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Post microdiscectomy July 17 - 4 days in

Had stabbing pain in left hip and running down left hamstring to Achilles. Got to the point where I could not put socks on and function normally with the family. Went from active runner/triathlete to being unable to run at all in a short time. Tried epidural steroid injections and felt they gave me no relief at all. Saw two surgeons and both recommended surgery. To add to it all I recently lost my job and so needed to get functional again as i need to get paid.
Surgery was successful. Leg pain is gone, although I do have some numbness in the left foot little toe and round the left side of the foot which I did not have before. Have walked every day and although my gait is a little off, made it a mile today with no issues. Have got through today with no Vicodin needed, although plan on taking a couple tonight to try and sleep through the night.
Main issue I want to ask about is lower back pain at the incision site. Has everyone/ anyone had issues with this? Getting some pretty good spasms when I remotely twist or lean forward. PT in hospital said no twisting so I am doing my best, but sometimes just adjusting in a chair makes a little jolt of pain at the incision site. I am assuming this is normal and a result of the surgery on the back and surrounding muscles, although I have not seen much on the message boards of people commenting on this.
I feel I am getting better each day, but need to be patient judging by what I have read. It's accepting its going to be a long process before I am running again.
Any input on the lower back issues much appreciated.

Matt. Father of two boys aged 3 and 6. L5S1 microdiscectomy July 17, 2013


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    i am sure that you will find your time on spine-health very rewarding. this site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    here are just some of the highlights:

    - detailed medical libraries of articles and videos that address almost every spinal conditions and treatment

    - the wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - under the resource tab, there is a section doctor advice health center which can be invaluable.

    - as a bonus, spine-health provides these patient forums. here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. you will soon become part of the spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. you are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 international members and growing daily.

    - it is very important to understand the forum rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

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    here are some you should take a look at:
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    all of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    if you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the private message facility to contact any one of the moderators on my team:







    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/21/2013 - 10:22 PM
    Are you only 4days post surgery? Already walking a mile? I would slow it down a bit. I know everyone is different but I'm sure a dr would not recommend walkin this much 4days after. Not sure how you are doing that...lol. I'm good just to my mailbox and back. Anyways. I'm 9 days post surgery and surprised that I can bend and twist my waist with minimal pain. Not really feeling any spasms at all. My incision is very tender, but that's about it. My annoyance is still my leg. Still flares up with walking or sitting long periods. Hoping that dies down with time. Really can't go back to work unless I can sit comfortably. Hope someone else chimes in.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
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  • IronmanmattIIronmanmatt Posts: 9
    edited 07/22/2013 - 1:55 AM
    Was told to walk by surgeon after my procedure. He talked of walking "around the block" as long as it doesn't hurt. I had extensive talks with him regarding how active I was prior to the injury. I was running 5 miles 4 days a week, along with weekend bike rides and swims, and was in training for a half ironman in September. The mile walk was split into two, 1/2 mile in the morning and 1/2 mile in the evening so only about 15 minutes each time. Rest of the day is spent on a recliner as sitting gets uncomrtable after 10 minutes or so. I do have a sore calf today and think that's down to my gait being different. Going to take it easy today, only walk once this evening I think. Had the best nights sleep yet last night, 2 Vicodin and slept through from 10-6:30. Also managed to sleep on my side for the first time since surgery.
    Still have the foot numbness. Scared of bending and twisting due to the chance of reoccurrence, so trying to avoid that. Especially as I have to find a job now.
    Thanks for the response and I will follow your recovery and posts in the other forums closely

    Matt. Father of two boys aged 3 and 6. Microdiscectomy L5S1 July 17
    Matt. Father of two boys aged 3 and 6. L5S1 microdiscectomy July 17, 2013
  • Well then, I guess it makes sense that a 1 mile walk is "resting" for you...lol. I'm 55 and was pretty out of shape before all this happend. Was making headway at the gym before my back injury, but had not been in 3 months before surgery for fear of injuring it further. I'm really anxious to get into PT to find out what kind of exercises to do to rehab my now weak leg and to not re-injure my back. I'm sure walking will be part of it. I will likely do this at the gym on the treadmill where I will have bars to hold on to.

    Good news on the sleep. That has not been much of a problem to me, thankfully.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • Pam,
    Thanks for the response. Is their a way on these forums to search for your posts? Did you make an initial post or just comments on others. I tried to find one but had no luck.
    Working out was a big part of my life. I would run during my lunch hour at work, and looked forwards to weekends when I could get out early on long bike rides. So to me, doing nothing is very difficult. I should be happy having walked a mile but am not. More frustrated than anything that i am so far away from where I was. This is a mindset I need to get out of for a while I am going to recover successfully. I am hopeful I will be back in the near future to triathlons and marathons. Fingers crossed.
    I am also anxious for PT. see the doc for follow up this Friday and then will go from there. I have read a lot on these forums and its clear each case is very different.
    I turn 40 next year so want to celebrate with Ironman triathlon if possible. It's a good target to have I think.
    As for work, i am applying and hoping that this does not affect my chances for positions.

    Hope you are having a good day.
    Matt. Father of two boys aged 3 and 6. L5S1 microdiscectomy July 17, 2013
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  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/22/2013 - 10:31 AM
    I have not started any topics. Just generally post on things I can relate to. I post occasionally on the July buddy board...I think you would qualify since your surgery was in July. everyone is very welcoming. I also look for newly posted topics and answer if I can so they are not left there hanging. It's a good forum, but it takes participation to make it really good.

    I got up today, made my bed and did a little easy house work. I'm alone today so I'm on my own. I made a grocery list and really thought about driving the mile up there to do the shopping in the electric grocery cart they have, but then I have no help when I get home to bring it in and put it away. I decided to wait till my husband gets home to take me and help.

    I was up and moving for a good 2 hours on my feet and it felt pretty good. Better than sitting. Sitting hurts the most, oddly. Time for a Horizontal rest :). I get on my iPad, check Facebook, twitter, enter sweepstakes (a hobby), listen to my police scanner ap (weird I know...lol). Time seems to pass.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • Matt
    I'm had much the same experience as you the first couple weeks. I was walking roughly 3 miles a day doing 3 separate mile walks, by the end of the day my hips and calfs were very sore due to my awkward gait. You have to remember they moved your back muscles aside to get at your spine so those muscles need to recover and you will have pain for awhile. I am 3 weeks post surgery now and things are a lot better. I still have lingering pain in my back muscles but not near as bad, and my gait is back to normal so walking is much easier. Had my first post op appointment last week, told the surgeon about my walking and he told me that was great. He told me I couldn't walk enough as long as it wasn't overly painful. Told him I still have lingering sciatic pain but he said not to worry much because the nerve will be inflamed awhile due to him digging around in there. Like you i am a very active person and truthfully am getting really stir-crazy due to being very limited in what I can do. But there is hope, two of my friends I play hockey with had this same surgery two years ago and we were playing together last year. I have had the benefit of their experiences and it has really helped. Basically they both told me to be patient, you WILL have bad days but that is part of the recovery, the end result will be to get back to life as before just a little more aware. Hope that helps, anything I can help you with as far as my experience I would be happy to, I log on every couple of days so feel free to ask.
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/22/2013 - 11:09 AM
    Thanks for the positive outlook Cliner. You should pos on this topic asking for good outcome stories!! Just copy paste this :). I'm so glad to hear this leg pain/annoyance will eventually go away!!
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
  • thanks for the post. definitely an improvement over the last couple of days. soreness in my hip and left calf still from the strange gait, but the walking has improved so I am hopeful that pain will go as I continue to walk somewhat normally.
    sitting is still uncomfortable so am trying to limit that to 10-20 minutes each time.i am lucky to have my wife home - she is a school teacher and does not work summers - and she has been great in helping and also making sure I am not doing too much. she knows me well and knows how much I like to workout and how much I miss it. she has threatened to take away my running shoes and bike wheels if I do things too quick! Cliner - I totally understand the stir crazy feeling, especially as where I sit in my recliner I seem to have a stream of runners and bikers going by my window tormenting me.
    did you get an ok to get into a pool yet? would love to get in and water walk. guess the incision has to heal first. any idea how long that takes on average?
    heading to the library today for books on yoga and pilates. any experience with that and back issues?
    I am hoping you are both having good days today. patience is definitely the key.
    Matt. Father of two boys aged 3 and 6. L5S1 microdiscectomy July 17, 2013
  • PamhoffcaPPamhoffca Posts: 163
    edited 07/24/2013 - 6:15 AM
    Hi Matt, my last 2 days were pretty good. Felt like I turned a corner and have a little more energy these days. My leg pain is either improving or I'm getting use to it. Just not bugging me as much lately. Went to my doctor yesterday. He approved me to begin PT. Also I can drive and go to my gym to do walking only...no running (duh), or heavy lifting of 10 lbs or more. Said I will be out on medical leave for about6 more weeks from work.

    I still need about 1 to 2 Vicadins a day. That's down from about 5 a day at my peak. Glad you are doing well Matt and that your wife is there to help.
    CA Wife and Mom, 55, L5-S1 Microdiscectomy on 7/12/13
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