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Old 03-07-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Covington
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cierrawr HB User
1 week post L4/L5 discectomy/laminectomy

Hi everyone,

I'm sure you all get this a lot but I was curious to see how other members similar to myself recovered. I am 22 years old and a year ago began to experience a lot of knee and leg pain. I injured my knee running and began to experience severe knee and leg pain. Stupidly I ignored the pain and 6 months later got an mri scan. It showed my knee was fine except for a ganglion cyst growing inside my ACL. They didnt think this was the problem and that I had IT Band Friction syndrome. After PT made it worse, the pt therapist suggested more PT (haha). Frustrated with the lack of results and beginning to feel like a crazy person, I stopped complaining. And then my leg began to tingle, like electric shocks going down my leg and my foot. It got so bad I could no longer walk or be active. I decided to go back to the Dr. They finally found that I had a massive herniated disc.

The discectomy surgery went well, First 5 days I felt great, no pain, no need for pain meds. The surgeon said that my disc had completely healed and all that was left to do was to take out disc fragments.I was feeling great, like a miracle had happened. I am now a lot more worried. My leg hurts again and my foot is tingling. I am worried that I hurt myself as I have been doing a lot of sitting because of school.

I wanted to know what aggrevated other members backs? Sitting is terrible, walking is ok but foot tingles. Should I still continue to walk even though my leg and foot problems are back? How did you all handle sitting? My incision is so itchy!!! How long did you all stay on pain medications?

Thanks everyone :-)

 
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:36 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ft Lauderdale
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Live4them HB User
Re: 1 week post L4/L5 discectomy/laminectomy

I just had my surgery this past Monday , I find it amazing your back at school and sitting so long , I haven't been able to sit all week . The pain at my incision is not that bad but I also have a lot of tingling and numbness in my left leg . Everyone says its normal and that it's just the nerve aggravated . I'm looking forward to hearing answers to your post to help me out lol .
Hope you feel better

 
Old 03-08-2012, 07:19 AM   #3
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Re: 1 week post L4/L5 discectomy/laminectomy

Welcome to the board. First of all, I'm not sure what your surgeon meant when he told you the disc was "healed " and that the only thing left to do was to remove the disc fragments. Could you explain what you meant? Where was your discectomy -- like L4-L5, perhaps?

It is a bit late to be told that many doctors restrict sitting time to 15-20 minutes at a time after any lumbar surgery. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than other positions like standing/walking or lying down. When patients do sit, they should try to keep the angle of the back at 40 degrees or less, which can be accomplished by "reclining" and supporting the back with pillows.

Patients should also avoid all activity and movement that involves bending or twisting at the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side (move your whole body to what you are trying to reach rather than actually reaching and leaning) and do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Avoid riding in a motor vehicle for more than that 20 minutes, and avoid rough or bumpy roads, (this includes amusement park rides, roller-coasters, etc., speed boats, etc!) If you must drive or ride farther, step briefly, get out and walk for a couple minutes and then resume the trip.)

I can tell you from experience that I ruined a lumbar surgery from sitting too much too soon. The nerve became inflamed and it never recovered. I had no choice as there was a family medical emergency a week after a surgery, and I had no choice but to ride to a hospital 40 minutes away and spend a week sitting and standing around an ER, etc. At that point, I wasn't even "allowed" to ride in a car...but I had no options. The first day was OK. But as the days went on, I could just feel the inflammation coming on, and the increasing pain. Once the emergency passed, about two weeks later, the damage was done, and I lived with that pain for another 18 months until I had a 3 level fusion that resolved the issue.

But, hopefully, this is not the case with you. Being one week out from surgery is very early in your recovery. With disc surgery, when you start feeling really good and almost pain-free is just when you need to increase your vigilance...monitoring your activities so you do not end up doing too much before your spine is ready for it.

 
Old 03-08-2012, 11:33 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Covington
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cierrawr HB User
Re: 1 week post L4/L5 discectomy/laminectomy

I apologize for the late reply! Sorry to hear about your back issues, I hope it gets better for you.
Anyway, the surgeon said the annular tear had healed up and that he didnt need to 'patch' it up as he thought that he might have to. I feel like I'm getting stronger everyday, but I just dont want that to get to my head. When should patients having this procedure start physical therapy? Any experiences?

 
Old 03-09-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
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Re: 1 week post L4/L5 discectomy/laminectomy

So, if you have to return to class so quickly, you should talk to your instructors and let them know your situation. Sit near the back and in an aisle seat so that you can stand up and move around. As long as you make an effort not to be disruptive, your instructors should not mind.

Walking short distances as often as possible is the best way to heal. Avoid sitting, but when absolutely necessary, place a small pillow (or even a folded jacket) in the small of your back to give you extra lumbar support.

I started PT three weeks post-op for a more involved surgery. If you are eager, you should talk to your doctor. The PT can also give you more guidance and tips to protect your healing back.

I have learned that a nerve flare can be triggered by the nerves receiving increased bloodflow, so don't despair. Just keep up healthy habits now.

 
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