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2 days post l5-s1 microdisectomy

catsinc3ccatsinc3 Posts: 42
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi,im new and having to stand up to type this!sitting is too uncomfortable as is lying down lol.i herniated my L5-S1 8months ago.it caused a hell of alot of pain and sciatica at first,then progressed into numbness to my left side no ankle reflex etc.despite this when the burning went away i was fully active in pain but doing it,cleaning,walking the dogs driving etc and managed to lose 12lb that i put on whilst inactive.i had my op monday 1/8/2011 surgeon said it took longer than he had thought as it was very clcified and obviously been there a long time,so he removed what he could safely remove and that it should work for me.his post op and do and dont list was vague and very different to the hospital physio's.i came home the next day!now i havent really got anything to gauge my recovery on...the numbness is still there!sitting and lying down are very uncomfortable im managing around 2hrs sleep beore i wake very sore and then spend 10 minutes trying to turn over(was the same before surgery)im not i must say in very much pain apart from when i wake but i do wake up with sciatica pain all the way down my left leg i cant stand straight until ive taken naproxen(anti inflam) then i take dihydrocoediene and after about half hour i can stand straight and sciatica goes.im walking about ok,ive done dishes hung washing out(that my daughter passed me and line is shoulder height)finding it hard to wash espec feet!get dressed etc.what can i realistically expect recovery wise?im off for a short walk lunch time no dogs tho :( they would pull me.im meant to rest?but cant do that sitting as it hurts too much.ive been given little stretching excercises by the physio which i was doing pre surgery aswell these are uncomfortable at present but dont hurt.i aplogise for the enormously long post!!just thought id try and get it all in one go and see what anyone can advise me??i have 3 dogs therefore vacuming is a must but havent done it yet?hoover isnt heavy to push and was wondering as long as i dont push it out too far infront of me if i could do it?surgeon said i can drive in roughly 3 weeks physio said 6?im an active person and it drives me mad not being able to do things.unfortunatly my daughter is only little and cant quite manage all the house work and now im off work i cant afford a cleaner either..by the way im a 43 year old female.10st 4 llbs in uk who used to ride horses(still own a horse),walk dogs generally on the go all day..any help info will be greatly appreciated.:) thankyou in advance


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    First I have to yell "DO NOT VACUUM". Did you hear me, cause I could yell louder if I need to.

    Vacuuming is one of the easiest ways to hurt your back. It's pure hell on it. Don't, don't, don't vacuum. I'm one year post a TLIF (lumbar fusion) and my hubby still does the vacuuming and I have an 8-lb. Oreck.

    You're really very early out from your microdiscectomy. Recovery time varies greatly from person to person, but to maximize the possibility of a successful outcome, don't bend, lift, or twist. Limit your lifting to no more than 10 lbs. (1 gal of milk) and use a grabber to get stuff up off the floor. I've read too many times how someone reherniated after a micro-d because they did too much. Don't be one of those. Take good care of yourself.

    The housework can wait. It's a strange dicotomy because you feel like 'well, I'm not working, so I should be doing something' but you can't. You have to heal. My post-op paperwork actually specifically stated that recovery time from work was not to be used to catch up on household chores.

    The walking is good - keep it up and increase as you can. I know how hard it is to see the dog hair accumulate and things getting dusty and dirty, but you really don't want to risk this failing and having to have a fusion. Now that will take you down full force. So, take it easy, measure your recovery in weeks, not days, and let your body heal. Any spine surgery is major surgery, so please treat it as such.

    Take care and please keep us posted as you continue on your recovery journey.

  • I could not agree more with what Cathie said. You just had major surgery and your body is adjusting to it.

    Being a very active person myself, I had problems with all my surgeries just hanging out and not doing anything. And when I tried to push it, all I did was hurt myself.

    I know it is very difficult to do, but take time for yourself and relax and let your body recover. You will thank yourself in the long run.

    Best of luck in your recovery and keep us posted.

    View my history for all the gory details.
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  • You haven't even gone into the peak swelling time.
    It might get worse before it gets better.

    PLEASE, give yourself permission to do next to NOTHING. You gotta let that surgical work heal.
    The first 3 weeks are critical. No bending, lifting, twisting, dragging, nudging, coughing, sneezing, retching/gagging, hard laughing, bending over, sit-ups, reaching over head, pulling, straining, ..... you get the idea.

    My right L4-L5 nerve root was compressed for about 8 months before I got a microdiscectomy on that disc. In my case (and every case is different), it took 6 months for the abnormal feelings in the leg to go away.

    I know it sounds impossible and unrealistic, but really really try to take some time off. Give yourself permission. A few weeks for healing could go a long way for a lifetime.

    Can you describe your incision for me?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • welcome to spine-health. vacuuming :SS please do not even think about doing that...PLEASE!
    I know that it can seem like the days are so long and it can be frustrating not being able to do things, but this is the most important time in your recovery. The most important things that you can do are rest, walk as often as you can, as much as tolerated, stay on top of your pain by taking your pain meds, and once again...rest.

    I am 4 weeks out from a 2 level discectomy, and it is a really struggle still. Thought I would do a bit of sweeping today L) I am paying for it now. I am still on all my pre surgery meds, still walk with a cane (so imagine that sight, a cane and a broom) But I understant wanting to try to do things.

    Wishing you all the best with your recovery.Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I agree whole-heartedly with everyone else. Rest, rest, and REST. And do NOT vacuum. My house is full of dog hair right now, but I simply cannot do it. My husband has been great and vacuumed the other day and has been sweeping the floors. Someone also gave me great advice a couple of weeks ago...do not measure your success in days. You should be going week-by-week instead of day-by-day, because things can change drastically from one day to the next. I had a two-level thoracic discectomy and overdid it majorly in the first couple of weeks, and now I'm paying for it majorly. In fact, I may have further herniated another disc that was already herniated, because I'm having new nerve pain.

    If you are unclear of what your restrictions are, I would suggest calling your surgeon's office and asking for specific instructions. The obvious ones are no bending, lifting, or twisting. But they should give you a weight limit as to how much you can lift. Most of the time they tell you no heavier than a gallon of milk. My NS said no more than 5 lbs, but they increased it to 10 lbs so that I can take a lifting assessment needed to start my new job in a few days.

    I found it helpful to set small goals for myself each day. I was determined to, at the very least, take a shower and a short walk every day. Initially I needed to use a walker to get around, but I've been able to go without it for about 2 weeks now.

    I wish you the best of luck with your recovery. Remember, take it EASY! I've had to learn the hard way. But, unfortunately I didn't have as much help post-op as I thought I would, so I've been on my own with three children to take care of. Luckily my 10-year old son is a huge help to me, so I'm able to sit on the couch and relax for the most part, but diapers still need to be changed and the kids need to be fed.
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  • hi,again and thankyou for all your support and comments.i went for a walk yesterday took my crutch for the kerbs as the weakness is still there in my left leg.i dont appear however to be limping anymore!still numb and toes perm curled but limp seems to have improved.dog and cat hair driving me nuts!daughter has attempted to hoover(you know round the middle of room)its very hard to rest when sitting and lying are so painful.id love to have a shower but im not allowed until my surgical clips come out!!nxt thursday!dont bend ha u have to to put knickers on,socks,legs in jog pants etc ph n washing my feet is done sitting on the loo!!one very scarey thing is when im in bed and sleep for a few hours i wake to turn and im completely and utterly stuck!!that used to happen pre op but i could manouvre then now i cant!!everything seizes!!cant even sit up to take meds!after about an hour of little tiny movements i can lift my head high enough to sip and take naproxen follow by my paracet and codeine wait half hr and i can gradually get myself up.if there was a fire i would burn in my bed!!any ideas thought tips on that 1?gunna try sleep on sofa tonight c if i dont get quite so stuck!im scared to sleep!!!thanks :)
  • Cat, I have the same problem of not being able to get out of bed, and/or stand up when I lay or roll onto my side. So I usually end up playing Goldie Locks between my bed, the guest bed, couch and Lazy-Boy recliner.

    For me the recliner has been a life saver both pre and post op. I have a heating pad with a timer on it next to the recliner that I can place where ever it is needed. What I find is even if I try and use my laptop when in the recliner with the heating pad, I usually fall asleep. And that can be a good thing.

    Just food for thought.

    Best of luck,

    View my history for all the gory details.
  • hi,thx for your input :) omg i am sore today!having muscle spasms all the time.spoke to gp prescribed my diazapam as a muscle relaxant.ive taken them b4 when i had very bad sciatica pain.gp said i can take 1-2 up to 3 times a day and espec take 2 b4 bed hopefully that should help stop the muscles seizing up.its worth a go taking 2 makes me sleep!i had a couple left over and had to take 1 this morn as i could not!get out of bed!im rattling wiv pills b4 breakfast lol.the majority of pain spasms seem to be on my right side?op was on the left just hoping that when i had a huge spasm sat on the loo least night and it jarred me badly that i havent done anything untoward!!it piggin hurt at the time!i have to think on the lines of "lets hope this works for me coz if it doesnt ive gone through all this for nowt!"i had terrible time in hospital with my blood pressure hitting the floor constant drips going in.its lowish anyway but they give u morphine after and antibiotics during surgery so all things combined they couldnt get my bp up over 76/46 discharged me anyway nxt day coz i could walk! felt bit like a conveyer belt lol.
  • that your doctor prescribed the diazapam for you. I found that it helps quite a bit with my spasms. I remember the feeling of when you are in bed and seize up and can hardly move to turn over or get up. Did they show you how to log roll? Try to keep your body aligned, roll like a log onto your side to turn. Then to get up, push up with your arms while on your side to sit up on side of bed.
    Keep hanging in there, hopefully the incission pain, as well as the pain from them pulling, and moving things around in there will settle down for you soon.

    Thanks for the update, please keep letting us know how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • i am so glad im not alone and other people have had the same seizing..some1 frightened the life outta me saying that its only fusions that would cause this unless the surgery has failed altogether!!!!!!!!!!!!!the surgeon said it "should work 4me"it was badly calcified and he removed what he safely could.so obviously the disc had been out for yrs summat tipped it over back in november.i remember after i moved house next day i bent to move a commode and my back went pop!and hurt for a few weeks after that every month or so my back would ache for a couple of weeks but that was all..the neuro did say however that he hasnt "fixed my back just done the disc ,there is alot of wear and ill probably find itll get worse"oh joy!!i sincerely hope the other postee was wrong and you can get this from a micro without it having failed altogether :( eekk i have started using my crutch to help me up!i feel like the 91yr old lady i clean for!!
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