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Week 3 Microdiscectomy Post-Op

boywonder777bboywonder777 Posts: 4
edited 02/17/2013 - 4:02 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my surgery performed about 3 weeks ago and I am still experiencing some shooting electrical pain through the same left leg that induced the surgery. After reading the boards extensively, I am not sure if I have possibly re herniated or that this is a very natural part of the healing process. I was pain free post op for a couple of days; however was heavily medicated. As soon as I began to somewhat integrate normal life, cut down on the meds, I began feeling the pain increase. I am a catastophizing maniac when it comes to my back after 6 years and the anxiety is definitely getting the better of me with every tingle.

In no way is the pain comparable to the pre op, but it is a 3-4 on the pain scale.

I have Gabapentin that I have not touched since the surgery and have been relying on Vicodin in minimal dosages to help mitigate.

Any advice or shared experiences would be great. Any time I get a sensation I want to call the doctor and get an MRI to make sure it has not re herniated.

What or how is everyone's sleeping position?

Also, any advice on how to get through ten weeks not lifting more than 5 pounds would be great.

First time poster long time reader.

Thank you community.


  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 02/06/2013 - 3:08 AM
    I am 5 mo post-op on my microD. I understand your anxiety fully. The process of recovering from the anxiety & depression following surgery is as much of a hurdle, if not more, than the physical for many who have been in your shoes.

    Did I reherniate? I think all of us post-op think about that 100x per day. The possibility is there always. That is why it is important to stay in contact with your surgeon. For me, I was in PT 2 weeks post-op and my therapist helped me alot with that.

    Its probably normal recovery. weeks 3 & 4 were tough for me. As we return to activity & come off meds it only makes sense for the pain to increase. For me it has been a roller coaster ride the whole way. Feel a little better, increase activity, then hurt again, freak out a bit, then feel a little better. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Give the neurontin a chance. I used it for 3 weeks around weeks 4-7. It really helped get through a rough patch. It has some anti-anxiety & anti-depressant qualities to it that helped also. It made me high as a kite for the first few days, but that leveled out. Everyone reacts to it differently so be careful. But if the doc thinks it will help def give it a try.

    Again, I am 5 months out. Still dealing with many issues. But I have been working since week 2. I really consider this to be a 6-12 month recovery. I am hoping I am about halfway to normal. I feel I have been floating between 60 & 80 % of "normal"

    Also I did 4 months of PT. Staying cautiously active is a big deal also. I feel worse not doing enough activity, just like I feel worse doing too much. Finding that sweet spot is the key.

    Send me a DM if you have any questions. I check in often & am happy to share!

    Good luck!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 02/06/2013 - 1:24 PM
    After my L5-S1 procedure, I was in a s#!7load of pain. I thought for sure I had reherniated. It was bad; trapped in bed for many weeks. I was barely able to move, it took me about 15 minutes to turnover in bed, slide out of bed to my hands and knees on the ground, and crawl to the restroom 15 feet away. (this was at home) During these weeks, many bad and harmful thoughts were in my head.
    Finally, I called my surgeon and asked to be seen again. They had me come in and although we did not MRI me again, we tried ESIs. They worked. It took about a week and I was back to being pain free! As it turned out, it was severe inflammation, swelling and edema compressing the nerve.

    They are big proponents of L. Huey's aquatic physical therapy in a pool.

    The first month or so is crucial that you do not lift stuff. The disc needs time for scar tissue to close up the hole in it. No sneezing, coughing, gagging, retching, nudging, lifting, shoving, vomiting, dragging, pushing, constipation, straining, strenuous movements, ...... well, you get the idea.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I am certainly trying to find that area where I can be active without worrying about a reherniation that scares the hell out of me. I am walking on a treadmill, but anytime I do anything beyond sleeping eating walking I enter into the did I reherniate land especially if I have nerve pain down the leg the next day.

    Can someone please direct me to a site or message board that specifically shows a timetable for the nerve recovery process post microdiscectomy surgery.
  • I'm week two in Post Op and my body pillow has been a big help in sleeping with less pain. I usually start out on my side but sometimes end up on my back. I was told that any sleeping position was fine as long as there was no pain. My doctor told me to wait 4-6 weeks before Physical Therapy to let the disc heal. As far as full recovery time, my doctor said it could take up to a year to be 100%. I'm sure it depends on person to person though. I'm afraid of going back to work and automatically bend or twist. Am thinking about doing half days first and going from there.

    And talk about no coughing! They didn't tell me how to prepare myself if I needed to cough or sneeze. Coughed hard several days after surgery and had a shooting pain go down my leg! Luckily I don't think I re-herniated it.
  • My surgery for a bad rupture L4 was 10 weeks ago. I had an open disectomy, could not walk by the time I went in for surgery. Weeks 3-4 were the worst, especially after good progress. But I had faith in the doctor who said it would be 6-8 weeks before real progress and he was right. I still have a little discomfort if I sit too long. The doctor told me the nerve regenerates about 1 millimeter a day. It could be 8-10 months before the nerve is fully recovered. Today I am finishing 5 days of work at a trade show and feel great, not quite fully pain free, but I will be patient and trust the experts. Patience and baby steps are hard.
  • It is good to read the positive and negative stories above. It is hard to be patient, and to take things so slowly, but it is important. I have dealt with bulging discs for decades, but this was my first herniation. For the first time ever, I am sleeping with a pillow between my legs (while on my side) and starting to really like it. Give it a try. I think it keeps me more neutral, and inhibits the twisting. After three weeks, I still can't sit much, and there is not much that I do other than try to walk a little more every day. I am up to about two 2 mile walks per day. The sunsets have been gorgeous! Too bad it is raining today...
    Microdiscectomy L5-S1; Jan. 28, 2013
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