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Recovery Time?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
So I had surgery Wednesday to remove the cyst and repair the herniated disc. Things were looking great right from the time I woke up. I came home from the hospital early Thursday and have been active but not doing anything strenuous. I'm taking it slow. I even stayed off pain pills because I didn't want to do any damage and I figured I would do no more than my pain would let me.

As the days go by I am feeling stiffer and more sore. I feel like a rubber band trying to retract. I think that its other muscles doing things they didn't have to do before. I'm still having some pain in my left leg and my toes tingle. Once I get moving it's not so bad, but getting up and getting started is a slow process. I went back on the Lyrika today but am staying off the Oxycodone. I wondered why I kept getting the question from health care workers, "You're diabetic, right?" Now I think I understand, Lykica is a diabetic nerve pain pill. My neurologist prescribed it for pain.

I see that this 'speedy recovery' is not going to happen at the speed I expect.


  • Even with "minimally invasive" type of surgery there is still recovery/regrouping time. I felt good the first 2 weeks or so also, then terrible pain behind the knees, etc. Just using different muscles to compensate for what I couldn't do.

    Yes, we need to rest, but walking is great for keeping the blood flowing. Getting up in the am is tough for me too (and many others!), it just takes time to get the body moving to feel less stiff.

    Forget about "speedy recovery" expectations, give your body time, don't rush things. Good luck.
  • the thing that helped me the most with pain at night and being stiff was wearing a lumbar corsett at night when sleeping.My doc recomended this when i told him i woke up about every hr in pain and stiff in the morning.
  • Yeah, I'll just take it slow. This is a good time to get back into walking every day. We have 4 dogs that love to walk as well. I was in the habit for a good while and because habits are as easy to break as they are create, I quit. I just despise doing structured exercise that accomplishes no purpose except health improvement. I feel like it's wasted energy (I know it is not) so I try to do the things I enjoy that require physical exertion, like walking the dog. I can't stand treadmills. I like racquetball but haven't done it in years. The motorcycle is one of my most favorite hobbies and while it does not require a lot of energy it does keep my hands from putting food in my mouth! Unfortunately, I also enjoy construction/carpentry, and I have a house I am rebuilding, but it is probably what got me where I am with my back. Just before the worst of my back pain I had just finished taking down a 60 year old chimney, brick at a time. Lots of hammering and prying and pulling, lugging bricks down from the attic and off the roof. This is a project I’m anxious to get back to work on but I’m afraid I will need to hire a helper with a back stronger than mine. When I do something I want to be able to look back and something done, like’ look, there’s new siding on the house’, instead of,’ see, I just walked 30 minutes on a treadmill’.

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement! And I'll look up information on a lumbar corsett.

  • Yesterday was a bummer. I felt ok as long as I sat in my chair at the computer but I felt like I had a charlie horse coming on in my left thigh. If I tried to walk it felt like I was just coming out of a charlie horse in the left thigh. This left leg pain is just bugging me like crazy, I really didn't expect it.

    Here's some history and then a question. Maybe some of you have had experience with this. Prior to surgery the neurologist had me on Lyrika (nerve pain) and prednisone (steroid). They seemed to help but the Lyrika was strong and made me dizzy. The prednisone made me want to eat like a horse. I was also taking naproxin (NSAID) for the inflamation, and still maintain a regular dose. I took an occasional Oxycodone for pain as well. I was anxious to get off the prednisone before I turned into an elephant. I did notice that it helped the healing process as I had a couple of sores on the back of my hand that were healing faster than normal.

    Post surgery I stopped all pain meds for a day because I felt so good and didn't feel the need, so the no more Lyrika or Oxycodone. It didn't take but just a few days to go by before I started taking an occasional pain pill, realizing that rest was needed to heal and those meds definitely helped me rest. (That might be a good point to remember, primarily take pain meds to rest, not so you can do more than you should. Pain does have a purpose, it tells you not to stick your hand in the fire.)

    So, here's the question. Have you noticed that maybe stopping some meds causes problems? I take Inderol for tremors and was told not to stop it suddenly. What about Oxycodone, Lyrika, Prednisone? I feel like I have started down a slippery slope. The only meds I took for years were the Inderol for the tremors and Alegra-D for my sinus and allergies. Now I have so many pill bottles that I have to carry them in a bag when I go to the doc. ("Bring your meds!")

    I'm going out today, I don't care if my damn leg hurts.
  • New to the forum here. I'm 6 days post op from an l4-5 microdiscectomy. Seem to be doing OK.
    I had this same surgery in July of 08 and began getting pain down the right leg in Jan of 09. Been through 6 shots, 180 Vicoden and just had had enough.
    Got an early Christmas present from my wife, a new treadmill. I'm doing 20 minutes 2x's a day starting 3rd day of recovery.
  • Tbird, did you get immediate relief after the first surgery? And did another MRI show the disc had herniated again?

    I said I was going out today. I did and I feel better for it. No pain pills all day and I'm getting ready for bed and not taking any now. My leg actually feels pretty good.

    I'm going back out tomorrow. If I stay away from the house maybe I can stay away from the refrigerator!

  • I forgot to mention, my wife was looking at my butt when I got out of the shower and noticed I have a big bruise just south of the incision. I thought, that's good, that explains why my ass hurts, too! Really, if its bruised then I know I have more healing to do!

  • Did your surgeon tell you it was OK to walk on a treadmill this early in your recovery? If you had sciatic-type pain, you might want to be really careful that you are not overdoing it. Any repetitious movement where the legs are doing the same thing over and over and over again, can really aggravate the nerves. This is not the case when one is walking normally (on a road, a track, through a mall, etc.) because one automatically varies the pace, the stride, etc. As a result more muscle and soft tissue is used in a variety of ways and it is less stressful to the body.

    It seems to me that twenty minutes at one time so soon after surgery is really running the risk of aggravating the nerves that are already traumatized from the surgery. I know you are eager to recover, but you have to guard against doing too much and then causing a flare that will result in a setback to your recovery.

    Surgeons say one of the hardest things with discectomy is trying to keep the patients from overdoing it right after surgery. They feel so much better and are so eager to do all the things they have not been able to do while in pain, that they get carried away and end up getting into trouble -- reherniating a disc, etc...Since you are on your second surgery, this is something for you to think about.
  • Never thought about the treadmill being different from the road walking. My hip is quite sore today so I may have overdone it a bit. I'll do the road walking today.
    Prior to the 1st surgery, I had tremendous back pain and it had just started down the leg. But, this last surgery was mostly leg pain. The pain is still in my leg but I think it's trauma. The surgeon told me that the nerve was bound with scar tissue and it was adhering to the disc, along with a bulging disc.
    I'll take it easy on the walking and the xmas cookies.
  • Hi Mike,

    I was reading your posts. I had micro-D 1 month and 1 week ago. I experienced alot of the same things you are going through. Walking does help the most, keep it up. My pain was actually worse after surgery, though not as bad as when the injury occured 9 months earlier. I was taking alot of pain meds after surgery, and am know weaning of of them. I have taken none today except 1 ibuprofen in the morning. I have VERY little leg pain now and get around well, considering being laid up for 6 out of the last 10 months,(the ESI's worked for 3 months). Basically, don't get discouraged keep walking, and don't let the mornings get you down. After surgery that someone told you yhat you would get emediate relief, you might tend to wake up thinking that maybe it the pain be gone. mornings were the worst for me. You do have the right thinking when you know that you may not be able to do some of the things you once did. Buy hopefully all of us here will be able to do what ever we want some day.
    Anyway, the best of healing to you, and Happy holidays!

  • Magic Mike, I decided to try and stop taking my Oxycodone at about 7 weeks post op. I didn't take it for two days, figuring I was feeling better & didn't need it so often. On the 3rd day, I felt like I had the flu. I was achey, stiff, irritable, cranky, etc. My entire body hurt, from my head to my toes. Turns out I went through withdrawal! I took a pill and the symptoms went away.

    At my last meeting with my pain management doctor we talked about me getting off the pain meds. He said he wants me to do it very slowly, over the course of about 2-3 months. Not everyone experiences the withdrawals so quickly or at all, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

    The Lyrica I take to help with my nerve pain. My PM doc says I will likely be on them for about 6 months. He is the professional, I am going to listen to him and continue taking them.

    My advice to you would be to follow your doctor's orders. If you want to be off meds, tell your doctor first.

    Edited to add: I'm not sure what type of surgery you had exactly, but if you had a fusion do NOT take ibuprofen! It prohibits bone growth. I'm not supposed to take ibuprofen for a year after surgery.
  • Thanks for the comment Dave.

    This has been a great day, I feel better than I did waking up from surgery. Now that's a weird statement. I actually felt pretty good after surgery. However, I rank today as the best yet. I almost got the motorcycle out and went for a ride.

    I've been out most of the day, spent some time walking around Walmart, went visiting, walked around the flea market, just stayed busy. The last two days I’ve been using a cane and I left it home today. This morning was great, jumped out of bed like nothing was wrong. I still feel great.

    I’m glad I didn’t have to wait for surgery as long as some of the stories I‘ve seen here, including yours. Now I just hope most days for a while are as good as today. The only med that I took today besides my meds for shaking and sinus was naproxen and I think tomorrow I’ll go back to OTC Aleve.

    As to quick recovery, I got that information here, as well as from the doc.


    I really expected to be uncomfortable after surgery. I’ve had three hernia repairs on the other side and only one of them was NOT painful upon waking after surgery. I told my wife I would probably need ice packs on my back after surgery so was quite pleased to wake up feeling so well after this one. I’m still pissed that they admitted me instead of sending me home just because I couldn’t pee. The hospital is no place to rest and recover.

  • Noseovertail, I updated my footer message. I was taking Tylox (5 mg Oxycondone) for about a month prior to surgery. Several weeks ago my neurologist gave me a script for Lyrika to get me off the oxy. I also started taking Prednisone to help as well. So I suppose I could say I have been working my way off the Oxycodone since a day or two before surgery, and the Neurosurgeon gave me another script for Tylox. I have not and plan not to fill it. I took it initially because I knew that to heal I needed to rest.

    All this is easy for me to say right now, because I am (as I sit right now at the computer) completely pain free and have not had anything stronger than the Naproxen (NSAID) for two days. If my wife was looking over my shoulder she would be reminding me of what a wus I was a few days or few weeks ago.

  • I have used a treadmill after every surgery without any issues. In fact it was and is a tremendous help. I found road and trail walking to be far more of an irritant and painful than walking on a shock absorbing treadmill. Having a treadmill to use allowed me to do more walks more frequently and gave me handrails for support if needed. If all I would have had for walking was the outdoors, I would not have recovered as quickly, I firmly believe.

    Everyone's case is different, everyone's docs have different recommendations. My NS is very pro-exercise and activity very quickly after surgery. The only time he told me to slow down was when I was walking 7 miles a day at 2 weeks post op double laminectomy.

    With a treadmill, I can manage to get in a walk even when no one is around to help me with shoes. I've walked many miles on my treadmill in a pair of sandals because that's all I could get on by myself.

    So I'm very pro-treadmill (a good quality one) versus road walking.

    Hope you are feeling better.

  • Surprised at all the different "regiments" of the drugs we take. I've been on Gabepentin (Nuerontin) for 3 years, Hydrocodone for a year. After the surgery the doc has me on Oxy, Gabepentin, a steroid pack and Benedryl before bed.
    I'm 8 days out of surgery and the back is getting better but the leg pain is still here. I'm sure I just need time and to walk it out.
    Merry Xmas to all !!
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