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Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

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Old 04-03-2011, 08:11 PM   #1
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Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

Hi, I have had lumbar surgery 7 1/2 weeks ago L4-L5 disc. I was going good, still some aches and pains in legs but no major issues and definately getting better. Just under a week ago after sitting in a chair for many hours I tried to get up and had a muscle spasm pulling at my hip and knee,groin pain, and some lower back pain with on and off leg pain. Also walking slightly bent forward.

I am trying to understand what has happened to me. Does this sound like a reherniation? From too much sitting?

Can anyone give me some insight. My surgeon said that this is not a reherniation, but I didn't feel confident when he said it. No imaging done. Any thoughts please. Almost one week later and still pain is lingering and muscle is still a bit in spasm.

Thank you!

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Old 04-03-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
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Re: Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

The first thing that pops out in your post is that you were sitting for hours. Even someone with a healthy spine needs to get up and stretch. After surgery, patients are usually told not to sit for more than a short time, like 20-30 minutes at a time, tops. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the spine than either walking or standing.

My guess is that you have caused some inflammation in the surgical area. The tissue has swollen up and is probably pressing on one of the spinal nerves. Hopefully that's all that is wrong.

Have you tried icing the area to see if it helps? You can use ice for 15-20 minutes per hour around the clock --a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel or a gel pack work well for this purpose.

If your symptoms do not clear up soon, perhaps your doctor can give you a medrol pack or some sort of steroid to get the inflammation under control. Sometimes they will have a patient get an epidural steroid injection, for the same purpose. Or perhaps the doctor will decide to have you get a MRI to be sure you have not reherniated. Some doctors are more reluctant to order one than others, so soon after surgery.

And speaking of so are still in early recovery from your surgery. Remember that it takes a good six months for the disc to scab over and for it to toughen up. During this time period, you need to be particularly vigilant...being sure to avoid bending, twisting, pushing, pulling and lifting anything heavier than the restrictions given to you by your surgeon. Drink lots of fluids, try to walk every day for exercise, and practice good posture and body mechanics. Doing all these things will give you the best chance of a successful outcome.

Good luck!

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Old 04-04-2011, 03:25 AM   #3
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Re: Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

I could not possibly sit for more than an hour with out a fair bit of pain but have only done that once. Since then strictly 1/2 an hour and I make sure I always check the time when I have to sit in a chair. Even at my AA meetings I get up every 25 to 30 minutes. I wouldn't risk hurting the repair in my back. It has cost me a lot and the surgery is something I would not want to go through again. Especially on the same disc. I have actually got a tare on L4-L5 and the surgeon decided not to touch it so I am being very careful. Walking and the physio is to me the most important thing. I would dearly love to go back to some work but I am going to hold out as long as I can. I can't direct anyone else as to how they should behave during recovery but I have heard of so many failed surgery's and few good stories. I think a big part of that depends on changing ones lifestyle and behaviour. I am lucky that I have experienced huge change in my life and know what it takes to do this. It is not easy but there are people who can help and lots of support here. Please listen to those who have been through this before.
Good luck and I hope things will improve for you with ice and rest. Of coarse some walking and don't sit for more than 30 minutes!
25-Nov-2010: ALIF fusion L5-S1. 9 years of Chronic lower back pain. Nearly 18 months of pain across my upper pelvis, through my butt and down my left leg into my foot. Sciatica relieved by surgery.

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Old 04-04-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Re: Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

You have been given some very good advise and hope you find it helpful. I don't know what kind of surgery you had, so I hesitate to add anything to what's been said; that is, if there is anything I COULD add, lol.

I wish you the best and hope you feel better soon!

Lumbar surgery x 7 over the last 30 years.
cervical fusion...2 levels
medtronic pain pump implanted
Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels

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Old 04-05-2011, 04:49 AM   #5
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Re: Lumbar surgery a success or failure?

Thank u for replies. I had discectmy surgery and rhizotmy at 2 levels. Worst affected L 4/L5. I am still in pain, my back really hurts. I hope it settles down.

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