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Post OP instructions

sandy nursessandy nurse Posts: 75
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had microdiscectomy L5-S1 last week. My instructions are to stay in bed for the first 2 weeks and only get out of the bed for 10 minutes each hour. Starting the 2nd week I can walk outside and stay up the most of the day only having to lay down awhile after being up for one hour. I can't ride in a car until I go back for my 4 week follow up visit. Does this sound anything like other neurosurgeons post op instructions.


  • Hi Sandy, I had a fusion,so a bit different. I was encouraged to walk as much as I wanted, gradually increasing the distance. I was to only sit for 10 minutes each hour, so had to lie down when not walking. I was allowed to ride in a car with brace on. I could drive after 2 weeks, waited 3. No BLT for 8 weeks, and brace for 8 weeks. Are your instructions a print out he gives to everyone, or were they told just to you? Perhaps he is being more careful with you for some reason specific to your situation. I am surprised by so much bed rest. Make sure you are doing ankle pumps to ward off blood clots. I am a nurse too. Take care, hope you are on the mend soon, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • the instructions were preprinted for all his lumbar surgery patients. I have been good this first week and statyed in bed 2/3 of the day and no sitting at all. I feel like I would like to take some short outside walks now. I don't know how I can wait 3 more weeks to ride in the car. It is going to get depressing.
  • Your instructions do sound more restrictive than any I have heard of, but perhaps he has his reasons. Most docs usually say to walk as much as possible, the thinking being that the pain will usually be self-limiting!!

    After my fusion, I would stay in bed until I had to use the bathroom. Then I would take that opportunity to walk until I was tired or in too much pain. This usually happened after about 10 minutes, so I was in no danger of overdoing it.

    I just had a second surgery and now I can really understand the reasoning for restricting riding in a car or driving. Unless you are driving on a country road where there are no stops and starts, your body goes through a great deal of jarring motion when riding in a car. No matter how smoothly the driver drives, your body picks up the movement of the car as it turns, brakes, etc. Your muscles automatically tighten in an attempt to keep the body upright, etc. This just puts a lot of pressure on the spine that is not occurring if you are home recuperating.

    Regarding driving, I believe it is just a way to restrict the patient's movements and keep the patient from overdoing it. If we can't drive, we won't be going out to do just one little thing, and then being tempted to do just one other thing while we're out. It is an easy way for the doctor to keep us close to home and focusing on recovery rather than out doing too much and then calling him the following day because we are in so much pain.

    About 9 days after my recent surgery, my mom was taken to the emergency room. I had to call my husband at work to come get me to take me out to the hospital (30 minutes away). She was returned to the facility where she lives, only to be taken back to the ER the following morning at 8 a.m. Again, off we went to meet up with her. This time she was admitted and we spent the entire day at the hospital. The following day we went back out. She was discharged and we got her back to her residence and got her settled back into the routine...another day taken up, 3 round-trips in the car, way too much sitting in uncomfortable chairs without a place to lie down, too much standing and walking on hard floors. And I am paying the price. I was totally pain free after surgery, and now have nerve pain in both legs and pain at the incision site where I can tell there is swelling. Needless to say, I am really disappointed and know none of this would have happened if I could have continued to recover as I had been doing, at home with moderate activity.

    Sorry this is long, but I now know why doctors make some of the rules.

  • Thanks for all the comments. I believe this doctor is just being cautious. I really feel better if I am up more, but I've been following his orders and staying in bed as much as possible. I feel like a big baby after reading other stories on this site. I need to suck it up, lol.
  • After my discectomy 2 years ago, I was told to get up and walk walk walk (I also have an ortho spine surgeon, not neuro, but should not be that different). Definitely same limits on sitting, but he said if I am not moving around, I am risking getting blood clots in my legs.
  • Sounds kind of restrictive, but then again, my title is RN and not MD! :) And you know we nurses are the worst patients and do whatever we want when we decide to do it. I'd suggest following your doc's rules just to be safe.

    Maybe though while lying in bed you can move your legs just a little or pump your feet just to encourage circulation as long as doc ok's it? Don't forget to use that incentive spirometer like some nurses do and then they end up with pleural effusions(not that I'm talking about me, of course.)

    You know, sometimes even when we think docs are crazy, they know what they're talking about! :) Hope all goes well for you, see you in chat!
  • As for as "sucking it up" as you said, forget that, milk it for all it's worth! Get your hubby to change the TV station for you, get him to do the laundry, get him to do everything, after all, you're just following doctor's orders, right? :D
  • It is hard to be a patient. I am getting up and moving around more than his instructions. I have Osteoarthritis and
    have had a cervical fracture in the past. Probably need to be more careful because of that. I am just looking for reasons to go against medical advice.
  • Do you know how long it took me to admit I was a "patient?" No offense to anyone here, but a patient is someone who needs help. I didn't need help, I give the help, so I couldn't be the "patient."

    Yeah, really hard to follow advice and do what we're supposed to do!
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