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    Old 12-09-2009, 12:37 PM   #1
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    2 days post microdiscectomy

    I did some searching and wasn't able to find much info on immediate recovery and pain following a microdiscectomy. I saw a lot of posts where people were immediately relieved and could walk extensive distances a few days after surgery. I just had a microdiscectomy on Monday on L4-L5 after 3 months of a herniated disc (large, central, with some material that had separated). The surgeon felt that it was successful with no complications, and I don't expect to be fully recovered immediately, but I can barely get up and hobble around the house - mainly back pain near the incision site, but also I think the nerves to my hips were irritated and I have incredible cramping. I'm taking pain meds, but don't like them. I was just wondering if others have had slower recoveries.

    Assuming the surgery is successful, when can I realistically expect to walk a block or two or lie on my back instead of side? Thanks for the advice!

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    Old 12-09-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
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    Re: 2 days post microdiscectomy

    Also, are there any stretches that I could gently do at this point? Or do I need to wait a while?

    Old 12-09-2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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    Re: 2 days post microdiscectomy

    Do not stretch!

    Wait for your disc to heal for at least 10 days. Then start walking, 100, 200, 500 meters. Walking is one of the best self-rehabilitation methods after spine surgery.

    Old 12-11-2009, 01:42 AM   #4
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    Re: 2 days post microdiscectomy

    Hi mosc! I had an L4-L5 laminectomy/microdiscectomy five months ago. My neurosurgeon picked out pieces of disc material.

    My procedure was supposed to be outpatient but I was admitted over night for pain management. Which was strange because when I woke up in recovery I was ready to jump up and get moving.

    The evening of my hospital stay I was doing laps up and down the hall with my IV pole. Just about every hour I'd role myself out of the hospital bed and practically run the halls.

    I had less pain and felt better when I got up and moved. But that's always been the case ever since the back problem developed. While in bed I felt stiff, stuck, and just uncomfortable. I also have problems with my sacroiliac joints and that likely contributes to my discomfort.

    My hospital discharge orders explained that I was to walk at least 30 minutes daily, two times a day. I think.

    For the first couple of weeks I had that same pain near my incision site. The muscle relaxer that was prescribed helped with that.

    Starting the day after my surgery I was instructed to walk daily. You might want to check your discharge orders or call the doc's office for clarification on walking. I was already walking at least a block a few days after my surgery. I really tried to walk as much as possible and felt guilty when I didn't. I was so worried about developing epidural fibrosis (scar tissue) around the nerve. My doc never clearly explained that possibility. I think I discovered it while reading about other people's recoveries prior to my surgery.

    I've never ever been able to comfortably lay or sleep on my back so I can't help you with that! It probably has something to do with my joint problem. Prior to surgery I used to sleep on my stomach! Which I guess is really discouraged as far as a healthy and aligned spine goes. Now I just flip flop from side to side. Putting a pillow between your knees while you lay down (on your side) will help keep your hip aligned. And it's just more comfortable, for me at least.

    I was like the Energizer bunny during the month after my surgery. A little over a month after the surgery it was like my batteries died! The burning pain in my leg returned and I developed the same pain in my other leg. The pain has lessened but it's there every durn day. But it's usually just in various places below my knee. Prior to surgery I had the burning pain from the hip on down. Funny thing though, prior to the surgery I was able to position myself in a particular way (laying on side, left leg elevated on two thick pillows) which totally relieved my pain. Now there's no way of escaping pain, as far as positioning goes.

    The MRI I had a little over a month post surgery indicated "residual herniation" at the level of my surgery. And a bunch of other disappointing things. I had ordered my surgical med record a few weeks after my surgery just to get an idea of what when on. My neuro doc never explained all the nitty gritty details which I like to know. And it seems to me he just picked out the pieces of disc material that had squeezed out.

    Everyone's recovery is different. It's been five months and I'm still recovering and back in PT. At this point I realize it's a chronic condition and I'm going to try to figure out how to deal with it. Right now it feels like there's a firey snake slithering around my calf and ankle My calf is on fire so I'm off to take my Neurontin.

    I hope you have a good recovery. Slow and steady if that's what it takes.

    Old 12-11-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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    Re: 2 days post microdiscectomy

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like I need to be patient! My main issue is in my hips- they used to have some pain before surgery, but they are now constantly going into spasms, which has deterred me from walking much. I'm meandering around the house a bit and moving better than a few days ago, but it's pretty severe pain, and it sounded like a lot of people have had a lot more immediate relief. But if I shouldn't even think of starting to stretch yet, then I should slow down my expectations.

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