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Can anyone advise on second L5-S1 surgery recovery?

milliemmillie Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Newbie here - I've done some digging but haven't seen very much on this topic, so I thought I'd see if there's anyone else in the same boat.

I'd been having issues for years, seeing chiro/massage and getting some short term relief, until New Year's Eve 2009. I was in a lot of pain but managed to struggle to the chiro - he told me I should seek a surgical consult as there was nothing else he could do for me. Very upsetting! Went home, lay down, and several hours later was completely seized up - had to call the ambulance to come get me. We spent NYEve in Emerg (there's a party), next day MRI, then the morphine & Jell-O diet until I could get surgery on Jan 4th. Had an L5-S1 minimally invasive micro-discectomy, discharged on the 6th, spent 4 weeks at home and RTW half time in Feb, full time in March.

In mid-May I started feeling a different kind of pain - this started off as more of a "hamstring pull" in the left (same) leg, but got worse until I ended up in Emerg at the end of June. This time the MRI showed the same disc had re-herniated (I'm one of the lucky 5%)and my neuro decided to do a laminectomy at L5-S1 - there wasn't enough "virgin tissue" to try the micro again.

From June to August I've been on naproxen, morphine & cyclobenzaprine just to keep sane, but unable to work.

Surgery was done Aug 19 and I'm relatively pleased...but concerned that the "hamstring pull" seems to be back. The surgery site pain is fine, the nerve and muscle spasms seem to be calming down (thank God), but I haven't been able to quit the naproxen - taking that and Advil.

I know it's really early days yet, I realize I've got so little to worry about compared to some folks here, but I'm hoping that there's someone in a similar situation who can advise how long it took them to recover from a second surgery to the same site.

Thanks all...happy to have found this site!


  • Hi Millie, it is so very hard to be patient when we are hurting! Time seems to stand still while we anxiously wait for it to fly by!

    You are still early is your recovery. Do be aware of your BLT restrictions, even once you have fully recovered as it will help to save your L5-S1!

    Hang in there! Wishing you the very best!

  • Be careful not to bend, lift or twist. It's so easy to forget when you start to feel better. Protecting yourself now might, indeed, save your L5-S1 later on.

    Unfortunately, for me personally, it didn't help. Because mine was classed as degenerative and I was VERY protective of my back, I still overdid things when I shouldn't have done (especially when gardening).

    5 years ago I had two microdiscectomies within one month of each other, because the first one didn't work. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I underwent 2-level fusion 8 weeks ago.

    When you start to recover - if there's anything you do physically that leaves you in significantly more pain for the next 2-3 days, then my advice would be to stop doing it. I didn't. I used to do a little gardening, end up flat on my back for 3 days and, a month or so later, when feeling a little better, would try it again. In the end, my back dictated that I couldn't do it at all anymore!

    I didn't read in your post if you're going to have physiotherapy or not? If so, this would help you to improve your core strength and hopefully assist your back muscles. I have only just started my physio today after my surgery.

    I really hope you get the right mix of medication you require to ease the pain - then hopefully you'll start to be a little more mobile, which can only help your recovery.

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
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