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Coughing after Back Surgery

I had a microscopic lumbar discectomy on my L5-S1 on Feb 5 and had immediate pain relief except my foot is still a bit tingly. Unfortunately I caught some kind of bug/flu/cold and a few days after surgery I felt really fatigued. Started coughing Feb 9 Saturday night so I took some cough syrup and Sunday mid morning I coughed hard and had sharp pain shoot down my leg. It eased off to a dull ache but it's still there.

The doctor said since the pain eased off it's unlikely that I re-herniated my disk and that the nerve probably got irritated since it's still really sensitive. He told me the next time I had to cough or sneeze to tighten my abs and glutes to protect the back and put me on a regimen of ibprofen to help with the inflammation. I really wish I was told this before my surgery as it wasn't instinctive to tighten my glubes/abs.

Has anyone had this happen to them? Is there anything else I need to be aware of? I'm really afraid I took a huge step backwards in my recovery and feel like such a wuss because I know a lot of you have more painful problems to deal with. Thank you!
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