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How important are the lifting restrictions?

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a thoracic discectomy done completely posteriorly. The doctor said the surgery went very well, and he was able to get all of the herniated disc cleaned up and decompress my spinal cord. Today is 13 days post-op. I have three children, two of which are 2 and 1. My 2-year old weighs 40 lbs, and I definitely will not be attempting to lift her anytime soon. Lifting her is actually how I initially hurt my back in the first place. My 1-year old weighs 19, maybe 20 lbs. The discharge paperwork from the surgeon says not to lift more than 5 to 10 lbs for a month. However, I swear I remember reading somewhere that with a discectomy, because there is no hardware being inserted and there is nothing mechanically being changed within, that the no bending/lifting/twisting rule is not as big of a deal. I ask this because there have been times that I have been lifting my 1-year old. It doesn't hurt when I do it, and I'm trying my hardest not to do it often, because I don't want to cause any damage. However, do you think that it is truly critical that I do not lift her? The pain is getting better and better each day, and I'm having to take less and less medication to deal with the pain. Last night I ended up taking an Oxycodone, a flexeril, and a Motrin at one point because I was really sore. This morning I'm sore, but it's nothing I cannot tolerate. I haven't even taken my Motrin yet, but I plan to do so in the next few minutes.

The reason I ask is because my mom is freaking out at me for lifting my 1-year old. Again, I'm not doing it often and it's not like I'm hoisting her in the air. And most of the time if I need to lift her, I have my 10-year old do it instead.


  • I see it this way, you trusted the surgeon to do the surgery, so why not trust him/her on their restrictions following surgery? Go back and read some of the initial post following surgery and figure out the risk, benefit and reward, if something were to happen. Your lifting half the weight when you injured your back, and had a healthy back. Now your back is trying to heal from the trauma of surgery, which it is not healthy, yet. But of course the other obvious is to call your surgeons office and ask them. If I am not mistaken you have a post op appointment coming up, so I would check the restrictions to be sure they need to be that high, if your feeling better.
  • So much is connected in our bodies that we don't realize. Please follow doctor's orders so you won't end of needing more surgery to fix what was fixed before. Please!!!!!!! Even if your doctor is being overly cautious regarding your limitations, follow what he says. As a mother my self with three children recovering from 3-level ACDF (5 weeks out), I am doing what he says. I want a complete recovery and want to minimize having to revisit this area of my neck again surgically.

    OK. Enough of that. Be encouraged and let others help you. God bless you.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    to follow all of your doctor's Restrictions and Limitations they placed on you.

    All of that is done for a reason. I can tell you first hand that IF you ignore those limits, you are only inviting more spinal problems in the future.

    If I adhered to some of those restrictions early on, I might have been able to avoid some of the multiple spinal surgeries I have had.

    That being said, you still have to get on with day to day living, especially when you are raising a family.
    I would discuss this with your doctor, explain what you need to do. As Tam stated, right after surgery you will have a very strict restriction, over time that will change somewhat.

    I have a lifetime restriction of 40 lbs. Have I've exceeded that? Yes manytimes. Sometimes I get away with it and many times I pay the price, sometimes that price is very high!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • please do as they say!!!!!!!Even lifting a jug of milk is stress on the spine----at 6 months post-op I specifically asked if I could lift my 26 lb. granddaughter.This was after my second lumbar fusion,and I sure hope not to have a 3rd.Please be safe!
  • HI,
    Follow Dr's orders and do not lift anything heavier than your 5-10 lb limit.... The kids will be around for awhile, and when you're better, you can lift them then!!!! The body needs time to heal...even though there's no hardware, the muscles and nerves have been disturbed and need to rest and heal....Good luck!!
  • A lot of people have to have more surgeries because of lifting more weight then they should. You would be very wise to start praticing not lifting much of anything going forward. In my opinion most Dr.s tend to want to tell you that you can go back to a normal life and this includes lifting. My back surgeries were more invvolved then what you had done but the ONE thing I wish I had learned was not to lift stuff anymore. I'm certain it has caused more surgeries for me. I was one of those people that helped move households when the time came and I also cut and hand split all my firewood for probably 30 years so it was extremely difficult for me to stop doing stuff, and this is the important part, I was not told I couldn't after the first 2 lumbar surgery's. Big, Big mistake. Dr.'s are not about to tell you not to go back to your daily grind as if they did a lot of people wouldn't listen and they would go to other Dr.s that didn't put that type of restriction on them. Surgeries are all about the Dr.'s and related staffs earning money. It is a business first and foremost.

    Your back already has a problem and is weakened. Its your call but you really need to look down the road and decide if your willing to have another surgery at some point or protect your back. Protecting your back doesn't garrentee that you won't have to have another surgery but from my experience not protecting your back after a surgery and going forward is certainly a good way to have another one in a short period of time. Just about everybody that has has back surgery has to have another and another at some point down the road. Whether that time is 3 years or 30 years a lot of the time can be determined by the problem you have and how well you protect your back going forward. What I'm telling you is from my experience only and you need to listen to what a Dr. says but keep in mind that most Dr.s will not tell you no you can't go back to what you were/want to do. I'm not saying no either but what I am saying in think about what has happened to your back, read/ask about the progression of what might come next and then decide if protecting you back might just be a smart thing to do. I wish I had and I am doing it now. No more lifting for me.
  • Geez, Kim. Don't pop that disc again.

    Scar tissue has closed the opening in the annulus, but scar tissue is not as strong as the annulus. It's really susceptible to reherniating.

    The BLT restrictions apply MORE to discectomy than the other surgeries BECAUSE the disc is left in place.

    In the other surgeries, the disc is removed so there is nothing to reherniate.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Thanks everyone! I guess I'm just wondering how much of a difference 20 lbs vs 10 lbs really is. I definitely will not lift my older, 40-lb daughter, even once the surgeon says I am able to lift again. Lifting her is how I injured my back in the first place, and just the thought of lifting her makes my back hurt! lol. I go back to the surgeon today, so I will talk to them more in depth about the lifting restrictions. Also, knowing I have another disc that is looking kind of iffy, according to the latest CT scan I had done, I am afraid to do much of anything, for fear of having that disc worsen and having to go through another surgery. The other disc is T7-8, and the surgeon said if that one herniates further and needs surgical intervention, he would attempt to go posteriorly again, but likely it would involve the riskier, anterior method. Yeah...NO THANK YOU! Plus, he said that if the discs he's already operated on were to re-herniate, it's not like the lumbar region where he could go back and do another discectomy. He said it would require a fusion, which again, is a much riskier operation. I told him I'm a once and done kind of girl...this WILL be my one and ONLY spinal surgery.

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