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1 year today since L5S1 microD

Hello all. It has been 1 year today since my L5S1 Microdiscectomy.

Let me start by saying that there is NO comparison! I am so much better today than I was then. I was in extreme pain for nearly 2 years before my surgery.Now, the things I wanted to know the most during my recovery times. Am I normal? How long did it take to get back to normal?
No, I am not normal. I am probably as close to normal as I am going to get. Most days I feel about 95%. The pains I have now are very different from before & after surgery. I still have a lot of hamstring & calf tightness in both legs. I still have to stretch a lot. I have pain in both of my hips, its random though, and I cannot say if it has anything to do with my herniation or not. I am 33 btw. I also still have some random burning sensations in my lower calf. It is something that comes and goes, but at its worst it is annoying, not really painful. I still get swelling after strenuous activity. It does bother me sometimes that I get that swelling. And I was told by the PT it could last a year, maybe it will get better. I also know that the nerve can heal for 2 years, so maybe that burning will eventually go away.
Now the second part. It took me nearly 6 months to feel anywhere near normal. And that was even after 14 weeks of PT. Was it because I was herniated so long, or because I have conjoint nerve root. I do not know. I did return to work right away. And thank God I have a job where I could do office work for that long. Really just in the last 2-3 months have I been able to work physically. Running machines & pulling wrenches for whole days without serious pain after. Now just because I can work hard does not mean I can do whatever I want. I try to be very smart & conscience of every move I make. If I lift or pull I do it as slowly & safely as possible.
So, what do I do now. Actually there is a lot of upside here. I quit smoking, Itll be a year Halloween. I am probably in the best shape I have been in since I was a teenager. I go to the gym pretty regularly (though I have been slackin lately). I play basketball & do weight machines ( very conservatively). I ride the exercise bike ( tried jogging last week, bad idea), and I swim. I can mow the lawn, wash my dogs, and most general household activities no problem. I can work an 8 hour day, standing. Hell I can even do so multiple days in a row.
L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!


  • So overall I am very happy with the results. I know I still have a slight L4L5 bulge. I hope I do not have to deal with that for a long time. It does not bother me... yet. I wish I was 100% all the time, but I am thankful for where I am at. I can live my life without extreme pain, and that's the bottom line.

    Good Luck to all, I hope this helps some of you on the forums. I have a lot of previous posts throughout my recovery. I would encourage everyone in early stages or considering surgery to read them. They document most of the roller coatster ride that has been my year since surgery.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • I am only 4 week post-op tomorrow, so i cant imagine celebrating my one year anniv of my lumbar surgery.
    But thanks for sharing your great news story.
  • Hi Ben
    A year well done its good to hear how you are doing further down the line . I am 5 months down the line at mo and already had one failed return to work . Seem to be at a point were it hasn't got better but not worse either. Hurts to walk but doing it and moving around as much as poss regularly. Hoping to try another return to work in a few weeks.
  • Congrats on a good outcome...it is so nice to read about those who are doing well......and it gives a balance to the forums to read things like yours for new patients.
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 09/19/2013 - 4:45 AM
    Very nice. Keep protecting that disc.

    For maintenance, I bought a *edited to remove product company name**lumbar traction table. I get in it once a month or so and it keeps me good. Or if I overdo it with gardening or working out, I just climb in it and it gets me good again.

    Cheers and best wishes. :cowboy:

    Post edited by the Spine Health Moderation Team
    Please review the forum rules prior to posting at these links for more information.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • RennersChickRRennersChick Posts: 228
    edited 09/18/2013 - 8:11 PM
    This gives me so much hope! For a long time there was little to no hope. I am 2 weeks out from my L5S1 micro and I do feel a difference and the pain I have isn't "new"...it just feels different. I am coping with that buy doing some of the PT stretches I learned prior to surgery (don't worry, no BLT involved).

    Thank you so much for sharing and I truly hope that you will never have to go through any of that again! That goes for all of us!
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • I am having a L5S1 Discectomy done in 6 days, my doctor doesn't do microdiscetomys as far as I can understand. This is comforting. I also felt like no one else my age has similar issues, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
  • I just sent you a private message.
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • Ben,
    Do you remember the week after surgery how you felt? I am 5 days post op. The first 2 days my pain was 90% gone and now the past 2-3 days im having some more intermittent pain - it comes and goes and its nearly as bad as before surgery bu def still that nerve pain rearing its head. did you have this? ive heard it can take awhile to go away (assuming it does go away)....
  • Mama-SchueMMama-Schue Posts: 337
    edited 10/16/2013 - 5:21 PM
    It is good to hear a success story. I am 9 days post-op from having a repeat MicroD on L4-L5 after re-herniating only 2 weeks after my first MicroD 2 months ago. I have been extra pre-cautious this second time. But it is good to hear that we can get back to normal, even if it's only 95%, I'll take it. Is there any advice you can give those of us that are just starting are journey? I know there are many of us that would like some tips or tricks to get to where you are today.

    L4-L5 Herniated 02-02-2013 (Slipped on Ice)
    L4-L5 MicroD 08-07-2013, Reherniated 10-21-2013
    L4-L5 MicroD Revision 10-07-2013, Reherniated 10-17-2013
    L4-L5 PLIF/TLIF 10-02-2013
    Released From Surgeon & All Restrictions 03-06-2014
  • psususeppsususe Posts: 18
    edited 10/19/2013 - 6:47 AM
    I am 8 days post op. Bad herniation in my L5/S1 which was treated with a microdisectomy. Also have a minor L4/L5 bulge. Feeling great post op, can stand up straight finally and walk! Been doing 2-3 miles/day walks for the last 4 days. Having some of those phantom pains in my lower calf, along the side of my thigh and the slide of my hip hurts (in the leg that was the problem one). It's worse today-- am over doing it? I was pretty active before the pain just shut me down in the last few months. My pain did not start until Dec 2012. Going to lay low this wknd, going back to the office on Monday. I have a new standing desk set up (along with my regular one) so that should help. Also my upper back is kind of sore-- just wondering if that is a part of my muscles up there getting used to me walking more again and standing up straight. I sleep well, get weird middle of the night pains in the back of my thigh that wake me up. I get up, walk around, take a vicodin if it is really bad, then go back to sleep. I am largely off the narcotics, except for those bad night pains here and there and am taking prescription anti-inflammatories. I also take a muscle relaxer at night so I do not toss and turn.

    Just so, so, so, afraid of a reherniation!!
  • Great news, day after surgery & feeling hopeful
  • Havent checked in since this post, just a quick update...

    About 3 weeks after this post I went too hard at the gym and spent about 3 weeks back on my tramadol to control the pain. It wasn't so much pain as burning and tingling which we all know can be just as scary. Well it took about 5 weeks to battle through it, and I am feeling good again. Just my back giving me a reminder that I cannot pretend everything is normal in there. I have not been back to the gym since, but I will go back. Just have to remember to take it easy.

    Hope everyone is as well as they can be!!!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
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