Microdiscectomy At 23 While Active

Microdiscectomy At 23 While Active

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Weston693
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Microdiscectomy At 23 While Active

Hey everyone, I'm scared of the long recovery and the unknown of this surgery.

I'm brand new to here, but I need a place to vent/get advice on what is coming up for me. I just got back from my neurosurgeon appointment. I've scheduled my posterior microdiscectomy on my c6-7. I was able to postpone the surgery as long as I could with a steroid dose pack, but pain only continued. I turn 23 in 5 days and I am a very active individual. I'm 5'10 and 165lbs at 6% body fat. I weight lift and train 4-5 days a week. This injury has absolutely devestated me. I can't lift, I can't sit without pain. I can barely even type this because of the pain/numbness in my index finger and triceps. My doctor said I won't be able to lift like I did prior to the injury. Basically I can't do any over head presses/chest press ecercises (pushups, bench press & etc). Is this true? I can't imagine that. I'm just glad the surgery is coming so I will finally have relief in my arm and can begin the road to recovery.

Please help me out if you all have any advice on what is approaching me or how to gain my strength back, etc. Or just anything to keep me going.. This has thrown me for a loop. Did I mention I'm graduating 3 days before surgery? Perfect graduation gift right?!

Thanks everyone!

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Andrew92
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Weston, I know how you feel.

Weston,

I know how you feel. I had to get an L5/S1 microdiscectomy on a herniated disc, and I'm only 19. I had to stop going to the gym, and between the time of the injury and now I lost 15 pounds of lean weight. It's terrible because I feel like I'm too young to have debilitating health problems. Unfortunately, a lifestyle adjustment is probably a reality and the road to recovery will likely be long and slow. What you should be hoping for is to return to a life free of daily pain where you can still do the majority of the things you like. With surgery, there aren't any guarantees.

Most likely, after surgery your issues will resolve in a way that allows you to continue to be active, but maybe in a different way. For example I have refocused my workouts around endurance rather than strength, which puts less strain on my back but allows me to stay active and fit.

LA_runner_chick
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Joined: 09/13/2011 - 5:39pm
You are both so young!

To both you and the OP, I know your injury and surgery and recovery have been devastating. I'm at a different path than either one of you -- up until about nine months ago, I was a passionate, 12-mile-a-day runner. I've been diagnosed, told what kind of surgery I need, still getting second, third and fourth opinions. But, I digress!
You are both so young, and your bodies are still probably very capable of healing and regenerating -- and you're probably both resilient in mind and spirit. Give it some time. You may not get back to what you think is peak performance now, but give yourself time and healing and you'll probably be amazed at what you can do.

Be patient and take care of yourself.

janiski
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Joined: 09/05/2008 - 3:09pm
Being active

Yes you may have to adjust your lifestyle a bit. But there will be things you CAN do and you need to focus on that. But don't lose sight of that long range goal of maybe doing some of the old stuff.

I have had 3 fusions, fused L1-S1. It took me 3 years after the 2nd one to get back on my time trial bike but I never gave up hope.

I was a swimmer and of course that is one of the best things for your back. If you are near a pool give it a try. You may like it and possible join a Masters swim team and get a great workout.

I was in good shape for my surgeries and I know that helped my recovery. I was allowed back in the water as soon as the incision healed. I still do my core strengthening regularly and do light lifting at home. Nothing like the gym but it does give me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me happy.

You will have a long recovery and will need a lot of patience. I am not a patient person and it was hard for me. I was able to walk, starting of course in short segments but I built up to 7 miles a day at 3 weeks out of the hospital. I hate to walk but bought a pedometer to keep track (I am a competitve person and this was a way to help me be that person).

I was even able to go back to running for awhile but then I had another fusion and now my SI joint is failing. I can't even walk or ride my bike. See the spine surgeon wed. Possible SI joint fusion in my future.

But I can still swim!! Gotta find something positive and sometimes its hard.

Hope this has helped you out. Good luck and keep us posted on how things go. You have a lot of friends on this website.

L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.

Domsport
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Joined: 05/01/2012 - 11:14am
Take your time...

To the OP, I am a 36 year old very active athletic person. Gym 5 days a week, triatholons, MMA, extended Midwest backpacking trips etc. I was fine until I herniated L5S1 to the point of excruciating right leg pain unrelieved by meds. I am a physician with access to medical literature and everything I read stated that outcome was better when surgery was performed in the acute period (within 3 months of onset) so I opted for a microdiscectomy immediately. I went into the OR with 9/10 pain and woke up nearly. Pain free! I occasionally get burning pain where the severe pain was but I can live with that as compared to the original pain. The reason I'm posting is to warn healthy active athletic individuals to not push the recovery! I did and paid for it! I felt so good post op that I began walking 3-5 miles only 4 days postoperative! At post op day 10 I was hiking moderate trails and doing my own PT. well... The incision site began to ooze at week three and the doc didn't Ike the looks of it so back to the OR I went. And what do you know? He said all of my internal sutures were torn, and I had a ton of local trauma to the internal wound. Ended up on some big antibiotics for 3 days and I'm back to square one. So please take it easy... At least one month before any minimally strenuous activity, and at leat 3 months before moderately strenuous activity. I am a firm believer in "prehab" so if. U know your going in for surgery, strengthen your back and core now! You will recover faster. Good luck and don't push it!

Paul
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`

Andrew92 wrote:
Weston,

I'm only 19... Unfortunately, a lifestyle adjustment is probably a reality and the road to recovery will likely be long and slow. What you should be hoping for is to return to a life free of daily pain where you can still do the majority of the things you like. With surgery, there aren't any guarantees.

Most likely, after surgery your issues will resolve in a way that allows you to continue to be active, but maybe in a different way. For example I have refocused my workouts around endurance rather than strength, which puts less strain on my back but allows me to stay active and fit.


You are wise beyond your years.

-----------------------------
On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008

mnrn56
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Joined: 04/30/2012 - 2:44pm
9 months of Sciatic pain

Hi, Andrew and Weston - so sorry you are dealing with this so young. I'm 55 yo and dealing with the pain - 24/7 - there is rarely a moment when I'm not experiencing pain.
How do you sleep at night? I've been using Ambien every night, but now I'm running short and can't get a refill for another 11 days; So, I'm trying Unisom tonight.
I can only sleep on my right side as my left side is affected and it hurts too much to be on that side.
I was told to wait 9-12 months and the sciatica would get better - well, it's been 9 months and it's getting worse,
I have an appointment next week and likely looking at surgery. I'm worried not given DomSport's post about surgery being most effective in the acute phase. However, my sciatica slowly got worse over the past 6 months.
I've had 2 injections of corticosteroids with good results with the first injection and minimal results with the second
My pain is at it's worst at night - excruciating 9/10. Just know that I can't continue this way
Thanks for any advice you might have for me

Joydancer
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Last seen: 6 months 1 day ago
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Joined: 08/01/2009 - 10:15pm
Weston693 wrote:Hey

Weston693 wrote:
Hey everyone, I'm scared of the long recovery and the unknown of this surgery.

I'm brand new to here, but I need a place to vent/get advice on what is coming up for me. I just got back from my neurosurgeon appointment. I've scheduled my posterior microdiscectomy on my c6-7. I was able to postpone the surgery as long as I could with a steroid dose pack, but pain only continued. I turn 23 in 5 days and I am a very active individual. I'm 5'10 and 165lbs at 6% body fat. I weight lift and train 4-5 days a week. This injury has absolutely devestated me. I can't lift, I can't sit without pain. I can barely even type this because of the pain/numbness in my index finger and triceps. My doctor said I won't be able to lift like I did prior to the injury. Basically I can't do any over head presses/chest press exercises (pushups, bench press & etc). Is this true? I can't imagine that. I'm just glad the surgery is coming so I will finally have relief in my arm and can begin the road to recovery.

Please help me out if you all have any advice on what is approaching me or how to gain my strength back, etc. Or just anything to keep me going.. This has thrown me for a loop. Did I mention I'm graduating 3 days before surgery? Perfect graduation gift right?!

Thanks everyone!

Weston, hi and welcome to S-H. I am a C-Spiney Cervical Spine is my primary issues with Lumbar being secondary and staying stabilized with rf oblation on nerve facet joints on 3-levels.

You don't mention the type of procedure or type of fusion to be done, but ACDF and hardware implementation, in Cervical Spine on the lower levels can be more complex than mid-levels e of C-Spine and your adjoining T-Spine levels should be assessed as well.

I hope you are able to adjust to allowing your C-Spine to not undergo weight lifting and exercise and you are facing a major surgical change to your upper spine.

Depending on # of levels involved for stabilization and hardware or bone implant fusion, recovery is slow and most of "safe" activity and post surgery would be walking - - upper body will need much time to heal from trauma of surgery ligaments, muscles, inflammation soft tissue & nerves. It's not a quick fix surgery for pain nor for recovery of peripheral neuro-muscular symptoms.

Sorry you are experiencing this and so young, my first C-Spine surgery was 3 levels ACDF with bone inplant in 1995 at 40 yrs of age.

Check out as much as you can post-surgical recovery and know C-Spine is a slow recovery; requiring patience for your healing - - and successful fusion. It may not be what you want to hear, but spine surgery is a major change to your spine and may very well have to have tradeoffs to heal and function.

There is much here on the forum, info and C-Spine people pre and post, that can be very supportive.

Wish you well with your surgery and preparation for your recovery.