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Healing After L4/5, L5/S1 Laminectomy and Discectomy: It takes time, but there is hope

independantedgeiindependantedge Posts: 1
edited 05/13/2014 - 9:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm writing this because I know that somewhere out there, there is another person who will go through the same experience as me, and I want to reassure them that there is hope of recovery, but that it may take a long time.

Background - At the time, 24 year old male in good shape, ran several times a week and lifted. I fell on my back twice, and bad stuff ensued. Only a few days after falling on my back the second time, I began to go numb in most of the lower part of my right leg and part of my left leg. I had foot drop on the right side, and numbness in my right calf. Most of my pain, which was pretty intense, was on my right side. Diagnosed as L4-L5, L5-S1 herniation with severe spinal stenosis at both levels. Had L4-L5, L5-S1 discectomy and right sided hemilaminectomy about 2 weeks after the accident, in August 2010.

Immediate Post-Op - The feeling didn't come back when I woke up. I had foot drop for about a month and a half after the operation. I found walking or standing for even 10 minutes would send zings down my left side to my shin (as opposed to the right side pre-op). In addition to the left-sided sciatica, I had pretty severe lower left back pain which would come on after 10 or 20 minutes of standing or walking.

Further Post-Op - I started doing PT about a month and a half after the operation. It made me feel much less stiff, but didn't relieve much of the back or leg pain. Stretching my hamstrings, quads, and calfs felt good, but it just didn't seem to be helping. And while the exercises they gave me also felt good, they didn't pay dividends in pain relief. This went on for several months, until January 2011. So basically, from the operation until 5 months later (yes, 5 months), I didn't see a significant drop in pain. Yes, I could walk a bit further and stand a bit longer, but not by much. Standing was the worst. I had to take the bus to work, which entailed standing for about 15 minutes. And that was impossible, absolutely impossible. My lower back and leg began to hurt within a few minutes of standing still. I found that the only way I could manage to get a seat on the bus daily was to walk the opposite way toward the bus so that I could get on at an earlier stop. In retrospect, that was a pretty desperate move. Simultaneously with the PT, I was trying to swim frequently. At first it was just really easy breaststroke, which after a month or two progressed into some really easy freestyle, all in a heated pool. While I was swimming, I felt great, but as soon as I got out of the pool, the pain came on even faster.

Second MRI - Because things were progressing so slowly, I had a post-op MRI done. Everything looked fine except for facet arthropathy at L4, L5, S1. Keep that in mind. No re-herniations, which surprised my doc considering my sciatica.

Post-MRI: My insurance stopped covering PT after January. It made me sad and anxious. I continued doing the exercises they had recommended, and was stretching every single morning (yes, every single morning). I was loose, but not pain free. Around January, I went back to an osteopath I had seen right before my operation. He worked on my back, cracked it, and I felt an enormous release from pain. He had cracked precisely the spot in my lower back which had been hurting. He had released a stuck facet joint, and wow, it felt amazing. It felt so good, it made me laugh as a reflex. This was my first hint that manipulation could help. A few weeks later I started seeing a chiropractor, who told me I had facet syndrome (swollen facets), and that he could help. I went to him once a week for three weeks. While I felt really great right after the manipulations, they didnt have any lasting pain relief past the first few minutes, at least nothing I could really notice. But then, after those three weeks, I found that my lower left back pain had decreased significantly. The leg pain was still there, but by golly, the back was a lot better. That progressed for a while, and by about February or March, I would say I was facet pain free.

But, the leg pain was still there, and because my back pain was gone the leg pain just grew to occupy my mind that much more. I still couldn't stand (10/15 minutes) or walk (one hour) for that long because the leg pain would come on. After a great deal of consultation and thought, I decided that what I was sufferring was probably SI joint inflammation on the left side which irritated a sciatic nerve. I saw 2 more PTs about this, who gave me a bunch of exercises to do. Some of them worked, some of them didn't. Looking back on it, some of the exercises which targeted my hips caused my pain to increase then, but as I kept doing them, the resulting pain went away and my hips got stronger. Right around August 2011, I found that I could stand with minimal pain again. That meant that if I stood still for a while, the leg pain would come on, but it would go away. And it wouldn't be very intense. That was ONE YEAR POST-OP. It's not October, one year two months post-op, and I just went to my first concert since my fall. I stood for a few hours, during which I felt a zing maybe three or four times for a few seconds. That's pretty good, and I hope that I will continue to improve from here.

I want to give people the advice that I wish I had heard from someone, so here it is (sorry for the length):

1. Diagnosis. If you have symptoms like mine (leg pain on the opposite side post-op, lower left back pain, and notoriously tight hips in my case), suggest to your medical professional of choice that it might be SI joint pain. The SI joint can cause sciatica, or so they tell me. Strengthen your hips and stretch them, don't ignore them.

2. When you go to PT, ask them about stretching with a towel under your back. I did piriformis stretches on my back for four months without realizing that the entire time, I was flexing (curving) my lower back so that I could get the stretch. This was bad for my discs, and made the stretch less effective. It probably also made by SI symptoms much worse. Solution: fold a towel, put it under your back right below your belly button. This forces your back to extend (as if you were standing very straight), and then the stretch works much better. DISCLAIMER: I'm not a medical professional, this is not meant as medical advice, but rather as something to ask your own medical professional about. It worked for me, it may be terrible for you, I don't know. But please do ask. I learned the technique at yoga, and I have to say that the towel probably had the single greatest impact on improving my flexibility of anything I did. It is so effective, you would not believe it.

3. This is a mental battle you are about to undertake in your recovery. Talk to people, let friends know you need help. The good ones will reach out and talk to you. Honestly, consider springing for a therapist once in a while. I didn't have one, but I wish I did. Remember that you will have many, many dark days. Keep a blog about them, so that when you get to the next, you can look back at the last and witness your progress. I kept an excel spreadsheet of how my back pain was daily, including detailed comments, 0-10 rating of pain, and logs of activities (walking/swimming/biking) I did that day.

4. Chiropractic/Osteopathic Medicine: These helped me a lot. They may/may not help you. They may make you even worse, I don't know. But ask someone about them, like your surgeon. If you get the thumbs up, give it a try. I would say wait a few months post-op before you go, because manipulation is pretty dangerous if you haven't healed enough.

5. If you have SI pain, do the bird-dog exercise. Do it every morning. Seriously. I started doing it again every morning about 9 months post-op, and felt a pretty significant difference a week after I started doing it. I learned about it at PT 3 months post-op and did it on/off for a while, but it really only had an impact once I did it every day. I do 30 reps on each side. You should be fatigued by the end. Make sure you have good form, don't twist your back.

6. Swimming. Once I figured out how to strengthen my hips during swimming, I felt like I derived much more benefit. I realized my kicking was really weak, so I started using a kickboard. It was nearly impossible to do a single length because my hips were so weak. Now it's not, my hips feel stronger, and I have less back pain. The first few times I used a kickboard, it hurt quite a lot after I got out of the pool. But then, it started going down. If things hurt, don't be deterred, but BE CAREFUL. You have to know when to push yourself and when to bow out.

7. If you take ibuprofen, take it consistently for a week. Don't take it when you're in pain, take it constantly. I did 400 mg 3 times a day.

8. Spend your newfound time (no longer spent going out) learning how to do something. I wrote a story. It was incredibly cathartic, and looking back on it, I never would have been able to write the way I did if I wasn't going through so much.

9. Keep a detailed log of your progress. I made an excel spreadsheet where each day I entered pain level on a 1-10 scale, how much I walked, swam, biked, and then a comments section where I left details on how long it took pain to come on, exactly where the pain is, etc. You may not realize it now, but pain is impossible to recall retrospectively. You may think the pain is unforgettable, but after a month, you won't remember whether that pain on the outside of your knee just below the kneecap is new, or whether it is actually just some old thing you've always had. Write stuff down. Keep a blog too. On the especially dark days during flareups, take a look at it. Use Excel to make a plot of pain vs. time. Know what you'll find? There is probably a steady downtrend, but interspersed are little peaks of pain where your flareups happened. Get it in your head that flareups are transient and that you'll get past them.

10. In the beginning, keep your back warm. I always wore an extra layer and spent 20 bucks on a heating pad. Great idea. After a while, you'll probably find that you won't need the heating pad. It took me a while (maybe 8 or 9 months) to get to that point though.

11. Do planks for your abs. They are so good for you. If you hurt your back, your abs aren't strong enough. I had strong abs. But they weren't strong enough. So strengthen them. Shoot for 3x a week. Enough said.

12. This is the last thing. STOP LOOKING AT FORUMS LIKE THIS ONE. When I was bedridden for two months, I was a hawk on sites like this. Believe me, they only bring you down. Stop looking for people in situations similar to your own. Most of the stories you read are not representative of your own recovery. How did I learn to stop reading sites like this one? I came across a story about a man who was in absolutely perpetual, constant pain for the last five years. No position would relieve his pain. He wrote three pages about it. I'm sure he wasn't lying. But that isn't me, and it probably isn't you. When I read that story, I knew reading this stuff was absolutely ridiculous. Let this be the last post you read.

Remember, healing your back takes time. Mine isn't done healing yet. Over a year out of my surgery, and I still feel like I am getting better and better. Let that encourage you. Now go and do some planks.



  • I'm that "someone with the similar experience" you wrote this for (and I'm sure lots of others will relate as well). You just blew my mind, this post is exactly what I've needed. 24 year old female, same l4/l5 l5/s1 deal, had pain for about 8 months until discectomy/laminectomy 3 months ago.

    Surgery was never on my radar, then all of a sudden I had like a week and a half to prepare and no idea what to expect or what recovery would be like. Had the surg, and since then, have been SO down because of the slow recovery. It just started affecting me mentally, especially: simple tasks turning into slow tasks (like picking up something i dropped or shaving my legs or walking uphill), friends/family not being able to relate to understand what I've been facing, no exercise (I'd give ANYTHING to be able to do a workout without worrying about my back), not participating in hmm basically anything i want to (concerts, walking my dog, going out on weekends, running), the lingering pain (sciatic & lower back), the list goes on and on.

    So, I felt very isolated. Had a ton of anxiety/ constant worrying if I'd ever get better, which is how i found this forum. It has been SO helpful in many ways, but at the same time, you're so right- I am just not in a place where I should focus too much on other's stories. Lying in bed in pain at night with anxiety can put your thoughts in a bad spot, and I believe I'm in that bad spot.

    The way you describe your recovery sounds so on-point with mine. 3 months post-op with definite improvement but still some daily pain, some days are great while some are those days that set your hope back so far that you don't think you'll ever have a good day again (def going to keep a log now). I was ready to give up on PT and say this is it forever and just crawl into a hole. My surgeon, phys therapist, and others have told me it's still early, and I'm (slowly) healing and they're confident I'll continue improving, but it means nothing when I'm standing there and my leg pain is raging because the nerve flared up yet again. Clearly, this is the state I'm in right now.

    This post encouraged me, and I hope it helps others that might be going through this. I always get into a rut when I'm sitting at home on weekend nights when all my friends are out, but I love the idea of doing something new. For real. I would love to re-focus some of these feelings. I'm gonna stick it out with PT even though It amazes me that after 2 months they still can only fit me in at the most inconvenient times (am I alone with this?). A few of my friends have been pretty supportive when I've reached out, and I'll make sure I keep working on those relationships.

    Thank you. I doubt you'll ever be back to read this, but you just triggered a turning point for how I view my recovery. I'm going to take a more proactive role in it. My back has been my priority these past few months, but there is more to it than rest and reading about my surgery and showing up to PT. I wish I had one of the "had surgery, 1 month later I'm 100% stories," but I don't. My recovery might be slow, but hey, it's getting better slowly but surely, and I'm happy with that. I have a long road ahead of me with this recovery, and even I don't quite see it yet, I have a feeling there's light at the end of this tunnel
  • I'm 3 months out and still have some decent days and some really bad days, and still get some sort of leg/sciatic pain every day. Both of your posts help make me feel a little better.

    If you read a lot on different message boards it seems more common that people are still in pain after a discectomy and its not as easy of a recovery time as most drs will tell you. But it seems like most people slowly do improve and we have to remember it may take time. It may take a year or more but as long as we stay positive and keep up with PT and walking, we will get there.

  • Hi,
    I had an endoscopic Foranimotomy/microdiscectomy at Right L4/5 and L5/S1 5 weeks ago. Am a competitive runner - half marathon distances and run for a club and nationals too. Have never had back pain until had a car crash in October 2011 when a van smashed into me whilst stationery. Within a week could barely walk, had never known pain like it. Am in the UK and luckily have medical insurance so had an MRI Scan and saw Consultant within a week.
    I do a physically demanding job within Aviation and means I have to stand for most my shift and also lift some weights. The information here is really vague. I was told to do some simple exercises for 2 weeks until see the consultant again. I sa him 10 days post op where he said the op went well..so off you go!!! People been saying should be fine and back to work by week 6..yet I'm week 5 and no way can stand for a whole day - managing a 1mile walk at the moment. Find that all the information takes me to US sites. I've not been told what I'm supposed to do - can i bend, twist, stretch, lift weights etc?? No one really tells me anything..and this is with Private Medical cover!!! Frustration has kicked in, I must admit!!
  • This is exactly what I needed to hear... I am 5 months post op and frustrated.. I swim and exercise daily and have gone through 8 weeks of therapy with a pro.. I feel I am on the verge of a breakthrough and have some bright spots of improvement with the numbness and leg weakness and pain very similar to yours...Then I have a setback.. usually when I overdo my workouts, or stand or sit too long in one position.. Depends who you listen too, but the consensus seems to be at least a year for major improvement and the confidence to return to my normal active lifestyle.. And, that being proactive in a proper exercise program, and keeping a positive attitude.. Thanks.
  • Omg finally !!!!! Some positive posts ! I have been really down lately because I am 6 weeks post op from laminotomy/farminotomy of L4/5 L5/S1 and still have nerve pain. I injured myself at work almost a year ago (law enforcement) and I am not the man I used to be. Haven't had a real work out since now that I had the surgery I was excited to get back to my normal life only to still be in pain. Surgeon says that since it was imprinted for so long it will take time to heal...anyone else hear the same story ?
  • This thread has really helped me. I am 8 weeks post up l5/s1 and am having such stiffness in my low back and hip pain after surgery. My doctor gave me no restrictions 2 weeks post op and did not think I needed PT. When he said it would take a year for my leg to heal I did not think it meant my low back. I have been really confused.
    Thank you all
    8/31/15 microdiscetomy laminotomy
    8/15 reruptured l5
    12/24/13 laminotomy/discetomy of L5
    9/98 laminectomy l4/l5
  • Yes, thank you for this very encouraging post. I'm 2 months post-op from an L4-L5 fusion (God, it seems longer than 2 months). I think the actual fusion is coming along quite well, but here recently, I've come to think I either have hip bursitis or SI joint issues. My Neurosurgeon told me both before and after surgery that he wouldn't be sending me to PT. Consequently, I have no idea what exercises/stretches I should be doing. Am I okay to do the bird dog?

    Anyway, thanks for encouraging me and a lot of other people, although no two recoveries are the same, it still gives us hope.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • TexasTrixTexasTrix Posts: 2
    edited 03/24/2014 - 5:26 PM
    Did you ask your doctor if this was normal? Or ask him any of the questions you posted here? No one on the forums is a medical professional, therefore we can not answer if this is normal or not, or if it might be causing referred pain.
    One thing is concerning, why are you spending the last three years in bed? In most situations , being bed ridden is not helpful, and more often than not causes even more medical problems down the road and leads to breakdown of muscle and loss of strength and stamina.

    I'm not in bed. Where is my post?
  • TexasTrixTexasTrix Posts: 2
    edited 03/24/2014 - 5:28 PM
    TexasTrix said:
    Did you ask your doctor if this was normal? Or ask him any of the questions you posted here? No one on the forums is a medical professional, therefore we can not answer if this is normal or not, or if it might be causing referred pain.
    One thing is concerning, why are you spending the last three years in bed? In most situations , being bed ridden is not helpful, and more often than not causes even more medical problems down the road and leads to breakdown of muscle and loss of strength and stamina.
    I did not write this post. I am not in bed. Where is my post??
  • I feel lessanxious after reading these posts. Thank you all for sharing you experiences.

    I suffered with major sciatica (consistent 9+ pain scale) for several months and was basically wheelchair ridden from Dec 2013 onward. Aleve, tylenol, tylenol pm, oxycodone, morphine, etc little help. I would scream in the middle of the night waking my wife - not to mention scare the bejesus out of my kids 13 and 10. I can't overemphasize how horrible this made me feel - now my problem was affecting everyone's state of mind and well-being. Maybe an hour of sleep a night if lucky - every few days i would literally collapse for several hours. I would wheelchair into work/work from home but productivity was maybe 25%.

    After several months of the usual conservative measures......
    I underwent an L4/L5 bilateral laminectomy/disectomy on 3/18/14. According to the surgeon, the herniation was pretty severe - the initial MRI showed a very constricted spinal column.

    No pain 3-4 days after surgery and then sciatica returned along back of left thigh mainly during the evenings (about a 4 level pain during the day and 7-8 at night). I am back on oxycodone and am averaging 2 hrs sleep per night. Also, i feel like im wearing ski boots. Lots of lower leg numbness and it's really hard to flex my ankles and toes. No real progress in the past few week, except i can move my toes a little more. While not in as bad pain as pre-op, my mental state is worse since now i am wondering when does it get better. The only answer i have is "eventually" (maybe, that is).

    I'm supposed to be back in the office in two weeks but between the lack of sleep and pain killers i'm in no condition to to do so yet. As the primary breadwinner this is not good.

    Been walking and doing light PT exercises as directed - not helping - only making the night pain worse.

    Has anyone else experienced these post-op night pains? If so, any helpful ideas?

    Thanks and best wishes to all.

  • Hello, I can only comment on your statement about difficulty flexing your ankle and toes. I had this issue too after surgery. Not really sure what causes this, but I kept up with trying to flex them and at 3 months post-op, things were back to normal.

    You're extremely early on in your recovery, but believe me, it does get better. Good luck to you.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • I too am constantly flexing feet and toes - hopefully this activity is/ will have a beneficial effect.
  • HamedHHamed Posts: 3
    edited 04/09/2014 - 3:34 AM
    History: low back pain. Extruded herniation disc at L5 . S1 . Had sergery : Discectomy + Posterior Spinal Fusion using two Interbody Lumbar Cages and two Lumbar Cage Blockers, 43 days ago.

    I was dischrged after 2 nights. I used a soft brace for first 15 days after surgery. My doctor approved it. Major problems I had , have been gohe away now, was actually numbness in my soles and a sharp stabbing pain in my side, away from incision on my back, wile sitting on the edge of bed.
    I am also having a hard time during lateral movements whilst lying on bed, a wired feeling, as if I am a tree and there is a pressure on a limb ! It was not a great deal though.
    Taking my doctor advice, I am not using back brace any more, except for probable long walking outside the house in future. I am just wearing it while sitting on toilet bowel.
    My great concerns stem from the strange expriences I was trough 2 nights ago, I heard a continues low sound inside my back while walking without immediate pain, as though bones were rubbing or something like that. When I was lying on bed half an hour later, I felt a sharp pain in my sacrum area for the first time. Today the sharp stabbing has gone away but I have a insufferanle pain while lateral movements on bed, much much worse than before. I do not feel sciatica in legs and hips, it is lower back oriented, having said that a very peanut numness returns on my hip and sole.
    Might it be a failed fusion ? I am 30 years old, single. Just masturbate 25 days after fusion. I do not really relate it to the problem I am having now.
    My nerosurgeon also had told me that he would do an artificial disc replacement, but after I read the surgery report it all was about PSF and cage . I have my doubts if he really had used artificial disc.
    I just remembered the time I was brought to the ward in hospital from recovery section and a nursing assistant just pull my shoulders up while I was lying on bed , my mother witnessed. After taking a radiology 2 weeks ago, when my doctor told me eveything is perfect I did not ask about what the assistant had done.
    Many thanks in advance .
  • Flexing and walking longer distances has helped tremendously - did about 1.5 hrs walking today
  • I am 3 months into recovery and am doing great. I started lap swimming again last week, that is also going well. What I am curious about is whether it is a bad idea to ever do anything like salsa dance, or tennis again. I think that horseback riding and running are perhaps out, but does anyone have any information about this? I have heard many different things about "yes, you can do everything" to "you should stop doing a few things like running, etc, and no elliptical, because you are twisting too much.:
  • MEA815MMEA815 Posts: 2
    edited 06/23/2014 - 2:40 PM
    Hi! I have never posted on a forum but this thread gave me some reassurance. I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy at l5/s1 on June 3rd for an extruded herniated disc. I am self employed as an attorney, which involves lots of sitting!! My doctor released me to go back to work after two weeks and I am now at about three weeks after surgery. I am freaked out because sitting is basically impossible and standing after any length of time results in excruciating burning pain down both legs and aching through my hips. I am supposed to start PT tomorrow and plan to ask my therapist these questions too, but I have no idea what to expect I terms of the pain and how long I should be standing or sitting. I have to be back at work, but don't know how to manage the pain. I was In the office today from noon to five and was in so much pain that I had to lay down on the floor of my office. I am almost out of the pain meds the doctor prescribed (Percocet) and taking one of those when I get home and laying on my back is the only thing that gives me relief. Am I just expecting too much too soon? How long should I be standing or sitting at one time? Is it inflammation? Will it get better? I would welcome any suggestions as to how to handle the return to work/expectations of pain management issue. Should I use heat or ice at the end of the day? Thank you!
  • (45M) Thanks Independentedge, your post was very insightful. I've been finding daily hour-long walks challenging and thought maybe something was wrong with me (used to enjoying much farther walks). And thanks for the suggestions... I see now that I've just started my journey on a much longer road than I realized.
  • elayne Kennedyeelayne Kennedy Posts: 1
    edited 09/17/2015 - 6:41 AM
    Its nearly 15 months ago since I first hurt my back and suffered from so much pain for so long.I was also in and out of hospital for pain control lots of epidurals and facet joint injections. They worked but only as short term pain relief and each one working for less amount of time.Finally an MRI was done and showed that there was problems with two discs bulging and slight nerve compression.But I was told that over time that they would settle down and sort themselves out!! October 2014 things took a turn for the worst and I began to loose some power of my right foot and i also suffered a few falls up the stairs and down!.This led to another few days of being in hospital and more pain control tablets.This time I was under a new neurosurgeon who was very frustrated nothing had been done for me in all that time. He decided enough was enough and that an operation was needed. Finally In December 2014 I had a microdiscectomy on L4 L5 removing of a large bulge on both sides of the disc.
    The first few weeks were very hard and being so restricted to most things was frustrating.I felt happy after about two weeks and felt like I was getting some relief.But then about a month ago I woke with severe leg pain and lower back pain just like before the operation.Gradually the numbness in my foot has also returned so i felt like I was going backwards instead of forwards.
    Luckily I had my six week post op appointment coming up to go back to see the surgeon. I went to see him and he ordered another MRI scan. So I had another appointment yesterday 25/2/15 and the scan shows degenerative changes in two discs and there is a black shadow after appearing in my lumbar area(has me a bit worried). No bulges showed up in any more discs so its unclear why I have sciatica pain, numbness in one foot, lower back pain and why im unable to sit straight. I asked what he thought this black shadow could be? and also why I still had all these symptoms. He explained that he was unsure why all this was happening. And said that I will need more surgery to explore whats going on in my lower back.
    This wasn't the news I expected, I finally thought my back pain was going to be done and over with. But now I will have to deal with all these restrictions all over again after the next operation.Feel like screaming not leading a normal life of a 34 year old going out weekends, traveling, etc. I am due to start college hopefully in September so that's the time limit I have given myself to be fully recovered.Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is not very bright but its there and will get brighter......Just wondering if anyone has been through something similar??

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  • CaitlinewalkCCaitlinewalk Posts: 1
    edited 09/17/2015 - 6:37 AM
    I had my laminectony on my l4 l5 S1 on September 11th, 2015. Today is September 16, 2015. I went into surgery after reading so many horror story on these forums. As of today I can walk a half mile with minimal pain, no numbness. I have more pain my in my incision site than anything.
    I am 27, so fairly young and I understand that because I am young so I will bounce back much quicker than someone who is 75. I was so scared going into surgery they had to give me something because I was having rolling panic attacks. I was shaking, freaking out, crying.
    I woak up from surgery in alot of pain, ALOT OF PAIN. Also, apparently I was very angry, they gave me hydromophine and fentynal. I went back to sleep for a short period of time, in which acording to my nurse I was talking to my father about fishing. Before I was transferred to my room I had to roll to my side. I was fresh out of surgery in quite alot of pain and I decided then an there nothing was going to stop me I was going to get better. I rolled over to my side, and it actually took alot of the pain away. I was having alot of muscle spasms and pain mainly at the incision sight.
    After that they transfered me to my room, I met the most amazing nurse and cna they were an amazing team. I was put in my new hospital bed, which I log rolled aNd stood up and got in this different bed with just minimal help I made the cna hold my hand while I walked the 5 steps to my new bed. The nurse gave me a valium, 2 5mg norcos. The valuim for muscle spasms because I am allergic to many of the muscle relaxers they offered me, and the norco for "break thru pain" because I was being given fentynal every 2 hours.
    About 3 hours after being transferred to my room and a 2 hour nap I had to pee like horrible bad, the cna came in an basiclly supervised me getting up and walking. I did my buisness and she walked me back to my bed. This was a cycle for a couple hours. About 8 pm that night I called for the cna asked if she would walk with up an down the halls, more so because I was bored and nothing was on tv. So I walked up and down the hallways twice, and around my room a few times.
    I asked for all my medications and fell asleep about 10 pm. Now 4 am I wake up took my self to the bathroom and realized yes I was in a huge amount of pain and having quite bad muscle spasms. I discussed only taking the norco and valium, and seeing how that would go. So I took the medication and squirmed in my bed for about and hour, I finally said to myself enough is enough aNd asked for the fentynal. Mind you it had only been 18 past my surgery. The instant relief was amazing. I stayed up till I had breakfast, had another round of the painkillers and took a little nap.
    My doctor came to see me about 9 am and told me I was doing great and said he was going to discharge me if I could stay of the fentynal. I agreed and my 7 am dose was my last dose. I got up several and walked the floors before being discharged, also my cna took me out for a ciggaret. ( thank the Lord I was day dreaming about them) it was about a quarter mile walk to smoke the ciggaret, I walked up stairs down stairs and on uneven surfaces.
    They discharged me about 2 pm, Gave me a valium and norco for the ride home. I had about a hour an half ride home and it was rufff, my moms car is awfully bouncy.
    I went to my mother's house to stay for a while, so she could help me with my six year old son. The first night home I laid on the couch and would sit up every once in a while. With the assistance of my two brothers helping me stand up when I needed to.
    The second day home was much better I got to shower which was a little difficult since you are not suppose to bend or lean. I also did alot more sitting at the kitchen table which is where my family hangout together. I also used a rice bag on my left hip since I had some slight shooting pains. But!!!! I had no numbness in either leg which I had before surgery which is so exciting.
    Each day had gotten better and better, today is day 5 I have had no narcotics just a valium and nurtoin. I just want people to know that the surgery sucks, it does. For me it was worth it tho, it's the fifth day and my legs are pain free im walking farther everyday. It does take alot out of me since I am still healing, after the walks I take or a shower im zonked out and I usually have to lay down for a while and relax. I know I am fixed. I had pain for 5 years in each leg, it took me calling and doing leg work to get an mri. I had to self refer myself to the neurological institut that did my surgery. I had doctors only treat the symptoms and not the cause for so long, they didn't even want to find the cause. In the last 4 months the neurosurgeon had me do pt, epidural with no no results. He finally had me come to an appointment we discussed that none of the other conservative treatments worked. And that a laminectomy was the only option. He had me in surgery within 2 weeks and now I feel amazing. It was so worth it and I'm so happy I chose to have it. I know that everybody heals differently and reacts differently but I hope that everybody who reads this has a little hope.

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    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • rbbrownrrbbrown Posts: 3
    edited 12/17/2015 - 9:48 PM
    Following a L4-L5 disc hernation, drop foot resulted from my December surgery. I just had my first follow up (2nd) MRI and X-ray which showed the same condition, but they did not recommend another surgery for fear of more damage. My right hamstring (the right leg was where the damaged nerve is) is still very weak. I'm afraid that I may have perminate damage so should do I have a chance for recovery this long after my surgery? Thanks!

    Foot Drop Treatments
    Liz, Spine-health Moderator
  • As we know ... Everyone is different.  Two and a half years ago I had an emergency L4 L5 disectomy.  Fragments of material wwre compressing my nerve causing pain in my lower back, sciatica and numbness in my leg and foot.  Needless to say the recovery was so much less painful than prior to surgery.  6 weeks post op I was released to resume all normal activities.  What a relief.  Unfortunately I am now scheduled for a L5 S1 in ten days.  5 months of excruciating pain, 5 weeks of PT and my doc finally referred me back to my surgeon. After an MRI the surgeon suggested a lumbar injection to reduce inflammation of the disc.  To no avail... Pain since injection has only worsened.  Hoping the L5 S1 has similar recovery times.... Never thought I'd be looking forward to surgery....

  • broken77 said:

    Omg finally !!!!! Some positive posts ! I have been really down lately because I am 6 weeks post op from laminotomy/farminotomy of L4/5 L5/S1 and still have nerve pain. I injured myself at work almost a year ago (law enforcement) and I am not the man I used to be. Haven't had a real work out since now that I had the surgery I was excited to get back to my normal life only to still be in pain. Surgeon says that since it was imprinted for so long it will take time to heal...anyone else hear the same story ?

  • I  know what you mean about not feeling like the same person.  Me  too, l feel like a slow moving senior! I'm 55! 
    My cousin also had  partial discectomy after five years and surgeon said they had to literally  PEEL the disc off of the nerve, so she's in for  a long recovery.  I'm very stiff a year on from surgery,  so l swim which  helps.  I think  lve done well when l hear all these stories  of  continuous pain, as l  get jarring and arthritic stiffness but lm able to  lead a normal life, Mostly! God luck!
  • I am 6 months post a 3 level lumbar fusion + I had 2 artificial discs implanted. My neurosurgeon has not order ANY PT yet. I starred going in the town pool to try and strengthen my left leg. Walking became too depressing as I end up handing onto a telephone poll, since I have to keep stopping,

    My last appointment he saw that I could not bend ANY toes on my left  foot. In fact almost half the foot is totally numb. He ordered a CT scan, to find out if it is an S-I issue.
    Workers comp. keeps pretending they do not have it although the request was  faxed twice.
    I cannot have another appointment until I get the CT scan done.
    The neurosurgeons office is sick of their ignorance and they are not going to fax it again.
    Lucky me.

    I cannot walk with out my cane, and 30 feet into the walk, I have to stop, wait about 20-3- seconds then continue on. I really need a wheelchair for any place that requires walking far.

    I know nobody is going to respond and "my bad", for trying to give this site another chance.

    "For we walk by faith, not by sight"~ Corinthians
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 726

    Dear Rootsprincess...

    Your situation does not sound good... at 6 months post-op most patients are a bit further along.  What did your doctor say about your progress at your last appointment?  Is it possible to hand-in the CT request to workers comp. office in person?  I also do swimming PT 4-5 times a week.. I really like it... keep after it. 

    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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