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There is hope all...from an athlete...

leogingel5lleogingel5 Posts: 18
edited 07/01/2015 - 10:16 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all!

Well I posted here 3 months ago when I found out my L5/S1 was herniated very badly. My story was a bit different as I had a traumatic accident where I fell off a 40' cliff in Feb of 2015. I healed well I thought, then while getting back into Crossfit, my body didn't appreciate a workout. The result was a large right herniation. All in all...CrossFit for ME saved my life in the fall. I truly believe my back was injured because I was severely bruised above my buttox for 3 weeks. Long story short, on 5/5/15, about (4) weeks after having bad symptoms in my right leg/foot, I decided to go under the knife. My symptoms were right foot numbness, and the inability to stand on my right tip toes or even hold a stand on my right tip toes alone.

I will tell you right now I did a TON of research before surgery. I did find that reading these forums was a downer though. I was referred to google microdiscectly blogs for more positive stories which was true. My advice to those who are freaked out about the surgery is whether you go to an Ortho or Nuero...they all do the same thing. The spine is a very delicate item in your back...they know they are doing. I went back and forth for weeks on who to pick, so I went with xxxx out of Encinitas, CA. They did a great job.

A little about me, because everyone has a different story, background, body type, etc. Realize when you have this procedure, an athlete will recover much quicker then say, someone not athletic, elderly, or just not active. This is just the reality to body recovery time not too discourage. So when you all read these forums, realize that you may have a 180 degree different recovery then the male/female writing a forum post.

For me, I am v ery active. I surf, kitesurf, stand up paddle surf, CrossFit, Olympic lift, run, swim, etc. I am ACTIVE. Some people have the opinion that activities such as CrossFit or lifting is terrible for the spine. No, its not. In fact its the best thing I can do for me. It is the inability to perform movements correctly which injuries a person. I use CrossFit as an example because out of all the sports I have done, it is very demanding, but I also see no problem getting back into it even stronger.

Don't let a surgery like this pull you down. It alters your life in a postive way...guess what...now you are more aware of everything, including posture, form, and moving day to day. It is more of a blessing then a curse.

Back to my surgery....On 5/5/15, I had my L5/S1 herniation removed. It went well. I woke up with the same right calf tightness and foot numbing in the upper right part of my foot. Did I let it bother me? Nope. You have to realize the surgeon slit your back apart and moved those nerves around. It will take time. My improvements have been slow, but steady upwards...

Over the last 2 months since surgery, I have regained the ability to stand on my right tip toes alone. By alone that means I get up with both feet and I can walk around on the toes. I still cant rise up solely with my right foot yet. It will be there though as just the tip toe walking is a huge improvement i couldn't do before.

(2) months out, I got the green light to start "living my life." My doc is an ironman triathlete, so he understands the athlete mentality. Baby steps. (2) months out was last week BTW. I have obviously since then been to RX PT and gone to the gym on my own. I have noticed that stretching and swimming has helped quite a bit. My back is feeling strong, but I have noticed that it gets tired, mainly because my light job at a police station is answering 911 calls...so sitting and standing all day can get tiresome.

Overall, though, I can't complain. I feel I am able to do movements at the gym to regain my strength. I am focused on my core, doing supermans, planks, and slow extensions weightless. I Swimming lenghhens the body and helps with relieving pressure off my back. Walking helps a lot as well. It is sitting still and standing with no movement which puts stress on the spine. With all this said, my back feels tired but better. I know that all the movement will take time to heal but will with constant movement eventually. To me, not moving or exercising is the worst thing you can do for your back.

(2) months post op and I think I am doing well. Please don't let these forum posts steer you wrong! I am not saying that you will recover well and fast, but be optomistic and know there WILL be setbacks. Your body is recovering from a spinal operation. Such as touching a nerve will have an impact, so the recovery can take a long time. I was told by two surgeons the recovery and healing time of nerves is about 1-10mm a day. Do the math on how many days it would take from your spine to the toes...

Keep your head high and if anyone has any questions on recovery, feel free to ask away.



  • Oh yes, for info, I am a 32 year old male.

    I also wanted to mention my current symptoms. I currently have just some numbness in the upper right part of my foot which feels like it is pushing out more. It is a small focused area, but not really any tingling at all. I feel like it goes away then comes back, and vice versa which just means my body is reacting to the icnision and all.

    I also wanted to say, i did have a balloon of fluid around my incision site for about 3-4 weeks after surgery for about 3 weeks...totally normal. It is the way your incision is sealed from inside out. Mine is flat now.

    Keep your head up. My doc said I have a 6% chance of a re-herniation. Again, this is my story and all the results post op really depend on your lifestyle, health, athletic abaility, and quite frankly your laziness. Be strong!
  • I have to tell you I really appreciate your post. I have the exact same surgery as you on L5 S1 on April 7. About three months out now and sitting and standing still really make me miserable by the end of the day. I have pretty much the same butt pain and pain in my foot as before. Its not horribly painful but just very uncomfortable. I didn't want to take anything for it but finally started taking neurontin tonight bc I'm getting very frustrated with my progress. And want some relief. The reason why I'm thanking you is because I need to be reminded that the nerves do take a long time to heal. I did a follow-up MRI and it showed the disc was removed off the nerve so it really should be a matter of time. A new physiatrist I saw confirmed that the butt pain I have ,even though on the opposite side of my surgery, is part of the sciatic nerve, so it must just be aggravated still from the surgery or from the initial compression. Either way I have to have hope that this will get better someday. Thanks for writing in and I do wish you and everyone here the best of luck. Maria
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