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3 Weeks Post-op

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Three weeks ago today, I had a bilateral laminectomy/discectomy for a double herniation at L5-S1. I did well for the first few days, but then my pain started increasing and on the 5th day post-op, while I was laying in bed, I noticed that the whole back of my t-shirt was soaking wet. I called the on-call doc and was told to come in to the ER right away. They were worried about a spinal fluid leak.

I went in and they ended up keeping me for a day and did a CT scan and an MRI on me which showed a large fluid accumulation in my back. (luckily it wasn't spinal fluid) They re-opened a portion of my incision and stuck a needle in to drain out the fluid and then put in some external stitches to close the area. I also had a white blood count of almost 16, (normal is 3-10) so apparently, I was in the beginning stages of an infection too. They put me on levaquin for 5 days to take care of that.

After I got home, I was still having some terrible pain issues. They had me on lortab 7.5 every 6 hours. I called my doc and he told me that he usually puts patients on the percocets, which is a level higher than the lortab, but since I'm allergic to the percocets, I couldn't take those. He ended up putting me on MScontin 15mg every 8 hours and that finally got my pain under control. I also still take the lortab for breakthrough pain.

Anyway, I am doing better, and have started going on short walks every day. But I'm still having quite a bit of pain and when I try to skip my pain medicine to see where I'm at, it's obvious that I'm not ready to come off of it yet.

I don't know where I'm "supposed" to be at this point in my recovery so my question is, how long does it normally take to begin to feel really good again? Approximately when does the pain actually stop or get to a point where you no longer need pain medicine? I feel like, at three weeks post-op, I should be farther along than I am. Maybe my setback prolonged the healing process? I did get my external stitches out and all the steri-strips are off, but there is still some swelling at the incision site.

I just don't know what to expect and hope that some of you can give me some answers as to how long it takes to get over this type of surgery.
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Comments

  • I am 3 weeks post op-(you can read about my surgery on my sig.)I am feeling almost normal again-as of today.
  • I say, if you are still in a lot of pain, continue to take your meds. They give them to you for a reason! My NS was NOT a med guy and he gave me 75 extra strength vic's with one refill. That got me though very well.

    Three weeks is still pretty early in your recovery. (I know it does not feel like it though!)

    When is your next follow-up appt?
  • I am 4 weeks post op and still having considerable pain & weakness. I am taking Norco 10 mg, Oxycodone 5 mg about every 6 hours and flexerile up to 3 times per day.

    At week 3 I def had some problems getting the pain under control but this week has been better. Now I try to walk while my meds peak. I have pretty intense left leg/hip pain with meds I say it is about a 5= without it can go up to a 10.

    Littlebird- some people take longer than others to recover. It depends on what you had done and what your physical strength was prior etc.

    I was told anywhere from 6 months to a year to be back at 100% and about 12 weeks to be released back to work.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon.

    Shay- that is great news.

    Julie


  • I had almost the same surgery as yours, but mine was l4/l5 l5/s1, so a dual level. I know at 3 weeks I was still on the "serious pain med" but that week they tapered me off of it. I also started PT at the 2 week point (which I thought was rather early) but I'm glad I did. I'm still doing PT twice a week, and just this past week they're allowing me to ride a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes which was incredible how better I feel afterward, so much so that this is the best I have felt in a long time.

    Each person is different on how quickly we heal etc.. but 3 weeks is still very early for back surgery. With all they do to our nerves, etc... it takes awhile for them to start calming down. In fact, my Dr. gave me a med-pak (steroids)to help with the inflamation I was having.

    The best advice I received was walk when you can, and try not to push or rush your recovery time.

    Take care, and here's to hoping you feel better real soon.

    Dan
  • I am 3-1/2 weeks out from a MD at L4/5 - S1/L5 and have really been struggling with the constant nerve pain. I foolishly expected it to be gone after surgery, instead it is worse. My NS gave me a med-pak as well and it seemed to help a little, but not that much.

    I hate taking pain meds and have pretty much been able to get down to nothing except at night when I have needed something to be able to sleep.

    Daytime, I can tolerate it, although it gets worse as the day goes on and I feel bad for my husband cause when he gets home from work, I am basically done.......not a pleasant scenario to come home to. :(

    Although I put up strong resistance......just read the side effects!......my NS finally convinced me to try Lyrica. It's pretty low dosage (50mg), but is really providing relief. Last night was absolutely my best night's sleep post-op. I feel really good this morning and got a great 6 mile walk in. WooHooo! <:P It was sooo nice to wake up feeling rested and with very little pain! I will stay on it and just watch for side effects.

    Everyone tells me that it will take time. I am not a patient person and trusting and waiting are a real challenge but I try to stay optimistic and positive despite my frustration. What else can ya do?

    G
  • Thanks everyone.

    I guess you're right...everyone heals differently and it does take time. I'm not a very patient person either and I just feel that I should be further along in my recovery.

    I was/am is pretty decent shape, except that I was basically in the bed for almost two months before surgery because the pain was so bad and I could barely walk. I had the sciatic pain going down BOTH legs, so it was miserable. I'm sure I probably got a little weakened by being so debilitated before surgery.

    Today, I tried to cut way down on my pain medicine to try and see where I was at pain wise. Oh my gosh...the pain got so intense that by the time I finally gave in and took something, it took hours to get my pain back under control. So it looks like I'm obviously not ready to come off the pain meds yet. I'm also on Lyrica and honestly, I haven't noticed any difference with that.

    What kind of exercises are you guys doing to help with your recovery after surgery? I know that walking is the obvious choice....but is there any others that you do? I've been kinda scared to do anything else since all the instructions they gave me before surgery said not to bend or twist at the waist.

    I've also noticed that the area around my incision is still swollen. Is that normal?
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