I had a large disk bulge last year 1/2 inch on l4/5 and tried to recovery by physio. I could not walk very far at that point but gradually got back to normal To some extent it was a success (pain free anything from weeks to maybe a month) but I had maybe four more small flare ups (sciatica) since not enough to keep me off work. But enough to stop me and make me lose confidence in my back. I have a very active job and now want to get a microdiscectomy done. Can anyone explain the recovery procedure in terms of exercise and hand hints on how to deal with it?
Be sure to see "Post Surgery Tips" which is at the very top of this topic (a "Sticky"). It's easy to miss.
I had a microdiscectomy. You will be encouraged to walk pretty much right from the first day. Not a mile but just around the house a little. It may hurt quite a bit to get up and lie down. Pain meds are usual although some people somehow can get away with not taking them. It all depends on the extent of the surgery, the doctor, the person etc.
Be sure to ask your doctor how long they recommend before you start stretching. I think I started too much a little too early, maybe around six weeks. Some recommend waiting until 12 weeks. But walking on the other hand is something they encourage you do as much as you can.
Those are just a few thoughts and others will have more. If you want more info let us know.
If you are still able to work I would encourage you to reconsider having a microdiscectomy done. When I had an L4/L5 decompression surgery my spine became destabilized and I ended up having a fusion recently. I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just trying to keep it real and help you understand that this surgery will not give you the body back that you had before you started having back problems.
You may want to think about whether you would be best to risk this surgery possibly making you worse vs. change to a less active job that won't provoke your back pain as bad and possibly save you from back surgery. Many people are able to completely avoid back surgery and do okay as long as they don't do activities that aggravate their back pain. Your L4/L5 disc will never heal completely, but with time and the correct exercise it can get partially reabsorbed (hopefully enough to help you avoid surgery).
I can't make the decision for you, but I firmly believe back surgery should be reserved for people who are no longer able to work or function at an acceptable level and for whom all conservative treatments have failed. Best wishes to you in your decision!
Thanks for the replies. I understand that this is not a quick fit, but with 6 bouts of a slipped disc in the passed year. I feel I need to do it. I had a look at the sticky but felt the psot were more aimed at people with a fusion. Maybe i was mistaken
I had been diagnosed with a bulging disc back in June of 2009. I woke up one Saturday morning in March of 09 and had SEVERE back and leg pain. I was in such severe pain for 2 weeks (could not walk, sit, sleep, etc. and was in tears all the time) I had done nothing to injure myself. I saw a couple of doctors between March and June and I have been on prednisone, muscle relaxers, vicodin, valium, and ultram. Not all at the same time, each doctor tried something different. My back pain seem to be going away but towards the end of May it came back with severe sciatica pain. None of the meds above relieved this sciatica pain for me. My regular doctor ordered me to have an MRI in June which showed I had a very small left foraminal disc protusion minimally contacting the exiting left L4 nerve root and a broad based central disc protusion with minimal migration over the posterior superior aspect of the S1 vertebral body and that the disc material was in position to contact and displace the right transiting S1 nerve root (this is the wording straight from MRI report). My doctor referred my to an orthopedic surgeon who told me that my situation would either correct itself within six months from when my symptoms started or that I may need surgery to relieve the nerve pain. He suggested cortisone shots in my back. This was in June. Although my back pain seemed to be getting much better it was still annoying so I saved my money to have this done and in the middle of July I went in for the procedure. I had two shots at the same time straight into spot where the pain was occuring and they did absolutely nothing for me and in my experience were quite painful. One week after the shots I developed extreme severe sciatic pain in my leg (but strangely enough not much back pain). My surgeon assured me this had nothing to do with the shots, that sometimes these situations just get worse. My surgeon has recommended that we go ahead with the surgery (discetomy) to relieve the nerve pain and sent me for an updated MRI that I had done two weeks ago. It now shows mild disc space narrowing at the L5-S1 level, right paracentral disc extrusion which extends inferiorly to the lower third of the S1 vertebral body level. This created mild central stenois and moderate to severe right lateral stenosis. This significantly displaces the right S1 traversing nerve root. Although I really had no idea what all this meant, my surgeon told me basically I started with a bulging disc which has now herniated, leaked and is sitting on my sciatic nerve. He said that I can basically sit and deal with the pain or have the surgerical procedure done which he says should take 20 minutes and that he will go in and remove the fragments sitting on my nerve. He said that if i wanted he would refer me to a PT but this would not fix the problem just help with the pain. He assures me that it is in the easiest spot that it could possibly be for him to reach and he did not think he would have to cut into any bone to reach. He claims I can go back to work within 2 days if I want (i sit at a computer all day). I have the surgery schedule for September 3rd. My plan is to take off the day of the surgery (Thursday) and return to work the following Wednesday. After speaking to both my grandfather and my best friend who both had this same surgery done about 5-7 years ago, they have both told me they had immediate relief with the sciatic pain the instant they woke up from surgery, they both felt completely fine 2 days after surgery and my friend returned to work within 5 days after having both a discetomy and laminectomy. In fact my grandfather went shopping at Sams Club the same day after his surgery, although he did say he was sore the next day. Both have been pain free since. I am afraid if i do not have the procedure done that i may end up with permanent nerve damage not to mention the fact i am off work every other day because i am in severe pain. If you like I will post how the surgery goes and how the recovery process goes.
On March 18th 2009 I had a microdiscectomy procedure on my L4,L5, S1. I must say that after a small complication (with anathesia) I felt immediate relief from any pain relating to my discs, including the lower back, leg, and foot. Within about 3 days, however, while changing my bandage I noticed a very large egg sized bulge at my incision site. As a result I suffered unbearable headaches. After maybe 4 weeks it seemed that my body had absorbed the fluid which had leaked, but I began having extreme nerve pain at my incision site (like whacking your funny bone) and in my tailbone. It is stabbing and alot of pressure in my hip an right butt (just right of the tailbone) I have since had a fluid extration (nearly 50 cc's), with a blood patch, and 2 injections with a nerve block of sorts. Nothing is relieving this pain! The MRI shows the discs were not re-herniated and the pain specialist told me I don't fit the "text book". If anyone reading this has any ideas on what might be wrong or what I can do I would love to hear back. I was off work for 4 months and can't afford another surgery. My best guess is that there is scar tissue irritating the nerve endings, and or related nerves. I just wonder if I'll ever feel better again. I was typically active, however the pain I experience now exhausts me to a fault. Please help!
I had an L4-5 Microdiscectomy with Laminectomy back in 2001 from a gym injury. After the surgery I was fine. I was back in the gym in 2 weeks and pain free. Well here we are 8 years later and I am probably going to need an
L4-5 fusion. In my opinion the surgery in 2001 was a cheap quick fix! I should have had a fusion back then but the surgeon never mentioned it and I knew nothing about spinal injuries. I am so aggravated. I have about 15% of the disc left and I dont plan on quitting lifting weights. So I am going to see my Neurosurgeon hopefully this week and try to set up the fusion surgery as soon as I can. I am not wasting my time with Lumbar epidurals. Physical Therapy is also a waste of time in my case. They are a temporary fix for the pain only. Painkillers until the day of the surgery.
got 2nd mri results this week. the bulge has not changed since last year. which was a large central bulge 10mm (1/2 inch) at l4/5. meeting with the surgeon this week to see if he will do the op. feel ok ish just a bit grumpy in the morning. will keep ye post, thanks to everyone for their replies
[QUOTE=Cowpin8;4073188]I had an L4-5 Microdiscectomy with Laminectomy back in 2001 from a gym injury. After the surgery I was fine. I was back in the gym in 2 weeks and pain free. Well here we are 8 years later and I am probably going to need an
L4-5 fusion. In my opinion the surgery in 2001 was a cheap quick fix! I should have had a fusion back then but the surgeon never mentioned it and I knew nothing about spinal injuries. I am so aggravated. I have about 15% of the disc left and I dont plan on quitting lifting weights. So I am going to see my Neurosurgeon hopefully this week and try to set up the fusion surgery as soon as I can. I am not wasting my time with Lumbar epidurals. Physical Therapy is also a waste of time in my case. They are a temporary fix for the pain only. Painkillers until the day of the surgery.[/QUOTE]
Hey cow pin hows the battle, dont want to bore u with my story, but in short had a l4-5 disec minus your lamin... still have a protrusion in my l3 l4 but a year post surgery is still having same si symptoms . my questions for u if u dont mind is 1 this scar tissue the surgeon describe, did your body absorb it and 2 i do believe this is a quick fix ( to get u back to work procedure) could u explain in detail from your reflection to have a fusion instead of a disectomy.
in canada having free health care our doctors tell us nothing only the info they want us to know. i met for a consult for 5 mins with my surgeon a month later i met with him for 2 mins before my surgery and here i am. u seem to have the best background in this expierence and hopefully have the right info
You must have a tough family. I cannot believe that your doctor told you that you could have the surgery and go back to work the next day. You are dreaming! It will take time for the incision to heal - you will have to take pain meds and muscle relaxers to get some relief. I was told I could not drive for a week and not to lift anything over 10 pounds for three weeks. I have been off work for two weeks and will not get "return to work" slip for another two weeks. Now my left leg is in excrutiating pain. I think it will go away with time. Dr said the S1 nerve and ligament needs to heal after being in pain for at least 10 years. I also did the epidural shots (3) with no relief.