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L5/S1 Discectomy went well

Tree512TTree512 Posts: 24
Finally had my L5/S1 discectomy revision yesterday, along with a little bone shaving to make some more room at L4/L5. 16mm herniation gone. 3 hours on the table, but one day later and I am at home and doing remarkably well. Still have numbness and weakness on my right side where the nerve was impinged, but that is to be expected. Overall I am doing well - now I just have to take it easy and let myself recover.

Thanks to everyone on this site who takes the time to post, especially those with positive messages. The more people share experiences, the easier it is for us to face our challenges.


  • I am new to the forum in the last couple of weeks, but I'm always so glad to hear a success story. I hope you keep everyone up to date on your progress.

    I may be facing this soon myself; going for third injection to see if I can get anymore relief. This is why I joined the forum....

    Take care.
  • Yah Tree! So happy for you that things went well with your revision.

    You have a great positive outlook.

    Hope your recovery is smooth and successful.
    >: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
  • Just checking back in. Doing fine with my recovery, but it is really slow. Went in a car for the first time since the hospital and walked around for an hour. Way too much. Didn't do any permanent harm but was in enough pain to lie down on the ground in a public space like a homeless person rather than stand while my wife waited for something.

    So the lesson is to not push things, so you can actually recover. Very hard for me, as I push myself, but I have to in order to get the positive outcome I want. Given some of the other stories I read around here, it is very easy to have things go wrong, so I am very happy that so far I am doing well.
  • Just be very careful, you soon will feel 100% and start to push your back a bit more and more. I felt nearly 100% 3-months out and a single hard labor day 2 weeks ago has brought the pain back again.
  • I am now more than 5 weeks out from surgery and recovery is slow. I went into work (including a 40+ mile drive each way) 2 days in a row, and couldn't handle that. But I can go on 2 mile walks and have minimal pain now.

    The key, just like newmoon posted above, is to not push myself. Much easier said than done.
  • Good to hear things are going well.
    Yes, car rides take time to 'build up' to especially if you are driving. I find that if I adjust my seat every 15 mins that helps. And for a 40 min ride, you may have to get out every 20 mins to walk around the car twice.

    Keep up the good work, don't overdo it and best wishes in a continued recovery.
  • Checking back in...

    Two months from surgery and I am doing well. I have turned the corner from "what can I do" to "what can't I do?" I have no more leg pain and the numbness in my leg/foot keeps going down. I can walk anything now, including the steep hills I live on. I have started PT and that is helping. I am going into work 3 days a week, telecommuting the other 2 days. Sitting for 10-12 hours a day is still hard, especially multiple days in a row, but after a day of taking it easy, my back feels fine again. I have been riding my exercise bike, and today I will ride outside for the first time since October.

    All in all, a very successful surgery and hopefully a bit of hope for anyone in a lot of pain and wondering if it is worth it to go through the ordeal of an open discectomy. Glad I did!
  • I thought I would check back in a year post surgery. I am doing great. For the first time in over 12 years, I am completely off any anti-inflammatory or pain meds, can walk and bike with no pain for long periods (meaning walking 10+ miles or ride 25+ miles), and generally am pain free related to the surgery.

    It wasn't a miracle cure - I still can't run, jump, or lift anything consequential. If I don't stretch and walk every day, my back and leg begin to hurt. I still have numbness in my right foot, and I still don't have full strength in my right leg. But compared with a year ago, it is like night and day.
  • Great news on your amazing recovery....sharing gives us all encouragement with whatever "fill in the blank" we are facing! Proud of you!
  • hello tree512, can you tell me your condition prior to the surgery? how bad was it ? could you sit or stand.. and what meds were you taking.. how long it had been going on and if you tried alternatives like physio or acupuncture?

  • Tree512TTree512 Posts: 24
    edited 02/04/2013 - 3:34 AM
    Pre-surgery I could sit and stand, but not for long periods of time. I had a nerve root block that was fairly effective that let me get through the day. I also took 880mg (4 OTC pills) of naproxyn every day for 12 years to manage the inflammation causing the pain. I have had an acupuncturist for 10 years, a chiropractor for 17 years, and lots of PT and have been doing daily stretching and core work for 20 years (I am 48).

    But the pain was bad enough that needed to take a lot of Vicodin for flare ups, and if I did something extremely painful, like straightening both of my legs while lying down, the pain was at the 8-10 level. I couldn't handle an MRI once because I didn't bring opiates and I couldn't straighten my legs and handle the pain. I could barely do it with 2 Vicodin and a muscle relaxant to boot. So I was in a lot of pain.
  • Wow you have been taking naproxen for the past 12 years? I hope you are off meds now!! Aah please be careful not to ruin your stomach w all the meds you have been taking !!
    Thank you for sharing your story. I just had my surgery yesterday. There is soreness at the incision area, and pain and numbness in my left ankle but of course that will take a bit of time for it to ameliorate. Definitely no regrets in having the surgery done :)
  • I thought I would keep this alive with annual updates to show that some surgeries actually work. 2 years out and I am still off anti-inflammatories and generally stable. I can walk and bike long distances, and now can also golf. Still haven't played 18 holes, but I can hit the ball without pain, which is a big plus.

    I am always going to be limited, but through daily exercise, bi-weekly physical therapy, and constant vigilance, I am able to lead a fairly normal life. After the years of pain many of you have felt, just not having that pain and set of major limitations is fantastic.
  • Glad to read that you are still doing well.....spine conditions are a journey, not a destination and it is good to read about the positive outcomes too......too often those who do well after surgery get back into the land of the living and don't post to update very often. It is good for the new members to see that back issues don't necessarily have to become debilitating .....if we work hard at recovery, and listen to our doctors, there is life after chronic back pain.
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