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1 Day Microdiscectomy Post Op

BriggzyBBriggzy Posts: 8

I'm new here so I don't know if this is in the right section or not.

I won't make this long, as I sit here typing the pain is starting to get to me.

Long story short, after 5 years of having problems with a disk bulge and herniation originating from my L4-L5 disk I finally had a microdiscectomy yesterday on the 28th of March, I felt great afterwards and was in pretty much no pain at all unless I made a wrong movement, and managed to sleep relatively fine later that night (I had the surgery at 12:30pm and was home by 7:15pm). But upon waking this morning (the day after) I found that I was really sore and my mobility was restricted and the nerve pinch was a bit more prominent, I know that is all to be expected given that they've cut through muscle and removed a part of my spine and played with my nerves. I'm currently taking Tramadol for the pain, which I've been using since the problem began.

I'm posting here because I was just hoping someone could tell me how long the incision site normally hurts for, and how long until I can get myself in and out of bed without pain and resume my normal routine? Also, the thought of coughing or sneezing terrifies me, does anyone have any advice on how to make it less painful to do so?

If anymore details are needed, I'm happy to provide.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • BriggzyBBriggzy Posts: 8
    edited 03/30/2013 - 12:54 AM
    Thanks for the welcome, Liz, and thanks for the advice, Keytan, although I've yet to cough or sneeze since my surgery 2 days ago, I'll take your advice into consideration, I also found that it hurts when I clear my throat too, even more so when I'm laid in bed.
  • ben_indianabben_indiana Posts: 288
    edited 04/01/2013 - 3:05 AM
    And welcome to the forums.

    My incision site pain was strong for about a week. Prob about 2 weeks to feel pretty good about the simple stuff getting in & out of bed & shower, putting shoes & clothes on, stuff like that. Remember though, everyone is different.

    As for feeling totally "normal" I am 7 mo post and still not 100%. I am close though and so much better now than I was pre-op that even with any setbacks & flare-ups I am so thankful of where I am now and what I can do.

    Make sure you do light walking if suggested by your doc & try to get into a great PT when the docs sez it's okay to do so.

    Good Luck!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Thanks for that, Ben, I'm 4 days post op now, feeling a bit tight and stiff but the pain isn't bad at all unless I try to do something I shouldn't, in a few days the stitches should start dissolving so that will be a relief, I've been terrified of tearing them or something. I've also found that I can't seem to stand up straight and my stride is very short so I'm having difficulty walking, every time I try to do so I get the nerve pain in my buttock and my thigh, is this cause for concern or is it to be expected given that I'm only 4 days post op?

    My biggest fear right now is that the disk will re-herniate and a revision surgery would be needed, how would I know if it has re-herniated? What are the signs? Is it a sudden, extreme pain or is it something more gradual?

    Thanks again.
  • We all fear it Briggzy. I dont know what it feels like and hope I never do. I do know that every little setback or flareup you have, the mind automatically thinks reherniation. Its great to have contact with a nurse from the surgeons office in the first few weeks. Mine always called me back within hours of leaving a voicemail.

    So again, be sure to ask, but I would say any pain that early on is probably normal. Some peoples nerves get so inflammed during surgery that they are in severe pain for the first few weeks. As for the walking just take it slow. My first day I walked to the end of the driveway and back. Its only 3 cars long. Then I just increased a bit every day. 1 house each way, 2 houses. Then to the stop sign. Then halfway around. I live in a small neighborhood. Took me at least 10-11 days to go around. Its just that the motion prevents scar tissue buildup. I remember those first weeks well. I got to enjoying the walking so much, then I had to start PT and go back to work. Those weeks suck, just so ya know.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • I had my second lumbar lamenectomy on Oct 30, 2008 and did well for first 2 weeks then woke up one morning with pain exactly like I had before surgery and called my surgeon. They sent me for a MRI the next day and he said I had re-herniated and had another surgery on Dec. 15, 2008. I was so upset as I was so careful but he said it could have been something as simple as sneezing or coughing or even turning over in bed so it just happens. I have had 4 spine surgeries and that was the only re-herniation but not very good odds :/ Also the pain did not get better no matter what I did. I tried the steroids and nerve medication but it never changed so I had a feeling it had re-herniated. I hope all goes well with you and please keep us informed.

  • BriggzyBBriggzy Posts: 8
    edited 04/05/2013 - 4:41 AM
    Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that, kamgram, I can only imagine how hard that was.

    I'm now 8 days post op, I changed my first dressing yesterday (well, my mother did) and the incision site looked well with minimal swelling, the incision itself is neat and the edges meet neatly as far as I can notice.

    I'm starting to get my stride back which is great because now I can go walking a bit. The pain is pretty much nonexistent unless I'm stood or sat for too long, or bending over too far which is obvious but hey, my socks aren't going to put themselves on, haha.

    During the first week I found it really hard to cope, I just couldn't seem to get comfortable at all, whether sitting, standing or lying down, I slept about 8 hours in 3 days and the stress just overwhelmed me, but mostly it was not being able to do the little things that got to me, I couldn't help but think "Why the hell did I do this to myself?!" and it just felt never ending, the days were long and hard.

    I'm looking forward to my second week post op, I know it's gonna be better than the first. I really can't wait until I can bend over without any restrictions or pain, my bedroom floor is now riddled with things I've dropped and not being able to pick up. xD

    But back to the point, the recovery is getting easier and easier day by day, during the first week, given the state of mind I was in and some of the stuff I've read on here, I honestly thought it would at least a month until I felt like this. Although I know it's too early to judge whether the surgery was successful, it certainly feels so.

    I appreciate all the replies, and it's very comforting just knowing that there are people out there in the same boat, I'll keep you updated as I progress.

  • cosmicsuzy1212ccosmicsuzy1212 Posts: 36
    edited 04/05/2013 - 4:09 AM
    Thank you for sharing the post about your first few days. I am anticipating a two level microdiskectomy L3-4 and L4-5. I have already had a fusion at C6-7 and I can't imagine this will be any worse, but I am afraid of the pain level after surgery. I am looking forward to taking walks again. It seems like even that has been hard to do since this whole thing started last year. My docs are so incredibly stingy with pain medication. It truly sucks, and I do a good job with meds. After a year of suffering with this leg pain I can see relief in sight, but it is none too soon! Please keep us posted!

    "My Blood Type is Be Positive"


  • BriggzyBBriggzy Posts: 8
    edited 04/08/2013 - 6:45 PM
    Hi everyone, just a quick update, it's been almost 2 weeks since the surgery and I have to say, I'm recovering a lot faster than I first though, you read things on the internet, other people's testimonials and such about how much they've struggled and the trials they've had to overcome, and you start to think your recovery will be just the same, but I'm in to my second week now and I'm in no pain at all, I'm really not sure if that's simply because it doesn't hurt anymore, or my Tramadol are a lot more effective than I thought but either way, it feels great.

    My mobility is still restricted, I still can't bend over which is expected, and as I understand it, after the surgery because they can't stitch the disc they leave it to simply heal on it's own, so for a few months there's a hole in the disc and I guess that's why it hurts to try and bend over. The nerve pain is also pretty much gone, it only rears it's ugly head when I put my socks on in the morning, but even then it's only for a minute.

    I've had some slight bleeding from the incision site this weekend, nothing major, just a drop but I'm still going to see my doctor to get it checked out and make sure I didn't bust a stitch or something, hopefully it's just nothing.

    Diane, sorry for the late reply. I hope my posts have encouraged you and that your recovery will be as swift and painless as mine, I imagine with a two level microdiscectomy the pain will be a bit worse and your movement will me more restricted than mine, you'll probably feel stressed for the first week or so, for me it was just the lack of mobility and discomfort that stressed me out, but you can do it! Relief will come, but after surgery it takes some real patience on our end too.

    Also, after the surgery they'll give you pain medication so you don't have to worry about being in too much pain. I sincerely hope all goes well for you, and I'll be checking the forum for your success story!


  • Hi there
    Just wanted to say imam enjoying your posts and finding them very calming,. My Discectomy is next Wednesday and I am really panicking now , however your stories are really helping me so thank you so much :-)
  • Dawnylou68 said:
    Hi there
    Just wanted to say imam enjoying your posts and finding them very calming,. My Discectomy is next Wednesday and I am really panicking now , however your stories are really helping me so thank you so much :-)
    Hi there, glad to hear my posts are helping! I was really nervous before my surgery too, although most of my worry was about the recovery and damaging myself even further during it, I'm into my 3rd week now and I can honestly say it isn't half as bad as I thought it would be, as you've seen in my earlier posts, the pain is almost non existent with the use of Tramadol, and if it wasn't for my addiction to the pills, I probably wouldn't even take them since the pain is so relieved, although the sciatic pain is still present, it's totally manageable.

    I honestly believe that it's going so well for me because I don't work, nor have I worked for the last 5 years, so I don't do anything at all with my days, so my lifestyle really hasn't changed since the surgery and I'm already back to my usual routine, but for the people who lead active lifestyles, I imagine the difference would be huge. The whole reason I went ahead with the surgery was so that I could eventually find a job that I could perform comfortably without having to worry about making my condition worse, and to simply lead a normal life, end my addiction to Tramadol, get over my depression etc, and right now it feels like everything is going to according plan! I really can't wait to see what I'll be like come summer time.

    I really hope everything goes as well for you as it has for me so far, just remember your reasons for having the surgery, and look forward to the day your lifestyle will be improved and you'll be pain free! Although your worries and fears are totally warranted, I really do believe it won't be as bad as you think.

    Best of luck with the upcoming surgery, and please keep us updated!

  • Just a quick question... does anyone know when it's OK to bathe after surgery? It's been over 2 weeks now and I'm sick of sponge baths, I'm in the process of getting a shower fitted but it's not gonna be finished for a while, so until then I can only bathe which I was told not to do after the surgery, but I wasn't told when it was safe to continue doing so. Does anyone have any insight?
  • mp
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • I am sorry but you are going to need to ask the Doc who performed the surgery. Only they will know as we dont know the condition of the wound and are not qualifyed to make that decision.

    I know thats rough and you have got to be tired of that and I am sorry. You really cant mess with it, until you know.
  • My husband had a discectomy L5 S1 on 4/15/14. Right after surgery leg pain was gone. The following day he started feeling the pain again in the back of his thigh down his leg to ankle and foot. Tonight will be the ninth night since surgery. He has been up all night every night with severe pain. Dr said it is due to the inflammation. Taking dilaudid, flexeril and had a steroid pack. NOTHING helps. Lost about 20 pounds since March 30th when this pain began. We keep calling the dr but each time we are told give it time. I think by now he should be getting some relief from the pain or is this normal. How long after this type of surgery before the pain is gone. I don't know what to do. Post op visit is this Monday. I don't know how he can go another 3 nights like this. Any other suggestions. I think he should find another doctor and get a second opinion but he does not want to start all over again.
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