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Slow Post Surgery Recovery after discectomy

ive been following a lot of these posts and wanted to share my experience as it differs a lot from others and wanted to check if anyone else had the same.  About 3 hours out of recovery I felt great, no leg pain was able to walk around things seemed really positive. Next day I tried to stand up I immediately feel flat on the bed, the pain was severe.. I decided to push through and was able to make it to the bathroom.. I was discharged later that morning and was told having the same problems if not worse 3 days after surgery was common, these 3 days were horrific I was not able to stand to go to the bathroom the pain was so bad.. That Monday (now day 5) they put me on Dexmethsone (which gave me migraines) for three days to help with the inflammation on day 3 I was finally able to walk a little bit (success!) 24 hours after the drug had left my system (now day 7) I was back to not being able to walk again.. They would not give me more dexmethsone as it slows down the healing process and is very strong and advised me to go back to my medication prior to surgery which is Mobic, lyrica, endone and Panadol. I am now on day Day 12 and i take it by the hour, walking is possible but I get very exhausted and find using crutches is a great relief so I don't get "stuck" anywhere in pain. Prior to surgery I was bed ridden for nearly 2-3 months so understand i get exhausted and my body being in shock with basically learning to walk again after having my weight shifted from my legs for so long (it was the left leg that had problems, right was always fine.  Yesterday I went out for the first time in 3 months for lunch.. Although I wasn't walking a lot I was sitting for a long period, I woke up early this morning with siactica pain in my right leg (this is a first) after taking an endone it is a lot more comfortable. Has anyone experienced the same? Should I be resting or trying to walk more..? I'm a 33 year old female, as mentioned due to the pain I was in bad shape being stuck with this problem for 2-3 months, so I'm hoping that's why recovery is taking so long? 


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510


    I know that you think that you told us a lot, but really you didn't. What was wrong and what surgery did you have? 

    Since we don't know what you have been through, it is hard to say much.  But if I assume that you had some kind of spine surgery, then it is safe to say that 12 days post op isn't very long.  You just had major invasive surgery that will probably take months to heal.  You probably had some nerve damage if you were bed ridden for months.  Nerve damage can take a very long time to heal.

    I think that it is common to feel good the first day, but then more pain the next day or so.  I suspect the pain medicine and the anesthesia have something to with that.

    If you have concerns, press your surgeon for answers.  You must be your own advocate.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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  • Thanks Bruce.. Sorry reading back I realized I left key information. It was L4/L5 discectomy.  Due to the amount of pain I went and saw the surgeon yesterday, he told me he the bulge was the size of a tennis ball compared to a twenty cent that he usually operates on (obviously not to scale but as an comparison) so I am part of the 5% that don't see results after 3 days, he tested nerves etc and said the surgery was a success. He's taken me off endone (I was taking 1 to 3 a day depending on the pain) and put me on Targin to ween me off.. The pain has been so intense, way worse than prior to surgery. He said its due to the endone and me now being hypersensitive to pain... It's so frustrating being stuck in bed, if I am able to stand tomorrow I have a physio appointment and hopefully they can steer me in the right direction as I'm not sure if walking and exercise is the best for me right now..
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