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Three days post-op L5-S1 discectomy right side

jpntd00jjpntd00 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello there, I am fairly new to the site. I have been reading a lot of post but this is my first. I am 32 and have been fighting my back pain for about eight years now. the first couple was not so bad and I never had a thought about surgery. That was until about two years ago when my leg started to go numb and tingle. At that point I started the MRI's. Initially found that I had DDD in the L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1 region. Over the next two years I went trough three sets of blocks, physical therapy and lots of drugs. Last year after a major episode I had MRI's and went to see two different NS's. One said lets see what the blocks do ant the other said he could do nothing. That was frustrating. Well back got a little better, but still hurt daily. I had another major flareup in July, went to the doctor, got shots, got MRI's and off to see a third NS. This time though I knew something had to be done. My doc told me the findings and it was not good this time. He said that now, L2-L3 and L3-L4 looked better, L4-L5 stayed the same, but my L5-S1 was bad. Last year it was herniated out the center. This year however, worse out the center and now badly out the right side, great I thought. Well here I am now three days out post-op L5-S1 discectomy right side. I am feeling okay, real sore as suspected. I am able to get up and move around some but taking it easy as much as possible. I have two things I would like input on. First is that the only comfortable position for me while watching tv is proped up on my back on the couch, which is fine now that I have finally discovered it works best. Not a real big concern but just looking to see if this is common or not. The other big thing is that I cannot lay flat on my back. When I do within about three to five minutes my entire right leg and rear go numb. Worse than before the surgery. My big question on this is has anyone experienced this and how concerned should I be about it. I go back on the 26 AUG for my first first-op check up, should I let it go till then and see if it subdues or call the doc now. I know I have read that if any was to go wrong after the procedure that it would be in the first week or two. But again I would like to know if this is common and will go away or should I go ahead and call my NS. Thanks for any input and just want to say this is a great site and has been very helpfull to me over the past year or so I have been reading for info.
Jason
microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
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Comments

  • I haven't had a microd. myself, but I know that afterwards things can be very bruised or inflammed and that can take a couple of weeks to settle down. As for lying flat, I always get terrible back pain if I lay that way - I need to have my knees bent a least a little bit. Have you tried lying with a pillow behind your knees? That helps the spine to stay in neutral position and reduces the strain that you are putting on it. As Paul said, if you are having any symptoms that are really worrying you, give your surgeon a call to check and put your mind a rest. Meanwhile, chill out, rest up and take it easy - you need time to heal. Take care, Spicey
  • Well thanks for the comments, I know it is early so will keep up the meds and rest and see what happens.
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • Also has anyone found that sitting, well propped up rather than straight up is more comfortable, also is this bad or could delay healing?
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • Hi there....it has been 2 weeks since my L5S1 discectomy and decrompression surgery. I wasn't sure at all what the recovery time would be like, but have found that the main piece of advice (which I find hard to take myself!) is TAKE it SLOWER than you think you need to!
    Did the hospital not give you a booklet of info on what to do/not do for the first few weeks?
    The advice about pilloes under your knees is a good one, also using a formed pillow that contours properly to your neck. I was not used to sleeping on my back, but those suppports really helped with the recovery. Also, when lying on your side, make sure you have a pillow between your knes so that your spine is aligned correctly. "Log roll" out of bed and use your arms to push up to a sitting position.
    I had so much pain with my right leg and bottom before, I had to go to the emergency department for pain injections.
    I have some "numbness" in my right heel post surgery, and some timgling down the back of right knee and thigh, the doc says the nerves need time to heal, as I was in pain for a very long time...(probably not as long as you, however.) My surgeon also said it may be permanent...but time will tell.
    At least there is no pain in my leg.
    I had 22 staples in my lower back, which I got removed this past Tuesday (14 days after surgery) and the incision seems to be healing well.
    The muscles in my back are very weak, however, and am doing "tummy tucks" and "buttock tucks" whilst lying down to help my back muscles get strong again....but not too strenuous. I am walking about 1/2 mile a day now (sometimes with a cane on the way back) slowly, and am able to do stairs, etc. I do get tired easily, but then again, I wasn't active before surgery due to pain.
    So far, I am happy with the surgery...its nice to NOT be in agony! Good luck with your recovery.
  • Hi again...forgot to mention that I find sitting up in a straight back chair with a lumbar support better for my back....however, while watching TV I also lie in bed on my back with two pillows under my bed. The soft couch is too hard to stay for more than a few minutes. Also, my doc advises not sitting for more than 10-15 mins. at a time.
  • I was told that I should be lying down or up and moving. I was advised only to sit for short periods of time such as to eat meals. It took a long time before I was comfortable sitting again! If you haven't been given any restrictions then I would do what's comfortable, but sitting does put a lot of strain on your lower back so make sure you are well supported if you are sitting up at all. Good luck! Spicey :)
  • Laying back straight or standing is better for you. I dont think propped up would be too good for your spine.

    Christina :)
  • Thanks all. I am using a body pillow when lying on my side with a mem foam contour pillow. I have tried to put pillows under my knees when on my back but it doesn't help much. I can only stand about 10-15 min of it. I didn't as big as an incision but also no staples or stiches. Yesterday was a bad day for me, so far today is better. I do however find lying on the couch with two pillow under my rear for support on the arm the best position, I only sleep for a couple of hours at a time at night. I roll over on my back while asleep and it wakes me up. Tonight I am going to try to sleep on the couch. I am having a bit of trouble taking it slow though. I am very hard headed and this is my biggest challenge. My wife is doing her best to take care of me, but sometimes I get impatient and just get up on my own, she fusses but it just bounces off my head sometimes. The one thing I am relieved of is that the pain and numbness seem to be normal. I don't know how long that disk has been that bad but as stated I have been fighting my back for about eight years now. And with 5yr old twins it was a hard decision for surgery but the option of surgery verses perm nerve damage out weighed. I will keep trying to take it easy but as I am finding out time will tell.
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • Hi there...glad you had a good day today...take it one day at a time...and TRY not to do too much. My PT gave me a good idea....take stairs a certain way...(if one side was bad before surgery)...take you first step on stairs going UP with your GOOD foot (side) and the first step going DOWN with the BAD side...and the mantra to repeat is..."UP with the GOOD, DOWN with the BAD." My hubby keeps telling me what NOT to do, but it gets frustrating, I know,...I have just realized that this is so that my back can HEAL right and be GOOD for the rest of my life. What's a few weeks? Try and relax and enjoy...and don't sweat the small stuff...good luck with the twins...are they starting Kindergarten? Maybe that will help. :)
  • Yes they started K this year. But the crazy thing about our situation is that we are in the process of moving from IL to TN. We have been up here since 01, wife was active duty, I got out in 2000. I started working for DoD in 02, had kids in Aug 03, wife got out and that was that. We wanted to move back to TN, Family there, so we bought some land this year and are in the process of getting down there. My wife and the kids are staying with her father there till we can get something built or a trailer on the land till we build. Me on the other hand have to stay in IL due to job till I find something Fed or Gov down there. Her mother is staying there to take care of kids, get them to school and all that. My plan is to go down there after my 1st apt on the 26 for a month. I took till the 29th Sept(aprox) off from work, don't want to push my back and heal completely before returning to work. I am a System Admin so not physically demanding but I sit in a chair 8hrs a day. Plus I work mids to boot. So I am taking it easy, the best I can and will take it one day at a time. Thanks for the input.
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • For a few weeks after my L5-S1, I could not lie on my left side(the side I had surgery on).
    At around 8 weeks I had an injection into the area.
    It helped calm things down a ton!

    Also, when I would sit in my silverado truck and go for a drive, it would make the pain go away. Sounds wierd, I know, but it's true.
    -----------------------------
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Im awaiting a mirco discectomy on my L5,S1 and reading this has really helped, I have dehydration of L4 and L5 also. Really scared about after the op as a single mum with my daughter, but will be staying at my friends house after the op until I am mobile and able to cope unassisted. While your in hospital after the op, what type of medication are you on and are you with it or not, just concerned as if Im a bit out of it Im not too keen for my daughter to visit me and see me like that.
    Thanks again. This post has been really useful


  • Your pain medications should only be good enough to help with your pain, not keep you constantly out of it. I know my pain meds dont effect me mentally like that. You should not be taking enough to keep you "out of it".
    Directly after surgery they will keep you as comfortble as possible but you should in a week or so be showing some kind of pain relief. The doctor will start to ween your meds down and eventually you'll be off the heavy narcotics altogether.
    I went home with a script that wasn't even as strong as what I had been taking before the surgery and a muscle relaxer.

    Best Wishes,
    Christina :)
  • I stayed overnight because the anesthesia makes me sick. But they just had me on Percocet. It didn't really do anything for though. Now at home I have been taking Skelaxin and Tramadol. Those two work the best for me. But at the same time I have a higher than normal threshold for pain. So for me a 2-3 may be a 6-7 to someone else. I have learned over the week to just take it sloooooooooooow. I walked around my apartment section today, got about 100 feet from the door and my left leg was getting real tired so that is about as far as i am going to go for a bit. Good luck with your surgery, I know the one thing for me was that I was not nervous about it till the day of. I had a splitting headache all day, I went in about 1130 and went to cutting room around 1330. but when I woke up I still had it that day but gone by morning. Other thatn that things worked out. Today is a good day for me, sleeping on the couch last night made a big difference. I was not nearly as stiff, was able to get up and go to the bathroom easier. But you will just have to find what is best for you. I can definatly say it is a learning process, on here you get great advice and ideas that help, but it is you in the end who have be comfortable. But I will say this site, with the help and support of others has been a godsend. Thanks to all here and good luck playgirl.
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • I had this op done 8 years ago at the age of 54. sciatic pain was eliminated but weakness and back pain, especially after sitting, or lifting is still there. NS says I could have spinal stenosis....but I am ok sleeping altho turning in bed is uncomfortable. Pillow between knee is EXTREMELY helpful. worst pain is after sitting, and I get tremendous low back pain, back of thighs, and a sort of cramp and muscle tightening down both back of both legs. Hate standing, and first 30 seconds after standing up is agony. then spasm goes away. heat helps.
    I would really appreciate any of you guys giving me some feedback. Thanks.
  • Well just wanted to say that at 11 days out I am feeling great, walking is about 80% back to normal. Still not lifting much though. I can feel the strain of lifting just light things but over all doing well. No more leg pain or numbness. Off the pills totally and that is good. Looking to return to work around the 31st. So there is light at the end of the tunnel, guess I am just blessed to be a fast healer, always have been but still taking it easy.
    Jason
    microdiskectomy in August 2008, L5-S1, Right hemilaminotomy with medial facetectomy and microdikectomy L4-5, June 2009, redo right L4-5 microdiskectomy, September 2010
    August 6, 2013 - Three level ADR, L3-S1, Spinal Kinetics M6L done in Germany.
  • I had a microdiscectomy May 1, 08... And second day after surgery I had the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.. Tons of weird feelings. I was told thats a good thing, though, because that means they're in the right direction.... Not sure if that's the only thing it could be, but if not, I'd imagine it could be just because they have to work around the nerve, and it can go a little haywire. Maybe ask for some Neurontin?
  • I had a MD @ L4/5 and S1/L5 on Aug 4th and completely didn't know what to expect.

    I was out of the surgicenter in less than 8 hours and was sent home with pain meds that everyone is telling me were very light. Still, they made me dizzy and I hated taking them.
    I was walking 15min 2x a day on day 3 and have worked my way up to 1+ hour. I get to swim tomorrow. :D
    Problem is, it is very much two steps forward, one (or even two) steps back. I am not sure what is reasonable to expect. I came out of surgery with nerve pain in my left calf and foot........feels like my foot is being dipped in scalding water.
    I have lots of low back pain, the lower leg nerve pain and most of the glute pain I had pre-surgery. The hamstring pain seems mostly gone, but does flare up if I am tired.......which I am all the time. I have weird muscle spasms that wake me at night and make it hard to take a deep breath.
    I led a very active, athletic life right up until surgery and am still trying to live somewhat normally. Is it unreasonable to expect to do laundry, grocery shop, drive and just basically live life? Is it too soon after surgery? Nobody really told me what to expect. I made a friend who had MD before her fusion and she says it may be 6 months of walk/PT and lay in bed or on the couch until I feel semi-normal? Is this true?
    How long do people stay on the pain meds? I can make it without for a day or two, but then it just wears me down and I have to take one again.
    I know I sound like a big fat whiner, but really I am not...........at least I hope not.

    G
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