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6 months post Microdisc... still in pain...

Some of you may have seen my on here posting things before. Ive had a rollercoaster of a recovery. I had a microdisc at L4L5 almost 6 months ago (in 11 days)... ive followed my recovery instructions religiously. i walk as much as a can, which i have to say isnt as much as i read others are doing which worries me. ive been in water PT for 10 weeks now. I felt a big improvement 2-3 weeks into water PT, but since its just stopped....if not gotten worse.
Ive had an MRI (right before i started PT) and it showed nothing. i even went to 2 more surgeons, neuro and ortho, all 3 drs have said the same... they dont know, it might be inflammation, slow healing, tight muscles, etc... "give it time"... which im very much trying to do.
im just very frustrated. last week my PT decided i needed to up my routine a little, nothing crazy just add a few more reps since i was handling the other well... well that was 6 days ago and im still in alot of pain. mainly, low back, butt and leg pain, both legs but mostly Right (before surgery it was all left leg only).
after surgery i did my walking everyday, kept pain/recovery logs, took all the meds they gave me (motrin, oxy, percocets, lortabs, lyrica, gabepentin, steroids for inflammation - not all at once)...and honestly none of them touched it.
now ive had maybe a handful of good days where i felt semi normal afer i started water PT... but then i have a week or 2 of really bad days. i dont get it. im just so frustrated and depressed over it.
i know i will never be 100% or "normal" and thats fine, but id like to live my life somewhat. the most i do these days (6 months post surgery) is go to the grocery store for 30 min max because otherwise the pain gets bad! i dont go on walks, everytime i do i get an increase in pain, instead i walk around my house, SLOWLY and not far.
its like my recovery got up to walking 1.5 miles a day TOTAL, not at once, at around 3 months and has just stopped prgressing. i had hope then thinking ok, if im progressing thats good, even tho its slow thats ok, at leats its getting better.
everytime i try to increase even the tiniest bit, i get a ton of pain again. they say walking is the best for this but walking actually makes it worse. nwo if i walk around my house, slowly, or even in the yard SLOWLY, and only for 10-15 min im good. if i walk fast at all, its bad news, like the other day we had to take our baby to the dr and i was in a hurry and sort of walked fast to grab my stuff to go, for maybe 5 min, not running just hurrying, and BAM the pain came back.
i just dont get it....and i dont know what to do at this point. ive been to more drs than i can count, had all kinds of tests and meds and i feel like theres no piont in getting anotehr opinion because im just stuck this way.

i cant even make plans to do anything fun because im scared how i will feel after. i saw an awesome cnocert id love to go to, but again walking a mile at once would kill me and those venues are BIG. go to a movie, no way i can sit for 2 hours straight.... UGH!!!
i just dont know what to do. sorry for the rambling,,, im just venting basically. i get tired of talking to my friends/family about it because after this long they seem to lose sympathy and kinda just see you up and about and think you are fine. i wish..... sorry again for the rant. :(

can i ask others at 6 months post microdisc.... what were you doing? i do stuff around the house, dishes, laundry ( i still dont vacuum), lift our baby (20lbs)...just normal stuff. now ive altered the way i do dishes, like i dont bend over alot, i get down on my knees get the dishes out then get up.... no strain on my back. i also dont carry any heavy loads of laundry, always small ones. am i doing too much? my dr said it was fine after 2-3 months so i didnt think at this point it was bad.
also, how was bending over for others. i didnt bend over for 8 weeks before surgery and 12 weeks after ( so 20 total) and now that im allowed to im not able to..literally and physically. i bend over and only get to my knees and my leg/glutes r so tight i have to bend my knees if i wana go any more... and i get ALOT of pressure in my low back. how were others around this time? i know everyone is different but im just curious if anyone else had so much trouble? thansk for listening to my rant!


  • What about getting an ESI into the area that was operated on?

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • you do have to push a bit to get past being stuck where you are........by that, I mean adding a bit more to what you are doing, a little at a time, take short rest periods but you do have to push yourself a bit.If the MRI's gave you an all clear, you may in fact be dealing with some scar tissue, and just lack of muscle tone, and need to work a bit harder to get back onto a more regular schedule.
    I am not telling you to begin doing strenous activities, but before you rest, add a little more distance to what you are currently doing, and do it more often.....increase the reps.......it might very well increase the pain for a bit , until you adjust to your newer activity level but the more you can do that, the more you may see a reduction in pain once you get accustomed to moving around a bit more.
  • sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
    edited 03/31/2014 - 9:08 AM
    thanks for the replies guys. Sandi - i think my issue is that everytime i increase my activity level even the tiniest bit i get alot of pain....then i get scared and of course hurt so i go back to not doing that increase. even my PT was shocked at how little of an increase i can do. like shed add a few new exercises when i seemed to be doing well and BAM pain central. so now im basically adding like 1-2 more reps every couple weeks...basically SUPER SLOW...

    im going to keep doing what im suppose to and increasing a little at a time. im hoping to start going on short, slow walks outside since its warming up now....and im still goign to the pool 3 times a week... its def not anything strenuous or even enough to make me break a sweat but i guess that wont be possible for a long time.
    i asked about scar tissue and they said they didnt see much of anything on my MRI so idk... i hope thats not it.
    they keep telling me its my lack of muscle strength and flexibility.... being as i was pregnant for 9 months when i herniated my disc, then had a baby and was then unable to hardly move for 20 weeks due to the disc. my surgeon said something like "you lose so much muscle mass for even 1 day of laying in bed....its going to take alot of time"
    i think you just reach a point where you wonder if there is still something else going on or they are right....when uve been dealing with this pain for 7 months now.... i guess i just dont get what muscle strength has to do with nerve pain...?

    its very hard for me to mentally deal with because i was VERY active before all this and now i cant even get a night out with friends or do something fun because of being scared of too much walking. like my husband told me the other day he'd watch our baby so i could go do something fun and hoenstly i couldnt even make a plan to do anything other than go eat dinner cuz im too scared of how much walking witll be involved..... ugh.

    i actualy have a follow dr appt today and they said they might order yet another MRI to double check everything.... we will see i guess
  • Paul-ive thought about an ESI. honestly im scared. i had one done before surgery and it was the worst pain ever. apparently since my disc was so badly herniated, putting all that medicine in there caused even more pressure on the nerve. as soon as they put it in i started balling and screaming for them to stop..... the dr who did it was shocked and just kept apologizing.
    ive heard alot of people say how it helped their inflammation after surgery....so im tempted but VERY VERY VERY scared honestly.
  • sleepy20520ssleepy20520 Posts: 111
    edited 06/12/2014 - 9:28 AM
    well i am now 8 months post microdisc (to the day) and i wish i could say im doing better. i had a couple weeks where my pain stayed fairly low and i was able to do a little more everyday... but still no crazy activities. just water PT and walking (SLOWLY). then it all came back... my original leg before surgery hurts just like it did. i just know something has to be wrong for me to have this much pain all the time. nothing seems to relieve it now and trust me ive tried it all. the only thing i havent tried is the Epidural injections. im just so scared to after the last time! :( i have an appt with my surgeon in 3 weeks... ugh. i cant believe im back to this pain level again.
  • Please keep us posted. Wishing you all the best.
    Cervical Laminectomy and fusion C2 to T1 June 2012, Anterior Hip Replacement November 2012, Laminectomy, Discectomy Foriminotomy, L3 to L5, February 2014, evacuation of Hematoma April 2014.
    Cervical Myopathy, DDD, Spinal Stenosis, osteoarthritis
  • Just wanted to let you know there are pain management physicians and anesthesiologists that will put you to sleep before the injection.

    Cervical Laminectomy and fusion C2 to T1 June 2012, Anterior Hip Replacement November 2012, Laminectomy, Discectomy Foriminotomy, L3 to L5, February 2014, evacuation of Hematoma April 2014.
    Cervical Myopathy, DDD, Spinal Stenosis, osteoarthritis
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