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driving after micro-d

cantacccantac Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My doctor says I can make long distance drives 6 weeks after microdiscectomy. The key is to stop every 100 miles, get out and walk a bit. Anyone have to make a very long drive, 6-7 weeks after their micro-d? I'm looking at a 10 hour drive and will follow my Doctor's recommendation and stop every hour to get out for a quick walk. I don't have pain driving, currently, so I think this will be a safe activity. Thoughts?


  • I can tell you that my doctor's office is 2 hours from my house. I live alone and had to drive myself back for my post op visits, etc. After My micro-d, I wouldn't have had any trouble. How your outcome will be, we have no way of knowing. After my micro-d failed and I had to start making more regular trips back to the surgeon, I remember getting out and crying because the pain was so bad and I didn't think I'd be able to make it. My cousin, who is a nurse, recommended that I get a Back Joy (you can buy them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) to sit in. It's not a cushion, it's a back orthotic that somehow makes you sit better. At any rate, I can now handle the drive with little problem.

    So, synopsis: 1) Whether you can handle the pain will depend on your outcome. 2) get something to help you sit when travelling. I recommend a Back Joy - not affiliated, etc.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Cool, I already bought something similar from HealthyBack.com but I'll check out the Back Joy thing.

    As far as pain while driving, so far really it looks like I don't have pain. Driving, pre-op, didn't cause sciatic flare-ups before, it was different positions that would cause it.

    So, I'm not too worried about pain during a 600 mile drive. I'm more concerned with if it can cause problems. I've read that sitting isn't necessarily bad, but it is just very common to cause pain.
  • If you are successful I have heard this is the case. Much like the prior poster, my surgery was not successful but luckily not as unsuccessful (I guess). I cannot drive long distances. I was told at 6 weeks (even if surgery went well) to not drive more than 1-2 hours at a clip and while driving adjust my seat every 15 mins just to ensure I didn't stiffen.

    That being said, I re-herniated the disc (probably early on) and I don't drive more than 1 hour at a clip without getting out and stretching. I try not to drive more than 30 mins without getting out and walking around a short bit.

    So I think it depends on your outcome.
  • Sorry to hear about your re-herniation. What caused it? Driving for long periods? I'd say my surgery has in fact been successful. I'm at 3 weeks and can tell some of the pressure is off the nerve, and am looking at the normal long-term nerve healing as expected.
  • They aren't sure what caused it. I didn't drive the first 2 weeks . . heck I didn't even go in a car. They said they believe it happened within 2 weeks of the surgery since I never really got much relief. So it likely happened before scar tissue could form.

    In addition, now that I am going for more opinions on what to do next, it seems that because it reherniated so fast, they are starting to look at more details - they are looking at the disc quality and structure of my L5-S1 vertabrae. I think I'm just the statistic of a bad disc. I'm getting mixed feedback on whether or not it's worth trying revision surgery. Some say b/c it happened fast, to try it again b/c I built good scar tissue which would keep it from re-herniating again. Others say that because it happened so fast with no apparent reason, that the disc may be inherently bad and based on my history of lower back pain, they are concerned it is just a bad disc.

    I tried thinking of anything I did. I was most comfortable sleeping in a recliner and maybe that didn't provide support but I can't think of anything else other than an almost trip but I never fell or even let my body come out of alignment. They said it could have happened anywhere within the 1st 2 weeks based on what I told them at my 2 week appt.

    They hoped that I just needed more time for surgery inflammation to go down but by 6 weeks, no luck and then I tried a steroid and when that didn't work, the doctor suspected that I had reherniated it.

    I'm SUPER pleased to hear your surgery worked.
    Just be careful. From what I've read it take at last 3 months for the inner surgery incision to fully heal and really 6 months to be sure.

    Since you were successful, make sure you stay smart during the first several months of recovery.
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