Microdiscectomy Post-operative Recovery (week 1)

>>  Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If you search Microdiscectomy recovery there are a lot of forums full of problems, scary 'don't do it' comments and the odd 'I've not been able to blow my nose since' - just kidding there, but you get the point.

So I've decided to do a weekly post on my recovery.  With this being the first it will probably be long.

The lead up to the operation was:

June 2011 very stiff and sore back after a Guide Camp. Visited an osteopath weekly with little relief. Carried on running and circuit training despite advice to rest.

August 2011 unable to walk following either a circuit class or carrying a lot of milk for yet another Guide Camp. Excruciating painful sciatica. 

September 2011 MRI scan showed herniated L5/S1 and had a root block under x-ray which gave some relief. Stopped all training and running.

Late October 2011 - started running again, also moved heavy furniture. Sciatica returned.

Late November 2011 - In massive pain I think caused by lifting a Christmas tree, MRI showed re herniation. Epidural a week later. No relief.

Late December 2011 - unable to drive or sit at all, constant leg pain at night. Pain so bad in mornings it was like the worst cramp I have ever experienced with no relief for hours.

I had a microdiscectomy operation  early Feb 2012. The operation was routine with no complications. If you want to see what they took out, it's here.

On the first evening and night, the general after affects of the operation were:
soreness where the cannula had been
dry, sore throat
Sore stomach  and nausea (from pain killers)
Dreadfully tired, but only slept for 2 hours at a time (bless those nurses happy to make tea all night)

The back pain/sciatica was:
twinges of pain in my ankle, calf and butt but nothing like I had before the op. But my whole butt cheek felt sort of bruised.
muscle spasms in my back and leg, I had experienced this before the operation too.
I walked about 30 metres on and off (mainly to the kitchen to ask for tea!)

Day 2
Now I could feel my operation wound pulling and slightly sore
Still very tired and very painful stomach (from pain killers)
took 2 co-codamol 30mg/500mg to see me through an hour car journey home. It hurt less than getting there, the main problem being the sore wound site. ( I used a small camping pillow and it helped)
showered and walked a total of 500 metres on the treadmill at 1kmph rate in 10 minute slots.
some residual lower leg and butt pain.
do not feel ready to try to sit down, I lie or stand.

Day 3
Taking 1 or 2 co-codamol 30mg/500mg and Nurofen during day
Still incredibly tired and sleeping lots
My foot went numb, it's never gone like that before.  It scared me.  I rang the consultant.  This apparently is quite normal.  It happened on and off all evening
Wound site pulling and a little sore.
walked a total of 500 metres on the treadmill at 1.3kmph rate in 10 minute slots.
Some back ache, bent forwards once by mistake and wowser, it hurt.
Also pottered to close by shops using a trekking pole for support.

Day 4
Much more awake
Taking only nurofen or paracetamol
Wound site still pulling and a little sore.
some residual lower leg and butt pain.
Bad back ache, started to use ice packs on it.
Trying very hard to keep back straight at all times. Squats to get to lower heights, no bending.
walked a total of 1km on the treadmill at 1.5kmph rate in 15 minute slots.
Also pottered to close by shops using a trekking pole for support.
Still find sitting hard, kneeling chair ok for about 10 mins at a time.

Day 5
Taking only nurofen, wound site still pulling and a little sore.
some residual butt pain only.
Bad back ache, still not forward bending.
Carried 2 pints of milk back from shop, I could feel the weight.
walked a total of 3km on the treadmill at 2.5kmph rate in 1k slots.
Can sit on exercise ball for 10 minutes and kneeling chair for 20 in an hour.

Day 6
Not a good day, serious backache, leg pain, butt pain (I did too much yesterday)
Tired and generally feeling day 3ish again
can use kneeling chair for about 15 mins
walked a total of  2.7km on the treadmill at 1.5kmph rate in 500ishm slots.
Sat on exercise ball for 10 minutes on/10 mins off in the evening for a while.
Used ice pack, paracetamol, nurofen
changed dressing

Day 7
Slept and rested until almost midday and felt much better
residual leg pain all day, some butt pain.
Husband drove me a 5 min drive, pain at wound site dreadful on car seat.
Walked 1km with him as planned but couldn't face car drive home.  Walked 1.7km home with trekking poles.  I worked it out to be a 1.5kmph rate - felt like it had been a mistake to do it.
on kneeling chair and pottering mostly after that
600m on treadmill treadmill at 1.5kmph
Ice pack and nurofen  at bedtime.

From now on I plan just to do a weekly round up, but I wanted to show that recovery so far is not the dead loss the back pain forums would have us believe.   It isn't a walk in the park by any means but it is more tolerable than I had expected.  I hope this continues but from what I have read I expect to hit a pain wall at about 2 weeks.  We will see.

I have created a page of links for my Microdiscectomy posts and other links I have found helpful. You can find it here.



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