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Any nurses who have had microdiscectomy

sandy nursessandy nurse Posts: 75
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just wondering what problems nurses have had going back to work after lumbar microdiscectomy. I am 3 weeks post L5-S1 microdiscectomy and will see my neurosurgeon next week for follow up. My job as a nurse involves direct patient care with much bending, pushing and assisting patients to the restroom with IV pumps attached. I don't know if I will be able to go back to this 4 weeks after surgery. I still have pain in right hip, hamstring, calf and lateral side of my foot. Numbness in my foot is still causing me to have trouble walking. I am just not sure what my doctor will tell me and my supervisor is wanting me to come back asap. Anyone out there who can tell me about how long you were disabled?


  • I am not a nurse but 2 of my sisters are.

    As you know surgery/healing/recovery is a very individual thing.

    At 3 weeks my spine specialist would limit your lifting to 1 gallon of milk (8 lbs). He would order PT. You would be evaluated at the beginning and at the end of PT.

    I am not a doctor but it does NOT sound like your decompression surgery worked....at least yet.

    Hope you get better soon.

  • I haven't had surgery but I am a Nurse and I understand how heavy the job is. Don't let them rush you back to soon. I think you could reinjure easily. Three weeks I think is not enough. I'm not a Dr of course but I'm a Nurse. Talk to your union rep if you're in a union. Lifting Iv pumps 10lbs each. I've been off work for a year and haven't had surgery. Good luck and hope everything goes well for your check up. 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
  • I guess I am gettiing a little anxious. I don't think that I am progressing as fast as others that I read about on this forum. I know that we all heal differently, but with my C4-C5 surgery in 1988 I saw a big change immediately after surgery with daily improvement. I have little change in my pain and numbness since this surgery.
  • HI

    I am not a nurse, but work in XRAY as a Mammographer. When I had my first fusion (12/07) I waited and waited to go back....b/c Dr said I could go back on light duty-- you and I both know there is no Light Duty with either of our jobs...you have to consider not only the lifting, but the hours on your feet, which are many, and any twisting or stooping over to your patients that you do during your day.

    I was waiting for partial fusion at least before going back. Then, like you, new pains started, and I never fused and found out another disc tore in the meantime, and that was without going back to work!

    So I had revision with another level fused just 4 weeks ago. I have been out of work all this time. I had no recourse for any kind of disability as I hadn't worked enough hours there.

    Don't mean to scare you- but think long and hard about these new pains you feel and the extent of work you do as a nurse , besides just lifting.

    Take care of yourself...heal and get checked by the dr again.

  • I appreciate all the replys I have gotten. Today I feel like I may as well apply for disability. Osteoarthritis and DDD L4-L5 plus this surgery for herniation at L5-S1 makes me just want to give in to the pain and quit.
  • I am not a nurse, but was wondering what kind of surgery did they do. I have the same diagnose with DDD L-4 thur S-1 herinated and Annular Tears. I'm going for my consult with a surgeron in Atlanta, GA and I pray he can help me. I'm in so much pain and take to much meds I've been cutting down most of my meds and trying to stick with the ones that help me out the most.
    I pray you get better and is able to get your disability from work.

    DUH I see you had a mircodistomecty or how ever you spell it. lol Well with that said how long did they tell you that you will be out of work? Has your pain decreased? Let me know how your surgery went like how long you stayed in the hospital did they make you get up right after your surgery and walk? Tell me ok thanks in advance.
  • Hi DoxieCity04,
    I have a history of back pain. Osteoarthritis in my spine, knees and hands. I actually fractured C4 and the fragment of bone pinched the nerve causing pain in my left arm and numbness of my left hand. I had surgery to remove the fragment and it took a year for the numbness to resolve. I did this by slipping while pushing a patient in a wheelchair. I didn't even fall down, just caused me to twist. I have been careful and for the past 7 years I have treated this pain in my right hip using my inversion table, occasionl steroid packs, Chiropractor and rest. Another severe episode in October 2008 with many visits to the Chiropractor and steroids didn't help. I was sent for MRI that showed DDD of L4-L5 and large bulge of L5-S1 compressing the nerve root. I was sent for the series of 3 spinal epidurals. By this time the lateral side of my right foot and heel had gone numb and my calf muscle and buttock hurt like heck. I was referred to a neurosurgeon who scheduled me for surgery in 3 days. I had the micro done on 1-26-09 and I am 3 weeks post op today. My pain is worse now than before surgery. I have had another round of steroids and I'm on Neurontin 300mg 3 times a day ( I hate this drug). I just feel like I will never be the same. I was told by the neurosurgeon who did my cervical surgery long ago that due to the amount of arthritis damage to my spine that I should apply for disability. At that time I felt like I could still work and didn't check into it. I am sorry that I have bored you with my entire medical history, but you sort of asked. To anyone else I bored, please accept my apology.
  • DoxieCity04.
    I can't believe I left out something you asked. The microdiscectomy surgery was done with a small incision, mine is 2 inches. One night stay in the hospital and they made me walk when they got me to my hospital room. My doctor said to expect to be off work for 6 weeks if everything went ok. I go back for my post op follow up next week. I think the pain and recovery time is different for everyone. I have read some amazing recovery stories on here. I usually don't give into pain, but this sure has gotten me down and depressed.
  • Hi Sandy nurse.I too am an RN, in the operating room no less. I have actually been an OR nurse for many of these procedures that the people of this forum have had done, and now I am facing issues myself. I have DDD from C3-4 through C6-7, with herniation of C4-5(5 years ago) and C5-6 and 6-7 just last April. I know what it is like to have to go back on "light duty" which is a joke for our profession. I have not had surgery yet and am currently looking into that. I have missed a lot of time out of work as well.

    Please don't push yourself into going back too soon if you are not ready. As you know there is no way we can do our jobs while taking pain medication and it is not worth suffering through work everyday. Nurses tend to feel guilty about not being able to get back to work after an injury because we see people everyday so much worse off than ourselves. However, you are the patient now and need to take care of yourself before you can go back to taking care of others. Don't let your boss guilt you into going back before you are ready.
  • Hi Andrea,
    I know that going back to work means at the same pace that I was doing when I left. I will be on my feet all day with only a 30 minute lunch break. We don't have time to take a morning and afternoon break. Heck, we do good to get to go to the bathroom.
    I remember how miserable the cervical surgery was. Wearing the cervical collar was awful. That surgery was worse than this lumbar surgery, but at least I improved after that surgery, lol.
    Good luck to you with your surgery.
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