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2 days post l5-s1 microdisectomy

catsinc3ccatsinc3 Posts: 42
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi,im new and having to stand up to type this!sitting is too uncomfortable as is lying down lol.i herniated my L5-S1 8months ago.it caused a hell of alot of pain and sciatica at first,then progressed into numbness to my left side no ankle reflex etc.despite this when the burning went away i was fully active in pain but doing it,cleaning,walking the dogs driving etc and managed to lose 12lb that i put on whilst inactive.i had my op monday 1/8/2011 surgeon said it took longer than he had thought as it was very clcified and obviously been there a long time,so he removed what he could safely remove and that it should work for me.his post op and do and dont list was vague and very different to the hospital physio's.i came home the next day!now i havent really got anything to gauge my recovery on...the numbness is still there!sitting and lying down are very uncomfortable im managing around 2hrs sleep beore i wake very sore and then spend 10 minutes trying to turn over(was the same before surgery)im not i must say in very much pain apart from when i wake but i do wake up with sciatica pain all the way down my left leg i cant stand straight until ive taken naproxen(anti inflam) then i take dihydrocoediene and after about half hour i can stand straight and sciatica goes.im walking about ok,ive done dishes hung washing out(that my daughter passed me and line is shoulder height)finding it hard to wash espec feet!get dressed etc.what can i realistically expect recovery wise?im off for a short walk lunch time no dogs tho :( they would pull me.im meant to rest?but cant do that sitting as it hurts too much.ive been given little stretching excercises by the physio which i was doing pre surgery aswell these are uncomfortable at present but dont hurt.i aplogise for the enormously long post!!just thought id try and get it all in one go and see what anyone can advise me??i have 3 dogs therefore vacuming is a must but havent done it yet?hoover isnt heavy to push and was wondering as long as i dont push it out too far infront of me if i could do it?surgeon said i can drive in roughly 3 weeks physio said 6?im an active person and it drives me mad not being able to do things.unfortunatly my daughter is only little and cant quite manage all the house work and now im off work i cant afford a cleaner either..by the way im a 43 year old female.10st 4 llbs in uk who used to ride horses(still own a horse),walk dogs generally on the go all day..any help info will be greatly appreciated.:) thankyou in advance


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    First I have to yell "DO NOT VACUUM". Did you hear me, cause I could yell louder if I need to.

    Vacuuming is one of the easiest ways to hurt your back. It's pure hell on it. Don't, don't, don't vacuum. I'm one year post a TLIF (lumbar fusion) and my hubby still does the vacuuming and I have an 8-lb. Oreck.

    You're really very early out from your microdiscectomy. Recovery time varies greatly from person to person, but to maximize the possibility of a successful outcome, don't bend, lift, or twist. Limit your lifting to no more than 10 lbs. (1 gal of milk) and use a grabber to get stuff up off the floor. I've read too many times how someone reherniated after a micro-d because they did too much. Don't be one of those. Take good care of yourself.

    The housework can wait. It's a strange dicotomy because you feel like 'well, I'm not working, so I should be doing something' but you can't. You have to heal. My post-op paperwork actually specifically stated that recovery time from work was not to be used to catch up on household chores.

    The walking is good - keep it up and increase as you can. I know how hard it is to see the dog hair accumulate and things getting dusty and dirty, but you really don't want to risk this failing and having to have a fusion. Now that will take you down full force. So, take it easy, measure your recovery in weeks, not days, and let your body heal. Any spine surgery is major surgery, so please treat it as such.

    Take care and please keep us posted as you continue on your recovery journey.

  • I could not agree more with what Cathie said. You just had major surgery and your body is adjusting to it.

    Being a very active person myself, I had problems with all my surgeries just hanging out and not doing anything. And when I tried to push it, all I did was hurt myself.

    I know it is very difficult to do, but take time for yourself and relax and let your body recover. You will thank yourself in the long run.

    Best of luck in your recovery and keep us posted.

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • You haven't even gone into the peak swelling time.
    It might get worse before it gets better.

    PLEASE, give yourself permission to do next to NOTHING. You gotta let that surgical work heal.
    The first 3 weeks are critical. No bending, lifting, twisting, dragging, nudging, coughing, sneezing, retching/gagging, hard laughing, bending over, sit-ups, reaching over head, pulling, straining, ..... you get the idea.

    My right L4-L5 nerve root was compressed for about 8 months before I got a microdiscectomy on that disc. In my case (and every case is different), it took 6 months for the abnormal feelings in the leg to go away.

    I know it sounds impossible and unrealistic, but really really try to take some time off. Give yourself permission. A few weeks for healing could go a long way for a lifetime.

    Can you describe your incision for me?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • welcome to spine-health. vacuuming :SS please do not even think about doing that...PLEASE!
    I know that it can seem like the days are so long and it can be frustrating not being able to do things, but this is the most important time in your recovery. The most important things that you can do are rest, walk as often as you can, as much as tolerated, stay on top of your pain by taking your pain meds, and once again...rest.

    I am 4 weeks out from a 2 level discectomy, and it is a really struggle still. Thought I would do a bit of sweeping today L) I am paying for it now. I am still on all my pre surgery meds, still walk with a cane (so imagine that sight, a cane and a broom) But I understant wanting to try to do things.

    Wishing you all the best with your recovery.Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I agree whole-heartedly with everyone else. Rest, rest, and REST. And do NOT vacuum. My house is full of dog hair right now, but I simply cannot do it. My husband has been great and vacuumed the other day and has been sweeping the floors. Someone also gave me great advice a couple of weeks ago...do not measure your success in days. You should be going week-by-week instead of day-by-day, because things can change drastically from one day to the next. I had a two-level thoracic discectomy and overdid it majorly in the first couple of weeks, and now I'm paying for it majorly. In fact, I may have further herniated another disc that was already herniated, because I'm having new nerve pain.

    If you are unclear of what your restrictions are, I would suggest calling your surgeon's office and asking for specific instructions. The obvious ones are no bending, lifting, or twisting. But they should give you a weight limit as to how much you can lift. Most of the time they tell you no heavier than a gallon of milk. My NS said no more than 5 lbs, but they increased it to 10 lbs so that I can take a lifting assessment needed to start my new job in a few days.

    I found it helpful to set small goals for myself each day. I was determined to, at the very least, take a shower and a short walk every day. Initially I needed to use a walker to get around, but I've been able to go without it for about 2 weeks now.

    I wish you the best of luck with your recovery. Remember, take it EASY! I've had to learn the hard way. But, unfortunately I didn't have as much help post-op as I thought I would, so I've been on my own with three children to take care of. Luckily my 10-year old son is a huge help to me, so I'm able to sit on the couch and relax for the most part, but diapers still need to be changed and the kids need to be fed.
  • hi,again and thankyou for all your support and comments.i went for a walk yesterday took my crutch for the kerbs as the weakness is still there in my left leg.i dont appear however to be limping anymore!still numb and toes perm curled but limp seems to have improved.dog and cat hair driving me nuts!daughter has attempted to hoover(you know round the middle of room)its very hard to rest when sitting and lying are so painful.id love to have a shower but im not allowed until my surgical clips come out!!nxt thursday!dont bend ha u have to to put knickers on,socks,legs in jog pants etc ph n washing my feet is done sitting on the loo!!one very scarey thing is when im in bed and sleep for a few hours i wake to turn and im completely and utterly stuck!!that used to happen pre op but i could manouvre then now i cant!!everything seizes!!cant even sit up to take meds!after about an hour of little tiny movements i can lift my head high enough to sip and take naproxen follow by my paracet and codeine wait half hr and i can gradually get myself up.if there was a fire i would burn in my bed!!any ideas thought tips on that 1?gunna try sleep on sofa tonight c if i dont get quite so stuck!im scared to sleep!!!thanks :)
  • Cat, I have the same problem of not being able to get out of bed, and/or stand up when I lay or roll onto my side. So I usually end up playing Goldie Locks between my bed, the guest bed, couch and Lazy-Boy recliner.

    For me the recliner has been a life saver both pre and post op. I have a heating pad with a timer on it next to the recliner that I can place where ever it is needed. What I find is even if I try and use my laptop when in the recliner with the heating pad, I usually fall asleep. And that can be a good thing.

    Just food for thought.

    Best of luck,

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • hi,thx for your input :) omg i am sore today!having muscle spasms all the time.spoke to gp prescribed my diazapam as a muscle relaxant.ive taken them b4 when i had very bad sciatica pain.gp said i can take 1-2 up to 3 times a day and espec take 2 b4 bed hopefully that should help stop the muscles seizing up.its worth a go taking 2 makes me sleep!i had a couple left over and had to take 1 this morn as i could not!get out of bed!im rattling wiv pills b4 breakfast lol.the majority of pain spasms seem to be on my right side?op was on the left just hoping that when i had a huge spasm sat on the loo least night and it jarred me badly that i havent done anything untoward!!it piggin hurt at the time!i have to think on the lines of "lets hope this works for me coz if it doesnt ive gone through all this for nowt!"i had terrible time in hospital with my blood pressure hitting the floor constant drips going in.its lowish anyway but they give u morphine after and antibiotics during surgery so all things combined they couldnt get my bp up over 76/46 discharged me anyway nxt day coz i could walk! felt bit like a conveyer belt lol.
  • that your doctor prescribed the diazapam for you. I found that it helps quite a bit with my spasms. I remember the feeling of when you are in bed and seize up and can hardly move to turn over or get up. Did they show you how to log roll? Try to keep your body aligned, roll like a log onto your side to turn. Then to get up, push up with your arms while on your side to sit up on side of bed.
    Keep hanging in there, hopefully the incission pain, as well as the pain from them pulling, and moving things around in there will settle down for you soon.

    Thanks for the update, please keep letting us know how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • i am so glad im not alone and other people have had the same seizing..some1 frightened the life outta me saying that its only fusions that would cause this unless the surgery has failed altogether!!!!!!!!!!!!!the surgeon said it "should work 4me"it was badly calcified and he removed what he safely could.so obviously the disc had been out for yrs summat tipped it over back in november.i remember after i moved house next day i bent to move a commode and my back went pop!and hurt for a few weeks after that every month or so my back would ache for a couple of weeks but that was all..the neuro did say however that he hasnt "fixed my back just done the disc ,there is alot of wear and ill probably find itll get worse"oh joy!!i sincerely hope the other postee was wrong and you can get this from a micro without it having failed altogether :( eekk i have started using my crutch to help me up!i feel like the 91yr old lady i clean for!!
  • hi now into day 5!the diazapam or the sofa worked a treat dont know which lol.i slept ok woke up stiff and had to more or less crawl to the loo but i wasnt stuck!waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyhaaaaaay.took an anti inflam when i came back down and went back to sleep!woke up 2 hrs later no stiffer..i also used a hot water bottle (my trusty sciatica bottle lol)it deff helped with the pain on my right side that i feared id reherniated during a bad spasm on the loo!today i think its just very sore from the op and bruised.i b told to keep the dressing on and keep it dry(no shower!:( )until thursday next week.but im finding it is coming unstuck where it touched clothes tried resticking it but to no avail.hopefully it will stay put till at least a week post op as clips removal is advised as 7-10 days.has any1 else had clips put in?or just stitches?makes it very difficult do my exercises as i cant lie on my back..hope evry1 else is recovering just fine..:)
  • I'm 2 days out of my micro at the L5/S1 site as well. Seeing your posts reminds me that I'm going to have to look at recovery as a whole and not measure progress minute by minute or day by day. It's tempting for me to scrutinize every pain I have as indicative of a step backwards, so I know how difficult it can be to remain optimistic. All in all, it appears that you are improving overall (from reading your posts), so hang in there. I had a very large herniation which was pressing onto my left nerve for over 3 months. That's maybe not as long as you had your issue and I still feel odd residual nerve pain, muscle twitches, weakness, etc. Overall, My leg (and butt) feel much better than before surgery, so now it's just a matter of reconditioning, rest and time.

    Best of luck to you.
  • hi,just to update.i tried sleeping in bed again last night!wont be doing it again!woke at 7am stuck!not quite as bad as before i did manage to haul myself up eventually so i guess its the squigy sofa for me from now on!once im up and pain kilers on board as long as i dont sit down for more than 5 mins im feeling pretty good on the whole.im walking outside at least 15 minutes depending how sore i am.i take my stick but rarely use it.feel a bit silly walking alone lol but cant take a dog incase they decide today is a pulling day!i walk around all day at home anyway as i still cant sit lol.it is too easy to expect miracles which is what i had done,i hadnt banked on being in so much pain and the difficulties getting up etc.problem for me when im feeling good i want to do miracles!!its hard to stop myself.annoying thing is still getting the leg twitches i had for over a year pre op the whole leg sorta twitches and i need to stretch it,its still bluddy doing it but it had laid off for the first 4days.my bum ,leg n foot are still numbed but nerves take forever to heal.fingers crossed they do as surgeoun told me on my 1st visit that they say you have a year to relieve them in order for them to reheal afterwards.hope he is right!!coz 8months compressed is a long time.hope every1 coming along nicely..gentle hugs to all :)
  • Are you using ice packs on the surgery site?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • hi paul,no im not using ice packs,they told me do that when i 1st did it for sciatica but to be honest it made it much much worse!so i stayed with the hot water bottle.havent tried to use ice this time incase it makes it worse again plus i still got a dressing on it until the clips are removed and musnt get it wet.i thought i was clever last night i put 2 duvets under my sheet to make it level i was comfy and woke at 4 and was ok,went back to sleep woke at 7 am bluddy stuck!got up eventually an hour all in taking tablets and hobblin to loo.my left hip is sore but i think thats coz i sleep on it all night..so deff on the sofa tonight!
  • hi,well im now 8days post op.had an awfull day yesterday!hurt so bad on my right couldnt function properly.slept on my opposite side last night set alarm for 4hours make sure i could still move and turned over.only needed an anti inflam to get up makes a change from anti inflam dihydrocodeine and a relaxant!.hardly stiff at all today bit sore but nothing.clips come out tomorrow,nurse changed dressing yesterday as it was hanging off put a shower proof one on so i had a shower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1st time in over a week total bliss!!.looking forward to my walk later breaks up the dull days!!hope everyone is healing nicely :)
  • Congrats on finally getting to take a shower!! =D> Those sponge baths just do not compare. One milestone reached, next one is to be able to take a looooong hot bath.

    And it sounds like you are getting better at managing your back and sleeping. Keep it up, and best of luck on your recovery.

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • kimberkkimber Posts: 2
    edited 06/03/2013 - 6:57 AM
    I just had my lower microdiscectomy may 22 and i still had nerve pain it didnt just go away and numbness in my leg and foot only when i was on it too long in a few days wearing my brace and taking oxycotton i felt better and within a week swiffered my floors and bent and sat up all day now my foot is completely numb and i cant walk without limping, also hurts in my hip where my leg meets my body did i have a another discherniation im in pain when i dont take the oxycotton but notunbearable just my foot got numb bad what should i do ? Do i just stay in bed for a a few weeks or what should i do?wish i seen this site before my surgery
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