To start, I am a 31 year old male. I originally injured my spine while jumping on a trampoline at the age of 24. At that time, I hearniated the disc between L4/L5. I was admitted to the hospital, and surgery was not discussed as an option. I was completely immobile and unable to sit up. The next morning in my hospital bed, I begin doing reverse leg extensions; raising my feet mere centimeters off of the bed. After about 15 minutes of this, iI was able to sit up and then stand not long after. I was still in a tremendous amount of pain, and I opted for spinal steroid injections for treatment. I was supposed to have 1 injection weekly for a total of 3 weeks. After my first injection, I did not return for the subsequent appointments. Instead, I began an exercise and weight loss program that completely changed my life. I lost 70 pounds and got into the best shape of my life. During that period, I never quit having pain, but it was manageable and at some times non-existent. In May of this year(2015), my lower back pain had begun to get out of hand. I started stretching and exercising to reduce pain to no avail. One night as I am stretching and popping my lower back, I popped my back and immediately lost feeling in my legs. My doctor told me that I needed bed rest, a host of pain pills and muscle relaxers, and that she sees no reason why I couldn't make a full recovery. After two days bed rest, I was able to stand again( I think it was because I was drugged up), and I was sent home from the hospital. As I was walking from the passenger side of my vehicle, my left leg gave out on me. I tried to catch myself with my right leg, and I felt a crunch in my spine. I crawled to the couch and took some tramadol and vicoden and passed out for a couple hours. I awoke in extreme pain and crawled(no lie) to my car in tears. I probably shouldn't have been driving, but lucky for me, the hospital is very close to my home. I was immediately readmitted to the hospital and now they were talking to me about having surgery. when I awoke from surgery my life was dramatically different. First I will speak on my physical recovery. Then I will touch on the psychology of how this has changed my life. Upon waking up from surgery, I had some incision site pain. By that, I mean if I was finally laying on it, I wouldn't want to move. Also, if I was not pressing into the incision by laying on it, the thought of laying on it would make me cringe. The next day I was awoken by my Doctor and surgeon. They wanted to see how I felt, and test if I could walk. I walked with a walker first and instantly noticed I could support my weight without it. They made me walk stairs and all without the walker. I was discharged early that afternoon. I was on vacation when I had my accident, and I had to fly home the next day after I was discharged. What luck huh? I used pain meds to ensure comfort during my flight. The first 12 hours after I got home were spent laying around the couch because I was still in some pain. I had incision pain, leg, butt, and back pain. I decided that I was not going to live this way any longer. I don't take pain meds unless I absolutely need to for pain. So I threw them all away. I didn't even take the ibuprofen they prescribed me. Instead, I googled a set of exercises from the NHS about recovering from microdiscectomy surgery. The next 7 hours or so were spent standing at attention like a soldier would. I would squeeze my buttocks and thighs together as tightly as possible. Then raise my arms straight forward. Then I would slowly raise each knee as if marching in place. After that night, I never needed my walker again because I got a lot of my mobility and flexibility back. Going through this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not take it easy on myself. In doing so, I developed the support muscles that were lacking in giving me good posture. It took about one month to get my walk back in which at one point, my legs gave out and I fell down in front of some attracted ladies (People don't assume you are recovering from surgery; they thought I was drunk heh). It took about the same amount of time to strengthen my back gate to be to sit and stand unsupported. It took about a month to be able to jump or even hop a few inches off the ground. It took about two months to be able to jog and sort of sprint again. I am now 13 weeks post op. I can run, jump, swim, and I recently did my first post op back flip into the swimming pool
. I noticed some major physical changes post op such as my spine finally feeling completely aligned. Standing up straight is so easy and walking feels good. My breathing feels easier and I am told I don't snore as much. A lot of the leg pain after surgery was from atrophied muscles that had not been being used due to me supporting myself incorrectly with my spine. I am fast on my way to being in the best shape of my life again. If I had to do it all over again, I would've opted to have a microdiscectomy after my first spinal injury. Now for the psychological changes. When I suffered my original injury in 2008, I believe I suffered retrograde amnesia. In the instance of a traumatic injury, you can suffer retrograde amnesia. When I awoke from surgery, I felt like I had awoken from a dream of many years. I never could remember the details of my life before the age of 24; only major events. Now I remember everything. It is as if a blockage has been removed in my mind and I am back to full mental capacity. This realization has also been very difficult to deal with because I feel as though I am starting a brand new life. I feel out of place. Sometimes I feel like the year is 2008 and the things I am excited for are long past. I am speaking with the hospital about this, but they aren't really being cooperative. I feel like I may need to speak with a lawyer, but I digress. In closing, the surgery may change your life in more ways than you want. Welcome to Spine-Health
Please click on link for helpful information! ~spine-health moderator, savageWarning:
Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter item, exercise program, mechanical aid, brace, etc always consult with your doctor to make sure you get their approval.
Some of these products may be very effective, but no two individuals or medical conditions are alike. What works for one, may cause trouble for another..
Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator