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Too much or not too much post microdiscectomy

Hi all,
Firstly I have to say this website has been a god send has over here in the uk you don't get much feed back after surgery. 
I am Day 6 post op after having a microdiscectomy, I have been doing my back exercises and alternating my position regularly but I have no idea if I am doing enough or doing too much? I am so scared of re-herniating that I am not as happy as I should be for a successful operation.

any tips from other people who have recently gone through this.


  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    What kind of back exercises are you doing?  Were they recommended by your surgeon?  It varies from surgeon to surgeon, what is recommended for 'safe' exercise post-discectomy.  I'm in Canada, and my surgeon recommended walking and walking some more, marching on the spot (bringing knees to 90 degrees) and doing stairs a few times a day.  The last two were to address the developing scar tissue to prevent it from 'sticking'.  But no stretching was allowed.  No bending, lifting or twisting (BLT's).  The walking helps to bring blood flow to the surgical site and aid in healing. 
    I think my recommendations were on the conservative side.  I did re-herniate nearly a year later, but it does not seem to be from doing anything wrong.  I had scar tissue develop and pull on the disc.  I wish you all the best in your recovery!
  • erinb40eerinb40 EnglandPosts: 20
    Thanks for replying,
    my back exercises were given by the physio and are very sedate, things like sliding your leg from flat on floor to knee pointing up. I have then just been walking walking walking. I just don't know how far to go, I am not a good judge. I also have mental health problems which includes an extremely low self esteem so I always push myself too much because I see myself as a fat lazy ass for just lying there. 
    I intend to try swimming at 3 weeks but I will see how it goes. 
    Can I ask, when your disc re- herniate was it as bad as last time? Did it require surgery again? 
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  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    When the re-herniation happened, it started off as bad as prior to surgery, but there was definite improvement over the coming weeks.  But only to a point.  I am currently 9 months post-re-herniation, and have not been able to get in to see the surgeon yet (long wait lists here in Canada).  I am managing 'alright', since I am still able to walk, and I only use medication occasionally...although I am trying to tough it out more this time around.  I am also at the pool 3 x weekly for an aquacise class, which I have been going to since I first rupture my disc while waiting for surgery, about 2 years now.  I took 8 weeks for recovery from surgery, and 1 month when I re-herniated, but other than those times I've been at the pool.  It is such good therapy for the back.  I have consulted with spine surgeons in Germany and they recommend an artificial disc replacement, which I am considering.  I do want to see my surgeon first, to see what he says on the whole matter.
  • erinb40eerinb40 EnglandPosts: 20
    I am awake now in the middle of the night (uk) stressing that I may/may not have re herniated. Once you get your life back it is hard to think it might happen again and have to back to the pain.
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 449
    I know how you feel, erin.  I don't recall if you've posted elsewhere on this forum, but you may have read some others that say you can expect ups and downs in your recovery, and you are not even 2 weeks into it.  This is so true.  It really messes with your mind, to feel better and then worse in a matter of days!  Be patient and try to stay positive.  Don't try to be brave and limit painkillers or anxiety meds during this time.  Rest is so important in recovery, give yourself every advantage to get it.  A few good nights will go a long way to clearing your mind and easing anxiety.   Try to remember that you read about more 'failures' than successes on this forum, because that is human nature:  if things go well, people are off living their lives and not spending time on the computer looking for answers like you and I are.  
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  • arnie1953aarnie1953 Denver, ColoradoPosts: 2
    Erin, I think everyone is a bit apprehensive post surgery. That is natural.  I also felt lazy for a couple of weeks.  I am 62 and was ultra careful in my post surgery activity for 2 herniated disks that resulted in severe numbness in each foot. Surgery resolved my issue 100%. My only exercise was walking and I felt better each week. Just give it time and be careful and this problem will soon be in your rear view window.  I am now almost 7 months post surgery and have been walking about 50-60 kilometers per week and playing softball since month 3. I feel fantastic and hopefully you will feel the same in a few months.   Arnie
  • erinb40eerinb40 EnglandPosts: 20
    Thanks Arnie :)  
  • martyadlmmartyadl Australia Posts: 19
    This is my first post, although I've read and appreciated many of the comments on this site. I had a partial discectomy 10 days ago - L5/S1 with severe extrusion and sciatica / numb leg. I'm only just recovering now and hoping to be back at work later this week. I was active before my sciatica, doing deadlifts squats, cycling and running. Now my biggest fear is not being able to ever do those things again. My surgeon has said walking only for 6 weeks and to stay well away from physio and chiro during that time. I'm not even allowed to do push ups or swimming. I'm afraid that if I wait a whole year like many people suggest I'll be in the worst shape of my life. I'm hoping to at least get back cycling or doing some arm weights at 6 weeks post op. I've been told if I do it earlier I could hurt myself. 
  • erinb40eerinb40 EnglandPosts: 20
    There are so much conflicting advice about microdiscectomy recovery. Today I read the post op leaflets from 3 different hospitals and it is quite shocking that there is no common Recovery advice. I have listened to all and decided to take factors from all. So I am going to walk everyday, rest every day and potter around the house. No driving, no swimming. See a PT for post-op back strengthing exercise at around the 6weeks, start Pilates and walk much longer distances. It can take up to 3+months for the disc to seal shut and I am going to try my hardest not to encourage it to rupture again, Though I  know deep down it is a case of when and not if. 
  • SpartySSparty ArizonaPosts: 159
    Hi All,
    I am 9 days post L5/S1 Microdiscectomy.  Marty I am in a similar boat as you with the active running and cycling.  I spoke to someone becore surgery who is 3 years post surgery with the same doc as me and he is now a crossfit trainer. I also spoke to a firefighter in NYC who had the same surgery and is back on full active duty.  We can all make full recoveries!  I understand completely the paranoya.  I am progressing nicely but i feel it os 2 steps forward and 1 back.  I have been increasing my walking each day.  Two of the days i pushed it and ended up  frustrated.  I need to be more patient.  My mind wanta to go for a run but my body says walk for 10 minutes every hour and then lay in bed with ice.  I was told to only do walking.  No excercises for a month.  I seedoc in 8 days for post surgery visit.  I will end by saying everyday I wake up in some pain but when i log roll out of bed and don't feel that EXCRUCIATING sciatic pain, I am happy with my progress!!!
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