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Just had Microdiscectomy Surgery for L4/L5 Extruded Herniated Disc - Here is My Story

Hi All,

I found this forum very useful leading up to my decision to have lumbar surgery, and would like to share my experience to help others who may be going through similar issues. I am a 49 year old male, and prior to my injury, was in top physical shape.

My injury occurred in March 2014 while training for a 1/2 Marathon run. I completed a long run (around 9 miles) on Wednesday March 19th, followed by a round of 18 holes of golf on March 20th. I was experiencing really sharp sciatic pain down my right leg (primarily in butt) but kept playing golf. The next day, I couldn't get out of bed the pain was so bad. I decided to see my chiropractor the following week and had 4 sessions over a 14 day period, he suggested I go see a Pain Management specialist because he thought I was extremely inflamed and he didn't want to adjust me I started with my Primary Doc who prescribed oral prednisone (steroid pack) and that didn't help at all. After another week of agonizing pain, I scheduled an appointment with an Orthopedic Spine specialist and he conducted some in office tests, and believed I had a herniated disc at L4 L5 region impacting my right sciatic nerve. I was given 3 epidurals over a 6 week timeframe, coupled with Physical Therapy for 8 weeks. It wasn't until the second epidural that I started to get relief from pain so that I could start the Physical Therapy.

The Orthopedic Doc also had me get an MRI after the second epidural, and we did confirm I had a 12mm x 7mm extruded herniated disc at L4 L5 which was crushing my right L5 Sciatic Nerve. Even though the pain was manageable, I had significant weakness, burning, tingling, and numbness in my right leg and foot (the pain was in the butt, back hamstring, knee, side shin and ankle). I also had numbness on top of right foot and my big toe and 2 toes next to it were weak and numb. I completed the 8 weeks of physical therapy but did not have any progress with the numbness and weakness in right leg and foot. I was barely making any progress with regaining strength. I also started to regress a little bit and the pain started to come back. Since the injury in March, I have not been able to run, walk for more than a mile, golf, do the physical things I most enjoyed. It was time to take a different approach.

After 3+ months of conservative care (NSAIDs, Chiropractic Care, 3 Epidurals, Physical Therapy...) I decided to seek the opinion of a highly regarding Pro Sports Team Orthopedic Surgeon. Bottom line is this...for Extruded Herniated Discs, the nucleus polposus that comes out of the annulus fibrosis will not resorb on its own, there is very limited clinical evidence of this happening, and I didn't want to wait too long to find out that I would have permanent nerve damage. I was not pressured at all by the surgeon who discussed what could be done via a surgical procedure (and he gave no guarantees that the numbness and weakness would be 100% restored). I made the decision in late June to undergo a Posterior Lumbar Decompression (Microdiscectomy) of the extruded disc material compressing my L5 nerve.

I went in for the procedure on Monday of this week, July 14th. It was approximately an hour surgery and I was to be released once I cleared the anesthesia and was able to urinate. Unfortunately, I had to stay the evening because I was not able to urinate. After being catheterized 3 times before I was able to go on my own, I was discharged approximately 24 hours after the surgery and was able to walk out of the hospital to go home.

Today is day one back at home, and I have pretty intense pain around the incision. It is no where near the pain I experienced with sciatica though. I don't have pain in my right leg, but the numbness and weakness is about the same, if not a little worse. I suspect it is because of the inflammation associated with the surgery, Doc said this could be the case and I will be following up with him in 2 weeks.

In summary, I decided to have surgery because of the following: I am 49 years old and I want to resume physical activities, conservative treatment over close to 4 months did not work, I do not want permanent nerve damage that could occur if my L5 nerve is compressed too long, extruded herniated disc won't go back in place like bulging disc could, and it could get even worse if more of the nucleus pulposus pops out or gets sequestered and breaks off, surgical procedures are highly advanced with better outcomes that they were even 10 years ago.

I will continue to post during my recovery and let you know how I make out with the numbness and weakness (as this was the biggest thing driving my decision to have surgery).

To all of you out there with back issues, stay strong, never give up, and keep a positive attitude!



  • Had a good week after my surgery 1 week ago. I am off pain meds (stopped taking 3 days after surgery). I am walking 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes each time I got out for walk. I still have numbness and weakness in my right foot and it feels worse than before I went into surgery. The swelling and pain around my incision is doing really well and I can sit for more than a half hour at a shot. I decided to take the car for a ride and drove for a half hour. I also drove and had dinner with my daughter tonight (another 30 minutes of driving) at a sushi restaurant. After 4 months of hell pre surgery, I feel like I am turning the corner. I don't want to get ahead of myself so I am going to stay focused on going easy. So here is my regimen...sleep 8 hours a day, sleep on my sides at night with pillow in between legs, rotate every time I wake up, drink lots water during the day, alternate between sitting and standing/walking around every hour when I am up for the day, and most importantly staying positive because it is easy to get down and feel like you are a victim and worry about not getting better. Back sufferers are in a class of our own, we have experiences that not a lot of people ever have to deal with or can relate to. Hang tight and work hard especially mentally, find a way to make through each day.
  • Hey Tim,

    I just replied to you under my post. My only difference is that my DR. put alot more restrictions on me then you. I am not aloud to drive and limit going on car rides. I do take it very easy and find my self getting up (off the couch) every few hours each day. It amazing on how I know what is going on in the world, I know every sports score and know the weather around the whole world..lol.. I have never watched so much TV in life. lol Keep in touch and we will get through this
  • Hi All,
    Can't believe it has been 2 weeks to this date since my surgery. I continue to make progress, but have had a few rough days along the way. I still have numbness and tingling and weakness in my right leg and foot, and once in a while I get very tight and have pain (butt, hamstring, ankle, foot) especially when I wake up in the morning or sit too long. I was able to drive in car today for over 1.5 hours without stopping to stretch, so this was a big milestone for me! I am planning to return to work August 4th (3 weeks post surgery). Will keep plugging away, and am scheduled to start 8 weeks of Physical Therapy week of August 11th. Keep the Faith and Stay Positive!!!

  • Glad to hear you are doing so well.

    I had the same surgery in 2009. I did very well also. Then in 2011, it started acting up aain, only a lot worse. And since they had removed the disc material that had bulged, now I had no disc left. My fusion surgery was Dec. 2012. Be happy for the good days, because chances are, you will be back in a couple of years.
  • Oldhockeypuck81OOldhockeypuck81 Posts: 7
    edited 08/04/2014 - 2:29 PM
    Tim, glad your doing well as I'm just a few days ahead of you. My opinion on running is that it's not for most people especially for those in our "age bracket" and now that our bodies are showing deterioration in critical areas, we're gonna need to face the facts and give up high impact activities. I'm about 56 y.o. 6'-0" 195 lbs. and have played mens rec ice hockey most of my life, but not to excess. Gave up running sports like softball, flag football many years ago as I can see that there are too many parts that can break (Achilles, knees, meniscus', plantar fascii, hips, etc) Those high impact activities are fun but the wrong move and boom, you'll be in surgery. Distance running is also just so much repetitive pounding that I don't even consider it. I think biking, both road and some tame mountain biking is much safer on the legs and lower unit as well as spine. I'm hoping to still play some hockey but not at a high pace or with dudes that can dial it up. I think skating, if done at a controlled rate is much smoother than running. I'll just have to see what kind of intensity my low back will be able to handle when the time comes. I'd like to think that I can rehab all the muscles and core so I can skate again but when they go digging in your spine, you never know where that might leave you in terms of stability and strength. But I'm not in on any running based sports anymore.
    Life's short, play hard.
  • Hi All,

    Yesterday marked 4 weeks since my l4/l5 MD for an extruded herniated disc. I started PT last week (and have been doing 2X per week with home exercises in between). So far (and knock on wood) I haven't had major pain episodes, and am starting to build a bit more strength in my right leg. The numbness and tingling is still there in my foot and ankle, my hamstrings and hip flexors always seem tight but I am able to get around more since the operation. I started back to work last Monday, and have even gotten on a 2 hour flight to/from. My incision site is looking great, and I have very little discomfort and swelling there. One of the hardest parts of recovery is exercising patience, and I remain optimistic that over time things will continue to get better. Will Post again at Week 8 which is another milestone (I get to see surgeon again to discuss progress). I wish everyone a speedy recovery and a trouble free mind!
  • Great to hear Tim, I to am doing great and doing to add to my write up. I am going back to work on Monday and spoke to my surgeon last week and he released me to drive, but doesnt want me to start a PT program until mid October as I am on a 3 month no twisting, bending or lifting more than 10lbs. I hope your numbness goes away as I am sure it will in time.
  • tfduffyttfduffy Posts: 31
    edited 09/09/2014 - 2:27 PM
    Hi All,

    Just had my 8 week post op visit with surgeon today. Based on my progress from 5 weeks of Physical Therapy and his evaluation, he believes that in another month I can start resuming some of my physical sports activities, but to take it slow and easy. I am still having numbness and weakness in my right foot, with periodic episodes of pain in the ankle and foot, and still have stability issues. However, things seem to be getting better (and a lot better since my surgery). Time will tell if I have permanent nerve damage and I am hoping I can get some of the normal sensations back in my right leg and foot. Working through some really tight and contracted hip flexor muscles on both sides of my hips which are causing some discomfort and mobility issues, but again am optimistic that sunnier days will come. For those coping with post surgery ups and downs, stay positive, take one day at a time, and keep the faith that things will get better.
  • SunnyDaySSunnyDay Posts: 11
    edited 09/09/2014 - 3:14 PM
    Hey! I'm just reading along and hoping you continue to have more better days ahead. Thanks for sharing your experience.
  • I had a L4/L5 microdiscectomy on Friday got home from hospital saturday night,,, had bad back for few days then pain shooting in my buttocks leg and foot and numbness also developed a foot drop,, got all this 2 months ago went a and e but didn't send me for mri straight away until 2 weeks later when I demanded to be seen again by someone,, I was told on week 8 what was wrong with me by my surgeon were I got transferred to that my foot was now paralysed and won't recover has my own hospital had left it to late to sort it all out,,,,, had surgery to relieve pains in leg,,, went well was in pain and still am but morphine is helping a lot also on meds for nerve pain in foot, still no use in my foot but early days,, hoping my surgeon was wrong about it being paralysed and to late to save it only time will tell,,, have to have rehabilitation in future on my foot and start to wear a splint have to use crutches,,, I was so nervous about surgery my first time,, it was more being put to sleep than the surgery itself, but I had nothing to worry about they were great,,,, I haven't worked since I went to a and e but I can't walk proper and far without pain,, let's see if this surgery helps in the next couple of months, but I can't see me being
    Back at work till at least another few more months yet,, see how I go,,,,,started to reduce my morphine tiday see how I go with the pain ,,
    Tfduffy,, glad your recovering well,, my surgeon told me I can't drive for 4 weeks but would be difficult with my foot anyway,,,
  • hi tim

    you have a great positive outlook Tim and I hope u continue to progress to be pain free. I'm going to be scheduling surgery for a microdiscectomy also. As scared as i am i need something to relive this leg & hip pain, numbing, tingling and harsh dull aching! back problems are terrible but I keep my faith in the Lord. He will heal me
    hope you are doing well

  • I am so anxious to hear if your pain is helped long term. I have been undergoing treatment for more than a year for the exact same injury with absolutely no results. All the Doctors say surgery is so drastic. Long term pain at 36 is much more drastic!!
  • I have a confirmed herniation at L4 L5 but don't have leg pain or weakness. I have some pain in butt but it does not travel down the leg. I've had a facet joint injection and just last week an epidural with no success. It's worse if anything from the epidural. I have my follow up appt on Thursday. Anyone else not have leg pain or weakness?
    2011 C1/C2 Fusion due to os odontoideum & fracture from motorcycle accident
    2014 L4/L5 Herniation
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 354
    My extrusion is at L5-S1 on the left side, happened in March as well. I'm in Canada, things don't happen quite as fast here as I am still waiting for the discectomy surgery. I have a new date of December 10, when originally I was told surgery was likely to happen early Fall, and then had a date for October 29 but it got potsponed. I am trying not to be fearful of permanent damage, but one wonders...I stay horizontal as much as I can, not working, and my kids & hubby are grown enough to take care of things to satisfaction around the house. I go to a wonderful sports therapist every couple of weeks who works with nerve pressure - very helpful. I also go to an aquacise class 3 x week, a real God-send for me. This helps me keep muscle tone, get aerobic exercise, and just lifts my spirit as it is something I CAN do with very little risk of making things worse and in fact benefitting me. I want to be in as good shape physically as is possible going into surgery. I hope we haven't heard from you recently because you are out living life and feeling great!
  • Hi All,

    This past Friday was 4 months post surgery. I am still doing Physical Therapy 3x per week, and still have numbness and weakness in my right leg and ankle. I also have very tight hip flexors on both right and left side, but my mobility and strength have increased a good bit since going under the knife. I believe I am making good progress and remain patient. I tried running at a slow pace a few weeks ago and it set me back. So, I am not going to push it, and stay with the PT program which involves a lot of stretching and leg and core strengthening. I long for the days to get my heart rate over 135! Good luck to all of you and stay strong!!!
  • tfduffy -

    Don't give up doing what you are doing. Perhaps a doctor can prescribe Topamax or Neurontin to help with the numbness. I've always heard that at 3 months, you'll be as good as you will get. I don't' believe that at all. After my first laminectomy, I had stuff getting better after a year.

    My suggestion to you is to consider deep tissue massage to help your muscles and possibly the numbness. I started doing massage after a 3 level ACDF. It took a few months, butt it helped me. You may have some muscles that just need to be released.

    Good luck in your future recovery.

  • daleyycddaleyyc Posts: 11
    edited 11/24/2014 - 1:05 PM
    I had a similar procedure as you on July 9th, 2014 (L4/L5 left microdiscectomy) though I have a left sacralised L5 as well. My recovery timeline and how I feel seems similar to yours. My numbness and pain went away during month 2 but tingles and some muscle tightness showed up during month 3 and still remain, but basically I think I am getting better. Strength (leg, ankle, and core) are slowly improving but the tingles come and go and haven't really changed much in the last couple months. I do feel tickles in my feet while doing nerve glides, I am wondering if you still get those, too? Good luck in your recovery!
  • Hi everyone,

    I'm a 46 yr old male, also underwent microdiscectomy on both L4/L5 and L5/S1 exactly two weeks ago. For me, I herniated L4/L5 on Wednesday November 5th while standing up and having a cough. I immediately heard / felt a "click" in what I thought was my sacroiliac area, with a sharp pain shooting down both my legs. I managed to consult the orthopaedic doctor the next day and had an MRI on the same visit. The following Monday, on the follow-up visit, he diagnosed a massive herniation on L4/L5 and a smaller, older one on L5/S1 that was about a month older.

    My discussion with him at that time, in trying to understand the various treatment options available to me, was as frank and open as it was going to get. I was in fairly serious pain in the gluteal area and calves of both legs and could barely walk, sit stand or otherwise find any comfortable position that did not hurt. He told me that I could go in for months of physiotherapy, but that a microdiscectomy was the best option, given the extent of the herniation at L4/L5 and also that L5/S1 had been affected.

    So, in what must be the most rapid herniation -> surgery time frame, I was in for surgery 2 days later on Wednesday, November 12. The total time frame from herniation to surgery was a short 7 days for me.

    Anyway, I can give some account for my own progress post-surgery. I personally feel that recovery has been rapid :

    1. 3-day stay in hospital - no pain at all, not even at incision site. Numbness on top of both feet and left calf;
    2. For a further 3 days after getting home from hospital - moderate to high pain in calves when walking, frequently having to stop. No change to numbness on top of feet and outside calf. Certain sleeping positions are painful to sacroiliac area, but otherwise, sciatic pain is probably reduced by 60% - 70%. NSAIDS and painkillers can cause constipation and high blood pressure;
    3. Day 7 - 8 : Pain in calves beginning to lessen further. Walking slowly around the house with cane. Have cut back on pain medication;
    4. Day 10 : Pain almost completely gone, but legs feel like stiff boards and there is weakness in calves and ankles. Hamstrings are still very tight. Numbness on top of feet and side of calf still there. During follow-up visit, orthopaedic dr says this is normal and to expect this for some time, but it will go away. He won't commit to a time frame, though.
    5. Day 11 - 14 : Have gone for a few walks, with the longest being about 4km (3 mi). Have tried doing some of my own core strength exercises like planks, but you really feel weak and can't push it. Numbness on feet still there.

    Today is exactly 2 weeks from surgery and I can say that in general, I feel great, given the circumstances. Before herniation, I used to run quite a bit and had gym sessions, but those have to be replaced (swimming for running) or I'm going to have to wait at least 6 weeks to go back to the gym for light exercises. Just have a gut feel that the numbness on my feet and weakness in calves will go away in due course. I have learned to be more patient and not expect rapid recovery given my age and extent of the injury. More importantly, I know I shouldn't push it and risk re-injury.

    Just sharing an experience here of someone who went through surgery fairly quickly after disc herniation.
  • Hi All,

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and recommendations as I continue my journey to recovery! Daleyyc...yes I still get tingling and numbness specifically in my right hamstring, right side of leg below knee, top of right foot and bottom of my right foot. I also get muscle twitching which comes and goes, and sometimes will occur in my left leg as well. I cramp very easily, especially when I contract my muscles in toes and calves and during a rigorous physical therapy session. I do nerve glides at least 2x per day at 3 sets of 30 for each leg and sometime it also causes my right shin to burn. My biggest challenge right now is chronic hip flexor tightness. Stretch these boys religiously on both hips, and can't seem to get rid of stiffness and tightness. Lower back tingles too, and sometimes feels weak. The tingling in back runs from my middle right lat down to top of my butt. Hope this helps and good luck to you and everyone working hard in their recovery!
  • Hello tfduffy,

    I've just signed up to this forum and read this thread, you and I have basically had the exact same operation and exact same symptoms, we also share the desire to return to sports, both running and other type sports. We are experiencing very very exact ailments and I wanted to share with you how I made the break through. I too was doing intensive PT for 4 months and then decided I need to change as it just wasn't making me turn the corner. So you read on I can now boast that I get my heart rate up to 165 every day!, yes I'm in the gym every day now.

    Someone else has already suggested sports massage, but I went to see an Osteopath, a very hands on Osteopath, whom performed treatments similar to sports massage, very similar delivery and application of treatment. I can now recommend highly enough that you give this a try. There is allot of scar tissue in your muscles and ligament sin your legs and feet and glutes, a good Osteopath will work on all these, the transformation is life changing, really it is.

    I'm now running and training, never thought I would, in fact, I wouldn't be running and training if I didn't change the course of my recovery treatments.

    I hope you take a step in this direction and give it a try, best of luck and keep posting.
  • I just read this thread and my experience is similar, except I'm having surgery this coming Tuesday. Around 8 weeks ago I had a herniation at L4/5 about the size of a blueberry. It's up the side of L4 and pressing on the nerve. Here's the funny part- while I had excruciating pain early on, I've been mostly just uncomfortable for about the last 4 weeks. I have weakness in my leg and limp around though. My hip flexor and hamstring are tighter than a snare drum too. I'm hoping that getting the disc out of there will bring my leg back. I'm not able to walk more that 1/2 mile. I would really love an MRI before getting carved up in a few days but I don't think that's in the cards . I'm going to be angry more than anything else if the nerve damage is permanent. I'm 37 and mostly fit...although my sedentary lifestyle the past 8 weeks have lead to a few extra lbs and increased "mushiness".
  • tfduffyttfduffy Posts: 31
    edited 05/29/2015 - 3:23 PM
    Hi Mago, good luck with your surgery and I will send positive vibes your way for a full recovery. It has been close to 10 months since my surgery, and I have made considerable progress. I am still not at 100% with my right leg (I still have numbness and tingling in foot and shin area) but my strength and stamina have improved greatly. I also continue to have the tight hip flexors and hamstrings, and stretching, massages, swimming and yoga have helped. i have been able to play golf too which I am really happy to be able to do. Keep in touch and let me know how you make out post surgery. Take Care...
  • I have now acquired this ankle pain in the morning. I can hardly walk. It swells and evenually takes me off my feet. I dont know what is causing this other than my back. Which is better. What can I do about this probi8slem and has anyone else experienced this. L4S1 Surgery
  • tfduffy said:
    Hi Mago, good luck with your surgery and I will send positive vibes your way for a full recovery. It has been close to 10 months since my surgery, and I have made considerable progress. I am still not at 100% with my right leg (I still have numbness and tingling in foot and shin area) but my strength and stamina have improved greatly. I also continue to have the tight hip flexors and hamstrings, and stretching, massages, swimming and yoga have helped. i have been able to play golf too which I am really happy to be able to do. Keep in touch and let me know how you make out post surgery. Take Care...
    Thanks for the update and well wishes! I'm happy to hear your recovery is going well. I'm 2 weeks post-op and recovery has been coming along. My neurosurgeon made a last minute decision to ditch the microdiscectomy and go with a laminectomy instead. He was able to remove the offending piece of disc as well as scrape some arthritis that was gumming up the works. I'm done with the pain meds for the most part (an occasional ibuprofen) and have been walking about 1.5-2 miles a day for the past week. Not taking the drugs let's me know when I'm overdoing it. The hamstring and hip flexor tightness haven't abated but I'm not expecting too much right now. Hopefully once I can start stretching more aggressively they will loosen. The weakness in my leg is still there but again, I'm not expecting much for the next couple of weeks anyway. The doc limited me to lifting no more than 10 lbs but I have cheated some when it was necessary to lift my 11 month old. I hope that doesn't cause any problems.

    Thanks again. I wish you all the best-
  • ackmattyaackmatty Posts: 6
    edited 06/25/2015 - 8:23 PM
    Hey all, I'm 11 months post-10mm L5/S1 extrusion determination per MRI. It was a long a$$ road. I'm 42, very active as well, a Fireman, and a daddy of 2 small girls. My world was rocked, just as I'm sure all of yours has been. For 2 months I could only sleep a couple of hours a night. During those hours, awake and miserable, I would scour the internet for some hope, some success stories. Every success story I could find was post-surgery. I began to feel like that was my only hope. But then I ran into a guy at the park who had beaten it without surgery. Now, I realize everyone is different, as are their injuries. But it gave me hope at least.
    Percocet gave me sleep and a couple of hours without pain each evening. But it added up. I took it for 45 days and was miserable when I went cold turkey. BE CAREFUL if you take it! But I must say, without the meds I couldn't have gotten through that roughest part without throwing in the towel and having surgery. All of my pain was sciatic, no back pain really. Horrible right hammy, glute, calf, foot, even toes. Especially the hammy though. I also had significant strength loss in my right calf (20 body weight calf raises on the left to only 5 on the right) and difficulty urinating, mainly guarding from the pain I now think. I was scared $hitless. I finally caved and had the epidurals. First one barely touched it. But after I stressed to the doc that my pain was strictly in my leg he got it in the right spot on the 2nd shot. My pain dropped from a 7 or 8 (on the 1-10 scale) to like a 3. Dropped a bit more after the 3rd and final shot. That was in November, 2014. The next few months was a very slow progression. I did about 24 sessions of PT and the jury is out on whether it helped. Throughout my injury, I alternated exercise between swimming and light core one day and body weight movements (pull ups, pushups, lunges, squats, etc.) on the other. I was very careful, very strict, and tried hard not to work past slight pain. I was home on Injury Leave for 6 months. There were times I could barely walk, times I couldn't even move, and other times I felt pretty damn good. Eventually I went to Light Duty (desk job with lots of errands) for 4 months and still slowly progressed. Then finally, I turned the corner a couple of months ago. I am now back to work, at a very busy station, and feel awesome. I wake up with slight pain. But its gone once I start to move around and/or stretch. I'm back at my CrossFit gym (though I'm staying super light with the weights-maybe forever). I still don't run. I feel fast and great while I'm doing it. But the past few times (months ago) it bugged me the next day so I'm hanging up my shoes for a while. I'm still swimming and stretching. I really believe Yoga could be great for it. But I know I will never have that time to commit. I stumbled across a wonderful website called ROMWOD (Range Of Motion Workout Of the Day). Basically, long, semi-tortuous yoga poses in a 20 minute session every day. I lost so much mobility after my injury that I could barely get into any of the poses. But after a couple months now I am seeing major progression and most importunely, nearly zero pain. I know a lot of you on here are still hurting, probably wouldn't be on here otherwise. I really feel for you. And I fear I might be back there again myself someday. I know my disc didn't spontaneously heal. Its a black cloud I deal with and care for daily, hourly, constantly. But, just know that with or without surgery it CAN get better. Once your pain allows it, STRETCH, SWIM, and STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE. Every day. Good luck! And don't forget to post your success stories!!! People need to hear it. ACK
  • Hello Everyone,

    It is hard to believe that in 2 weeks from now, it will have been 1 year since my operation. I have come a very long way in the healing process as well as quality of life. By no means am I 100%, and there is a strong possibility I have reached my max, but I am still swinging hard to improve everyday. Below is an update on my progress for those that have been following my thread since inception:
    - I still have a numb right shin, numb top foot, and numb toes (big toe and 2 next to it)
    - My left foot has moments of going numb (had an MRI last month and there appears to be a L5/S1 herniation which may be the culprit)
    - My stability and strength in both legs are pretty good, and I am able to do yoga 2x per week, swim 2x a week, go for walks over 3+ miles, do housework, travel on planes, etc. I do make it a point not to sit idle for more than an hour at a time or I pay the price with stiffness, numbness and sometimes pain
    - I still cramp in both my feet and toes as well as calves when I push myself too hard (especially when swimming a lot of laps or riding stationary bike for over 30+ minutes with high intensity)
    - I gained 30 lbs since my surgery last year, and I doing a diet to shed the extra beef. I lost 12 lbs in the past 3 weeks and 18 more to go (I must admit I liked eating a lot post my marathon training days, but had hard time burning the calories off!!!)
    - My hipflexors that were always tight as can be, have started to relax a bit more, but they still flare up time and time again, as well as the hamstrings
    - I try to be religious with my daily stretches as best I can, they seem to really help

    All in all I think I have progressed a great deal, I do have days where I get down, but I keep reminding myself there are many people who have more significant and severe issues in life and I should be grateful for each day and try the make the most of it.

    Hope this helps with those who may be in a similar journey and wondering what the future may have in store, but everyone's situation is different, and healing is one of the mysteries of life no one really can determine.

    All the Best,

    Tim Duffy
  • BmaxiBBmaxi Posts: 1
    edited 08/09/2015 - 11:15 PM
    I'm too with similar situation and 53 year old with very active life. I have L2-L3 extruded herniated disk, went trough same treatment as you did and finally decided to go for the epidural. Couple of days after my 3rd shot I got the worst pain from my left butt to my knee, for about 2 weeks could not stand at all and for another 2-3 weeks start walking and standing with a cane for very short time, no more than 1-3 minutes and in time now 7 weeks after that doomed epidural my pain is somewhat manageable. I'm schedule for surgery in less than 2 weeks and every day I'm asking myself maybe I can do without the surgery? I still have weakness to my left leg, numbness to my knee down to front sheen and sometime my leg feel very heavy and like I have an electric buzz in my leg from the left side butt down to my foot. I'm still keeping my surgery date (unless a miracle happen) for the same reasons you mention, only mine will be the open laminectomy and discectomy. I hope I'm making the right decision.

    Wishing you fast recovery


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  • The MachineTThe Machine Posts: 1
    edited 09/13/2015 - 10:05 PM
    Let me give everyone hope. I am 6'6 205 lbs and 42 years old. I have my height, age and spine health as things against me. Okay first things first put your middle finger up and tell your body and mind to you know what. I have 3 herniated disc in my lower back, I have already had one back surgery for herniated disc in 2000. I have a herniated disc C1-C2, and I had a cervical neck fusion at C-3 thru C5 in 2012. I love to run and last fall completed a marathon in 3:17 and will be attempting to brake 3 hours next spring. Second if you want to hit a goal as lofty as this YOU WILL BE IN PAIN. If you can not tolerate pain I suggest running a marathon between 4 hours and 5. It is up to you and you alone so do a gut check and go get it.

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