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7 Weeks Post-Op; glad to find an online group

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in New Member Introductions

I just found this site and am already relieved to find a group of folks in a similar situation to my own.

I'm a 45-year-old busy mom, professor, and a serious athlete. I thought I strained my piriformis last spring while coaching track practice. I had mild to moderate sciatic pain, deep-buttocks cramping and spasm, tingling and cramping in my left quadriceps, sometimes running down my leg and into my foot. I had increasing discomfort, but was able to continue running. I started a half marathon on November 9 in a fair amount of pain, but I figured I would finish the race and call my doctor in the morning. At the 7-mile mark, I could no longer control my leg and foot, and I was in excruciating pain and I dropped out of the race.

An MRI the next day showed that I had a severely ruptured L4/L5 disc (3 herniations--my surgeon said it was the worst herniated disc he'd ever seen), and ominous bulges in my L5/S1 and L3/L4 discs. The inflammation was so bad that they had to hold off on surgery for 4 days while they pumped me up with steroids. I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy on 11/14/08. I've been recovering really well--I walked 2 miles a week after surgery and have increased to 4 miles a day, getting faster and stronger every day. I've been back at work since Thanksgiving.

My only concern has been continuing nerve pain. When I saw my surgeon at 3 weeks post-op, he prescribed Neurontin. I've been taking 200 milligrams 3x a day. It works pretty well, but I am discouraged that the pain is still up to about a 7 sometimes. I've been doing my PT regimen faithfully, and I haven't done any lifting, running, or straining, but I'm doing a lot of walking (on the treadmill, up to 4.5 miles an hour) and standing for extended periods. I can't re-rupture the disc just from these activities, can I? As I've been reading some of your posts, both the pain and anxiety sound normal. It does seem to resolve itself if I rest and take Tylenol or Advil.

I'm eager to start exercising again, but I am also panicky about the possibility of further injury. I know everyone's recovery is different, but I'm looking for encouragement from folks who've been through this.

Thanks for reading, and for any wisdom you can share...


  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am glad to hear that you have had a pretty successful recovery. taking it slow and taking your time is really the safest way to go. follow your doctor's orders completely. :? he will know the proper schedule for you to follow. i am sure others will drop by with more firshand information. =D> i do hope you are feeling better soon and complete your recovery completely. Jenny :)
  • While I am no athlete by any means, when this first started for me, I was a very busy, hyper real estate agent. And sadly, I did not take the restrictions seriously. I showed houses, bent down to pick things up, yada yada. And yep - I reherniated quickly and easily. I had no idea. I ended up with 3 surgeries in 12 months.

    Were I you, I would follow my doctor's advice to a T. It seems it doesn't take much to reherniate. And since the surgery made you and me (the first one) feel good as new, I overdid.

    My nerve pain and numbness continued, and I also didn't take that seriously. I now have permanent S1 nerve damage, and I hold myself the most responsible for not hunkering down and doing simple walking after my first surgery - a laminectomy/discectomy. I also had a horrible herniated L5-S1. 3 months later, after my overdoing it, and a few other important details (like being sent to physical therapy for vertigo, put on a fitball, told to roll my hips around and then put on a rebounder during which I kept saying, "I just had surgery, should I be doing this", I then had an extruded (floating) disc. It went downhill from there.

    I know you are anxious to get back to your regular life, but back issues can EASILY spiral back out of control. Pain and numbness are your body's warning signals. If you don't notice healing about 1 cm a month, definitely get back to the doc to report that to him. Don't mess around with nerve pain. I did and now I have permanent damage. It stinks. I can't sit or stand or anything else longer than 20 to 30 minutes for the last 2 years. I will be getting the spinal cord stimulator hopefully tomorrow, but definitely soon. It is like a pacemaker for the nerves and will block my damaged nerve pain signals from getting to my brain. and just 3 years ago, just after my laminectomy/discectomy, I was running around as if nothing had happened to me, let alone a surgery. Regret........tons.

    Take care,

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  • I also had a microD in Dec. 2007. You are still very early in the recovery process. I could not even lift my right leg for about 4 months after surgery. Be patient, it will get better. Good luck with your recovery and please keep us posted.
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