Hi everyone, I searched the good, bad, and painful on this forum as I was contemplating surgery for my disc issues. In return, I wanted to provide a regular journal for those who are lurking and researching, to compare notes and contribute.
Stats: 34 yr old, Male. 6'5, 260 lbs. (up from 240 prior to disability)
Diagnosis: Para-central bulge at L4/L5, with radiopathy on left hip, butt, leg, etc.. Lateral lumbar shift (4+ inches)
Background: I was a very active kid and adult - played any sport I could and did well with Football and Basketball. I can remember a couple of times on squat racks where my form was bad and lower back was twinged long ago at 19 or 20 years old. Continued to play rec sports post-grad, and generally kept in good shape.
My problem got really serious around 30 years old (4 years ago), when I was doing wind sprints up hills first thing in the morning. My hamstrings were tight and I was sprinting when I pulled my back. I walked home and was sideways. I couldn't stand up straight for 2 days, and just layed around. Then, another episode a few months later lasted 3 or 4 days with me on the ground in terrible pain. Around that time I noticed that my hip was burning when I'd sit down. I saw my family doc who sent me to PT.
I went through 3 PTs before I found a guy I trusted - Professor for the local medical school, who would see me with students in his clinic. On and off for 3+ years he tried everything in the book to solve my issues. Core work, accupuncture/Needling, electric-stim, stretch, manual shift correction, etc.. My episodes were getting more common though over the years, and when I flared up pain was shooting down my left leg while I was shifted sideways so things just got worse. Compounding this, I put on 20+ lbs because I had become less active (and older I guess....?) Last straw was an episode while traveling for work, had to drink myself silly in the Orlando airport (Outback steakhouse) just to be able to sit down on the flight to get home.
Then off to Neurosurgeon; 2 epidurals later, we scheduled a discectomy, which occurred 2 days ago. The procedure was done with "matrix" approach, which I'm told is very minimally invasive and disrupts the muscles least. An outpatient procedure, they had me for a total of 7 hours. Guidance was; no bending, twisting or picking up 10lbs+. Walk as tolerated and increase each day. Should be walking 2+Miles each day within 3 weeks. No driving, or working for at least 2 weeks.
First day I left the surgery center pretty much out of it, they knocked me out good. I didn't see the surgeon afterwards, but he sat with my wife and explained that the disc was far more degenerated that he had anticipated. I slept for a long time and walked around my home when I woke. The pain in my leg and hip are gone! But, man am I sore and hurting in my lower back.
Second day was today, and I'm really stiff. I've walked 4 times for 5-10 minutes and it feels bad, then good, then bad again. It's like when I first start walking my muscles are scared to let go, then they start to relax, then soreness all through my core. I'm really, really constipated which feels odd. We just had indian food for dinner to see if that will take care of it. I've been given Vicodin, so going to have to manage the fiber.
With not alot to do, I'll try and post regularly on the recovery experience for those who are preparing for this process. So far all is going as they said it would - instant relief from nerve pain, but painful in my lower back where they cut into me.