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I am new to this site, found while trying to find information, on recovery do's and do not's,after surgery .I am at home 5 days after L4 L5 decompression, 4screws and wedge, after 3 years of dumbness in right leg when walking and pain in lower back r/h side. It was just a problem I allways tried to manage with pain killers, I was told by our national accident insurance company that it was degenerative not accident so not covered, and they pay you while you are off work, my own medical insurance company only pays for the operation, so I just got on with the pain, after a conversation with my employer they agreed to cover my wages after my holidays were used up, so after saving holidays I go it done.
So I'm home 6 weeks off work, walking, the doc said was ok, he didn't say how far, in fact he's not a very talkative chap, just good at what he does, or so I'm told.
Can I hang washing and vacuum, my wife works at the kids school, I struggle to tie shoe laces, I pick up things off the ground by lowering from the knees, while staying straight. How much time do I need to rest horizontal during the day, I know about no heavy lifting, but in the first 6 weeks, is that a six pack of beer, I am solidly built gym frequenter, which could probably get me into trouble, because I'd think I can lift it, I think I need to train my mind to say stop, think, and say No. I am still taking the pain killers, it only hurts when changing position, the nerve is no longer being crushed by the L4 L5 disc, so no pain while walking, which is strange when it's no longer there.
It's hard for me not to do much, very hard. So any ides or thoughts would be great, I have read a lot of posts, and I wish I had known about this site before, such amazing stories and people.

I had decompression and stabilisation of L4/L5 including L5 root


  • Only 5 days out... You should not be trying to clean, lift more than a gallon of milk, preferably less, walk in spurts instead of constant, some people use grabbers to pick things up off the floor, you shouldn't be bending. If you're up and about, rest in between. Did your doc not send home instructions? I believe there is a link on this site about what not to do P/O, it's general but all cases are different so I would recommend having clear instructions from your surgeons office. Even the nurse can probably answer those questions if you call. It's hard not to overdo it, I've had that problem as well, but it could potentially set you back from recovery. It's great you're doing so well, but you're still healing so take it easy. Moving around is good, overdoing is bad. Try to find other ways to keep your mind busy, reading, movies, etc, whatever works best for you so you are not as anxious to do things you should not. When is your next F/U with your surgeon? Some restrictions may be lifted after the first two weeks, but for now tell yourself NO, and call your docs office to clarify things. Hope that helps.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • The standard rules/discharge instructions are written onto your paperwork for the hospital.........the nurse who discharged you should have gone over those with you before you left.
    NO bending, lifting or twisting at all........NONE
    If you have a brace, you should be wearing it if you are up
    No housework
    No driving
    Walk, as you can tolerate, several times a day, trying to increase the distance a little at a time.......rest as needed,
    are the usual discharge instructions, until you return to see your surgeon for the first post op visit......
    Even stairs are usually limited to the number of stairs that you need to climb to get into your home.......
    Until you see the surgeon, you need to call his office and ask them what the restrictions are, and don't take just the usual for an answer.
    Doing anything that you are not told to do, is putting that great outcome at risk......no matter how good you feel, you can put those rods and screws in danger of coming out by doing things you are not supposed to, and you can destroy what you underwent surgery for by doing things you are not medically cleared for. Spine surgery recovery is a journey, not a destination and you need to take things one step at a time.
  • But I've had several others, & you cannot overdue it. I was bending over pulling laundry out of the dryer 2 days after my 2nd c-section, & guess what? Popped several stitches! I'll leave it to others to give you the do's & dont's of physical activity, but I'm sensing a few other things maybe I can help with.

    1. Guilt. I think you are feeling guilty because your wife is doing the lion's share of everything right now, why you aren't alb to help her. That's something I'm sure we've all felt, but you need to try to get over it. If you overdue it now, you will set yourself back, & will be unable to help your wife for a lot longer amount of time. Plus, remember the wedding vow "in sickness & in health". At some point in almost all long lasting marriages, that vow is put to the test, & now is unfortunately, your time.

    2. There are still things you can do to help out while you are recovering. You mention you have kids in school, so you can be in charge of helping with homework & reading bedtime stories (if applicable). You can do these things from your bed or couch, wherever you do your resting. If bedtime stories are normally read in the kids' beds & it's not comfortable for you, have the kids come to you, they will be fine with that. Trust me, these things will be a big help to your wife.

    3. If your wife is trying to make dinner or do other chores & your kids are young, keep them out of her hair by watching tv with them, or playing board games, whatever you can do with them without physically overdoing it.

    4. If your kids are old enough where you don't have to have an eye on them every second, encourage your wife to go to a movie with friends, or get a massage, or whatever. This gives her a little break now & then.

    5. Become the family planner. Schedule dr, dentist appts, whatever, & keep track of it all on a calendar, one less thing for your wife to do. Mark the calendar with b-day parties, times & days of sports, dance, family events, whatever. If a b-day party is coming up & you have enough time, shop online. One less errand your wife has to run.

    6. Show your appreciation to your wife, & acknowledge you recognize all the extra work she is doing. Pain & pain killers can put us in a bad mood, & we often take it on our spouses. Everybody likes to feel appreciated. If you can afford it, send her some flowers at work. If not, send her a mushy email or text. Trust me, women eat this stuff up!

    I hope your surgery is successful & that you are feeling better soon!

    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • i was specifically told my my surgeon and along with paperwork given to me, wear my brace for up to 9 months, yes i wore it at work, no climbing, bending, and lifting over 5 lbs. i used a walker for the first month. the reason why if you have a fusion like i did it takes time for the bone graph and the metal to harden for the fusion to take. hopefully you were given these directions after the hospital and reiterated by your surgeon during your first visit. it is very very important especially wearing the brace. i had to wait up to a year before i could do all of the above.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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