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post surgery expectations

raeyvnrraeyvn Posts: 1
edited 09/01/2015 - 2:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
New to the forums - hoping to find some reassurance / thoughts / opinions :)

So, I am 31 years old, six days out from back surgery. He cleared up two ruptured discs (out of five, two were the worst) on the L4 L5 level and L5 S1 lvl. I have had back pain / sciatica since I was 16 on and off, and over the past two years, despite 100 pound weight loss...pain kept getting worse and progressed to showing nerve damage in my left leg. He also did a hemi-laminictomy - sorry if I am misspelling.

So, my neurosurgeon pretty much told me when I woke up...all my nerve pain in my leg and foot should be gone.

When I woke up, most of it was! I was in the hospital just overnight, and was up walking around every hour or two for ten minutes or so at a time.

Had a shot of morphine before I left the hosptial and felt so great after a 40 minute car ride home, I was convinced that I should make another hour long car trip to Sams to buy a memory foam topper for my brick of a bed. Then went to walmart and did all the shopping for the week. Pain kicked in half way home, but went away and I was fine again as long as I took my percocet for the next day or so.

Then little familiar pains started coming back. then major leg pain, like when I coughed...all down my left outer thigh. Today I felt like it was a challange to even get out of bed and walk thirty feet. Get tired real easy, etc.

SO I kind of feel like I am going backwards, and don't know if the first few days just being so great just led up to me crashing of a sort...I don't know whats normal, and why he said it would be better right away...could his surgery failed, or am I expecting too much of myself?

I have stayed out of the car since day one...its hard to find my neutral spine in the car, my back spasms up too much if that makes sense. even with the flexeril that he gave me.

Any ways, any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this is all disjointed, still having to take the pain pills, which I hate :(

You over-did it. All that driving on the day you left the hospital! For most post-surgical patients, that type of activity may not start for a week or two. I would take it easy over the next couple of days. If you still feel this way, I would contact your doctor. If you are more than concerned than I would contact your doctor and talk it over with them

-- Ron DiLauro , Spine-Health System Moderator 09/01/15


  • First, let me say congrats on the weight loss! What a huge accomplishment! You should be really very proud of yourself.

    I can only share my own personal experience in hopes that this helps ease your mind or let you know that you're not alone.

    I'm 7 days post-op my second MicroD (due to my own fault - the 1st did work!). I had severe nerve pain I wasn't able to walk! I was on 1800mg of Gabapentin with hydrocodone and I was able to hobble around. I had such severe nerve pain I ended up with a lateral shift - a significant one that made it look as though I had scoliosis.

    My surgeon explained it to me this way - (both times I had surgery), there are 4 different types of outcomes and recovery types on what to expect:
    1 - you wake up with absolutely no nerve pain and with each day it progresses and you get stronger and stronger
    2 - you wake up with no nerve pain and may not have nerve pain for the first 1-7 days nd on week 2 you start having nerve pain. But at week 3 you start having more relief.
    3 - you wake up with only slight relief and week 1 is painful. But week 2 is a turn of the tides and you feel amazingly better.
    4 - you wake up in pain and it continues even after PT.

    Basically by week 3-4 you should be on the 'up' with pain.

    Any back surgery takes time to heal. Make sure you follow your discharge post-op instructions. This is key!!!

    Here are 2 other things that I was told that personally, helped me:
    1 - you may experience nerve pain, your nerves have memory and may 'freak out' because they're not sure what to do or where to go. It's basically trying to find a place to settle down. (also Ice Ice Ice helps with this! Its also swollen)
    2 - my PT said to me (after starting PT at week 3 from 1st surgery) - let pain be your guide.

    If you've overdone it your body will let you know. It's important to follow the discharge papers so that your body can heal. It was explained to me, when your body is healing and from any surgery you Will have scar tissue. The goal is for the scar tissue NOT to attach and/or grow on the nerve.

    Take good care of you! It can be discouraging, it can feel like you can't win, like nothing at all works. On top of that, each day is different.

    If you're concerned you can always call your doctors office and speak with a nurse and consult with them. This may help too. It's always better to be safe and have a piece of mind.

    I hope this helps.
    Bulging discs - L2/L3, L3/L4, L5/S1
    Extrusion herniation - L4/L5
    Severe lateral shift (3-4") due to herniation
    Herniated disc (L4/L5) on 9/2014
    MicroD on L4/L5 - 5/26/2015
    Reherniated disc (L4/L5) on 7/11/2015
    Second MicroD (L4/L5) on 8/25/2015
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    welcome to spine-health
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    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • I can't say how long you should wait or what you should do or expect after your surgery. My surgery was different with its own set of issues. But shopping the day of surgery?! That may be over doing it a little. That was surgery and it needs to heal. I know all too well how easy it is to forget that you are indeed hurt when suddenly you get some relief from the pain especially after pain meds. Like you I am still young and otherwise very healthy and there have been a few times when the sprit was only too willing to jump up and go do, it didn't take long for the pain to remind me that the flesh and the sprit don't always agree though.
    Absolutely exercise, take your vitamins, get plenty of protein, rest...all that good stuff but don't risk serious injury by trying to do too much too soon.
    After having to deal with the debilitating pain and lack of mobility for so long I can certainly understand the desire to hit the ground running at the first sign of relief. But a little more patience and a good day with pain meds could turn into a lifetime of good days without them.
    To have lost all that weight (congrats! Well done! Btw) and a mere week away from surgery you're already over doing it , kinda screams that you want to get better. With that kind of determination I have no doubt that you will, keep up the good work just don't try to do too much of it today!
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