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L5-S1 Laminectomy and Discectomy scheduled next week

Hello, I am 31 years old and have a ruptured disc at L5S1. This happened after having my first baby. We are not sure if it happened during labor, if just carrying her caused it, or if it was there before hand. I am scheduled for surgery next week and have been browsing the posts on this forum. I have pretty moderate to severe pain in my right leg with numbness but no weakness. I have tried a years worth of conservative management and have failed. My NS, OBGYN, and PCP have said that if we want to have more children then getting it surgically fixed is the safest thing to do. I could probably have held out longer but everyone has pushed saying to go ahead and get it over with.  I wanted to ask if there are other women out there that have been in a similar situation with post delivery disc herniation and how was recovery while trying to care for a 15 month old (26 lb) child at the same time? My mom is moving in for 5 weeks to help and I will have a sitter for the last week to help during the day with naps and meal time. My husband is under the impression that I should be good to go at the 6 week mark. I am a little nervous about lifting her out of the crib even after the 6 week time period. I am the primary care giver since he works 12 days M-F and some hours on the weekend as well. I am just looking for spine surgery friends because most people my age haven't had this type of injury. Thank you all in advance!


  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    I agree that you shouldn't wait for the surgery, especially if you do want to carry more pregnancies.  The more time you have to heal before you introduce that physical stress on your back, the better, in my humble non-doctor opinion.  You will have to be disciplined with that toddler, as far as not picking her up, but thankfully you have help with that.  She is nearing the age where you can encourage her to do things for herself and make it a fun learning experience rather than a mommy-rejecting-child thing.  It will be harder for you than it will be for her, I'm guessing.  If you have a stroller and live in an area where walking for exercise is possible, take advantage of that in your recovery; walk, walk and walk some more!  I ruptured L5-S1 too (46 yrs old).  I had a discectomy in 2014, but almost a year later re-herniated, currently back to square one and waiting for consults.  
  • noodle11nnoodle11 TennesseePosts: 6
    Thank you for your input! I am sorry about your regerniation. That is really what I am fearing is I'll take it easy for recovery and a year from now do something stupid and injure it again. Good luck with finding consults! 
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  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    It seems re-herniation is not all that uncommon, but it depends on a few factors, not just doing something stupid.  Scar tissue, the severity of the original herniation, surgeon's success, and more.  Keep in mind that it's mostly people who are in trouble that are posting on forums like this, the forever-after-healthy-back is out there living life and not checking in here ;)  I talked to several people that I know personally who've had successful discectomies and never any trouble since, it helped me decide to do it in the first place.  Hopefully you've got a reputable surgeon lined up. To help with scar tissue, I was advised to massage castor oil over surgical area once it is healed over (a few weeks, surgeon can advise).  This helps with any scar tissue that is developing inside to be softer and more pliable.   My outside scar is barely visible, the oil helped with that too.  There are more expensive oils on the market that claim to help, certainly it's up to you what you want to spend.  And of course, follow post-op instructions as closely as possible for best results.  I wish you all the best in your upcoming surgery, and look forward to your positive reports! 
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    I am clearly not a mommy, but wanted to jump in.  In a perfect world, 6 weeks for recovery would be nice, but might be a little quick in the real world.  As a office worker with no small children, yes - but I travel with suitcases, which have been my nemesis.

    I think that as you recover, and with help still around, you can work on lifting your baby out of the crib - but by lifting with your legs, something to have a skill anyway - so actually start practicing that now.

    I agree with smartens, as I usually do.  Plan on using a stroller - but I will add get a stroller that rolls very easily, like a runner's stroller.  Pushing and pulling can be a challenge.

    Also, we do have a lot of successes, but as smartens points out, they usually ride off into the sunset - so, please come back and let us know what you do and how it turns out.


    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.

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971


    It's good to have a plan regarding help from your mom and others... but you should also have a Plan B regarding help in case you are not ready to go at 5-6 weeks.  Maybe your mom can stay longer or some other alternative... There are no guarantees you will heal on a fixed time frame... and your priority must be on healing correctly... before jumping back into the fray.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • noodle11nnoodle11 TennesseePosts: 6
    Thank you all for the encouragement and advice! I'll post and let you all know the results. Hvills, I have a sitting service (thank goodness) that can send a babysitter if I need them so hopefully got that covered!

    So glad to know about the castor oil. I use it on my scalp for postpartum hair loss and it has been a great remedy for that. So I have lots of it on hand! 
  • noodle11nnoodle11 TennesseePosts: 6
    I did want to ask one last question. Do y'all think I will be able to use an elliptical in place of walking outside before 6 weeks? It is hot as hell down in TN and even if I walk at 6am its still almost 80 degrees. Not sure that will be good for incision. Is there any other suggestions? 
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    I was advised to not get back on the elliptical for a few months post-op!  It puts too much strain on lower back.  When you do get back on, you have to be very careful about form.  But your surgeon could tell you for certain what is OK!  Do you have a large indoor space with air-conditioning to walk in?  Church, shopping mall?
  • noodle11nnoodle11 TennesseePosts: 6
    We Do have a large mall I can go walk in as soon as they clear me to drive and also could go to ymca. I just have an elliptical and know with baby it would be easier. I figured that would be the case because right now I can't use the elliptical because it kills my back. 
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