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L4/L5 bilateral laminectomy and mocrodiscectomy recovery

Hey everyone, 

I am a 22 yr old female with 4 bulging discs (2 of which are herniated) from an original injury in 2008. I held of surgery to complete my collegiate athletics career and wanted to see if 2 months without rowing would ease the nerve pain. Since it seemed to get even worse this summer, I went forward and had my surgery this past Monday 8-15. As I expected I struggled with anesthesia and strong pain killers the two days following surgery where I couldn't hold any food down and I passed out a couple times. Once I got over the anesthesia things have gotten a lot better; I've not had any of the shooting leg pain in either leg except for the occasional oops moment when I twist or bend before I think. I've completely stopped pain killers except for a muscle relaxant in the middle of the night so I can wake up with less stiffness. Even though I still have low back pain from the surgery I didn't want to deal with the vomiting and out of it feeling from the Vicodin or oxycodone. As an athlete my whole life I can't remember the last time I took four days off but I've been ramping up the walking to 5-6 30 minute excursions in the neighborhood a day and breaking a sweat again feels so good. Has anyone else experienced passing out from pain/pain killers? I'm nervous about it cause the first time I hit my cheek and have had a black eye this whole week... I don't want to fall cause I don't wanna reinsure anything in my back falling too.

ive always had super tight back, hip flexor, and hamstring muscles. But now when I walk around they get so so tight that it seems like it could more than just tight muscles. It's more painful than the incision and I'm wondering if this is normal muscle tightness or some nerve things? (I'm only used to sharp shooting nerve pains along the back and sides of both legs). Normally I would just roll them out on a foam roller but I can't seem to get comfortable with the induction and I definitely don't want to accidentally twist or bend in the wrong way - has anyone found any good stretches or exercises I could do to ease this pain??

one last thing... My gait seems super awkward after surgery (short and choppy strides) and I'm wondering what time frame I could expect it to return to a more natural walk? I think that might be related to my muscles getting so so so tight when I walk but it hurts my back when I try to walk more naturally.

sorry that was long !!
i appreciate any responses or experiences.


  • Ellen625EEllen625 New Jersey, USPosts: 757
    Hi hannah
    You are very early in recovery so you need to try to be patient. I know its hard but give your body time to heal. It took me about a week after my microdiscectomy to walk normally but I'm older and not any kind of athlete.
    Good luck!
  • hello, hannahs998!

    i had l4-s1 fusion in january, and my hamstrings and hip flexors are still recovering!!  i used to do gymnastics, so i definitely noticed the decrease in flexibility immediately!  my physical therapist and i are working on these areas currently, so i am hoping that time and dedication to the exercises will eventually improve my overall hip/hamstring strength.  i had complications from the surgery that have been corrected, and was only recently cleared to begin physical therapy--i didn't want you to think i hadn't had any progress in the 8 months since my operation!!!!  

    as ellen put it so well, you're early in the recovery process.  give yourself a dose of patience, and know that good things take time.  hang in there!!

    i'd like to welcome you to spine-health!  please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

      welcome to spine-health  
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
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  • twindhamttwindham Tennessee Posts: 28
    Hi Hannah
    Post Op -Oh my > I ate 1 light meal day after but after that I could not eat for 4 days, I was so nauseated and I would vomit anything I tried. It was absolutely Aweful for myself and the nurses :s
    i never passed out but sure felt like I was gonna pass out but kept up with my breathing techniques >> The other thing was with pain meds/ anesthesia in my system caused me to be backed up for 5 days and I knew I ate so much before surgery of course before midnight and had no BM so therefore nurses tried everything and when I say everything I truly mean everything you could think of...... Finally did and my appetite was some better but - I asked them to back off pain meds because I knew that was main cause >> my appetite woke up once I got home and my Mom stayed with me for a few weeks ......Nothing like Moms cooking- Hospital food no comparison  :)

    As far as walking > You seem like your normal lifestyle is fitness- I really can't say it is with me > But I will say once my 37 staples came out I started doing so much more  walking and asking less for help I even did my exercises with out anyone asking me to do it. I use my Walker but with counters and walls around me I can do without Walker now but I go very slow and careful......One thing that Kimmy encouraged me on is to be Positive >> So Choose PMA as you go through this.
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