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Recovering from a lumbar hemi-laminectomy L4/L5

pennyannetteppennyannette Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Recovering from Surgery
How can I distinguish normal post operative pain from a possible re-herniation? I am two weeks post op and seem to have the same type of pain as prior to surgery..with added pain in my right calf.
I had heard that so many people have immediate relief of their pain making me so optimistic that I only planned to be off work for 2-3 weeeks. However, since I'm still experiencing significant pain, I worry that going back to work too soon will mess something up...unless I have already messed it up.
I have called the doctors office numerous times and they keep assuring me the pain is normal(keep taking pain meds & muscle relaxer) and added two doses of Neurontin daily (300mg). I am also having some difficulty with urinating. I can go, it just takes a long time to get started and sometimes feels like I'm not able to completly empty my bladder. I did not have this problem before surgery. I'm not sure if this is from the surgery or a side effect of the meds. Those that I spoke to at the doctors office do not seem to be concerned and I'm not scheduled for my follow -up until 4 weeks post op.
I was expecting to have less pain after surgery so I'm wondering if I have re-herniated or something. I'm confused about how much or how little I should be moving.
Thank you for any advice or reassurance you can provide.


  • sorry, I didn't mean to post this twice!
  • Hi Pennyannette,

    How are you feeling now? Was your doctor able to give you any reassurance? Mine told me it could take months to get pain relief -- the nerve was compressed for a long time so it could take a long time for the nerve to heal. I've heard it could take up to 2 years for some people. (Obviously none of us want to be the people it takes that long for...)

    I started having the same problem with urinating after I started taking some meds. I'm not sure if it was my Neurontin or Cymbalta that caused it, but after a little while I started to feel normal again.

    Hope you're feeling better. I think all of us worry about reherniating in the first few weeks after surgery. In the first week I dropped my glasses and leaned down to pick them up. Then I freaked out because I had leaned down and wasn't supposed to. After about a week I was convinced I had reherniated because I twist a lot in my sleep and even though I've tried to be good I've probably done more BLT than I should. Now I just try to remember that it's a slow healing process. I had another MRI two weeks ago and I hadn't reherniated yet. Hopefully I can keep it that way. :)

    Take care.

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  • 1st week after lumbar fusion, surgery went very well, up walking and showering next day, was released on 4th day. Ths is the best thing I have ever done, now I can get on with my new life, and I'm totally excited. Oh forgot......this is only the first of three surgeries I need, by hey we will cross that bridge when we come up to it, please feel free to ask any questions regarding my Op.......
  • In my experience, my pain prior to surgery was entirely felt along the sciatic nerve on my left side due to compression--it was most severe in my left hip/buttock and radiated down to my mid-calf.  For the prior year, I rarely felt any pain .  while sitting but had intense pain nearly always while standing--standing still in lines was the worst!

    I had a L4/L5 hemi-laminectomy 3 weeks ago and am feeling great now.  The first few days following surgery were pretty rough as the pain in your back make it uncomfortable to move around much.  After that, the back pain was substantially less, but the nerve pain was still there and about at the same intensity as before.  I must admit, I was pretty disappointed as I thought I may had just gone through the pain and risk of surgery for no benefit.  But at about 2 weeks following surgery, my nerve pain started getting better and now the pain is practically non-existent.  My surgeon told me that my nerve appeared to be extremely bruised and the residual nerve pain I experienced after surgery would be there until it healed.  Now, I am so relieved to finally have my life back without the pain.  Everyone's surgery results are different--I'm 37 years old and very athletic so I think my recovery may be a little quicker than most.

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