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Getting back on feet post bed rest

thigh-grippertthigh-gripper Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:33 AM in Exercise and Rehab
I've put off surgery on my back for ruptured disc and it has started to come good in terms of pain after around 7-8 weeks now of mostly bed rest. I'd say it's at 70-80% or so and I'm now surviving without any heavy pain meds. I got told by a GP to begin walking again now and 2 days ago (Saturday my time)I did some significant walking, maybe 30mins total and stayed on my feet also a lot (few hours) as I was out with some friends. I handled the walking well but now I've got a big issue, the muscles in my legs, particularly on the side I have the sciatic issue on are absolutely killing me. It feels like I've run a marathon and now I'm walking worse then when my back was extremely bad. I'm struggling to walk one end of the house to the other and 3 out of the 5 times I've tried to walk today I've fallen. My calf muscle is spasming fairly badly, is really solid, tender and I can't really put any weight at all on it.
I've also been having what I think are circulation issues in both legs. Mainly a severe internal itching feeling after standing through lower legs and feet and also red markings at times on my legs. Also really dry soles of my feet.
I know that this is all probably a result of the weakness I now have in the legs through not using them, also issues related to having feet elevated on bed too much.
I'm guessing that this can be expected and that others here would of experienced this also. I just wanted to ask for any advice on what I should maybe be trying to do. I'm back to pretty much being stuck in bed again from the pain of walking and I'm thinking this is just going to continue to make it worse? ..but I'm not sure what I can do. Should I be trying to break through the pain and keep trying to walk or am I best resting them a couple more days first before trying again? (and take it a bit easier next time). Also any suggestions on things that might help me get through this would be hugely appreciated. I've been taking valium today to try and relax the muscles a bit but it's doing very little. Also if it is just a matter of battling on and walking my way out of it, anyone have experience on how long it may take to get back on track? (I was walking fairly problem free on Saturday).

Thanks heaps for reading and thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.



  • welcome back long time no see. ya youve been resting awhile. i cant believe youre going back to work but hey got to do what you got to do...just dont lift anything heavy. dont sit too long either.
    i hope its just muscles that are giving you trouble....but it sounds like more than that. i think the disk is still pressing too much on the nerves. the spine is made up of all kinds of nerves like pain sensing nerves, hot sensing nerves, cold sensing nerves and muscle control nerves. i used to be very active 20 years ago but the first thing that hit me on the legs was that they felt tired and painful. it ended up that i had nerve damage and the legs never recovered. i hope you dont have that. i guess only a dr can give you the tests to determine if theres damage. if there is then surgery mightbe best. what does dr say?
    best of luck and dont push it if it doesnt feel right. have they given you exersices that would help the disk?

  • I would definitely tell your doctor about the things you've experienced. Also remember, that after being on bed rest for that long, that your muscles have weakened, and you have to work your way back, slowly. Don't overdo it, keep it to walking around the block at first, or start with 10 - 15 minutes for a few days, then add a couple of minutes more each day, as you feel you can. And, if it hurts too much after, take a break for a day or two, and let yourself heal. Have you bee to physio or physical therapy? It is a great idea, if you can, to get your muscles working again, under supervision.
    Good luck, and I hope that you continue to feel better, and remember to take it easy!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
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  • Thanks for the replies guys. It has been a while Pete, I've had a lot of ups and downs since I was last on in terms of deciding what to do and I've had a really hard time stopping the pain meds but I've made it so far.

    I think I will see the doctor again tomorrow when I can get a lift to check if it is just muscular and ask about the itchy feeling because it worries me quite a bit.

    The doctors had told me not to do physio up until now but one told me last week I could try it soon provided I don't have traction done. Other then that I just have basic stretches to do in bed but it's very difficult now with the leg muscles cramping up.

    Pain in the legs is still strong this morning but I would say it's improved slightly on yesterday, I think maybe I might of just jumped in too fast and overdid it.

    I haven't returned to work yet but was hoping to be back next week provided I can get my legs back on track a bit, I was thinking Saturday it wouldn't be a problem but I'm not so sure now.
    The quote to have my surgery done blew out to a huge amount of money unfortunately. I've taken out private medical insurance that has a 12 month waiting period on existing problems so if I can manage to struggle through that long I'll be really happy.
    Unfortunately though I need to work to pay for it so there's a risk I may get worse in that time and put myself backwards. It's kind of hard to win. The public system has been no help, I'm still on their waiting list also but still classed "elective" and I'm looking at a couple years wait at best with them.

    Anyway I'm going off track a bit, thanks again guys I hope you both are having the good days today and taking care of yourselves.

  • Four weeks ago I had an L5/S1 fusion. I was instructed to walk, but after 3 days of 3 blocks each, my calves are so sore that I had to stop. I know that it's because I've practically been immobile for 2 years because of back pain (and gained 35 lbs). I'm afraid that my fusion is not going to heal properly if I don't walk, and I don't know what to do. Any advice?
  • Hi - I hope your feeling better. I know that I too have stopped moving when things get really bad. I also know that I need to get moving a little after 24 hours to see how I am doing. I am sore and stiff as a board, but the motion keeps me from losing muscle mass. 25+ years ago, I was told to rest in bed too and it was hard as heck to get moving again. In thinking back, I slowly got things back, but it was months before I felt "good". Yeh - I know its a subjective word.

    take care
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  • Thanks for the replies, just updating, a week and a half on and the muscle pain has improved. I'm still fairly weak in the legs and have shaky moments but not full blown muscle pain anymore. I got told it was expected from not using the legs which makes sense I just didn't realize it could be so severe.
    Whilst that has eased and is good, I've started getting some of the nerve pain back that had previously subsided a bit which is a downer. I also have numbness in my smallest three toes on the foot. I'm hoping I'm not going backwards but it is kind of hard to tell.
    I've gone from severe nerve pain -> low pain -> severe muscle pain -> "medium" nerve pain and numbness.
    I'm returning to work on light duties tomorrow before they forget that I work there. I'll be doing more walking then I have over the past week so the day after should be the test. Praying I don't wake up feeling like I ran a marathon whilst being beat around the legs with a bat again. I'm going to take things very easy.

    Take care guys,

  • good luck at work. hope you improve. maybe just getting out of your house will help but dont push it...pete
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