the meds are not working.
Good luck and remember that each day will only get better from here on out.
Hello once again everyone and thats the thing I haven't really been taking my meds on time (like you siad every 4 hours) because I am really afraid of becoming addicted so I take them once every 6 - 8 hours instead.
The reason I am worried of becoming addicted is because for the past 4 1/2 months now I have been on a steady supply of hydrocodone 7.5/650 taking 2 pills a day and sometimes 3 pills a day everyday and when I had the surgery the neuro gave me 45 more hydrocodone 7.5/325's and some robaxin plus I still had some of my 7.5/650's left over so I started out by taking the 7.5/650's every 6 - 8 hours and now that I am out of them I am taking 2 of the 7.5/325's every 6 - 8 hours along with the robaxin every 8 hours but the problem with the new combo is it gives me really bad stomach aches and I already have stomach problems so it just makes them worse.
Another thing is (and I apologize in advance) that I haven't had a bowl movement since before the surgery and I know this is not a good thing but I am concerned about how it will affect my back if I do have one and everything doesn't go well and I know the longer I wait the worse it will be so kind of a catch 22 there.
Finally I just wanted to say while I can understand some of the pain being there because I am not keeping the supply of meds up it just seems the pain is in exactly the same places as it was before the surgery just not as bad so thats what surprises me I guess is not the fact that im in pain but it's in the same places as it was before and I guess I just expected it to move or something. Guess thats what I get for thinking and never having any surgery before but now I know different.
Anyway it's time for the meds again so think I will take them and watch a movie. Thanks again everyone for your advise and support this is truly a great community to belong to even tho I wish none of us had to come together under these circumstances if you know what I mean. Hope everyone has a good (painfree) evening.
Mike, you need to get everything moving and get rid of the constipation it will help you immensely. Constipation can cause you alot of back pressure and pain.
Also be sure to take your medicine with food - such as bread, crackers, yogurt, or even a baked potato. You need something for it to cling to or digest with which will hopefully lesson the stomach pain.
Now for the addiction thing. I highly recommend that you visit the pain management forum of healthboards. People who are in pain do not become addicted to their meds, they become dependent on them. If one is addicted they take their meds incorrectly, they crave them, get multiple scripts from multiple doctors, do anything to get the next pill, etc. People who are in chronic pain take meds because of the pain and we may even take them for months to years at a time. When we come off of them, our doctors will need to taper us off of them slowly because our bodies are used to having that medication. We are not abusing them in any way shape or form. The thing you have to be aware of is if you cross that line and start having cravings or exceeding your dosage. I am sure that I am not explaining this correctly but if you are really concerned about this I encourage you to start a thread on the pain mgmt board. They are a great group of people and will be more than happy to help you understand the difference.
I am sure some of the pain is still there and in more places than before surgery. This is normal in the beginning because they moved and manipulated alot of the muscles and nerves. Sometimes it can take up to a year or more to settledown. If the pain continues for a couple of months, I am sure if your doctor feels it is necessary he will begin running tests to find out the cause or if there is any need to be concerned.
Hello dietdrpepper123 thanks once again for your reply you have been very helpful as has everyone on this forum I just hope I can return the favor for someone else sometime.
As far as the dependence vs addiction thing I totally understand what you are saying and you did a great job of explaining it so thanks for that. As for the other topic I really would like to but the problem is I can't. I have been to a gastrologist last year and to make a long story short he said I had gastritis which I know I have more then that but not sure what to do about all. I think I will ask on one of the other forums and see what is suggested over there and once again I thank you for all your wise words and time.
Please try MiraLAX as everyone suggests for constipation..Also dried figs (1-2 before you sleep) or a breakfast of raisin bran mixed w/ Kashi( Name brand) cereal..The have nuggets sort of like Grapenuts...w/ skim milk..
If all else fails..."a cocktail" of milk of Magnesia mixed w/ prune juice...Tastes AWFUL....Just drink it fast and chase w/ water.....