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Miscrodiscetomy recovery - Sitting position OK (?)

cantacccantac Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have a L5/S1 microdiscectomy coming up. Was wondering if I'm going to spend recovery lying on the couch and watching movies and reading, or, sitting in a chair or sitting at a computer. I've heard that if you are in a sitting position you should get up and walk around every 30 minutes. Also I'm assuming lying down is OK. What about sitting in a reclined position? Is that safe or is it pain-dependent? Thanks - cantac


  • You should probably not sit longer than 15 minutes at a time at the beginning. Sitting puts 30% more pressure on the discs than standing or walking. While sitting, be sure you use good body mechanics. Sit squarely on both "sit bones", be sure your head is not thrust forward; try to keep in alignment with your spine and do not cross your legs. When you cross your legs, you automatically end up putting more weight on one side than the other. If you've had back pain all along, you already probably have muscle imbalances and have been compensating. It is important to become aware of this and try to remember to sit and stand and walk "in alignment."

    My PT had a problem with recliners, but many people swear by them. The problem is that the lumbar support, etc. of the recliner, may not line up with the natural curves in your spine. But many spineys love their recliners....

    Hopefully with a microdiscectomy, you won't be lying around on the couch for too long. Remember to walk several times each day, and rest when you can. More important will be how you carry yourself and use your body after the surgery, so you do not reherniate or stress your spine unnecessarily.

    Good luck with your surgery.

  • Thanks for the info Gwennie. So when I'm not sitting for 15 minutes, am I supposed to be lying down? Meaning I'm going to be horizontal for the first few days a LOT....?
  • You can lie down, or recline. You don't have to be flat in the bed. You can prop yourself up with pillows behind your back. You can sit in a chair for about 15 minutes each hour but you should avoid soft, upholstered chairs or couches as you sink so far down into them. You can walk, stand or lie down for the rest of the time, depending on how you feel.

    But if your doctor says you may sit for a longer time period, then listen to him, if it is not painful.
  • It seems like reclining in a computer chair with good lumbar support would be better than something like a Lazy-Boy recliner because the computer chair is a lot firmer. By recline I mean the chair reclines backward (not you slouching in it) and I read this is a good position because your weight goes to the back of your upper shoulders, and also the back of your legs. You're sitting all the way back in the chair allowing the chair to take some of the stress. That is different than the traditional sitting upright with the chair at 90 degrees. I guess the only thing I can do is wait and see how everything feels!
  • After my microdisectomy on L4/L5 earlier this year I was told to restrict my sitting quite a lot. Initally I was only supposed to sit for meals and the toilet building up over several weeks to a maximum of 20 minutes at a time. I was also told that I needed to sit with my knees lower than my hips, couches were bad initially and I should use lumbar support. I have one of those fancy computer chairs with lumbar support and I used that for the first 2 weeks, getting up every 15 minutes. I must be honest, the first week I was home I didn't much feel like sitting and spent a lot of time in bed anyway. I never asked about a recliner as we don't have one so can't comment on that. I did find that when I sat for longer than I was supposed to, my back hurt and the numbness in my leg increased.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084

    Each doctor may have slightly different protocols. BE sure to get written instructions regarding sitting, lying down, walking, etc from the physical therapist you see after the surgery (if you see one) and if not get it from the doctor.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • My post op instructions after microdiscetomy was absolutely no sitting straight up at all for the first few days. A recliner is fine but no sitting straight at all. You will find it very uncomfortable if you try but I do not believe that 15 minutes will even be OK. Of course check with your doc but I am pretty sure that this is normal post op instructions.
  • I have a firm recliner and a soft recliner. I found the soft recliner way more comfortable. I also had to have someone help me up from a reclined position. Please check with your doc before you take anyones advice here. I do not believe that even 15 minutes at a time is acceptable for the first few days.
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