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Laminectomy & Discectomy experiences...

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Old 09-01-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Whisper23 HB User
Smile Laminectomy & Discectomy experiences...

Hi, this is my first time posting on this forum so no idea if I am doing things correctly but it's been great reading about other people's experiences.
I am a 23yr old female & recently (4 weeks ago today) had spinal surgery. I believe it was a laminectomy & discectomy of L4 & L5, due to spinal stinosis & 2 bulging discs that were pinching nerves & the day before surgery caused me to have a foot drop in left foot. It was all very scary as I hadn't had an acident or injury & only experienced pain for 10 days before emergency surgery was needed but so far so good. The pain has almost completely dissapeared in my left leg now but I do still have a foot drop & left leg weakness. I am up & about doing light activated as I fatigue very quickly, but still not allowed to drive, sit, bend, lift or twist. (my sitting restriction is 30 minutes maximum but I keep it to 15 minutes). I also have post traumatic stress disorder from the nurse accidentally giving me the paralyzing meds before being put to sleep causing me to not only be terrified but my body reacted in a bad way, probably lucky as the nurses were in aware of their mistake & that I was in able to breathe. I was also given someone else's meds by mistake. This has probably caused me the most pain since with constant nightmares & a fear of injections now. Would love to know how others are recovering because I feel the recovery time has been very vague & un explained by my doctors...
In particular the need for spinal fusions down the track? Along with getting back to a normal life in terms of being active & having children etc? And any recovery experiences (pain, ups & downs & complications further down the track) would be so very helpful... Thank you

Last edited by Whisper23; 09-01-2011 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Changed wording

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Old 09-03-2011, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re: Laminectomy & Discectomy experiences...

Welcome to the board. I'm sorry you feel your time after surgery has been somewhat without direction. It is hard to know what you can and cannot do, how much you can do and how soon, even when you have a surgeon who provides a lot of instructions.

One important thing to know is that even though many surgeons tell patients they can resume most activities in a month...(or whatever time period they give), it pays to be very vigilant and err on the side of caution during the first six months. It takes that long for the disc to "toughen" up...(sort of like scabbing over). Prior to this time, it is easier to have the disc reherniate.

You want to avoid any activity that involves repetitious bending or twisting from the waist, pushing, pulling, reaching up overhead or to the side, and you should not lift anything heavier than the weight restriction given to you by your surgeon. When you begin to resume activity, do it slowly and thoughtfully. If something causes pain, stop doing it and give your back time to recover. You want to avoid doing anything that will cause nerve irritation or inflammation. Once you get a flare going, it can be difficult to get it back under control and can really set back a recovery. Also avoid anything jarring such as amusement park rides, roller coasters, speed boats, driving off roads, etc.

Some people are able to recover completely from a procedure such as you had and never need further attention. For others, it is the beginning of a whole string of issues. I think part of it is due to genetics and part due to external issues -- body structure, structural alignment, body mechanics, posture, etc.

Walking is the best activity for you at this point. It keeps the spinal nerves stretched out and helps to keep scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it is forming and filling in. For this reason, it is useful to take a number of shorter walks each day than one long one.

Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the spine than standing or lying down. This is why you are given a restriction on the amount of time you can spend sitting.

I'm sorry you had such a horrendous time in the hospital. I've never heard of nurses making those mistakes. I hope you will be able to get over it.

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discectomy, foot drop, laminectomy, spinal stenosis, spinal surgery

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