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  • Using a walker post discectomy, mobility issues

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    Old 11-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #1
    sweetnlow31
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    Using a walker post discectomy, mobility issues

    I had my bilateral laminectomy/discectomy last Friday. I spent three days in the hospital and I have been taking it easy at home. My procedure was done as an open disctomy and I have a 5" incision with dissolvable stitches. I also had a drain for three days. It is healing well and I see my family doctor for an incision check next week.

    My concern is that my surgeon had to drill more bone than he planned on because my nerve was being pinched off by bone on the right side (foraminotomy) . As a result, I have quite a bit of post-op pain and I couldn't walk at all until two days after surgery. I almost passed out the first time I tried to stand and I quickly realized that I need to push down on something to take the weight to my spine to walk. I am now forced to walk with a walker to get around because when I try to walk unassisted I feel like my back is going to fall apart with pain unless I am pushing down on something. I am only 31 and I didn't expect to have these mobility issues. I also noticed my second toe on the right foot kind of burns and feels stiff. This is new since surgery.

    I am getting around ok with the walker. I try to walk at least five minutes every couple hours, have a daily shower (with assistance), and I go up and down my 10 stairs once or twice a day. I actually took a 10 minute walk outside for the first time today. I find my arms get tired of the walker before my legs do. Physio visited me once in the hospital and she wasn't thrilled I needed a walker and she told me to try to get off it in the next couple weeks. Gosh, it isn't like I am not trying! A cane doesn't help me at all because I can't bear weight on one leg while I move the cane forward.

    They said my surgeon will decide at my 6 week appointment whether I need more physio. My surgeon is really good at what he does but he needs to work on explaining things better to his patients. I had to drag the details out of him of what exactly he did during my surgery which lasted almost 2 hours. Has anyone else needed a walker or do you have any suggestions?

     
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    Old 11-09-2012, 04:49 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Using a walker post discectomy, mobility issues

    At whatlevel was your surgery (which disc?)?

    If you need to use the walker, use it, and don't feel bad it. You will get stronger soon enough and will not need it. Do not use a cane. It puts too much stress on one side of the body, which is the last thing you want. With a walker, at least your weight is distributed evenly.

    In my opinion, age doesn't have all that much to do with recovery from this type of surgery. It depends more on what was specifically done in a particular patient's procedure. Don't worry about the toe for now. The surgeon probably had to move the nerve or push it aside so it will be angry for awhile.

    Keep walking as you are doing. Short walks frequently are the best way to stretch out those spinal nerves to keep scar tissue from attaching to them!

    Be patient. Recovery takes awhile, and patience is needed.

     
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    Old 11-10-2012, 09:09 AM   #3
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    Re: Using a walker post discectomy, mobility issues

    [QUOTE=teteri66;5086474]At whatlevel was your surgery (which disc?)?

    If you need to use the walker, use it, and don't feel bad it. You will get stronger soon enough and will not need it. Do not use a cane. It puts too much stress on one side of the body, which is the last thing you want. With a walker, at least your weight is distributed evenly.

    In my opinion, age doesn't have all that much to do with recovery from this type of surgery. It depends more on what was specifically done in a particular patient's procedure. Don't worry about the toe for now. The surgeon probably had to move the nerve or push it aside so it will be angry for awhile.

    Keep walking as you are doing. Short walks frequently are the best way to stretch out those spinal nerves to keep scar tissue from attaching to them!

    Be patient. Recovery takes awhile, and patience is needed.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry, I forgot to mention, it is L5-S1 and it was done on both sides so both sciatic nerves were involved. I will continue with the walker but I do feel I am getting a bit stronger each day. Last night I started practicing walking with just pushing on my husband's finger tips. It was good for about 10 steps then I started to really tighten up in my back again and went back to the walker.
    Thanks for the reassurance. Sometimes physio has a way of making people feel bad for using mobility aids they actually need. There shouldn't be any shame in it!

     
    Old 11-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: Using a walker post discectomy, mobility issues

    You don't want to get dependent on the walker...so do "practice" some on your own when someone is with you...but sometimes it just takes some time to get strength and muscle tone back and to feel strong enough to walk on your own. It will come...just be patient and keep walking, even if it is just a few feet ever hour!

     
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