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Herniated Disk Surgery Recovery Time?

mark210mmark210 Posts: 6
Can anyone give some true insight on what kind of recovery time to expect with a herniated disk surgery? I am a 33 year old active male considering surgery. I have heard from doctors and chiropractors to expect about 2 months to get back to 100%.

Also, does the surgery really relieve pain, numbness and strength loss in the legs?

Let me know.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,365

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    Unfortunately there isn't any pure and true time table for recover time.

    Guidelines are only that a guide. There are so many variables that go into the recovery time. No two people alike recover the same way.
    Other factors is the extent of your surgery, how long did you have the problem prior to surgery, how long was the surgery, etc..

    We place our trust in our doctors who are going to perform the surgery. After that, its up to us, the patient to make sure we do 100% of the things we should do , adhere to all limitations and restrictions.

    Will you be pain free after the surgery????

    I really wish I could provide a definite answer here. Some people after surgery are fine, no longer suffering from any of the problems they experienced prior to surgery. Then there are others.

    With today's advances in lumbar surgeries, I have seen many people back on they feet in 2 weeks or so and returning to work after 1 month. But again,
    so many factors come into play here.

    What kind of job do you have?
    What kind of driving is involved?

    My first lumbar surgery in 1978, I was out of work for 6 months, my last lumbar surgery in 1986, I was out for 3 months. For both of my cervical surgeries I was out for about 9 weeks.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I work in an office sitting at a desk all day. Driving is minimal. Doctor told me about a week off work and then figure on the following week working half days. No lifting for four weeks post op.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,365
    Years ago in the cave man time (1978 for my first lumbar surgery) the thought process was that those folks who had white collar jobs did not need to be fused. It was only those that worked blue collar jubs that needed the fusion.

    Well, all of that has changed. Its been proven that many of the white collar jobs (desk, computer, etc) create more strain every day on our spines. While the blue collar working, who normally is in good shape, is outside, doing work and probably has less problems.

    For my recent surgeries and flare ups, driving and then working on a computer was my downfall.
    Since 2000, I had been working 100% of the time from home, only because I could not take the 70 minute commute each way and spend 8-10 hours a day on the computer.

    So, IF your job does include using the computer, my best advice is very simple... Just get up every 50 minutes or so, walk around, stretch, wait about 10 minutes before you go back to your workstation.

    Spending hour after hour at the desk, is just like having a hot stabbing knife slowly being pushed into your body
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • the purpose of the surgery is to relieve pain and weakness. your spinal surgeon will give you an estimate of the percentage rate of success. there are never any guarantees in surgery. are you getting a microdiscectomy?
    we wish you luck

  • I'm headed for my 2nd micro-d at L4-L5 on Jan 26th. I can tell you about my previous experience two years ago.

    I am a 32 year-old pediatric nurse and at the time of my first micro-d two years ago, I was in a semi-management position meaning I worked 16hrs/week at a desk and 24 hrs/week at the bedside.

    I was completely out of work for 8 weeks. I think my NS extended me an extra 2 weeks because I fell 3 weeks after surgery (tripped on the vacuum cleaner cord). On my return to work, I gradually returned to full time status over a 4 week period. At 12 weeks post-op I was doing what I normally did pre-op.

    Regarding, pain...I stayed on top of my pain meds around-the-clock for about the first 10 days religiously taking Percocet then Vicodin as well as Aleve and Zanaflex (muscle relaxer) and then tapered down. I definitely was most uncomfortable when sitting for extended periods of time. Not so much pain but muscle spasms/movement especially in my lower back & butt.

    As far as sensation...I had only lost sensation in my foot 3 days previous to my surgery and pretty much recovered it immediately after surgery. (Just goes to show that time is of the essence with nerve damage).

    As far as weakness goes...I never 100% recovered the weakness. I'd say my foot/leg got back to 95%. I can't pivot on my left foot or I'll stumble and look like I'm drunk. This can be embarrassing especially at work in front of people that don't know my situation! I did go to PT for 4 weeks twice a week to work on this post-op.

    Of course, the *disclaimer* is that EVERYONE is different! The key is not to rush yourself, let your body heal. Don't give into pressure from yourself or others to get better in a particular time-frame.

    I hope this helped...good luck in making your decision. I definitely don't regret having that surgery. I did really well for two years. I feel my reherniation is mostly due to falling back into bad habits...

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  • AFter my micro on l5-si with a sevear heniation i felt stronger butt never even after a yr now not a 100%. I feel i did very well healing doc also said i did well i dont know if height weight has aqny consideration in heal time but my doc told me 3-4 months. Im 6 3 and 210 lbs. Even at that point i was still only i would say 60% my physical therapist was mad that doc was letting me go back. Well I hope if you have the surgery that you heal quick and well.

    Good luck
  • i had a micro on L5/S1 3 weeks ago. my pain relief was immediate, i'm doing physical therapy to get the strength back in my leg. I'm a medic/firefighter so my surgeon is conservative on when i can return to full duty, though i'm in good shape currently. i really does vary from person to person. i only suffered from the herniated disk for 4 weeks, it was so severe they did surgery pretty soon. Good luck, don't expect to get back to 100 percent overnight, be realistic and listen to your body, it'll tell you when you've had enough.

  • Did you have any numbness before the surgery? If so how is that for you post-op?
  • Hi there!
    Long time no chat...glad to hear you have the revision scheduled. I go on Tuesday to follow up with my new surgeon and then we'll set the date. I'm hopeful to have by end of January so I might be headed in around same time as you.

    Please let me know how you do.

    Also, you are so right on the taking meds and then tapering. I was told not to drive for 2 weeks. I did work from home (reclined) week 2 but probably won't after this revision. I was told I could go in for short periods after my 2-week appointment but have to admit, if you are sitting at a desk, don't do it. Try to work remotely. I was very uncomfortable.
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