I am 7 weeks post op following a lumbar hemilaminectomy. Pain has subsided for the most part with just occasional flaring up depending on my activity. Started PT after 4 weeks but proved to be too much and caused severe muscle spasms in my groin and thigh so Dr. advised to wait a bit longer . The reason I requested to start PT was the weakness in my back and legs. Does anyone else have this weakness? I can walk with a cane but am bothered by the amount of weakness in my back and legs. I have been reading that it can take anywhere from 6-12 months to recover from this. Am I being too impatient? (ps) I did walk with a cane prior to surgery because I was born with a deformed hip and one leg is shorter than the other. My "good" leg is definitly weaker now than before surgery. Will I ever get the strength back in my legs and back??
Sometimes due to the surgical process, a nerve becomes irritated due to the trauma of surgery. Depending on the nerve's function, it can cause new pain sensations or it can cause muscle weakness or in severe cases, loss of the use of the muscle, as in foot drop.
It can take quite awhile for the nerve to recover...doctors often toss out numbers, often ending with a year, for time of recovery, but in reality, there is no realistic timeframe. I had spinal fusion 31 months ago and I am still developing more sensation in my feet. My 91 year old aunt had a stroke in Jan 2011 that left her right side paralyzed. She regained use of both limbs, but still had drop foot...but she was telling me yesterday that she has been working very hard with her exercises and really concentrating on picking up that foot, and she has noticed a change...so I don't believe too much in the theory that after one year any progress is over/finished.
Keep walking and when you are ready, the physio will give you exercises to work the proper muscles, etc. There is a sense of weakness after spine surgery -- some people comment that for months they feel like their back is about to "break" as it feels so weak. Even though the spine itself may heal up fairly quickly in a procedure just as you had, it still takes time for the soft tissue, muscles and fascia to grow back and reposition so they can provide the support your body needs.
Try not to worry. You'll get there. It may just take awhile!
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: robodeb (01-23-2013)
Thank you for the reassurance. My nerves were very irritated before the surgery. I fought severe siatica for 2 years and did every thing I could to avoid surgery. I had 6 epidurals, steroid treatments, weekly chiropractic visits and massage therapy to try and get relief. There just never seemed to be a good time to have the surgery. On November 19th I basically crawled into the doctor's office and begged for relief. I was not able to sit, sleep or walk at this point. Five days after Thanksgiving, on November 27th I went in for a Lumbar Laminectomy. I didn't have time to think about it and I was in such bad shape that I just wanted relief. The pain was gone immediately and I was so relieved. I guess I should expect it to take awhile for the nerves and muscles to recover considering the condition that they were in. I guess I was expecting a miracle but I now realize that patience is the best medicine. I really am happy with the results over all.
Nerves are temperamental. They don't like to be squished, and they really don't like to be messed with...and the regeneration is very, very slow. Make it your job to take frequent, short walks and to do your best to not do any activity that is going to cause sciatic pain or nerve irritation or, worse, inflammation. Try to take it easy and really give your spine a chance to heal properly.
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: robodeb (01-24-2013)