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Old 11-18-2012, 03:39 PM   #1
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Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

I had an open (5" incision) bilateral discectomy with foraminotomy on L5-S1 two weeks ago. I don't see my surgeon for another four weeks but I am interested in a general guideline of when it is safe to start resuming activities. I was told no extreme bending, twisting, lifting or prolonged sitting until I see him at six weeks.

I am already feeling the effects of over-activity because I had to see my family doctor for an incision check the other day and she ran an hour behind so I sat waiting for over an hour. I tried to walk around a bit but it didn't help. I came home in such pain and I am still feeling the effects. I really hope I didn't set my healing back.

I have been walking around the block every day and I finally managed to give up the walker, yay I am interested to know a general guideline for beyond the six weeks of restrictions. When will it be safe to do things like using an elliptical machine, basic aerobic videos, situps (ever?) lifting more than five pounds etc? Am I looking at six weeks, three months, six months etc? I know every case is slightly different but a general guideline would be great. I am hoping to start exercising when I am able to as I will likely have a bit of weight to take off due to inactivity and boredom eating from this recovery I already lost 100 pounds in an attempt to help my back pain, to no avail, but I would hate to gain that back!

Also, I have external dissolvable stitches on my 5" incision. Has anyone had any experience with these before? They still haven't dissolved and my family doctor was going to remove them next week but the surgeon's office said to leave them to dissolve until my six week appointment. When should these darn things fall out? It looks like fishing line and I know that different types take longer. Does anyone have any experience with these type of stitches. The incision has been healing great since day one but the stitches are still hanging on.

Thanks in advance

 
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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Re: Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

Hi....I had the same stitches back in December of 2011....they hung on until my 6 week check up!! Don't worry about it....they will fall out or the pa/doctor will remove them. Don't do any exercises until after your apt with your surgeon. Walking is the best exercise for now but don't overdo it! I went for 15 years and did great. Then last year reherniated it.....believe me.....the second time around is not good! Take it easy.....I would rather weigh a little more and be in less pain!!! Good luck!

 
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sweetnlow31 (11-19-2012)
Old 11-18-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

[COLOR="Purple"][FONT="Verdana"]Eventually the stitches will fall off, not to worry. They are more irritating that anything else. You have already felt what the over effects of doing something that you shouldn't be....hence the reason not to push doing things. Your long sitting at your GP has shown you how bad it feels. I don't think that you did any damage, but it does take several days to recover from over-doing it.

As far as exercise, right now the best and only think that you should be doing is walking. That keeps the blood moving to help with healing. It takes 6 months for healing to really work. Getting on an elliptical or doing aerobics are a no-no for sure at this point of your recovery. Also, sit ups are a no no. Better than sit ups are learning to control your core muscles, which will do far more good for you and your body. I personally on an 8 lb. weight lifting limit for the rest of my life..that is the weight of an average gallon of milk.

The best thing you can do is to take things slowly. It is better to work into things than to charge headlong into something only to find that you have over done it, or worse yet, have re-injured yourself.

good luck and keep us posted.



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sweetnlow31 (11-19-2012)
Old 11-19-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

I had something like this surgery on Nov 5, so 3 weeks ago. I am restricted from lifting at 10# til I see the dr. at 6 weeks & then I'm sure there will still be a restriction. My incision was supposed to be about like yours but was bigger during surgery so I have to wear a brace that restricts my movement so you are very lucky not to have the brace! Its restrictive but yet I don't have to be concious of the NO twisting, bending, etc. That's probably why you are having more pain, too. Really be watching that stuff. Remember, your bones are healing-that takes a long time-and you don't want to undo what was done in surgery.
My incision itches like you know what!! I've been told NO ITCHING, only ice it. Its the inside stitches healing that makes the itching. All those stitches of yours will do what they have to do and if not, at your 6 wk check, the dr. will remove anything that didn't absorb.
There are alot of good exercises you can do to build up your core muscles that are better than situps and aren't involving moving the area where you had your surgery. Always keep your back straight and concentrate on your stomach muscles rather than bending your back. Even when walking (which is the best exercise for you right now), pull in those core muscles, straighten your back and be aware of what you're doing. Be deliberate-that's going to strengthen all your muscles. Don't overdo-keep within the levels of what your doc instructed. If you don't know what those are, call his office and ask to talk to his nurse-she should be able to answer all your questions.
Good for you for your weight loss! I'm trying to lose too and inactivity is a killer! Fruits and veggies! Keep positive!!

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
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Re: Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

Thank you everyone I actually noticed this morning that two stitches are lifting and coming out. It was exciting LOL. I am definitely following my restrictions and I wouldn't dream of trying any strenuous exercises at this point. I am exhausted from a quick shopping trip this morning but I needed to get out! I got a new grabber that wasn't so flimsy for picking things up.
I was just wondering what the restrictions will be beyond the initial 6 weeks. I wonder if exercises would be allowed around three months in. I guess I will have to wait and see what my surgeon says. The problem is that he is a wonderful surgeon but his bed side manor isn't great. He doesn't take the time to fully explain things sometimes and it ca be a bit intimidating.

 
Old 11-19-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: Restrictions after discectomy, and incision question

I know what you mean about the bedside manner-the nursing staff is always the way to go-they have more time and less intimidation! I would think you'll be able to do the elliptical soon after the 6 wks. The nurse mentioned that to me as one of the first things I would be able to work out on. Probably the treadmill/walking too--anything where you aren't bending. I good grabber is sure important, isn't it!? Mine can pick up a penny off the floor-I love it!

 
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