Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Recovery from laminectomy/discectomy at L5-S1

hotcoffee29hhotcoffee29 Posts: 327
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I am brand new here but have been reading posts as I search for answers regarding my own health issues with my back. I have suffered with back pain for 10 years. I am F, 39 years old and I am 2 weeks P.O. from a laminectomy/discectomy at L5-S1, I still have lower back pain, probably from the incision, but I have new numbness in my left foot that I did not have before the surgery. My mobility is reall good for just 2 weeks and I am walking as much as I can. Yesterday I walked the most, about a mile and a half and since then it seems my sciatic pain on my right side came back with a force!!! I am not sure, but my right leg has been in agony since my walk, reminds me of my sciatic pain which had been totaly gone until yesterday since the op 2 weeks ago. I am taking narcotics for pain and muscle relaxers and NOTHING is even touching my leg pain. I just wonder if its just muscular from my walk or can anyone else relate to me out there??? I go back to work in 2 weeks, I am a teacher assistant and I am a little worried about the bending etc.... I work with special needs kids. Should I be well recovered by then? I appreciate any advice....thankyou so much for listening.


  • You have just has a serious piece of surgery and you are trying to run before you can walk. Sounds to me like you are doing too much and thereby expecting far too much. You are very swollen in the area of the surgery and everything there is raw. The muscles that have been disturbed are also very angry and it will take time for them to settle down. You are aggravating the situation by doing too much and that way you will hamper your recovery. You are probably creating the pain that you are getting. Back off from trying to get back to perfect fitness and give your body a chance to heal.

    Your pain killers are likely masking quite a lot of your pain and you are using that margin and more to create the situation that you have.

    My surgeon told me that it can take weeks to be rid of all the pain, but you have to be patient and careful.

    Give it a chance, you may just be pleasantly surprised in a few weeks.
    Good Lick

    John B
  • The nerves have been iratated because of surgery they are angry give them time to calm down. From past experence dont push it, it will come. there is alot of healing going on in the inside of your spine.. so far all seems normal to me. i had new pains that slowly went away with time ..good luck happy recovery to you
  • advertisement
  • I had the same surgery except L3and 4 and l5and 6
    I am so with you.......I am using a walker and did go last week to see friends. It was way too much but of course I did not know that till the next day. I have been totally down for four days and just today have gotten out only a little. I blame my Dr. in a way as before I elected to get this surgery, he said it would be about a three week recovery time. Oh lets get real!!!!!!! If I had known that I would have taken it easy more...I guess I though after surgery I could just get up and do things as usual....!My leg really hurts as well.
    Oh, I am 65 and still think I am 39!!! Go figure!!!!
    You and I both overdid it. We must think we are superwomen!!!
    Get better and slow down and I will try to do the same. I so know where you are coming from!!!!!

  • Good advice John. I never thought that the pain killers would actually cause you to do too much and actually hurt yourself!!! Very good point!!!
  • Thanks so much to John and Dee and those of you who were so kind to write to me regarding me rushing my recovery and you know, you guys are right. The more I think about it, every day I am up, taking care of the kids, doing small amounts of housework and walking, and thinking I am just about healed, everyone tells me I look so good and moving so well so I think they expect that its ok I go to to the store or run here and there and I believe I have been superwoman and I am forgetting about what is going on in the inside of my body and I am still taking the painkillers so it is masking alot of the pain making me feel like I am superwoman when indeed I am not and I definately don't want to do any more damage because like alot of you I have suffered way to long and hoping this surgery will eventually bring some relief.

    My surgeon has told me if I re-herniate I will probably need a fusion in the future because DDD has affected that disc so badly. I have a bulging disk right above it at L4-L5 but that apparently isn't too bad.

    I do have a large golf ball sized lump of swelling above my incision site, I assume that it is normal swelling from the surgery since it has only been 2 weeks ago today!!

    I would like to hear how more of you have got through your surgeries and recovered. I see the surgeon for the first time post op tomorrow morning. I will let you all know what he says about my recovery so far.

    Thank you all so much, I am truly glad I have found this forum, I don't feel so alone anymore.
  • advertisement
  • I am so thriiled that you have seen the light, so to speak. WELL DONE YOU!. You are clearly a mature and responsible person and I hope that you will practice what you now understand to be too much. Furthermore I am pleased to see that Dee and others here agree with my opinion too.

    You see those that you will meet here, are in general fellow sufferers or as I have always thought them to be "Spinal Warriors" and they are mostly people who not only care, but people who have been there in a real practical manner, rather than professionals going by the book. They have been in the fire in a practical way and they identify with you, as you no doubt will with them. To answer your question, you are not alone.

    I unfortunately do not personally know what your swelling is due to, but I do suspect that it may just be something to do with the fact that you have been overdoing it. Clearly you will be mentioning it to your doc this morning and perhaps you will kindly let us know exactly what it is actually due to.

    As far as recovery is concerned, every person here will have a slightly differing story as nobody will react in precisely the same way to surgery. Also we are mostly differing ages too so you will get lots of good advice to consider.
    I just turned 66 years of age on Sunday last and on top of that I had another surgery with general anesthetic this morning since I posted to you earlier today and that was for a torn Meniscus, following a bad car accident just after my spine surgery.

    I just got up the stairs on my butt and I am sitting at my computer posting back to you for a few minutes before I go to bed.
    It is well after midnight right now.

    Finally my recovery has been careful and rather long, but at least I am really out of pain now and I am happy to stay on Spine health to help people in the same way that I was helped when I first arrived on the Spine Health scene. You see many of those who have a great outcome from surgeries like me, do not stay with spine health as they no longer have a spine problem. I, on the other hand, feel a debt of gratitude to those who helped me and they know who they are only too well. I also enjoy spreading a success story it can be quite uplifting and in any event I may just need more help myself at some stage as I am 66 going on 33!

    The best possible advice that I can give you is to repeat myself once again when I say, listen to your own body if you sincerely care about it. You have a great responsibility to your family who no doubt love you very much and I am sure that they want you in one piece and in good shape. So, take it slowly and steadily, step by step and I am sure you will see the best results that way.

    We look forward to hearing from you after you have seen your doc.

    Take Care

    John B
  • Hello....wow, I cannot believe you wrote to me and inspired and made me feel good when you have just gone through another round of surgery!!! I do hope you recover from this one too and the road ahead is smooth for you.

    Just to give you a little more info about me, I am 39 and I have 3 children, daughter 14, and 2 boys aged 13 and 11. They have been helping me alot. My 11 year old just brought me a cup of coffee!

    I am a Teacher Assistant at a school for children with EBD (Emotionaly and Behaviorly disabled). I go back to work on the 17th August and I have to avoid any "hands on" with the kids for a while. They can get quite aggresive and violent at times.

    I saw the surgeon this morning and he has put me on Prdnisone for the next few weeks to address the swelling at the incison sight. He said my wound is healing well but that the swelling is normal, however the numbness on my left leg and foot is not, although he is not too alarmed, he thinks that I have very sensitive nerves and he just "looked" at the nerves on the left side, he didn't do any work on that side as he said it wasn't bad enough to touch it, best left alone, he worked only on my right side where the herniation and swollen nerves were, and that side is great, all sciatic pain is gone!! He said the prednisone will help and he fully expects the swelling to go down and the numbness to go away. He will see me again in 4 weeks.

    In the meantime, he wants me in the pool but no swimming, keep walking and I start Physical Therapy tomorrow, this makes me a little nervous as I am still a bit sore and stiff. They offered me more pain meds but I declined as I don't want to become to dependent on them, especially going back to work and the hope of this surgery was to live without being on pain meds, so i am going to try to manage as best I can but I will be taking it more slowly. One day at a time. Yesterday I rested most of the day and today has wore me out already just going to the doctors and picking up my prescription!!

    The surgeon also wants me to follow up with my OBGYN as I had a retention problem in the hospital, he says they think I have a tilted bladder and that General Anasthesia enhanced the problem, I had to stay longer in hopsital and come home with a cathetar for about 5 days! Urgh!!! So I have an appointment on the 27th for that issue!!

    John you are so very kind and I truly wish the best for you and I have noticed that this support group is wonderful, I do feel like here people understand what I am going through, definately in a way that doctors don't understand or people who don't suffer from back problems. The surgeon told me he thinks that I have such sensitive nerves that even doing anything mild or benign can aggrivate them in my case causing me problems, so does this all sound right to you?

    Get plenty of rest, take care of yourself and have a speedy recovery.
    Best Wishes,
  • During surgery the surgeon typically bathes the area with a steroid/pain killer mix. The pain usually returns 14 days or so post surgery. This is normal. I don't think you're doing too much as long as you remember the restrictions of BLT. Its good for you to keep walking. If the pain persists or is greater than a 4 - 5, you may want to call the surgeon and request a dose pack of steroids to help further reduce any swelling. Please try not to worry, the same thing happened to me and I'm fine...I seldom have pain worse than a 1 or 2, although it is that damn sciatic pain that I hate! 13 days post surgery it was at a 4-5, so I think you'll be just fine. Remember to ice and to lie down 6 times per day, and limit the amount of time you spend sitting.
  • I just updated my profile, took me a while to figure it all out but hopefully I have done it right and it gives my fellow "spineys" an idea what I have been through, which seems so mild compared to others that I have read.

    I was just wondering after laminectomy's have failed, does it seem like a fusion will follow at some point? Have others had laminectomy and discetomy's and still had to go through fusions? Do you ever get full strength back in your back?

    Thank you,
  • You sound as though you have had very similar issues with your back as I have. I guess thats why he put me on prednisone to help with the swelling. Surgeon told me to get in the pool but no swimming....I start P.T. tomorrow afternoon. Sitting is definately an issue, it gets sore, and I feel stiffness in my lower back, that makes me want to move and walk, I know I should just take little walks instead of one big long one a day. I walk around my house alot, I am in Florida, its HOT outside!!!

    I did not know about the pain killer mix in your back at time of surgery, so thats why I am probably feeling more pain now, although I would say its more a feeling of discomfort, and mild pain. The thing is the pain is there all the time, so its like a nagging dull pain always letting you know, hey, I have a sore back!! LOL

    I hope you too continue on your road to recovery, do you still see the doctor regarding your back or are you in the clear for now?

    Take Care,
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.