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2 questions 10 days out of surgery

HaylieCatOwnerHHaylieCatOwner Posts: 117
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I had a microdiscectomy at L5,S1 about 10 days ago. The pain hasn't been so bad (mainly twinges) and there has been numbness in my right foot and three toes the doc said was expected. Then yesterday and today I've had new pain in my right foot (on the reght edge of my foot) and new numbness on the bottom of my foot just below my toes. Does anyone else experiece this? Should I be worried? In the past few days I have been driving again for the fist time in 6 weeks. Could this be a factor?

The next question involves stretching in my sleep. I've woken up while stretching my legs as far as they will go and arching my back. It's happened alot because I lie still on my back (and I'm not naturally a back-sleeper). I am so afraid this might hurt my back. Anyone know about this? Is it possibe to reherniate a disk by stretching snf arching my back? This forum has been a great comfort--especially when I'm still learning.


  • I am not a doc, however what you have described is pretty consistant with what I experienced after having work done on the same area. Mine wasn't a microd, all of my surg has been open. Anyway, at 10 days out you more than likely still have inflammation or caused more by driving.

    A call to the surgeon's office could ease your mind.

    I've never heard of anyone reherniating a disc by stretching, but wierder things have happened.

    Mention that when you call the surgeon's office and see what they say.

    Sorry to be so non-commital, but I certainly don't want to give you bogus information. If it were me, I would chill out on the driving for a bit and see if things calmed down.

  • Hello Haylie,

    As far as sleeping on your back, have your tried putting a pillow under your knees? I have been doing if for a while now, and it seem to stabilize my position.

    Hope you will be feeling better soon,

  • To C - thanks for your feedback. I see my NS next Thursday. I would call him, but I've already done that once last week and the nurse said not to call cack unless pain was a 10 and wouldn't stop. She warned me new pains would crop up, but the new numbness surprised me. Doc said the prior numbness could take months to go away. I don't want new numbess to worry about. I've also been sitting longer periods and wonder if that can increase numbness in my foot?

    To Kin, how big of a pillow do you use? I am fighting the numbnes in my right foot and so I usually keep the leg sstraight. But a pillow may help me be more comfortable and stretch less. I wake up stretching like I just want to shake all off this off. Like I forget sometimes I had ssurgery.
  • That's pretty irrational for them tell you not to call unless your pain is at a 10. Even if they don't suspect anything is seriously wrong, they should at the very least be willing to help put your mind at ease. My Neurosurgeon just took the time to see me on Monday, just because I had some questions to ask her. Before that, I had been having new pain and they got me right in with the P.A. He sent me for different kinds of x-rays. They are very thorough.. I think in situations like this, where it's your SPINE, which you only have one of and need it a great deal, they should be.

    I had my Micro D months ago, but I still get numbness in my feet if I sit too long.
  • Lo, it could simply be an over protective front office staff. It's very common with neurosurgery clinics. Usually the doc will "fix" the problem once the patient gets a chance to tell him/her what happened.

  • Sorry the computer posted twice. Mods if you could delete this one I'd be grateful.

  • Yes, last week the nurse told me not to call unless the pain was severe and wouldn't go away. But I asked her when I should call or not, because she had just lectured me about the "twinge" I called about, acting like I was stupid for calling. After reading the posts here, I think If the numbness gets worse, I will call again even if the nurse doesn't like it.

    BTW, To my NS's credit last week, he called to see how I was.
  • Hi,
    Having awoken from my own surgery with a new numbness, which I reported and no-one really took much notice - even myself I decised after being pulled around you could expect some tweaks and changes as your body readjusts post surgery and as as reaction to the surgery itself. However, you don't have xray eyes and only your surgeon knows what happened in theatre.
    I have been told numbness is the most extreme nerve effect, pain then pins and needles.
    For my own part, I have an interbody cage misplaced hence the new numbness. You haven't too much to wait, 7 days so you need to decide to call it in now or wait.
    The reception staff deal with many over anxious patients each day so don't take them personally, they are only doing their job. Can you get a message to your NS? Then at least the call becomes HIS whether to wait the week or call you back. That will also help your worry?
    Is he on email? Tell the office you will email your concern, as you are Very concerned this is a new problem for you and you need the surgeon reassurance. In this day and age where the docs are careful, Your sure to get a reply of sorts. Good Luck.
    If you read these boards, many ppl experience altered sensations are spine surgery in their legs so try not to worry too much.
  • I called the nurse and told her about my new numbness and pain in my right foot. She spoke with the doctor and called me back. According to her, the NS said it's sensory fibers growing/coming back, and that it is to be expected for the next month or two. He also reminded me that sitting for long periods is not good; to move around (even when driving). The best news was that the doc said I can sleep on my stomach with a pillow under me -- which I can't wait to try since I am not a back-sleeper. A BIG THANK YOU to "C" for suggesting that to me!

    Thanks to everyone for encouraging me to call even when the nurse may not like it. It really relieved my mind.
  • Hi Haylie,

    I had a MicroD in Jan on L4L5, and even now eight months on there is still part of my foot and a strip down the outside of my calf that is numb. It changes in severity, some days I don't notice it at all and others it is really tingly and numb. It doesn't bother me, it just feels a bit weird. My surgeon said it was normal as the nerve was compressed for 6 months and will take a long time to heal.

    I think you did the right thing to call the Doc, hope you continue to make progress and that you find a comfy sleeping position soon!

  • I met a guy in my NS waiting room who had numbness almost a year later. It's the new numbnss that is scary. How is your back doing these days? I saw on another post wher you said if a disc reherniates it can cure itself 80% of the time. That was so encouraging. Do you have more info about that? I wish you all the best.

  • I just use a regular pillow, like the one I use under my head. I have been doing this since when I went for an office visit for my back, and they put a pillow under my knees when I was up on the exam table, and they told me I should always have one there to reduce the stress on my back.

  • I know this sounds kind of silly not to figure this out, but I was wondering if anyone here who has slept on their stomachs using a pillow under their stomachs might be able to tell me the details? How big of a pillow? Where exactly do you put it? I tried taking a nap and used a pillow under my stomach, but felt some pain almost immediately in my back. Any suggestions?

  • I was told minor herniations can heal... But once it progresses to DDD and is dried out and has no more cushioning for the spine, it's irreparable.
  • I use a pillow under my stomach when I sleep on it but I have a very squishy pliable pillow so I can 'nestle' into it without stretching my back.
    It also means I can roll onto my side without effort.
    Our backs have a 'natural' S curve to them so dont feel you have to have a perfectly straight back.

    I bought a feather pillow and literally took a stuffing out of it then divided that into 3 smaller pillows that I can stuff in different places when I sleep.
    WOrth the investment as I am still using them 4 months later.

    Sara O:)
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