Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Petrified of Ruining Recovery (micro discectomy L5S1)

I have a micro discectomy procedure scheduled in a few days. Is there any consolation people can give to someone like me who is absolutely petrified of moving the wrong way, sleeping the wrong way, never recovering, or re-hernia ting my disc?

It has been so long, I don't even remember what being fully mobile, with no pain is like. I'm scared I wont get better, or that I may move the wrong way, or too much, or not enough, and waste my good chance. I am afraid I have been setting my hopes too high, often saying "after the surgery everything will be better!", to everyone, my family, my work, and myself.

I'm fairly young, only 24, and I think I may be having trouble grasping that I am no longer invincible. :(

Any reassurance or tips for mental sanity are welcome. :)


  • I had my MD on L5S1 on May 27. I have been trying to heal my disc issues non surgically for almost 8 months, but nothing was working. I finally collapsed at work from the pain and spasms in my right leg. For two weeks before the surgery I was bedridden, had to be carried to the bathroom and my life revolved around when my next dose of medication was. One day before the surgery I started to lose my bladder function. It was the darkest days of my life and I have battled depression before.

    My surgery was a success.....my pain is almost non existant. My foot/heal is still numb but I have been told it will take a while to regain feeling. I am walking almost 5k everyday again, even if I am a lot slowrr then before. So physically I am doing great. I am going back to work next week, as I will be 4 weeks post op as my job is very little physical labour. I see my surgeon for my post op appointment on July 7.

    Mentally I am also terrified. Every twinge or feeling that I am not used I freak out. I am getting better about it, but am struggling. Logically I know that by being careful with myself that my chances of reinjury are low, but mentally my brain thinks about worse case scenarios. I decided that this was no way to live so I am going to start seeing a therapist to learn some strategies of how to cope. When talking with the therapist on the phone and going through what I have been through in the past year, he says that I have been through a traumatic event in my life and it is no wonder I am feeling the way I am. So I am looking forward to working with him to heal my psyche as well.

    Good luck! There are a lot of supportive people here to talk with.
  • Thank you. I have battled depression before too, it is one of the factors that contributed to my back problems. Too much time laying down with the blinds shut weighed down by stress did a number on me. I'm generally a panicky person, so this whole thing sometimes makes me immobile just from anxiety. It is nice to hear from people who are dealing with the same thing, and who may be stages ahead of me. Gosh, before I found this site, I felt like I had no one to relate to.
  • I can totally related to the nervousness feeling you describe.

    I had the same procedure a week ago. I didn't have my surgery date ages in advance, literally got a call on Thurs afternoon telling me to go into hospital at 7am the next morning. So I didn't have much time to worry beforehand, but have done since.

    I only found this forum yesterday & from browsing around, I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones.
    My sciatic pain (which was horrendous before surgery) has been gone since I woke up. No numbness. The only pain I'm in is from the surgery itself.

    I've been out for a short walk for the past two days & feel like I'm recovering extremely well. But, like you said, I'm scared that I might do something wrong. I wasn't given much info/guidelines on what to do & when, just to recover slowly & gradually return to a normal routine. As I'm feeling well, I feel like I'm ready to do more, but I'm scared it might be too soon.

    I really wish I'd asked more questions before leaving hospital. I'm thinking of phoning to ask, as I'm not due for my follow up until 3months post op. I also want to ask if I can be referred to physio, just to monitor my recovery/improvement.

    So, sorry for writing so much. Wanted to let you know you're not alone with that feeling & if you can, try & get a better guideline/timescale for recovery movements before discharge from hospital.
    L5/S1 Microdiscectomy on 13th June 2014 in London, Uk.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 06/20/2014 - 6:38 AM
    thing to maximize the outcome of your surgery is to follow the post op instructions and restrictions to the letter. Do not do things that you haven't been cleared for, no matter how well you feel post op. The restrictions are there for a reason.....the disc is going to need time to recover, and heal from the surgery, and it is important that you don't bend, lift, twist, or disregard any other instructions given to you by the surgeon and your discharge instructions until the surgeon tells you otherwise. Too often, people tend to disregard the post op instructions because they feel better, but doing that, puts your surgical outcome at risk.
  • PaulPPaul Posts: 730
    edited 06/20/2014 - 7:21 PM
    I'm 42 and most of my life I thought I was a big tough guy that always did everything. There was no mountain that I couldn't climb. It wasn't until recently that I really finally and painfully understood that my back is not invincible. (it took 4 blow outs of my L5-S1 disc and 2 months of being bedridden EACH time it happened)

    So you see, you are waaaaaaaaaaay smarter than I am and stand much better chances of preserving your surgery.

    Like you, I am now very aware of my every move. You might say to yourself, "but I don't want to live like that! I don't want to have to think about every move and even two and three moves ahead!" So did I, but it has become second nature. It takes time; I still learn new things every day. There are definitely calculated moves that can be made in almost every instance to protect the back.

    For example, instead of running, I bike; it gives me fresh air, cardio, scenery, and no impact on the body. I use grabbers that I have around the house to pick up things. I don't abuse my back; If I'm making dinner or working on a project, I give myself permission to stop in the middle of it and rest my back. I give it traction treatments for maintenance every so often. When there is something heavy that needs to be moved, I ask for help (which for me is very very difficult for me) or I design a mechanical way to use leverage to move it. When I sneeze, and I'm sitting, I lift myself off the chair with my hands or elbows to unload the spine.

    I can carefully play outside with the children in my family and still have fun. I can grocery shop, go to school, work, travel, go to social events ..... All the little things in life, I can do them. It takes modification, but it can be done and you CAN go on to lead a happy healthy life. I'm not the most successful guy, I have limitations and problems for sure. I have to sacrifice sometimes, miss out on activities, miss out on opportunities, and also I know that one day it still could all suddenly go wrong but I'm hanging in there! One day at a time.

    You still have a lot in front of you and you can have a lot. I know you can do it!

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Suzymack11SSuzymack11 Posts: 7
    edited 06/21/2014 - 2:00 AM
    Creedy- it's nice to hear a story like yours! My sciatica had been ruining my life slowly for seven or eight months, it's nice to hear a story with a more positive outcome. One of the tough parts of this whole thing is that sometimes it feels like my doctors are not REALLY listening, they are rushing me out, and frustrated by my many questions, especially my nurses. I trust my surgeon a lot, his bedside manner is a bit lacking.

    I am lucky though, my chiropractor is absolutely wonderful. I haven't even gone to him in a while but he still calls me once a week, or returns my phone calls to answer my questions and give me reassurance. I'll take your tip in mind and try to really get some answers from the surgeon this time.

    Paul - I am a lot like you. It's really been frustrating needing to ask people to get me even a simple glass of water. It's hard for my pride and dignity at work to ask someone to help me load cars, or unload deliveries (I work at a garden/landscape center.)

    Your words are helpful and reassuring, I'll be happy to get back to a certain level of regularity like you.

    I have to learn to really listen to my chiropractor and take it easy, and ask for help. My doctors orders and my work ethic really tug at my sanity sometimes.
  • Sandi - The hard thing is, I didn't get detailed post-op instructions, just vague info, like return to usual activities gradually, walk every day & increase to a brief walk after 2weeks. Swimming can start once wound is healed (but I'm not a very good swimmer, so won't be doing that). I wasn't told when I can start jogging, obviously I'm not planning on starting for a while & until I feel well enough to, but a guideline would've been nice. It stated, no contact sport until I've seen my consultant, so I'm assuming a can jog before that.

    Suzymack11 - Sciatica took over my life for about 7-8 months too. I start with back pain about a year ago, & then the sciatica started Nov/Dec last year. I've been signed off work for just over 6 months so far, but the return is now in sight.

    I feel I might have pushed myself a bit today, I went for a walk & was out for about an hour, walked 2.7km. I felt a couple of twinges in my leg, but no where near the same as the sciatica I suffered before. I'm now in a bit of discomfort, but hope it won't last too long.

    Paul - Thanks for sharing. I'm only 8 days post op & feel like I need to learn to ask for more help & stop being stubborn. My mum (who I currently live with) has her only disabilities & had surgery earlier this year, so I don't like to trouble her too often to ask for help, even though she tells me I should if I need it. I've still got a long way to go & a lot to learn, including returning to work, hopefully in Mid-August.
    L5/S1 Microdiscectomy on 13th June 2014 in London, Uk.
  • I wish I had asked this question...and my advice is only advice.
    1- avoid sitting as much as possible for 2 weeks post op. I kept sitting to 10-min for meals and tried to limit to 4x/day
    2 - good bed (do not sleep in recliner even if more comfortable) - pillow under knees or between knees if on side
    3 - help getting up for 1-week. I learned how to carefully keep my back in alignment and would get help getting up and lying down to be sure I didn't over due it.
    4 - no bending, twisting, lifting
    5 - I stayed out of a car for 2-weeks after my 2nd surgery (best decision) - cars juggle you around and even as the passenger, causes you to strain
    6 - fiber - anything you can after surgery to 'soften' bowel movement as the anesthesia tends to constipate people
    7 - small slow walks every 1.5 hours...maybe 5-10 min on flat surface ( I would walk at a very slow pace on treadmill or back/forth in hall wall since one of my surgeries was in the winter

    hope this helps.
  • until you have discussed that with your surgeon and he has okayed it first......no matter how well you feel, no matter how much you may want to, that is not something that anyone within the first 6 weeks of surgery or so is considering normally, so while the specifics were rather unclear, most patients are only doing short walks, sitting for no more than 10 minutes at a time, and resting primarily until the first post op visit. That may be why the surgeon didn't really cover more than that, because that is the norm for the acute post op 6 weeks.....
Sign In or Register to comment.