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Getting the Microdiscectomy done tomorow!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Tommorow is the big day. I am excited, nervous and a lil scared right now. This will be my first surgery other than when they cut my wisdom teeth out. Im excited to get this procedure done so i can hopefully get on with a good quality of life. Im nervous and scared for the possibilities of paralysis and even death. Although it sounds like any complications are very rare, it still lingers in the back of mine. I am staying positive that the surgery will go good and the aftermath will leave me painfree or close too. What are some of everybodys thoughts and stories about this procedure? Preferably good stories, but mostly want to know what its going to be like the first couple of days after the surgery. I am planning on going back to work next Wed. (7 days after) as it sounds like im not supposed to be laying in bed and be up walking up to 3 miles a day. Unless im in pain, i dont see what staying home is going to do. Its hard to pay the bills when you have no income. Anyways, hope to here some good advice. Here is a link to my other thread describing pain and symptoms. http://www.spine-health.com/forum/sciatica-leg-pain-radiculopathy/lower-back-pain-radiates-down-leg-and-foot


  • I have had 2 mico d's and the procedure was not bad recovery is not too bad the first week is the worse .I don't know what you do for a living but you have to take it very easy for a while because a chance of reherniation is high for the first couple weeks. After my first surgery I went back to work after 2 months and reherniated after a couple months of work ,after my second I reherniated 2 weeks later putting on my underwear believe it or not so just be very careful and don't over do it and listen to your doctor as far as restrictions go.Good luck
  • Thanks DG. I just sit at an office computer for now. ive got an adjustable table so i can stand or kneel if i need to. Im not going to reherniate it because of lifting or anything, but i see getting out of bed or putting socks or small bending like that to be a problem. i havent read anything on sleeping after this procedure. is there a specific way to lay and sleep? I am mostly a side sleeper and sleep with a pillow between my legs. when i sleep on my back, i put the pillow under my knees. I toss over about 4 or 5 times per night and can foresee that being a problem as well. i wish there was a way to patch the hole where the disk leaked as it seems like it will take a long time for it to re-seal itself.
  • the pain in my right leg was so bad i couldn't walk, sit or stand. i had to lay on my right side. took two days before i was able to see my dr (did have an mri on one of those days). had the surgery the afternoon of oct 30. woke up to no pain in my leg. was walking 7 hours after surgery. the first two days i had trouble getting up from a laying position and it was uncomfortable to lay on my back. nov 4th i drove myself to vote. i went back to work nov 6th (desk job) for 1/2 a day, full time on the 10th. take it easy and get up to walk around/stretch every 30-45 minutes.

    i believe putting on the underwear did you in. after the esi's and pt, i reinjured myself vacuuming.
  • thanks Mark, thats what i was kinda thinking/hoping. i will make sure to vacuum tonight.
  • I just had procedure done yesterday, and i litteraly walked around Walmart immediatley after leaving the hospital for about 30 minutes while i was waiting for my prescriptions. I wasnt breaking any speed records, but i was just tickled to walk standing straight up and with no leg or butt pain. I feel great and actually havent felt this great for a long time. The pain in the right leg and buttocks is gone. There is kinda a dullache but maybe a 1 if that on the scale. Other than that i do still have the numbing and tingling in the outter foot and the weakness in the calf muscle, but the doc said it would be for up to a few months until the nerve re-grows. I took the Oxycodine they prescribed me last night, and will probably take it before i goto bed, but other than that, im going to try to lay off of that if i can. The only pain i really have is some minor discomfort at the incision (maybe a 2 or 3 pain level). The hardest thing for me is going to be to convince myself that although i feel that i could go do a triathalon right now, i cant. Im laying here feeling like goin to work, but knowing i need to rest. I know that i dont want what i have gone through the last few months to happen again, so i will take measures so that it doesnt happen. I am going to start going to the gym this evening so i can walk on the treadmill. kinda have to since its like 10 degrees out. All in all i am happy i went through with this (at this point anyways). I will keep everyone updated as my recovery progresses
  • black95gt, I have been watching to see if you would post how you did with your surgery. I am so happy to hear that you feel better. Please don't over do it as you will read from others experiences post op. After the steroids from the surgery wear off you may start to feel the pain again. please keep us updated on your progress. I am 11 days post op from microdiscectomy L5-S1 with same symptoms you had.
  • good to hear you're doing well. sounds like i felt after the surgery. i skipped the pain meds, as they never did anything for me (unless i took a stronger dosage than prescribed). i still get some numbness in my foot, but nothing i can't live with and it can be expected for several months after the surgery as you heal. dr said by may (six months post op) i should be able to do anything i want.
  • im on the second day post op and doing about the same. I have been taking the codine just to block the pain at the incision location. I went to the gym last night and walked 1.5 miles and felt good. The calf was tired but not painfull. im gonna go walk a few blocks here and take the dog for a walk. But basically just laying down taking it easy and getting up to go to the bathroom, get drink or whatever. The only issues im having is its sore getting up off the couch or bed and to roll over. other than that, so far, so good
  • i had that the first few days, by the third day it was much easier.
  • im on the 3rd day post op and doing great so far. Getting in and out of bed and up and down on the couch is getting easier and less painfull. Last night i went out to dinner and was fine. I sat through dinner, but excused myself to go stand in the longe area to releive the pressure off my lower back. It wasnt hurting, but more as a precautionary measure. This morning i went to my g/f's daughters bball game and sat in the bleachers through the game for 45 minutes. No problems. I removed the bandage this morning and finished the anti-biotics and the incision shows no signs of infection. Im definitly going to continue taking it easy and slow until the doc gives me more clearence. But im going to be going back to work this week. Probably on Tuesday. I might try a 1/2 day if needed, but we'll see
  • Black95gt,

    I'm glad to hear you are doing so well. I am planning on doing the same surgery as you. All you symptoms are exactly what I am going through. I wish you continued success in your recovery and I am curious to monitor your progress. Best of luck! Brian
  • Thanks Brian. Good luck to you as well. Im anxious to get to the "fully" recovered period and then see how my 2 lower back discs respond to full activity. The doc wanted to do a lumbar fusion but i said no-way. But i am very happy so far with my procedure. I will try and write a daily or bi-daily progress report.
  • I'm glad you're doing well. Like wow. Very encouraging to others. I hope you do well with your healing and thanks for the update. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks Charry. Its day 5 and still doing great. Ive completely stopped the pain meds at this point and have no pain at all. Very light discomfort getting up off the couch. Im doing most chores around the house that dont require lifting. Ive decided im going back to work tomorow. I dont see the point in me staying home when i feel fine. i think im probably to the point now where i just have to be carefull on how i bend and lift. I will definitly be taking it slow and easy until i see the doc next Thursday which will have been 2 weeks post OP. I plan on working half the time sitting and half the time standing with a 4-5 minute walk around the building every hour or so.
  • Its been 1 week post op today. I returned to work yesterday and still feeling great. I alternated standing and sitting at work and seemed to work ok. Took short walks every now and again. After work i went to the bowling alley to give my team an update on my status and then to the local boys basketball game. Standing the whole time. Today i am a little stiff and tight but not sore. its been 2 days since i last took any pain meds and doing all right. I go back to the doc in a week to get the stitches removed and assume he will put me in PT at that time. I havent done anything yet, but i would really like to start stretching. my leg and glute muscles are really tight.
  • Please do not overdo it!!! It sounds to me like you are really pushing and may live to regret it. The major problem stemming from discectomy, at least according to my surgeon, is that people often feel such immediate relief that he has a hard time convincing them to take it easy and allow themselves the opportunity to really heal up. Remember that rest and sleep are a very important part of the healing equation.

    Otherwise, I'm delighted you are doing so well. Just take it a little easier. ;)
  • I signed up to this site partly to comment on several topics but mostly to respond to you. As the last poster said "Please don't over do it".
    I had my discectomy 10 weeks ago (L4/L5 both sides, and L5/S1 on the left) and right after surgery I was almost pain free. I took it easy for 4-6 weeks, but then did a little too much and paid for it for over a week. I have noticed pain back in my left hip and leg, although nothing like before. I have noticed that many people also share the same reoccuring pain so I'm not totally paniced...yet. The nuerosurgeon isn't worried, and said all is going about normal. It seems like it is taking forever.

    I also found myself in a bowling alley just to watch, but left when I had an urge to play. Looking forward to tennis, golf, bowling, etc., but would extremely advise waiting. You do remmember what the pain before surgery was like?? Not worth it to risk going back.


  • 94pete, That was good advice for everyone. If the doctor has restrictions after surgery then you should follow them or you could be right back where you started. That pain is just not worth it. I remember it too well.
  • Its been 12 days post op now and still doing good. I have gained my muscle control in my calf muscle and the numbness in my foot is very mynute now. Im really feeling great as i can sit longer and the aching i had from walking is gone. Im still not lifting or bending and will not until i see the doc on Thursday and wait for his go ahead opinion. So far it was a great procedure besides the hassle i now have to deal with the insurance company
  • You are one of the lucky ones. I am so happy for you and a little bit jealous that I haven't had the same quick recovery that you have. I hope you continue to get better each day.
  • Im sorry yours hasnt gone as well as mine. I am greatfull for the results i have gotten as i dont remember the last time i felt this great. I wish you well on your recovery.

    I went in for the post-op check up today and got the stitches taken out. Thank god, them things where itching like crazy. The doc said that everything is good and there is no pain or aches that i am free to go on to my normal life activities and back to normal lifting and bending. He said that through research and studies have shown that you can do the same 2 weeks after the surgery as you can 2 months after. He said to avoid runnig if possible unless its just a short cardio workout and even then recomended the eliptical. He said i could go back to strength training but no military press, hang cleans or squats. I can go back to bowling, golf, and run a snowblower if it snows. He set me up for PT and said i had to go at least once to get the excersise program to strengthen my core and stretch my muscles out and said i need to bond religiously to the program for the rest of my life. I will probably do a couple months worth of therapy since ive now met my out of pocket maximum, so i might as well take advantage of it.
  • You are so lucky! I saw in your earlier posts that you had weak calf musle. Did your strenth returned? when? Could you do a toe rises? Heel walking? How long did you had weakness before the surgery?
  • i have been quite fortunate thus far. I dont know about the heel walking, but i couldnt do even the slightest toe raise. After i blew the disk out to the point of not being able to walk hardly, thats when the calf went weak and foot numb. So it was like that for about 1 month prior to surgery. I noticed i was able to do a toe raise again on Wed. exactly 2 weeks post op. All i gotta say is i wouldnt wish this upon anybody and those who have experienced or are experiencing this, i pray for a fast recovery. Outside of some devastating disease or cancer, i cant imagine there is much worse than having severe sciatica for several months.
  • Black95gt, How is your foot numbness? I just wondered if it is improving since your surgery and it has completely went away.
  • I still have foot numbness and the doc said it could be a couple of months before it goes away. Some days its better than others but it doesnt bother me to bad
  • I look forward to reports on your progress since your symptoms were so much like mine. I go next wednesday for my first follow up to my neurosurgeon. It will be 4 weeks since my microdiscectomy, I didn't have stitches to be removed. So it sounds like you are not completely without some pain/numbness. Keep us updated. I am sure that I am not the only one following your updates.
  • Today is exactly 4 weeks since my microdiscectomy, and thank God I am doing well. I continued to feel a small amount of sciatica for the first 2 or 3 weeks(mainly at night for some reason), about 1 out of 10. Now I am almost totally pain free. I still have a bit of numbness in my left foot. Also, the strength of the toes in my left foot is not as much as in my right foot.

    My doctor recommended staying away from PT for the first 2 months. Also, he recommended returning to work only after 4-5 weeks of rest.

    I'm happy & encouraged to hear about your wonderful progress, but I can't help worrying that perhaps you're getting back into things a bit too quickly. The mere thought of bowling scares the hell out of me. You certainly don't want to reinjure yourself.

    In any case, good luck & take care.
  • Its been just over 3 weeks since the procedure now and im still doing well. I started PT today and we are just doing stretching for the first week. The PT was amazed at how fast ive recovered. Anyways, im back to work in the field surveying and went back to bowling. The numbness in my foot is all but gone. Still some very light numbness if any at all. I will at times have the shooting down my leg, but its not painfull but a mere reminder. i asked the PT about this and he said this is normal, although in most cases actual pain as the nerve adjusts and heals. I notice this for just awhile after doing my stretches. So we are going to do stretching for this week and next week get me doing core strengthening with the excersise ball. He also wants me to start doing a good cardio workout, but no running. I will be starting that this weekend with light weight lifting.
  • Yor should be poster boy for microdiscectomys. I am like Don about the thought of bowling scaring the hell out of me. Heck, the thought of driving a car scares me. Please be careful, you can reinjure yourself. Keep us updated on your progress with PT. I look forward to being to that point of healing.
  • I agree with sandy nurse. According to just about every medical journal article, it takes up to three months for the annular tear to heal itself and close up after a surgery. This is also the period where a reherniation is most likely to occur if it ever will. That is, if you get by three months without reherniating the disc, your chances of having a recurrent herniation is drastically decreased.

    So, do yourself a favor and continue to take it easy for another two months. I don't see bowling as too much of a problem so long as you keep good form, just remember that you may feel like a million dollars, but there is still a tear in the disc's annulus, and until it's completely healed you're not out of the clear. As I have read, even the slightest bulge will prevent the annulus from ever truly healing, and if it never heals, your chances of a reherniation are that much higher.
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