I had a discectomy on L5/S1 and laminectomy on L4-L5 a little over nine months ago. I'm 37 years old. I had an "enormous" herniation according to the surgeon. It was an open operation. Compared to where I was before surgery (unable to walk more than a block, general misery all the time) it's much, much better, in that I can walk wherever I want, I can swim, ride a stationary bike, and generally do regular things. But the bigger issue is that my back continues to be very stiff and I just have absolutely none of the limberness and strength that I had before I ran into trouble a year and a half ago. I also have trouble sitting for long periods of time, and I still don't really feel comfortable lifting much over about 8-10 lbs.
I really miss lifting weights, and while I'm happy about being able to get around, it's very frustrating to be this weak and stiff. When people say "full recovery", I assume they can do most of what they used to do. I don't seem to see much about this issue of how much strength and limberness people are able to gain back.
My surgeon seems to think I can get back to lifting free weights, as long as I don't do any squats. He is telling me to wait a few more months and that it can continue to improve. I'm curioius as to how people's strength and limberness have improved after 9 months, a year, a year and a half. I am really hoping that I can get some strength and limberness back - I realize that I'm not 25 years old, but at 37 I feel frustrated not having regained more strength by this point, 9 months after the operation.
Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.