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Sciatica, Microdiscectomy Surgery, and my road to Recovery



  • UPDATE: Day 23

    Wow that was a long week. First week back to work and am really tired!

    So everything went as good as it could have and probably better than I expected. I strive to not sit longer than 45-60 mins without at least a short walk around the office or standing up to answer calls or use my 10 key calculator. I make sure I bend at the knees and not at the waist whenever I have to get anything low. The week went pretty well. I walk on my lunch break for 20-30 mins and aim to do so at minimum 2-3 times a week depending on the weather. I'm really out of shape... walking 30 mins in the sun and I could feel my heart thumping in my chest.

    Outside of work I am continually working on stretching my hamstrings which has gotten progressively better. Usually stretch it in the evenings after work along with doing the pelvic lifts. I am able to hold the lifts for much longer compared the first few days after my follow up appt with the doctor... makes me happy. Not sure if it is a result of the stretching of my hamstrings or me returning to work and being up and about but the tightness in my left butt has significantly reduced. I do still continue to have ever so slight "surges" down my left leg which strikes fear into my heart but it never lasts for more than a few seconds and I would classify it as 0.5 out of 10 on the pain scale, yes 0.5 as in less than 1. At this point I don't think I could have asked for a better recovery and really feel blessed to be where I'm at.

    The biggest challenge is continuing to take it easy and remind myself that not even a month ago I had major surgery. I can move faster at work and can multitask significantly easier than I could the 6 months before surgery. I no longer find myself watching as the minutes go by hoping and pleading for the end of the day... or the end of another hour. Now I just look forward to the weekend. My coworkers commented that I am smiling at work and that my face looks different and they no longer see this strain in my expression. Also focusing on sitting up and walking straight and with good posture which is hard to maintain honestly.

    Showering has become easy and I just make sure not to Bend over when washing my legs. Same with getting dressed, I opt to lay down to get dressed. I am carpooling with my mom into work so I've opted out of driving even though I got clearance a week ago.

    So that's it for this update and my next one should be right after February 1st which is my next scheduled doctor follow up. Hope everyone is improving out there.

    Dave, you're right even though I feel normal doing physical things tire my body out significantly faster. I'm optimistically attributing this to my months of inactivity and am aiming to build back up just through going to through life again. At this point I am ceaselessly reminding myself that I am not back to normal no matter how fast I can do things now compared to a month ago. Mentally I am not having to shut out the pain compared to a month ago but physically I am drained at the end of the day.
  • UPDATE: DAY 44

    So about 1.5 months post op and I had my second follow up appointment yesterday. Doctor said I could lift up to 30-35 lbs now (not planning on doing so but I could I suppose) and if I want could do some swimming in a pool but said to avoid body boarding or any rough currents in the ocean. He also said my next appointment would be March 1 and that would be my release date and should be back to full go 100% activity barring any set backs. He said that I will always have to remember that I had back surgery done and I should probably find another way of helping my friends out than moving their couch etc.

    On a personal note I feel good. Those periodic twinges that flowed down my leg have decreased dramatically and I don't think they even occur daily now. I have been stretching both hamstrings and it has gotten less restrictive slowly but surely. It is hard to explain except to those who suffer from this but if you lay flat on your back with the non affected side knee up and make your affected side leg straight toe pointed to your face and slowly lift that leg upwards toward your face while keeping your knee locked there is a point of great "resistance" and uncomfortability and the 30-45 degree point. Before surgery it was nigh impossible to continue past this point but now stretching my hamstring like this its different. The impossible is gone but there is still that point of uncomfortability. However, it is dimishing and when I stretch I do two sets unaffected side then affected side then repeat. The first time I stretch the affected side it is tight and a challenge to stretch. I hold the stretch for 30 seconds each and can tell the difference between the normal stretch on the unaffected side compared to the affected side. It feels different. Now the good news is that on the second set the affected side DOES NOT have that point of uncomfortability at the 30-45 degree point. The last two weeks on the second set my affected leg will rise with no "hitch" so to speak.

    I don't have much else to say or post. I feel good to be perfectly honest. The numbness in my outer toe and foot has become noticeably better also. If I measure the numbness by post op numbness being 100% I would say it is at 50% now and maybe even better. The challenge continues to be remembering to bend at the knees and not at the waist. Just not getting lazy about it and not forgetting the pain I was in just a few months ago. Anyways, that's it for this update. I'll come back after my March 1st appointment for a check in. Hope everyone is getting continuously better.
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  • Hi Dave, I just published my story yesterday on the same forum, but I have the same herniation and have been bed ridden on and off for 1.5 months. I can ony sleep on my side, and I still get pain, but I wasn't prescribed strong meds so I am enduring the pain. It's a nightmare, but I. Getting surgery in.. 3 days! And im really optimistic, regardless of the negative experiences people here seem to have had. It's nice to hear your road to recovery seems like a road to heaven! I hope mine is like that. I was wondering how bad your condition was prior? Could you walk, stand up straight etc ?
  • sorry i meant Joxentine* not Dave!!! i just saw 'Dave' there so I just typed it foolishly!!
  • I could walk and stand up straight for a limited amount of time. My biggest issue was sitting. Sitting for more than 15 mins would almost always trigger a wave of pain. The month before my surgery I was working half days so sitting for about 4.5 hours and laying down the rest of the time. I had to eat meals standing up.

    Hope your surgery and recovery goes well.
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  • its horrible. yeah i cant sit either. I cant stand either, and ive come to realize its because when i use my back muscles to hold my spine up straight whether from sitting or standing, its too much and the pain is triggered like you said Joxentine.
    thankyou... i hope so too! i will write updates for those who are reading and want to know how it went. i think its encouraging to read positive experiences!
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