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Endoscopic Microdiscectomy recovery list

Had an L5 minimally invasive micro today. All went well. Feeling minor overall back pain (dampened by 5mg hydrocodone/acetamenophen.

My surgeon said I could work from home for the next 10days, but not much else about the particular things I can/can't do (other than twisting, bending, carrying).

I will email them at some point, but when should I start walking?
What can I expect in the next few days?
How about stretching?

Any other suggestions appreciated.


  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 01/22/2013 - 3:03 AM
    Hi Lumbar Lou.

    Sounds like an excellent start to your recovery.

    You really need to get specific instructions from your surgeon. On a general information point of view, walking post surgery is nearly universally recommended. How much depends on your condition. But moving is good to rebuild strength and prevent scar tissue from hardening and causing pain later on. Do as much as you can without overdoing it. See http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/postoperative-care-lumbar-microdiscectomy-surgery

    Post microdiscectomy, I did walking initially then added aqua therapy when given all clear when insicion was healed.

    Straight after surgery i couldnt walk for the first day and after that, getting to the toilet was a major achievement! Initially, I walked until it hurt between shoulder blades and became tired.

    Hope this helps.

  • Welcome to the club! I am almost 5 mo post op L5S1 microD. I have many posts on my recovery if you take the time to look them up. As always remember that everyone is different. But a quick summary for me.

    1st 2 weeks. Walking only, meds took care of most pain. Incision site pain. Easily exhausted. And yeah like Dave said, toilet not much fun, or shower for that matter.

    Week 3/4. Returned to work ( light duty) & started PT. Things much rougher, with return to activity. Was able to ease in with hours at work.

    Weeks 5-8. Had 1st setback, lasted 2 weeks for the worst of it, but generally 2nd month sucked. Ended up spending 2 weeks on neurontin. Its so hard to find the "right levels of activity.

    Months 3,4,and almost 5. Its just a roller coaster. I have said it in many posts and can't seem to say it enough. Pretty much every time I increase my activity I have some kind of setback lasting between 2 days to 1 week. I did PT from week 2 to week 16. (way more than most) But I really needed it. Recovery is wayyy slower than I expected.

    Pretty much any activity or movement you wanna do needs to be tested. If you wanna swim, swim for 10 minutes then see how you feel overnight. Same with walking right now. I started walking like 1/16 of a mile week 1. Took a week to make it around the block. I didnt even try to jog until like week 12. I tried to swim week 4 but it didnt go well. I tried again week 8 and it was all good. Even at PT there were at least 4 times they said, here do this, and I paid the price for it. Just finally in the last 6-8 weeks I have been able to do some weights at the gym ( always sitting, no deadlifting or squats or anything like that) and playing Bball on the court at the gym, which I love. But having any shooting accuracy after surgery is pretty much impossible. But PT helped me alot, they did a much better job than my surgeon on explaining when, why, and how to increase activity. And even then its only a guideline, your body tells you whats ok & whats not. Unfortunatly though, at least for me, my body waits like 6 hours before it says DUDE! you did too much.

    So thats my incomplete summary of the day, there have been so many ups & downs physically and emotionally it is hard to condense into one post. Fell free to DM me, i try to check in at least once a week.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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