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Discectomy & decompression recovery questions :)

frk.faberffrk.faber Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello everybody in spine-health forum land :)

I had lumbar discectomy and decompression surgery 2 weeks ago. So far everything has gone according to plan, I'm resting and being spoiled by a loving boyfriend who enjoys taking care of his "sick" lady…although I stand firm on my new motto : "I'm not sick….I'm healing" (gotta stay positive ey)

Anyways, on to the questions….I have a couple ;)

1. My steri strips have come off and the wound is dry and happy, but I've noticed a huge bump just above the actual cut. It seems like it might just be swelling, I just find it odd that the swelling appears above the wound rather than in the actual spot where they were tugging and pulling. Is this normal, will it go away by itself or should I panic, scream and cry?

2. I've noticed that I'm a bit more sore now than I was initially. It may just be because I've started to move around more than I initially did. I'm very unsure as to how much I should be doing at this point. I don't want to overdo it, but at the same time, not doing anything will also make things worse (and drive me crazy in the process). I'm 2 weeks in and should be returning to work (part time) after 4-6 weeks, so I have this idea in my head that I should be halfway back to normal at this point….really not the case though….

It's not a serious "pain" that makes me want to cry and scream into pillows, it's more of a soreness, as if I've been punched repeatedly in the back. So it's not unbearable in any way, in fact it's far more "enjoyable" than the pain I had before, so we're going in the right direction. The doctors, physics, nurses and other people in lab coats all told me to listen to my body….so what is my body telling me now? Is it saying "Stop it, lay down, chill out, watch TV" or is it saying "yay we're doing things again, but we're a bit stiff though"

3. Since the surgery I've had a really hard time reading. Well…not reading, but seeing the words that I'm trying to read. All the letters seem to be blurring together, no matter how hard i focus. At this point I'm zooming in to grandma size lettering to get through an e-mail. Could this be the anaesthesia, will it wear off, or am I just blind now?

I would love to hear your stories if you have experienced something similar, if you have some advise…or if your feel like sharing any other random anecdote :)

All the best to all of you, and thanks in advance for your input, it's much appreciated....


  • I am pretty much in the same boat as you!

    I have a lump above my cut as well. Do you have inside stitches? I think that is what the bump is from. On mine at least!

    I also agree I have less pain now than before surgery, but it is still quite painful at times.

    As for the reading things.... it could be meds you are taking. When I take pain meds I can't read/concentrate! Otherwise I have no idea why that would be happening.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I had an l4-l5 discectomy a little over 3 weeks ago. I'm definitely experiencing some of the things you've described.

    My incision seems to be completely healed over and pretty pain free. It's a little sensative to the touch, but nothing overwhelming. The top of the incision is a bit more swollen than the rest of it. Go figure.

    Definitely still in some pain. My back muscles feel like they've been moved around by a small Irish man. Go figure...

    I'm also still having a good bit of leg pain. It's definitely more tolerable than before and I can do certain things more freely than presurgy (e.g. I can stand up after sitting for 20 minutes without limping the first 15 steps).

    Sounds like we're all making steps in the right direction. As far as returning to work and such, I feel like at some point we're just going to have to say, "Hey, I can heal while I engage in advancing my life."

    Anyways, best of luck healing!
  • I want you to know that you are not alone. I had the L5-S1 micro-disectomy about a month ago and have had some similar symptoms. I had a little raised swelling after two weeks, but it went down after another week. I went back to work two weeks after surgery, but it has been very challenging. I have tried to stay comfortable in my office (cubicle monkey basically) that requires travel.
    I have not traveled since the surgery as I cannot sit down for more than 30 minutes unless it is on heat or ice. I still have back pain/spams periodically (same little irish guy dancing in my back) and have sciatica - which was my primary symptom for five years.
    I am glad that you have the support of a great boyfriend who is spoiling you, and I wish you the best in your recovery.
  • I am glad to have found this forum. I too have swelling over the incision. It is only painful getting in and out of the car when I am apparently putting pressure on it. Been back to work, desk job without much problem. I have noticed the past few days some renewed tingling in my toes and some pain in left leg. I have read in other posts that as the nerves heal this is not uncommon. I hope that is the case.
  • OnmybackOOnmyback Posts: 1
    edited 09/10/2012 - 6:51 AM
    Great to find this forum.
    I'm still at the stage of mostly lying around and being spoilt by family.
    I have been told to do the gentle exercises 4 times a day to stop scar tissue building up around the wound.
    Then after first week to start walking 5 mins twice a day and gradually build to 30 mins several times a day over next few weeks. Seems important to build up gradually.
    What struck a chord was your comment about reading because I have experienced exactly the same problem with reading since my operation too. I am hoping it is temporary or I am going to need reading glasses!
    Also I have a really bad sore throat which does not seem to be getting any better and my voice goes if I speak too much. I imagine this is from the tube used down my throat during the surgery.
    I wish you all speedy and successful recovery since back problems are so very debilitating!
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