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L5S1 Post-Op Discectomy - Will activity slow my healing or injure me?

Hi all!

Two weeks ago (7/26) I had a discectomy operation on my L5S1 - it was a lateral herniation. For the last two weeks I've mostly been in bed, except the past few days when I've gone on short walks. I still feel sciatic pain as I was warned, but I know short walks are good for me, so I'm going to continue to do them. (And I've been feeling better as the days go on).

Thing is, I am an actor and I have rehearsals coming up for a show. Rehearsals aren't all standing; there's some sitting, movement, and I can take breaks as I need to. But my concern is this: will partaking in activity like this either slow my healing or cause further damage?

My doc hasn't given me a straight answer, so I'm curious if anyone else became a bit more active after week #2 and what the outcome was. This one weekly rehearsal would be the only activity I'm involved in; otherwise I'm at home resting. I'm not working right now.

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you!



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 08/09/2013 - 10:56 PM
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • MutleyMMutley Posts: 38
    edited 08/09/2013 - 11:29 PM
    I think you will not get a definite answer to this as each patient is given different information depending on their condition from their neurosurgeon or doctor.
    In my case I have been advised to go for short walks but no hills or inclines and not to do any lifting or bending in the first weeks of recovery. No physio or swimming until after the six weeks appointment
    I am up to 11minutes a walk and hope to be at 3 miles by 6 weeks.
    After the six weeks I will be attending a physio and doing Pilates
    Maybe go back to your doctor and ask for a more definite answer

    Chronic DDD L4-5 disc protrusion impinging left lateral recess/left sided nerve roots
    L5-S1 narrowing and posterior annular bulging - L3-4 posterior annular bulging - degenerative narrowing T11-12 disc
    07/31 Microdiscectomy L4-5
    Mum of two
  • swamisalamisswamisalami Posts: 2
    edited 08/09/2013 - 11:53 PM
    Hey Mutley,

    Thank you for your response! It's great to hear you have such a clear plan for your recovery! I wish you the best of luck with everything!

    I guess my big question really is this: just because I feel sore or a flare up of sciatic pain, does that mean I am damaging myself or slowing my healing? That's really the issue. Because I know that rehearsals will push me a bit and I'm sure I'll feel sore and flared up. But if that's normal and won't cause further damage, great. If anyone has thoughts on this please let me know!

    Yes, I do understand its hard to answer this because everyone has different suggestions from their doc. I just thought maybe someone has found themselves in a similar situation. We'll see! Again, best wishes to you!
  • MutleyMMutley Posts: 38
    edited 08/10/2013 - 12:38 PM
    I am getting some twinges/pain/numbness in the leg, thigh and the sciatica is flaring a bit not to a large extent, its hard to know if it is the walking, as I was told the nerve will cause this as well its rebuilding so to speak.

    Good luck with the rehearsal, maybe try a night but take it real easy.
    Best of luck with your recovery
    Chronic DDD L4-5 disc protrusion impinging left lateral recess/left sided nerve roots
    L5-S1 narrowing and posterior annular bulging - L3-4 posterior annular bulging - degenerative narrowing T11-12 disc
    07/31 Microdiscectomy L4-5
    Mum of two
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