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Depression After A Lumbar Discectomy


I am hoping someone can shed light on, or relate to what I am going through.

I had two herniated discs in my L4/L5 causing incredible nerve pain down both my legs, muscle tightness and frequent spasm. I was forced to quit my job and live life indoors. I was unable to travel, drive, or enjoy life!

After two long years, two weeks ago I had a Lumbar Discectomy. The procedure went well and my surgeon was able to get all of the herniation from both discs. I have been able to move around, take rides in the car, and walk small distances. However, I can't kick this feeling of depression. I am constantly upset, feel alone, and frustrated. I feel as if I am always on the brink of tears. I should be thrilled! I have much less pain than I did previously, less the numbing in my left foot ( very painful!) I am off my medication and move around easier, so what gives?

Anyone going through a similar situation? I really do not want to go to my doctor with this.




  • Its hard to explain. I am 8 months post-op and have had such a roller coaster ride along the way. I am so much better now than pre-op. I have had a much easier time with recovery than many other on here. But recovery has been hard & hard work. Depression has been there at times all along the way. And usually not when expected. Its easy to feel depressed on a bad day, or a bad week. Recovery isnt going smooth, the constant worry of reherniation or unsuccessful surgery. But then theres a good day, feeling well, minimal to no pain, but you just feel down. Its like " I feel great today, but it wont last" or things like that. It comes out of nowhere. As supportive as people close to you can be, and thankfully I have many, they do not understand. But that is one of the many reasons these forums are great. We do understand! We talk & vent & sometimes cry. Typing words in forums and reading things that may have been written months ago, yet we are connected. Honestly I know I would have been a mess alot worse many times if not for the great people here.

    So know that it can be a tough road and that there are gonna be good days and bad. But know that it is normal. The depression, the anger, the sadness... all NORMAL. Now obv if it gets really bad then you should seek some help. But hopefully for you, like many of us, this little support group here on the forums is enough.

    And just like Shandra said, if you wanna post, or if you wanna DM, feel free anytime. I check in quite often and am happy to offer my exp on any parts of recovery physical or mental.
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • 4life44life Posts: 36
    edited 05/09/2013 - 12:28 PM
    ive been on a very similar journey to you and i am still going through it. Its nothing unusual. for a long time you have been in chronic pain and out of the loop of normality. just because your surgery has fixed your problem mechanically it hasn't fixed your head. i can without a doubt say what i have gone through and am still going through has been the hardest thing i have had to deal with in life and im sure others would agree. you cant go from that situation to normality over night. like your back needs time to heal so does your mental state. you will get there but it will take time. accept that it is normal and that its all just part of the unfortunate journey. depression after surgery is common and your consultant or doctor will know this so if you think it may help speak to them. i cant tell you how much this place has helped me knowing that there are others around who have gone through all this before. know your not alone and that when you reach the summit of a mountain you still have to make a journey back down. keep in touch and try to keep your chin up. good luck to you
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  • Hardest part is mental.

    No matter how many times I hear I'll improve, the negative emotions overwhelm. Rest assured, you are not alone. If you can, also know you will get better. Can be a long road. No, it is a long road and the hardest steps are mental.
    As happy as I am that I can simply walk again, I'm frustrated and scared I won't ride again.
    L5-S1 herniation (10mm), April 2013

    Lumbar Laminectomy May 1st 2013

    Lumbar Laminectomy April 18th 2016

  • Just wanted to jump in and offer some encouragement. Us Spine folks ALL experience depression/anxiety at variable times. I know some of you are getting medical help with this, and I say good for you. For those of you who haven't, please please do. You can speak to your spine doctor, but I'd like to suggest your PCP. Mainly because a PCP knows your TOTAL history (or should) Sometimes we need medication to help with all the adjustments we have to make, sometimes therapy, sometimes both. Hang in there guys!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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