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Confused about post op pain

Hi everyone,
I'm 5 days out from a discectomy for cauda equina and had a dural leak. I rested the first few days, but unfortunately I had to take my toddler to the ER 2 days ago. We were in the waiting room for 5 hours and never were seen. I stood, walked, and sat during this time. I couldn't lay on the floor because I would never get up. I know I over did. Yesterday we had a long day too. By last night my legs started hurting so bad. Mostly muscle pain and cramping like I had just run 5 marathons. I don't have any back or incisional pain. Since the surgery, my leg numbness as been much worse then before the surgery also. What I am confused about is how everyone says to take it easy if you are overdoing things and having pain.
Does this mean back/incision pain or leg pain?
I don't understand why my legs hurt so bad. Is it harmful to keep walking. (I know, ask my doctor). I'm just wondering if this happened with other people. Does resting get rid of the pain? Thanks for any help and input!


  • You are so very early in your recovery! Your body has had a huge surgery and it will take months to get back your strength. Your body is directing nearly all its energy to try and heal, so things are off and you'll probably tire easily for many more weeks.

    Six days after my 2 level 360 fusion, my husband took me to trade in my old car for one that had a backup camera since I couldn't twist anymore. It was 4 hours and by the end of the purchase I was sooooo sore and having incredible pain. In retrospect, it was stupid to go buy a car less than a week out of surgery.

    In your case you had an emergency (hope your little one is ok now)? And you couldn't NOT take him to the ER. However, if you are ever in a similar situation, is there anyone you can call to help you out?
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Thank you for your reply! This has really turned my life upside down! I've had to take off of work unpaid (no short/long term disability benefits), I love being a mom and I feel I'm failing at that, and I love being a wife and I feel useless. I'm known for over pushing myself, but I don't want to make things worse. I've realized our recoveries really vary and can be unpredictable. And I don't think I can rush it. Maybe I can learn some patience for once lol.

    I think I had expected to recovery quickly. I was told a microdiscectomy would take 45 min and I could be back to work in a week. My surgery took 4 hours and there is now way I could return to work. It's hard for me to accept that my recovery is going to take longer. Fortunately my husband has been able to take FLMA time, but we don't have any other family help. Our daughter needed stitches and she is only 16 months old so I just couldn't let her go to the ER without me. I would do anything for her! Accidentally I did end up holding her too (22 lbs).

    Getting a car with a backup cam was a great idea! I can see how the timing was too soon :) Most people don't understand how you feel after surgery and sometimes you just need a place to lay down and rest.

    I'm so happy I found this forum and other people who understand my troubles right now.
    Thanks again!
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