HealthBoards (
-   Back Problems (
-   -   After back surgery - success (

JediKnight 07-30-2007 07:54 AM

After back surgery - success

I have suffered back problems for the last 20 years (I'm now 40). My back 'went' playing sport and every year it has 'gone', causing me to be off sick for a couple of weeks and to be in major pain down my left leg. Eventually I lost some of the use of my left foot - but its not too bad - I just can't run.

2 years ago I had a laminectomy (after my left foot went numb and I was bed ridden with pain) and for 18 months afterwards it was great. I had no more problems. Then it 'went' again and I was in really bad pain down my left leg (again). I had an MRI scan and was told that I could opt for surgery (again), this time a discetomy on L4, L5.

I opted for surgery and had it 2 weeks ago. I have read many nightmare stories about the pain after these OPS, but I wanted to add here that I have been fine, with very little pain. Don't read all the horror stories. I was in hospital for 5 days and last week I had my clips removed. I can now walk without pain, I am off my Arthrotec and Gabapentin tablets, I can sit and lie down OK.

I have been signed off for another 4 weeks and must take it easy - no lifting or doing any mad sports, but if anyone out there is frightened - have the OP (I paid a consultant at Hope hospital in Manchester to diagnose the problem - 250).

My only concern is that my GP has just told me that in later life I will get ARTHRITIS in my back. How he knows this for sure I don't know - maybe someone out there can comment. Can I prevent it or is it a timebomb.

BlueAtlas 07-30-2007 08:41 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
Arthritis is very common with back problems, but that doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot of pain. I picture a little old grandma with permanently curled fingers when I think of arthritis, but really, there is a wide range of effect. I was told at age 18 that I probably had some arthritis in my back after my first fusion. I was devastated and cried buckets of tears anticipating that granny type problem. It never happened. It just meant a little extra stiffness and achyness sometimes. I never took anything for it at all.

I'm expecting, especially with my second fusion now, to have an increase in that stiffness as I get older, but I don't plan to let it slow me down any more than necessary. When the time comes, there are lots of medications for it, and I'm happy to take them if they help. It's a shame the doctor mentioned it but didn't take the time to give you more information. I'm sure there are some people who have it to a very painful degree, but for most of us, I do believe it's something we can take in stride with the rest of our back issues.

I don't mean to brush this off. I just don't think it's something to worry yourself about at this point. It sounds like you're really doing wonderfully! Take care not to overdo it. Sometimes there's an increase in pain after the first couple of weeks of recovery, but you'll get past that and be back at life before you know it! Just don't rush it. Your body needs time to heal, even if you're feeling great!

Emily :wave:

ms_west 07-30-2007 09:33 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
Congratulations and I pray that you continue healing and have a pain free life.

Moldova 07-30-2007 09:54 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
This is a great news - you are doing so well!!
After every bone surgery (knees, hip, shoulder, spine, etc) arthrities sets up in that area. But you can get this condition regardless and most of population does with age (it can start as early as 25). But let it be your worse problem; they have so many meds now to bring that pain and inflammation down. So i would not worry about it now.:)

Just want to answer to your comment about nighmare stories: back surgeries are very different. I have a friend at 75 who had same surgery you had and he is bending, walking from 2 weeks after surgery and says that he has no pain. No walker, no cane - he is perfectly fine.

But there are more comlicated and extensive surgeries with a lot of hardware and plates, with a lot of permanent nerves damage in a legs and feet, etc. Where it takes a year at least to recover and sometimes people never recover.:confused:

Therefore you hear about so many people in so much pain. And i am not talking about old and shapless people here: a lot of us used to be fit, in a good physical shape, full of life, working,etc...

Keep doing a good job and enjoy your painless life!:)

JediKnight 08-31-2007 11:01 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
Just thought that I would update this thread in case anyone else reads it in future. Its now 7 weeks post discetomy OP and I went back to work this week.

The first 3 weeks post OP, my back was sore and aching. I could sit on a hard chair for half an hour and walk for about 15 mins.

Week 4 : I could walk for about an hour and sit in a hard chair for about 1 hour.

Week5 : I could walk for 3 miles without problem. My back still aches but its not painful. I can sit for a few hours at my PC.

Week 6: Same as above but I can sit longer.

Week 7 : Went back to work. Driving no problem. Back ached after about 5 hours of sitting/standing, but it got better towards the end of this week.

Back still aches a little bit, but not too much. The trouble is, I have started to get quite a few muscle spasms down my left leg (this is the leg that was affected pre surgery). Hamstring, calf, toes. Its quite unpleasant and I think its going to cramp up, however, it doesn't.
I'm unsure if this is good news or bad news. I shall wait and see. I don't intend to do anything apart from walk and mild stretches for the next 6 months.

Will update again in a few weeks.

Donna5 09-01-2007 01:22 PM

Re: After back surgery - success
Well I had surgery on August 7th and so far I'm doing awesome,
day after surgery went home
next day walked my block
after 1st week 6 blocks
3 weeks 2 miles and started therapy, workmans comp (the reason for so long)
on Sept18 might be realeased to go back to work,( found out at 9am today that my job has been posted so I'm not sure what job I will be realeased too)
so I'm a littled PO'ed
but other that that I think the surgery is a success, but I'm still on meds lol we'll see after I'm off those
P.S. I had a laminectomy( Herniated disk L5-S1)


JediKnight 09-07-2007 12:03 PM

Re: After back surgery - success
Week 8 - Did some pyhsio excercises and hurt my back. I was supposed to lie on my front, rest on my forearms and push backwards so that my back curves. I did this a few times (did not overdo it) and now I have a bad pain in my groin. In fact, for the last 2 days I keep getting a pain down my left leg which last for about 30 mins. This doesn't sound good to me. I hope its not all failed !

dp1234 09-07-2007 10:19 PM

Re: After back surgery - success
[QUOTE=Donna5;3187607]Well I had surgery on August 7th and so far I'm doing awesome,
day after surgery went home
next day walked my block
after 1st week 6 blocks
3 weeks 2 miles and started therapy, workmans comp (the reason for so long)
on Sept18 might be realeased to go back to work,( found out at 9am today that my job has been posted so I'm not sure what job I will be realeased too)
so I'm a littled PO'ed
but other that that I think the surgery is a success, but I'm still on meds lol we'll see after I'm off those
P.S. I had a laminectomy( Herniated disk L5-S1)


[COLOR="Red"]P.S. I had a laminectomy( Herniated disk L5-S1)[/COLOR]

I thought laminectomy is done along with microdisketomy?
It is not a stand alone procedure?:confused:

Because I have a l5-s1 extruded disk. and neurosurgeon is saying to do laminectomy plus microdisketomy plus semihemiectomy on me.

mamakitkat 09-07-2007 10:56 PM

Re: After back surgery - success
HI Jed,
Well I was so encouraged with your post as I read thru it until the end. I hope your pain is temporary. It sounded like you were doing so well, the crampy type feeling sounded like maybe some nerve healing pains. It takes a lil while for the nerves to heal after surgery. Take it wasy and maybe lay off of anything but the walking for a while until that painful spot gets better.

I pray you stay on the healing path.

God Bless


JediKnight 09-17-2007 07:24 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
Week 9.

Strangely got used to the daily pain in my lower left leg and groin now. It still comes and goes three or four times a day for about 15 mins at a time. Its more like an ache/throb than a pain so I can cope with it. Its definately worse when I stand up still in one place for a while, however I can walk for much longer with no affect. Very odd. I've started doing some light leg raises like suggested above and I shall see what happens. After the first day my back muscles ached a bit, but this felt like a good ache rather than a medical problem. I'd love to get back to the gym, go out on my bike, swim, ski....I'm getting bored with walking now.

JediKnight 01-06-2008 08:51 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
Its now about 5 months since I had the discetomy OP and here are my notes :-
(1) I still get some lower left leg pain - usually when I have been sitting to long at work.
(2) I still get groin pain but very occasionaly now.
(3) I'm back at the local Gym and can cycle for 30mins and lift some small (girlie) type weights, mainly for stretching. I've decided never to lift any heavy weights anymore as its not worth the risk. I never do anything like squats, lunges or shoulder presses as this puts pressure straight down my spine area. I usually spend 1 hour in the gym 2 times a week.
(4) I go out walking 2 times a week for about an hour each time. I never get out of breath anymore.
(5) I still take anti-anflamitories occasionaly, if I feel that my back becomes sore.
(6) I still have problems standing up for too long. For example, at Christmas I went to watch a Christmas lights 'turn on' and stood still (ish) for a couple of hours. When I bent over slightly, I got a really, really bad shooting pain in my lower back. This has happened a few times now when I stand up for too long OR bend over without supporting myself for any length of time.

Finally, although may pain has nearly gone, the odd bout of pain just reminds me that I'm no longer superman, and I can cope with these flare ups. Its no where near as bad as it was pre-OP. The shooting pains described above do worry me, but maybe they will go in the future. I sill think that one day I will need another OP.....


jeffengland81 01-06-2008 09:01 AM

Re: After back surgery - success
I am seven weeks post-op L5 S1 discectomy and I am so glad I had it done. I no longer wake up in agony with pain down my leg. I was swimming two weeks after the op and back in the gym six weeks after the op, although I only did the hip machine, groin machine and core work.

Do I still get leg pain? Occasionally yes, especially after driving for a long time. I hope one day I won't get leg pain. Funny, but I hardly ever get back pain - just leg pain.

Mine is also related to my sacroiliac joint being unstable and I have had very little help from the surgeon or hospital physios on that matter. They look at me like I am mad when I discuss it! However, a football physio I have been seeing for the last year says all my problems are related to that and I am inclined to agree with him, so I am doing all the corrective exercises and physio to stabilise the joint.

Of course you can hold off arthritis in your spine! Two things come to mind. Good postural hygiene and general back care. I don't think I ever bend down to pick anything up any more - I just bend my knees automatically. Also core, core, core! Do your exercises for the TA three times a day (plank usually hits it best)

I am starting a new job in two weeks, so hopefully that will go okay. Pretty nervous about having to sit down for a few hours at a time (I am a journalist), but I think I am going to get a saddle stool or a kneeling chair to sit on. The thought of sitting on one of those all-purpose office chairs fills me with dread!

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:34 AM.