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Micro surgery and then herniation day 2

ScarTissueSScarTissue Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:03 AM in New Member Introductions
So here is my story I'm a 35 year old guy.....

It all started back in December 2010. I was building a deck and did something wrong apparently. There was never an exact moment or cause that I could pinpoint but I started getting the pain down my leg that I now know was sciatica. At that point I had no idea what sciatica was or that my spine was injured. I just thought I hurt myself and it would just go away. Boy I was wrong about that. Stupidly, I just took some Advil and just kept right on working. Day after day I just kept making it worse till one day I couldn't stand up for more than 5 seconds.

Of course I went to the chiro and he sold me on a bunch of BS that he would fix me up. I still had no idea what was really wrong. $1000 later I gave up and decided to go to a real doctor who recommended that I get an MRI. That was was money well spent. Should have done that day one. The MRI told me that I was herniated at L4-L5 by about 7mm and that I had mild Spondy. So I hit the internet and got educated real fast. I felt like I was doomed, mentally and physically.

Met with a Ortho doctor and he recommended surgery but wanted me to first try a epidural and Prednisone and pain killers. All a waste of time. Did nothing. My herniated disc pinching on my spinal nerve just laughed at those remedies. I was in major pain. No sleep. No walking. No work. I was dying with pain. The Ortho doctor wanted to fuse me. Ah, no I don't think so.

So I met with a neuro surgeon and he recommended the microdiscectomy surgery. So I got educated fast by reading up on the procedure on the net and sites like this (thank you!). I had no other options. So in Jan 7th 2011 I went under the knife.

Everything went well during the surgery I was told and I woke up pain free. At least pain free from sciatica. I was so happy. Went home a few hours after the surgery and was looking forward to moving on in life. They told me to take it easy. Don't bend over. No twisting. All the stuff you would expect.

Somehow on day 2 I screwed something up because the pain was back. Again no singular event or thing happened that caused it. Total mystery to this day. I was very scared, very angry, and thought this was the end for me. Yes, I tried ice, prednisone, pain killers, bed rest. It was all a waste of time. The doctor kept telling me this happens sometimes and we need to give it a few weeks and the pain will go away. Yeah right. I heard that before.

Finally got another MRI and of course I re-herniated L4-L5 1 cm. So the doc tells me this happens 10% of the time. Naturally I got to be a statistic. Looked around on the net but I didn't see many stories from people who went through this. I was a little worried to say the least. Anyways, I had no other choice but to revisit the surgery and try again. All within a few weeks from the first surgery. Good times.

Jan 28th 2011 I went for round 2. Same initial results. No sciatica pain. Up and walking. Everything was good. Big smile on my face. However, this time the doc told me to stay in bed for a few weeks. Literally all day long. Just lay in bed and only get up to use the restroom is what he told me. So I did just that. For weeks. I watched every TV show and movie known to man. I was sick of watching TV. Read books and looked out the window. I was sick of being in bed but it worked. So I took it day by day. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. I was very paranoid about everything I did. Sitting, putting on my clothes, using the restroom, picking things off the ground, etc. People thought i was crazy. The regular people that have not experience what we have gone through will never fully understand.

After months went by the doc finally OK'd me to start physical therapy. Which was great because my whole body was weak and I had no strength. The number one thing I learned there was that prior to my injury I had no core strength and I had poor body mechanics. Well this was my opportunity to fix all that. So that what I started working on.

It's been almost 1 year 5 months for me. I am grateful to say I haven't had any sciatica pain since the 2nd surgery. I have been working out, running, playing some basketball, and playing with my children.

Now that it looks like I am in the clear. I often wonder how much my back can take or what type of activities I should completely avoid. If anyone knows or has some thoughts I would appreciate it. I am think about going back to snow skiing this next winter season but I don't know if I should give it up. Also, I love diving and doing flips off the diving board at the pool. Should I give that up too? How much can I really torque on my disc? How well will the scar tissue hold up? Maybe it come down to risk tolerance? Do I want to end up hurt again?

Hopefully my story is interesting or even better helpful to someone out there. Maybe someone who re-herniated right after Micro surgery? If anyone has comments or wants to ask me a question please don't hesitate.




  • Sounds kinda like what I'm experiencing... I hope I haven't reherniated the disc. I told my surgeon and my physical therapist that my goal when this is healed is to successfully complete P90X. So we've set that as my goal and luckily my company is paying for the treatments and have agreed on the same goal. I've been assured that that kind of intense workout should be OK after the healing process is complete. I'm not sure I would want to risk it with snowboarding, basic moves I could see but not sure if I would want to go into extreme snowboarding though.
  • So did you already have a micro surgery? If so how long has it been? I have thought about the P90X training. Sounds interesting. I don't think I would have any problem doing that. But I wouldn't attempt it until it's been a year or so past surgery.

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  • I didn't have the micro my surgeon went with the full discectomy (not disc replacement, but the discectomy with the 5 inch incision. ) it's been almost 2.5 weeks since my surgery. With the severity of the symptoms that I still have, the doc is ordering another MRI with an immediate follow up appointment. One of my buddies is a p90x coach and has been sharing some info with me concerning it. And after the results he's had I'm hooked. Realistically I don't think I'll be doing the workouts for a few more months at least. (Not trying to advertise it's totally not why I'm posting but he 's got a ton of really great info concerning the nutrition side of it on his website jakesfitclub. .com and since I don't have to exercise to start eating right I've been using that info to help me get started.)

    I'm really hoping that the MRI shows why I'm still experiencing these symptoms, with it being almost 3 weeks ago I wouldn't think it would still be due to swelling around the spinal cord.
  • Oh he cut you open big time. Why not the Micro surgery? How much disc do you have left? Where at? L4-L5?

    Take it from me......take it easy for awhile. If you get past these symptoms and the MRI turns out to be ok (no reherniation) proceed slowly. It killed me that I had to lay in bed for 2 months. All I wanted to do was get back to exercising. But taking it super slow the second time around did the trick. I wish someone told me that after the first Micro surgery. It's funny because on the net all I heard was people talking about how important it was to start moving right away and some people were talking about walking miles and miles days after their surgery. I think those people don't know what they are talking about. Bottom line just take it easy. Especially since you had a 5 inch incision. Mine was only like an inch.

  • he had to remove about 30% of the L4-L5 disc. At this point it's been kinda hard to get the micro surgery approved through L&I means. When the disc burst it bruised the spinal cord in 360 degrees and bruised me through my crotch it wound up being an emergency surgery due to weakness in my legs and beginning signs of incontinence.

    The incision has healed up now you can feel where the spinous process has been removed which is kinda weird feeling...

    I'm having a hard time trying to take it easy. all of my docs and my physical therapist wants me to get moving as much as i can. I can't stand sitting all day (can't lay flat with out too much pain yet.) but when I get up to move around i can't seem to stand up for too long and my legs are becoming extremely weak as before the surgery. I have been battling with the insurance consultant to get the mri approved but they don't want to approve it since it's so close to the surgery. they want to wait for at least 6 months before pursuing on. :(
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  • Hang in there. If you still have pain and major symptoms, you need to get that MRI. Thats the only thing that going to tell you if you reherniated. Even if you have to pay out of pocket it is worth it. My I started getting pain after the surgery, the docs told me it would go away and to just wait it out. I told them I wanted another MRI. Good thing I got one because sure enough I had reherniated and all the waiting and ice and other BS was going to do a thing. So of course when they looked at the MRI, they told me to come back right away for another surgery. Gee what a surprise.
  • Read your story and I'm in the same boat. Initial herniation of L4, L5and S1 and had surgery. 3 weeks after the pain returned and I went back in for an MRI, and found I had re-herniated. Surgery the next day, and I'm approaching my 2nd week of recovery. TERRIFIED of re-herniating again, so much so that I'm afraid to do much. I'm on the verge of being fired from work and have to return soon. I guess the purpose of this is to ask-what was your X factor? When did you feel like you're going to be alright? I'm stretched to the breaking point and I keep hearing conflicting advice. Rest, don't rest. Take PT, don't. Ok to return to work, take more time. Do you have any advice ( and I hereby absolve you of any responsibility) I just want to hear it from someone who went through it.
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