Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Physical therapy after microdiscectomy and reherniation

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:18 AM in Exercise and Rehab
So I'll be starting physical therapy soon. Probably next week. The physical therapy place is right in the same building with my surgeon. They share a computer system since when I went over there they already had all of my info in the computer.

I have never been to physical therapy in my life. What can I expect? I noticed on the sheet that I brought over there from my surgeon it said to work on strength, stretching, pain relief. There was one more but I can't remember what it was. I'm going to be a nervous wreck. The only thing I feel safe doing is walking and that hurts if I do it more then 20 minutes.


  • :sick:
  • If the PT is working that closely with your doctor, I wouldn't worry too much. The first time I went to pt, they did an initial evaluation of what I could and couldn't do. Like watcking you walk to see ifyou favor one side, strength tests (for example putting a hand on your knee and asking you to push up) asking you to bend and measuring how far you can go. then they set up a program the is tailored to you. If anything they ask you to do hurts, tell them.

    Next week I get to start PT (7 weeks post op) and I can't wait! Keep us posted on how the session goes.

  • advertisement
  • They sure need to work with me on my left leg strength. I'm still walking with a limp some. I'm not hurting too bad right now but my calf is really weak and I can barely push myself up on my toes on that side one time. It'll be interesting to see what they have me do.

    I was noticing your signature that says you went back to work 3 weeks after a microD and your disc collapsed. What kind of work do you do?
  • Hi M,

    I had a micro-D on May 19 and started PT last week. I also started back to work last week (half time).

    I think Anna is right on the mark. Your first visit will likely will focus on setting a baseline on where you stand, such as testing strength in toes, calf, mobility, etc.

    During my first post-op vist, my PT outlined what I would be doing, who I would be working with, and what my goals would be. I too have decreased strength in my left calf (the bad side) and toes. The surgeon noted a difference in calf size (atrophy) and my strength doing a calf raise (on my toes) is much less on that side.

    In my case I was lucky and the PT is very experienced with backs, which increased my comfort level. I had seen her previously when I was trying to beat this thing without surgery, and so I've done a lot of PT in the past 1.5 years, but the experience is different post-surgery compared with before the surgery.

    Before I was doing a lot of work in the gym, working on strength training, core fitness, etc.

    Post-surgery, since I had a very large herniation at L5/S1 and need to be very careful to avoid re-herniation, they are staring me off slowly, with water walking in the pool (combined with specific arm movements) daily on my own time, and some other home exercises. So basically they have been using the time in PT to show me what I should be doing on my own to build core strength (to protect the back) and to build strength.

    Your PT should be tailoring your program to your specifics.

    I guess the only red flags would be if you don't get good explanations about your condition, what the goals of the program are, etc.

    I actually like PT, since it is something tangible I can do to help my own cause. Hope your experience is similar!
  • PT is great, as long as they do a careful assessment of where you're currently at.
    You learn the difference between good pain (muslces working) and bad pain(when you should stop!)
    You REALLY have to dedicate a proportion of your life to practicing it at home though -3 x a day prob for ~20mins each otherwise you will not benefit. This has to become your daily religion-get used to doing it when you watch your fave tv programme, whilst waiting for dinner to cook or whatever.
    You will be doing things that look really basic at first-but they work as long as you do them properly (slowly!) and often.
    All the best!
  • advertisement
  • That's what I was hoping is that they would show me safe exercises I can continue on my own. Right now I am doing the exercises they taught me in the hospital the day after my surgery. There are 8 that I do now twice a day. Things like laying down and flexing my thigh muscles and moving feet up and down and pressing heal down working the hamstring muscle and flexing glutes and abs things like that. Last time 3 years ago after my microD I kept doing the exercises for a year then stopped. I wasn't sure if I should have continued them or not or if they were just for the initial after surgery therapy to keep the muscles from seezing up. Now going to physical therapy I can get a good idea of what I should continue on my own to keep the muscles around my spine strong.

    I'm still waiting for them to call me though. I was in there last thursday and they said they were going to get approval from my insurance company and then call me. My insurance is really good and has paid for everything so I'm sure it'll be fine but I'm just waiting here for the PT place to call so I can get this started. In the meantime I'll be going outside walking today like I do every day now and doing my PT exercises they gave me in the hospital.
  • Well they called me today and my first appointment is July 7th so I get this week off. It's an evaluation appointment. So that'll be interesting to see what level I am at. She said they evaluate me and decide from there how many PT sessions I will need. I'm not sure how it will go since my surgeon is having me lower my dose of neurontin and then go off of it within the next couple weeks.

    I'm not sure how much pain I'll be in without the neurontin. He basically wants to see how I am doing without it and then if my pain increases he wants to do another ESI.
    Hopefully my pain levels do not go up though. Starting PT and lowering my neurontin at the same time doesn't thrill me. If I have an increase in pain I won't know for sure which it is from.
  • I think it unlikely that the PT will casue an increase in pain-they don't really give you anything to do that will cause an injury to get worse or anything. Good luck, July 7th is quite soon!

    I was off painkillers altogether about 2 weeks after surgery but can only speak for myself! Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

    Also, I started a pilates class and am loving it-as long as you start at very beginners level and work your way up slowly it's very simialr to a lot of the physio exercise you do-ask your physio if it's OK though.

    A xx
  • I am 6 days post L3-4 hemilaminectomy and discectomy. This is a redo as I reherniated after my December 08 surgery as a result of overzealous PT and manipulation by a chiropractor. Surgery was at The Mayo Clinic. Mixed impressions that I may go into at a later date. I have relatively minimal pain now that is well controlled by 3 percocets and 1 celebrex daily. Mainly, my problem is that I just have very weak "core" muscles, I guess, as standing erect for any length of time or walking for more than just a few hundred yards is very difficult. I literally just can't stand up straight for more than just a few minutes. I have to fight just bending over while standing or walking.

    Questions for members. How soon should I start formal physical therapy? Are most physical therapists qualified for my needs or do I need to seek out someone who specializes in post op lumbar surgery? Anybody have symptoms similar to mine?

    All answers will be appreciated and thanks in advance.

    I am a 62 yo male nurse anesthetist and hope to bring some of my expertise on different topics to members of this forum.


    John C. Perry
  • :jawdrop: Yeah a chiropractor sounds dangerous. 3 years ago one turned my small disc protrusion into a large herniation with severe nerve compression. That's one place I'll never go again. My mom swears by them she doesn't have disc issues though.

    I actually went out on my bike last night for a half hour and feel fine today. No more leg pain then normal. I went for a short 10 minute ride on the weekend just testing it out. My surgeon said I could. I would never have had the guts to go out bike riding but it was his idea. My leg is feeling stronger since biking already. Going on my walk was much easier today. My calf was feeling stronger already.

    My sister was over today and was telling me that in physical therapy they will be having me lift weights and I'll be very sore from it. I know this is not true from reading this board for months. They don't have someone just weeks out from back surgery lifting weights. She's never had back surgery before just a sore shoulder with no known cause. But that's what they had her doing in physical therapy. I didn't even argue with her. I'll just wait until I get in there and tell her what my experience is. Non spineys just don't get it.
Sign In or Register to comment.