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L5-S1 Laminectomy and Microdiscectomy-unstable spine!

lisanicole87llisanicole87 Posts: 1
edited 01/04/2015 - 6:23 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with feeling like their spine is "unstable" after surgery. A bit of background: I am 27, 5'8", 135 pounds, and work out/lift several days a week, while keeping impact to a minimum as I have knee issues as well. I was a competitive skier and also a river guide, and unbeknownst to me had been battling a herniated disk for upwards of seven years. I attributed my "sciatica" to a tight piriformis, as I have many other issues with hypermobile joints and tendinitis. It wasn't until I began to experience neurological deficits (numbness, clumsiness, and incontinence), and finally a "rupture" which sent me to the ER. After my MRI, a physician recommended (incorrectly) cortisone shots, which helped with pain but did not relieve my neurological deficits, and as such I received surgery on the 18th of July, 2014.
It's now six months later and after a course of steroids and plenty of physical therapy, I am somewhat back to myself. Still have numbness with most extended activities, muscle spasming, and weakness, but it's liveable. My big question is if anyone has ever felt like their spine is "disconnected" from their spine. I first had this feeling about three days after my surgery while adjusting my position on the couch. It felt similar to the lack of connectivity in, say, a shoulder subluxation. Very startling. I don't know if it is because I am getting more liberal with my movements as time goes on, but I feel more and more like my spine is "unstable" and if I move a certain way, the area above my surgery does not move in continuity with the area below my surgery. This is a VERY scary feeling. It seems like if I were to move too roughly I am actually twisting my spine independent of my spine: if that makes any sense.
Because this is a difficult symptom to explain unless you have experienced it first hand, I was wondering if anyone in these forums had ever had this feeling, and if it's normal. Thanks!



  • 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
  • I just had an L5-S1 Discectomy on October 30th. Ever since my surgery I am experiencing the same thing you have described!! It horrible!! My Physical therapist said it is my vertebra moving more than normal. I will be try to explain this symptom to my neurosurgeon for my post op appointment on Wednesday. When it does happen to me it can be quite painful. I agree it is quite alarming! Also my physical therapist put me in a back brace to see if that would help. I pray you feel better soon!!
    L5-S1 Emergency PLIF Revision May 26th 2015
    L5-S1 PLIF May 22nd 2015.
    L5-S1 Discectomy Feb 27th 2015.
    L5-S1 Discectomy Oct 30th 2014.
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