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Oh crap... Who over-did it after surgery?

ibivyiibivy Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Not a good day.

I had a microdiscectomy/hemilaminectomy @ L4/5 in mid-July. Things with recuperation have been going well, PT has been going well, all-in-all I'm slowly upping activity and movements, lessening pain meds, and generally taking it one careful day at a time. And now I'm a bit freaked out... Because on Friday, at a Halloween party, 2 glasses of wine (which of course I've abstained from for months due to pain meds) led to much dancing. I did manage to stay sober enough where I concentrated on keeping my core tight during said hip/body movements, but obviously inebriated enough where I DID dance and not just hang out on the sidelines. I know, I know... No need to berate me, for I'm doing it enough to myself already.

I've been in pain since Saturday morning post-dancing. It's all back pain, deep and stiff. Interestingly enough, it's not the lower part of the spine near the surgical area, but a bit above that... the actual vertebrae are tender to the touch. I haven't had muscle spasms or true acute pain, but I am definitely very, very sore.

I was at 100 days post-surgery when this stupidly occurred. I'm sure the majority of my pain is because I was so active and using muscles in ways I haven't for months... I'm icing, being careful, and expect things to calm down in a few days... but to be honest, there's a part of me that is absolutely horrified that I've done something horrible and re-herniated or worse.

So... I am in search of stories. Who else has overdone it out there post surgery? What did you do? How did you feel? What was the eventual outcome? I don't have any friends that have had this surgery, so I'm at a loss for comparable stories.


  • I'd have to say that there are an awful lot of people on this board who had a microdiscectomy before having a fusion. The relief from the micro never seems to last very long, and I have a feeling it just contributes to making things a bit more unstable. Do I KNOW that? NO. I'm not a medical professional. Just sayin. You might want to call your doc. If you have some inflammation in there, they might be able to give you a medrol pack or something to calm it down. The ice is probably a good idea too.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I think you probably just used some muscles that haven't been used in months and months and you just have soft tissue soreness. Hopefully you weren't twisting from the waist too much. The people I know who reherniated had more of the lower back/hip/leg pain and seemed to know immediately what they had done.

    I should think at 3 months' time that you are pretty well healed. You don't have bones to mend together like a fusion.

    Sounds like you're doing all the right things to help the situation along. If in a week you are still concerned, you can always call your surgeon and see what they think!!

    Hope you had a good time at the party.

  • I wouldn't worry too much as you were 3 months out.

    I went back to managing my restaurant 5 days post 2 level ADR (guess what, it never fused..). I then wen out on a date 2 days after the follow up fusion surgery 18 months later, post lumbar laminectomy and post cervical decompression--you don't even want to know what I was doing within days but I can say dancing was one of them.

    3 months out, you should be ok. The area may be tender still and you may need an antiinflammatory but as [posted above, I would ask your doctor.

    I've found Celebrex to be excellent for inflammation. Gentler on the stomach then tons of Aleve or Advil and with far less side effects then a steroid pack.

    I would ice the area, call the doctor and slowly ease back into having fun!

    Good luck and feel better,
  • I knew when I had done something wrong because I had a bolt of lightning shock type pain and my leg was tingling.

    Could be just muscle spasms and ligament strain, but doesn't sound bad. Please take it easy. As Isteller basically said, it seems like you only get one chance at a successful micro-d.

    All the best.

  • I am glad you were able to have a free moment, a moment where the whole experience of the past year or so was forgotten and you were able to let loose. I hope you had a blast, that alone might be worth the price to pay!!! Take it easy, alternate ice and heat and rest, rest, rest!!! Enjoy the memory and look forward to many more!

    At least you didn't over-do it doing something mundane such as housework like I do!!!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    For whatever stubborn reason I had or felt that I was invincible (since my first surgery was at 28) I have a long track record of OVER DOING IT. Not just after surgery but years later. Once I started to feel good, I would forget about the exercises, I would forget about the limitations and just go on as if I had no spinal problem. Seven spinal surgeries later, I am pretty convince at least 2 of them could hav been avoided if I did what I should have done.
    Noe at 59, I think I have finally learned how to become smart.

    Take a look at these two posts:
    10 Things that can put us in for another surgery

    10 Ways to Avoid another Surgery
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you, all. I appreciate your stories, thoughts, and suggestions. It's nice to hear from people that can connect with my situation.
  • I am 20 years old, and it's the hardest thing in the world to try to not overdo it, even now, about 11 months post 2 level L4-S1 fusion. About a week and a half out of surgery, I for some reason felt I could get onto the ground, still in my brace, on my hands and knees to get something, and I had this horrible sharp pain in my spine right above the incision. I went to the doctor the next day after a night of hysterical worried crying, and basically this is what he told me. Because my 3 vertebrae were fused and could no longer move and maneuver in different positions, like holding up the back when on hands and knees, the vertebrae and adjoining muscles and ligaments above it have to take up the slack. They were never used to it before, so that is why it hurt so much - the muscles were engaged for the first time in this case. Since then, I have had a linear mass of muscle one vertebrae above my incision that makes up for the movement and everything that the fused vertebrae can't do. It hurts like hell when I don't keep up my posture, but it's not dangerous.

    Basically, I have overdid it, but thankfully nothing too dangerous. At college, I definitely danced about 2 months out of surgery, not too much, but I did, and I went out, about 5 months post, I climbed trees, fell down, ran, and nothing serious happened. This is noooo way telling you this is okay to do, because now, 11 months post, I am having issues with my fusion setting, and I can't put a finger on a specific incident that could have caused this. I wonder all the time, maybe if I didn't do that, then I wouldn't be having these problems. Just remember some things can't be prevented, some things CAN, and just be careful! One or two years of healing is a Godsend compared to a lifetime of pain and restrictions.
  • I wanted to thank you all for the support and stories.

    I decided to head to the doc today. While the muscular pain had decreased significantly over the last few days, I had some concern over tingling/radiation of feeling through the leg. I was teased for the partying, but in the end, there are no 'classical signs' of what would be expected had I herniated (although of course that's not a guarantee) and I was told that I most likely just went beyond my body's limit. I've been very guarded with all my PT and life in general post-op, almost more so than my PCP wants me to be, and that was what likely set me up for the amount of pain I ended up in. Or so I'm told. I was told not to be too concerned, and just spend a little extra time resting, icing, and doing slow exercises.

    So, no matter what happened internally, the panic is averted.
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