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Physical therapy after microdisectomy surgery

I had a microdisectomy surgery three weeks ago exactly on my L4, L5 in my back due to a large herniation on my lower back. I went through the usual routine of waiting ten days to remove the bandages and I was doing very well with a low amount of pain. But I had a person that helped me with my physical therapy in the hospital which helped me with the log roll and moving around and stretching my hamstrings. But I wasn't given any other type of exercises to perform at home and the doctor himself had said that physical therapy is a waste of time once I'm home. I actually don't have any idea of exercises to perform at home and all I have been doing is daily walking 2x a day. I'm tempted to call my insurance and find my own physical therapy. But before I do this how important a role does it play in your recovery and does anyone know of any home exercises to perform? Thank you


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/11/2014 - 4:52 AM
    Typically, post op , patients aren't allowed to do any excercises, other than walking until your 6 week check up. Doing more at this stage can result in a re-herniation . You have to give the disc enough time to form scar tissue where the disc herniation was removed, as well as allow the muscles, and other structures to heal.
    If your physician feels that you need additional physical therapy at that visit, you can discuss it with him. If not, ask about any restrictions or limitations while you continue to recover.
  • i had open discectomy on l4-l5 month ago. Started PT after 16 days post-op. Had some pain after streches and core strenghtening exercises but it got better and better.
    Now im goin 3x times a week to my PT, each session last more than hour and im doing many different core exercises and streches.
    When they tested me 2 weeks ago i could bend forward on straight legs and the fingers were 34cm from floor. After today session it was 9cm from ground :)
    I would start light PT if i were you :)
  • What your surgeon recommended in your case, is in YOUR case, not all surgeons do things exactly the same for each patient and it is not wise to tell someone to start pt until they have cleared it with THEIR surgeon.
  • From what i have seen in most cases when your surgery is done by older surgeon then they recommend waiting more time to start PT. Mine first told me to just walk for 6 weeks but after speaking with his younger assistent(also neurosurgeon) who was during the operation i was cleared that i can start mine after two weeks. He told me that older neurosurgeons tell every one the same thing. Wait wait wait for long time and just walk.
    Of course like "sandi" said every one is different but im just speaking from my experience. My approach was more invasive and still i was able to PT soon after. Best way is to make and appointment with your doctor and he will tell you if it is okey to start :)
  • My surgeons are big on aquatic PT soon after a procedure. I recall being pushed into PT (by them and my family and others) and I felt like my body was not ready for it. But I went.

    It hurt to do all the movements they were making me do.
    What I didn't understand was that the water must be up to your shoulders in order to take the upper body weight off the lumbar spine while doing the movements. I went only waist deep and the PT people didn't know any better either. (they need to be on the same page as the surgeon)

    It didn't turn out great. But I kept going. I wanted to be able to tell them all afterwards "See? I told you it wasn't ready! But did you listen to me, the patient? The person that is feeling the pain? No."

    I suppose some discomfort is to be expected but not a lot like I felt.

    What Sandi said above is something that I strongly agree with. I have been thru surgery twice and I truly feel that the disc needs to be left alone for awhile so scar tissue can form over the annulus' opening. It is post-op when it is most vulnerable to reherniate. The movements in PT are strenuous. I don't feel like the disc's opening at that point in time is able to handle the pressures put on it by PT.

    Anyways, that's my humble opinion.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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