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New here----recent surgery, still in pain

ItsmemeIItsmeme Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everyone, greetings from Cajun country :)

I'm going to try my best to make this short, but it may turn into a novel.

I've suffered for 3 years now with herniated L3-S1. After 3 failed attempts with epidural injections over the last 1.5 years I finally made the decision to have surgery. Discectomy surgery was done 8 weeks ago, and while the first week of recovery was brutal, I'd been feeling the last few weeks was getting better. This past week has taken a turn for the worse, even with me having stayed home from our business (own a catering company & cafe). Hubby and I feel that I did return back to work too soon, I went back after week 2, but did very light duty and only lasted 3-4 hours for 2-3 weeks thereafter. Tried my best not to stand longer than 20 minutes at a time before taking sit breaks, etc. But I'm hard headed and well we have a business to run in this failing economy!

I guess what I'd like to inquire with you guys is how was your recovery with this surgery? I realize everyone heals differently, pain levels are different, etc but I'm in tears as I write, not knowing where to turn anymore, I'm so sick of this pain, feel like giving up..


  • Itsmeme do not give up!

    First thing Monday, call your doctor. According to my surgeon, when you are this early after surgery recurrent herniation is a definite possibility.

    I guess the next thing is where is the pain? Is it lower back, leg, etc...

    I'm 12 weeks post l5/s1 discectomy and around 5 weeks had a lot of lower back pain, which doc said was muscles healing and adjusting. Leg pain/weakness recurred around 6 weeks for me, and doc swears it's just the nerves haven't healed and can take up to a year.

    Have you started physical therapy?

    Sorry to interrogate you lol!

  • I hear many people don't return to their job for 6-8 weeks after surgery and some others with a more active job takes several months or longer to get back to work. Perhaps you started back too early. I haven't had surgery but know you're very early in your recovery and hear it can take up to a year until all the nerves grow back. Perhaps you need to rest and only walk for awhile until you feel stronger and let your Surgeon know how you're doing. Take care and praying you start healing and start feeling better one day at a time. Never give up. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thank y'all kindly for replying.

    Looking back now, yes I did return to our biz far too early after surgery, should have stayed home at the very least, 3 weeks, but due to circumstances, didn't have much of a choice. I have and am walking 3-4 days a week, little less than a mile. No PT, doctor said it wasn't necessary, other than exercises I'm doing at home, via PT post-op instructions.

    The pain I'm having now was non existent prior to surgery. It's now middle back and left side lower back, which has me so confused and obviously frustrated. My pain was always lower back right side and nerve issues. We are just assuming this is normal healing process, but dang, I certainly thought at this point I'd be up and trying to get back to normal!!!

    Today, was another low for me. My precious daughter begged me to take her prom dress shopping, to which I did with a brave face on, and only lasted a couple of hours and left in tears, head hanging and my tail between my legs. I'm sooooo sick of this BS!!! Thank goodness for the love and support of our darling daughter and my husband, they both held me and said bravo, but for what?!? It's just a dang shame that I have to pill up to go shopping, go walking, go to work, etc. And in saying that, pain pills aren't working much anymore!!!

    I'm sorry for rambling, I'm sure most of you can relate. Then my guilt for complaining kicks in because I know there are so many of you here in far worse pain and situations worse than me. Thank you for listening and offering advice and support.

    Praying for everyone suffering for strength, love and support

  • and many people make the mistake of rushing back to work .too early .then wonder why there back is hurting ..i would rest up for at least 6 months .and the if you are feeling well enough and with your consultant approval have a phased return to work .and remember that you back will always be weaker now and you may require more surgery as the year roll on ..i speak from personal experience .i have has 2 surgeries and i am waiting for a third .you could try a good TENS for your pain .i will PM you the make of a good unit
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Straker,
    I'm not sure how things work in your world. The majority of us don't get the luxury of 6 months. Maybe for 3 level fusion or something dramatic. For discectomy/laminectomy or single level fusion without complication. No way.

    My surgeon did my single level and I was home in a day. He wanted me out 6 weeks. I was part-time from home in 4 weeks, part-time at work in 6 weeks and full time in 8 weeks.

    Most of us have jobs, and companies, at least here in the US, are not that sympathetic to 6 months leave. Had I told them 6 months I'd be slowly phased out of my job. They were very accommodating in every way to help. 6 weeks, yeah, 3 months if there are some issues, maybe. 6 months, not a chance. And don't you US people quote me FMLA. I live in a right to work state. Companies can get around that oh so easy.

    Returning to a catering business and being on your feet was way too early. Especially if you have been bending, lifting, twisting. And I can't imagine running that business with doing that. I can appreciate your concern as a small business owner. My wife is knee deep in a startup business in this economy. They are making traction right now. Short of me chaining her to the refrigerator, she would not miss a day.

    Go see your surgeon asap and make sure you haven't done more than just aggravate things. You have to find a way to balance your needs and your health so you don't cause more damage. Long term it will mess you up.

    Good luck!
  • Hi, i am new here, but having read the comments and taken everything in i have to agree that 90% of the population nevermind just the US cannot be off work for 6 months to recover from back surgery unless of course if it was life threatening. However i would also agree that as your back muscles have become weak and a slow but steady regime of muscle building excercise and even taking supplements can help, i am presuming you have gone down these avenues already?? If not, there is lots of ways to improve strength in your back from yoga and pilates to actual back pain relief programs which include massage to increase the flow of blood and eliminate bad posture which is a main inconvenience when it comes to recovery with back surgeries.
    Hope things progress for you. Smiffee.
  • less than 2 hours after my surgery i was on my feet. 3 days later working from home, 9 days later driving to work 1/2 hour and NO PAIN!
    Lumbar discetomy L4 L5 and Wallis Ligament.
    33 year old girl, part time firefighter and just wants to get back firefighting as soon as possible.
    will be 3 wks post op this friday and going for my first slow run....
  • itsmeme,
    Please take the time to heal. I agree that it's difficult when you have to work. I've had 1 neck surgery and 5 knee surgeries in the last 3 years each one had a different recovery time. The longest I was off work was 3 weeks post partial knee replacement then did work from home for 4 more weeks before going back full time. The first 3 weeks I was exhausted when I got home, my body was still recovering and telling me to slow down.
    I agree you need to see your surgeon and make sure that nothing got messed up. Listen to your body it tells you when it's time to stop and rest. Don't feel down about what you can and can't do, you need time to heal and accept the support of your family.
    I'll pray that you get some relief and that you heal.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • itsmeme,
    3+ years ago I had an L5/S1 discectomy. My surgeon was adamant though - I was not permitted to sit for 3-4 weeks post-op. I couldn't drive - I had to get a ride to/from work each day. My company rigged a 'standup' desk for me and I leaned against a stool all day. I think this is what saved me though! The remaining disc had a chance to heal without any stress from me sitting and putting pressure on the lower back. I do have a residual issue: I have some numbness in my right leg and left foot from the nerve damage but i've been using this incredible e-stim/laser combo device that is helping to revive those nerves and I am regaining feeling.

    You really have to allow your body time to heal, but I would recommend you avoid sitting as much as possible, lie down instead. And talk to your doctor, make sure the new pain you are experiencing is not another issue - maybe you are compensating in new ways which is putting a strain on other muscles/nerves? Good luck and I hope you find some relief!
  • I am a 39 year old guy and just had microdiscectomy L4L5 three weeks ago.I actually feel worse than before my surgery.Im not supposed to drive for at least six more weeks and the doctor doesn't want me to do anything physical at all.He told me it could take up to a year for my nerve to heal so all I can offer you is to be very patient because I have been injured for one year and finally got my surgery and still feel bad but I know that I have to take it slow.Just get lots of rest and be careful.We all heal differently. I hope you feel better. Hang in there!!!!!
  • I had L5-S1 fusion 9 weeks ago. I pushed it too far after 6 weeks and was it major pain - My doctor told me that I need to NOT pick anything up over 5lbs, NO bending, twisting, reaching till I was at my 14 week mark No sooner.

    To get rid of the pain I caused, I took flexiril (muscle relaxer) 3 times a day for 4 days straight and strict bed rest. The pain subsided.

    Listen to your body now and you will be rewarded later.

    Take care

  • I had L5-S1 fusion 9 weeks ago. I pushed it too far after 6 weeks and was it major pain - My doctor told me that I need to NOT pick anything up over 5lbs, NO bending, twisting, reaching till I was at my 14 week mark No sooner.

    To get rid of the pain I caused, I took flexiril (muscle relaxer) 3 times a day for 4 days straight and strict bed rest. The pain subsided.

    Listen to your body now and you will be rewarded later.

    Take care

  • So sorry to hear of your post op pain. You are right it stinks! Lots of great advice already here for you so I just wanted to offer support. Your recovery is just that, yours! Reading the thread there are so many variables between individuals and even doctors orders.

    Listen to your body and heal at your pace. I'm glad you have support of your family, it is a blessing and when you feel like giving up find your strength in them!

  • I just want to clarify something...FMLA is a federal rule. You are not guaranteed compensation, but you are guaranteed 12 weeks of a job guarantee for disability. I too live in a right to work state and the rules are pretty clear. If you are being denied this right, any employment lawyer would be happy to take up your cause.
  • Thank all of you for the advice and encouragement. I'm doing a wee bit better since I'd posted. Trying my best to take it easy the last couple of weeks, not working as many hours at our business has helped alot. It's very hard not to jump up and "get my hands dirty" if you will, with my employees, but I'm learning to let go a little! Hubby also stays on my arse to sit still and just do paperwork and take phone orders!

    I did have a appt with my doctor a couple of weeks ago and we've decided to take a repeat MRI in 6 weeks to make sure I haven't damaged anything since surgery. He also switched me, and at my request to get off the lortab, to Butrans pain patch. It's helping alot with the aches n pains, but with any increase of activity, it doesn't help whatsoever!! Do any of you have any experience with this pain patch?

    Blessings to everyone :)
  • Hi Meme,

    Good to hear that you are doing fine... I would like to add that surgeries doesn't really take away the pain.. But I think to lessen the risk of the pain going to far more problem...

    Enjoy life with your family and friends.. And have a healthy life style...

    Cheers! :)
    Post Edited by Moderator haglandc to remove URLs
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