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How long did YOUR full recovery take after MD

phenom34pphenom34 Posts: 27
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a second microdiscectomy on an l5-s1 herniation. Surgery went well with no complications.
I am still left with some uncomfort and nerve pain/numbness in a few areas that are bothersome. Tried a few drugs for nerve pain and they work but I don't like how they make me feel so Ive just been dealing.

I am probably 4 months post op and Ive noticed a few more steps in improvement. My surgeon said that I can expect the nerve pain to go away but it can take up to 3 years.

Can I really expect to continue to see improvements?

It feels like it is aggravated by sitting long periods or doing anything strenuous.

I forgot to ask if traction is ok after surgery. I am cleared to do just about anything. Hanging from a pullup bar seems to help so i assume a bit of traction would work well. Anyone have any input.



  • I also bought the same traction table so it's free. I haven't had any muscle shrinkage on the bright side.
  • hi there...I had MD at L5-S1 in Aug '09 and revision (2nd one) at the same level in Feb '10.

    I took it ultra-conservative per my surgeon's guidance. Like you, he told me it can take some time and to welcome any improvement no matter how small. YES, I think you can expect to still see som improvements.

    My experience Post op
    6-weeks: small improvements
    - little/no prescription meds to get through the day
    - able to increase my walking frequency (not distance in a single walk)

    4-months: noticable improvements
    - no more limping
    - could walk 1-2 miles at a clip (and probably more but was careful)

    5 months: more noticable improvements
    - I could once again walk on my tip toes. (I continually tried before this but my left foot would collapse)

    - I could also PUSH UP on my tip toes (something I lost the ability to do with my left foot when I herniated)and hold the position for an indefinite time

    1.5 years (from 2nd surgery):
    - getting back to life with minimal bad days (maybe 1 a month round my monthly cycle)
    - able to walk 4-5 miles at my normal pace without needing to sleep the rest of the day afterward.
    - can sit for longer periods (up to 2.5 hours recently on a plane ride) without being in pain. Though I do not do this often b/c it's just not healthy.
    - Days when I forget I have an injury (ok, so I don't forget but there are days when I feel like a normal person again...I can dance at weddings, I can pick up my niece carefully, hiking, etc.)

    I hope to come back and tell you I got feeling back but not sure that will happen. I'm ok with it now b/c it's just not as frustrating as when it first happened. Mostly b/c I've been able to control my pain.

    I think you will/can continue to see improvements! Stay positive!
  • The numbness and tingling in my calf took a good 6 months to fully go away.

    My recovery was going pretty good but I made a stupid mistake one day. (I lifted something I should not have)

    Traction made sense to me, so I tried it. It gave me some success. Office visits were very pricey however, so I purchased a Saunders Hometrac traction device on eBay.

    I use it 3 or 4 times a week as maintenance. It feels great and I am pretty sure it has saved my bacon.

    But to answer the questions, it took about a year to get thru all my issues and get 100% again. I think you WILL get better as time goes on. Have you noticed any muscle shrinkage in one of your calves or leg?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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