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Discectomy L5S1 done yesterday

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone! I had the microdiscectomy done yesterday on L5S1. I am in a lot of pain. Any ideas or tips anyone have for me? Thanks!


  • Hi there.

    I guess my best tips are:
    - Remember to log roll in/out of bed
    - No bending
    - No twisting
    - No lifting
    - When in bed, lie flat on back with pillow under your knees or on side with pillow b/t knees.
    - keep shoulders and hips aligned
    - try to get up every 1-2 hours to walk for about 10 mins. It is good to keep scar tissue off nerves and to keep "digestive" system moving...but only if your doctor told you too
    - Limit sitting to meal time at least for the first 2 weeks
    -keep track of your meds.

    I hurt after my first microdiscectomy, more from the incision and back swelling. I found that for the 1st 2-weeks, follow the prescription you doctor gave you. I drank a good amount of water to force myself to get up and move around so I wouldn't get stiff.

    If the pain gets worse, call your doctor just to be sure s/he doesn't have any concerns.

    What pain is it specifically?
    incision or back or leg?

    I know after my surgery last August, I literally felt someone hit me across the lower back with a 2X4 or bigger but after about a week, things started to get better.

  • I assume you just got home late last night or today.
    The car ride was bound to add some stress to your back.

    I tried to avoid getting in the car for the 1st 2 weeks b/c cars jostle you around more.

    What were you prescribed to take?
    I was given Percaset for pain and Valium for muscle relaxer. I wasn't sure which to take but learned quickly that valium is good if you feel your back tense or spasming. Percaset which is tylenol with oxycodeine was good for pain in back and legs. I was also allowed to take ibuprofin for inflammation after the first 2 weeks (maybe sooner but ask your doctor). Both make you drowsy so don't get too worried if you sleep a lot.
  • HeidiLynnM,

    I don't know what the pain difference should be between your surgery and mine. See my signature. But, the first three weeks were excruciating. Then it started to become tolerable. Long term would probably be different for us since I had severe nerve damage, so no need to go there.

    You can check with your doctor and see if any other pain meds are available for you. We don't know what you are on.

    It will get better. Was this your first back surgery? I think for most people, and Brian would be an example, have very high pain levels for the 1-3 weeks. The leg pain and numbness would indicate you had a pinched nerve and it is now adjusting to being freed. Mine will be an issue for quite awhile.

    Best of Luck, hope you feel better soon. Everyone is here for you. Definitely follow DNice's suggestions.


  • I had the exact same surgery 2 weeks ago. All good advice above; I would add, take your stool softener! You don't want to be straining at all. And the walking every few hours has really helped me, I think>

    Best wishes!
  • Others have given you good advice.

    One more thing I would add;
    when you start feeling better, don't do too much,
    you don't want to upset it all again :-)

    It is not uncommon for discectomy patients to reherniate because they didn't allow enough time for the disc to heal properly after surgery.
  • Hi Heidi,

    Lots of good suggestions, ice can be your best friend when it really hurts. I used a large Zip-loc bag (gallon size) so it really covered the lumbar area well. I rolled the bag into a thin towel and had an ice 'belt' around the sore areas. When you ice, do it 15 minute intervals on & off. Also, I found that lying in a fetal position with a pillow between the legs helped too. Hope you're feeling better today, please keep us posted.

  • I wanted to thank everyone for their help, and ideas. I am currently taking 7.5/500 oxycodone and ketorlac for pain. I am actually waiting for a call back from the nurse to see if they can give me something stronger for the pain. It hurts like heck!!!! I feel like I can't get comfortable doing anything. I lay on my good side, and put a pillow between my legs, and that is the only way I can lay. It hurts no matter what. I can not lay on my back at all.

    I have been walking up, and down the stairs about 3 times a day to get some relief. I walk around down stairs, and upstairs too. I have used ice, and it makes me spasm very badly. I took a shower yesterday, and now have the steri strips only. I just can't get comfortable at all! My back is killing me where it is cut. My legs are hurting also like they did before. I seem to be getting some nerve pain also. Sorry so long. I am glad that I can come here and get some advice!!
  • Hope the doctor will give you some stronger pain meds to get you through the initial healing phase. Have you been given Neurontin or Lyrica for the nerve pain?

    I couldn't take ice on my back either and found a hot pack or hot water bottle was better for me.

    Have you got a grabber for picking things up? That was my "best friend" in the early days.

    Hope the permission for your PLIF comes through soon.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I need one of those grabbers! They seem handy! I also need a new back, lol. I called my surgeons nurse today and he called in 10 mg of flexirol (sp). It really doesnt do much? I should be getting percocet from pain mgmt. doctor in a few days. I feel like a big baby! I didn't realize it would hurt this much?! My husband had a spinal fusion about 3 years ago, and i remember that he was in horrible pin, and i didnt even get that done!
  • Can you tell me about the approach that was used in your surgery?
    IOTW, did they use an "open" technique or something different?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • They did the micro type. My inscion isnt very long. It sure hurts a lot! I have been up and about around this big house a lot. Sitting is the worse!My back feels very swollen too. How should i be feeling by now? Just curious.
  • Don't know much about micro procedures. But, thought they were not as painful and quicker to heal. Even with what all I had done, I had no swollen feeling. You can see if this site has an area for microsurgery folks.

    Was the surgery done at good hospital by a highly rated spine surgeon? I would bring your pain/swollen concerns to your doctor. I would expect pain for a few weeks, just don't know about the swelling on a microsurgery.

    Hope you feel better soon, it does take awhile. Especially with nerve damage.

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