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Hi Tra! Hi Di! Hi ddp11!

Tra, I was up because I just couldn't sleep. Not because of pain, though! :) These last few nights I haven't been able to sleep through the night - I go to bed around 11 and wake up at 2am, and then I feel really restless and too awake to stay in bed any longer. Bummer. So I took some Tylenol PM and got to bed around 4am.

You're right about the differences between the hemilaminectomy and laminectomy. With the hemilami only a very small portion of the lamina is removed, just enough to gain access to the disc space.

Let's see, I can give you lots of tips on what to expect and how to prepare yourself when you're back at home. You should probably only be in the hospital overnight, and while you're still there, you should be able to be up and walking the halls as much as you can tolerate it. When you get your ride home, try to lie down in the back of the car. The reason I say that is because I've been told (even though it's "old school") that you shouldn't do ANY sitting for the 6 weeks after surgery. Sitting puts more pressure on the spine and can affect the healing process. I haven't done any sitting at all and I'm thinking that is part of the reason I'm doing so well. Well, except on the toilet - but that's it! I've been either walking around or lying down in bed (we've got a Tempurpedic mattress which is heaven to be on). Also, no bending at the waist - very important! No lifting anything more than 10 pounds (gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds) so that you don't put any undue pressure on that disc - you don't want to reherniate. Yikes.

Try to set up your home before you go to surgery. Get a few good books - you'll have plenty of time to read. Do you have children? Try to get all the help you can with childcare, dogcare, catcare, whatever. You won't be able to bend over and pick anything up - for 6 weeks! You would benefit from getting a reacher/grabber thing that you can get from a drugstore - they cost (mine did anyway) about $25 but so worth it. I use mine all the time to pick up things that I drop (it's amazing how many thing's you'll drop :) ), and also to straighten up, like socks on the floor - just little things. You won't be able to put on your own socks or shoes for the first week or so (because you shouldn't bend) so your husband will probably need to help you with that. After that if you can get your ankle up on your thigh you can get your socks on, as long as you keep your spine straight. I got a loofah on a stick to help wash my legs and feet in the shower - they cost about 4 bucks at the store I went to. Get some washclothes out to use - it'll be a while before you can bend over the sink. If you have to lean over the sink, bend at the hips, NOT the waist, and bend your knees to help with that. Also, get out clothing that is easy to put on and off in a place that you can access easily - like a high shelf, or the top of your dresser. I've been wearing sweats and yoga pants this entire time! You won't be glamourous but smart.

Tighten your abdominal muscles every time to get up out of bed, turn, or do anything, really, because this will aid in keeping your spine stable. (If you had PT you'll know this.) If you aren't sure how to get in and out of bed correctly, ask your nurse at the hospital before you go home. Always move yourself as a unit - keep your back straight, and keep your shoulders in the same parallel line as your hips. That way you won't put any strain on the disc by twisting.

Your pain will be the worst during the first several days, but it gets much better. I wasn't taking anything for pain after the first week except my usual meds like a mulitvitamin and glucosamine supplement - also ibuprofen here and there. Be sure to take the pain medicine before the pain gets too bad.

I thought I wouldn't get bored (boredom is a frame of mind) and I've been pretty good until now. Now I'm sick of not getting out and doing anything. But I keep telling myself that this is MY time to HEAL and that it is so incredibly worth this 6 weeks of ultimate down time to get my normal life back!

Well, that's a start! [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif[/img] My fingers are tired of typing for now. Let me know if there's anything else you want to know! You are going to do great.

------------------
Had right pain down butt/leg/toes for over 2 years.
MRI confirmed L5-S1 disc herniation
Discogram confirmed L5-S1 disc tear
Tried chiro, PT, epi steriod injections, more PT... to no avail
Insurance denied IDET
Had L5-S1 hemilaminectomy with microdiscectomy on 2/18/03 - now pain free!!!
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this site and new to computers. Please forgive me for being computer dumb. Thanx for all the info. I've been writing a shopping list for all the things I'm going to needs. Lower back surgery scheduled for April 9: spinal stenosis; dehydrating disks so I'll be having 3 diskectomies, 2 laminectomies, 2 hemilaminectomies from L3 - S1. It's going to be a blast. I'm already having trouble with sitting down and have been since early December. Since I sit on my left side so much or lay on it, I'm sore. I'm ready to sit on my head. One day I was driving and had such a bad pain, I tried to drive standing up...didn't work.

When is the best time to post? I live in California and I seem so behind, or out of the loop so to say.

I do have a question and since everyone is so helpful and honest, I thought I'll give it a shot. Since you can't bend after surgery and they'll be operating on 4 of my vertebrae and 3 disks, how would one handle that time of the month? I know this is grosss but we're all adults. My husband will do anything for me but there is a limit. I want to reschedule my surgery until after my hysterectomy, which will be 20 years from now. I'm really freaking out over this. SOMEBODY HELP ME!

I hope I'm not kicked off the boards. I just figured out how to get on. I'm also trying to figure out how to use the smilies. Also, is anyone else having trouble with toes, feet/legs jerking and then their upper extremities jerking? It's so annoying especially when you're trying to sleep. Also, when I'm still it feels like bugs are running all over my lower body. Would like to know if I'm the only one.

Thanks everyone! Be Well!
Rosarita
Hey Ddp11,

My appt went well also. I explained to him that I have a little tingling in my foot and calf etc and he, like every doctor, said it's normal and the nerves are just coming back. I asked about why when I twist my neck all the way to the left or right, I sometimes feel pressure in my hamstring. He said that when you twist your neck, you are basically stretching your spine, which is also stretching your nerve, a nerve that was under pressure for a very long time.. So this was good news.. That's my only real discrepency, but it's not pain, it just ackward.. and it doesn't happen a lot, actually happens less this past week so maybe that will go away soon.

He sratched my legs and feet to see if I had a difference in feeling which I don't except for one part of my leg is a little numb, but nothing that I can't feel touch to. While I was sitting in the chair, he raised my legs.. First the right one, and asked about pressure on the left side/butt. I said no. He then raised the problem leg, the left one, and asked about pain.. No pain, except for some massive tightness in my hamstring, and behind my knee area.. It needs to be stretched out.

He then had me stand up and bend straight forward... This was the test I was waiting for.. To my surprise, I had no pain in my left leg/butt that I have had for months.. another WOOHOO.. I bent further then I could before without pain, but at the same time I couldn't bend further because my back is very tight.. Tight to the point that I don't think it would let me bend anymore.. He then had me bend backwards which I had no pain before the first surgery while doing this, but had pain after the first surgery when doing this.. THis time was great.. No pain bending backwards.. Then he had me bend side to side, and again, no pain.

Don't get me wrong here, my leg still isn't "normal" but atleast I know I don't have the nerve pains anymore. I have mucle cramping in my calf every now and then..But I think the biggest thing is that I haven't done anything in 2 months. Basically been laying around on my bed, getting up and walking every now and then. So both of them are weak.Ithink most of my small things are muscle's reacting and getting back to normal. Lately I have been going out for quite a few hours at a time, standing, walking, and sitting.. Another big thing is my legs/back have no stamina anymore. When I'm out for a few hours, without laying down, my legs and back are very tired..

It's only been 4 weeks, so I think I am doing great. My mindset has changed since he had me bendover, and I actually think I am in doing really well now.. I knew the tests would get my spirits up.

My doc told me I can go back to light duty part time work starting next Monday. Some limitations like no bending etc. He's having me go in 4 hours a day at 5 days a week. He has me doing two weeks of this, and then said I can go back to full time light duty. On 4/14 I go back for another follow up and at that point if he will decide if I can go back to my regular work which is physical work as a cable technician.. Climbing ladders, crawling sometimes, bending, twisting, you name it.

He also cleared me to carry 25-30 pounds, but only said he was going to allow 20 pounds at work, on a light basis.. Said I can carry 10 pounds at work quite frequently. But I won't be carrying anything at work, i'll be doing paperwork until I get back on my feet and can get back on the road going house to house.

Lastly, he is sending me to PT which I wanted. I start on Thurs, which will be a 1 hour visit with pool therapy and machine excersies. Probably going to be 3 times a week for 4 weeks also.. Wish I could have gotten in sooner, but the place was booked till thurs.
My incision looks good, not more scabbing, just the scar.

Things are looking up I hope. I am still tight in the morning. THe doc says he thinks another 4 weeks will show a lot more recovery. I don't think he will send me back doing regular work 4 weeks from now, but I think soon after that he will as long as my leg and back feel good.

Really hope PT takes care of the rest of my weaknesses, and tightness..
Take Care
Jesse
Hello,

I suppose my "story" is in order.

I prolapsed my disc 2 years ago, but due to confusion, or simple negligence they misdiagnosed it as a pulled muscle producing sciatica, and I returned to work only 1 week after the prolapse. Needless to say the pain was quite exceptional. But I staggered on for 2 years with varying degrees of pain and quite alot of pain killers. I went to physio twice(done that for torn muscles in the past to great effect), but every time the physio did deep muscle massage I lost feeling in my leg and could bearly walk. The physio stopped treatment after a few sessions saying that it wasn't a pulled muscle and I should go back to the doctor. I went back to the doctors for the 10+ time and finally go referred to a specialist. You should have heard some of the excuses they offered for the pain. Height (I'm 6ft 4"), stress, all in the mind etc!!

However, it was getting worse and the searing pain down my leg was producing numbness, pins and needles and even total loss of feeling (I actually fell over in the shower at one stage!!! - I thought you only did that at 90 not 30!)

I stopped the pain killers in October 2002, sick of taking them, and the real symptoms showed. In essence I couldn't walk for more than a few minutes without locking up in agony.

Well one MRI scan later and a large prolapse was revealed. As it had been 2 years and I had no real options such as rest, so it was an epidural or surgery. To be honest I was pretrified of the prospect of major back surgery. But the pain in my leg outweighed those fears.

I went in on 27th feb 2003.

The surgery was probably one of the most teriffying experiences of my life. Laying there whilst they pre-oped me, drips, blood pressures, monitors and even explaining that I would wake with a sore throat as there would be tube down my throat! To be honset I nearly got off the table right there and ran!! I know silly, you should have heard my pulse rate increase!! Still humour is a good medicine and a few jokes with the nurses and surgeon and I was back under control.

I woke up 3 hours later, quite a long procedure. Apparently the prolapse was quite large and has left my sciatic nerve root compressed flat.

The first day in hospital was actually not too bad. Probably the morphene still in your system. The only bad bit was standing up to go to the loo that night. Nurses all around to steady me, and they don't tell you that it is really hard to urinate after a general anaesetic. Well sure enough my blood pressure dropped like a rock and I passed out, just managing to fall on the bed! Oxygen and a doctor later I was all fine. Nothing unusual they tell me, due to my height!! Actually I wasn't at all scared, just embarrased that I had passed out! Always thought of myself as hard. Heh, funny how a quick feinting session and those hospital gowns put you right!

Well the rest of my stay was uneventful (4 days in total). I wasn't reacting too well the in the anti inflammetories, making me nauseous and dizzy,worse combination for back recovery! so kept in an extra day to allow the different ones to take hold.

To reassure all those waiting for surgery, there was little or no pain, just a feeling of weakness. The surgery although only slightly intrusive, does involve some hefty handling of a major support muscles and the body does not like this. You feel really unsteady on your feet, and stiff as a board( well I did anyway). But only slight twinges of pain and nothing to be scared about.

From that point on I have been building my exercise up, walking, sitting (more each day), and laying! Small point, they say only sit, walk and lay for short periods. What do you do for the rest of the day :-)

The PT started in hospital on day 2, and these were light leg exercises, breathing and flexing the spine, more to ensure you don't get blood clots than the rebuild strength. I have been doing them dilligently every day since. I am in awe of those who return to work in 4 weeks, never mind 2. I couldn't even walk more than 50 yards after 2 weeks without feeling exhausted (and I am not an unfit person!!)

I have had pain in my calf muscle on and off, found sitting very hard, getting in and out of bed something of a chore, panicked everytime my leg hurts. My surgeon has reassured that this is normal given the damage to my nerve root. BUT!! I am so much better off than before the surgery and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone with the condition. I can now walk without a limp, no searing pain every day....and the best bit....I am sleeping through the night for the first time in 2 years! Oh the joy.

Anyway, I have rambled on long enough. I will be happy to go detailed on the symptoms if anyone wants to learn from my experiences (might help?).

Again, thanks for your words. I feel so much more at ease with my recovery.

M




[This message has been edited by pumaknight (edited 04-01-2003).]
Hi Guys! :wave:

Seekbliss, Hi! AFTER I hung up w/the P.A. the other day I TOO thought "just what's a full body stretch?". I think it's standing extending your arms above your head far as you can stretch. I think however, that bending at the waist either from a lying position or standing touch toes is a much more extensive stretch & to be avoided til 5 mos when the disc(s) are more healed/stronger. I also think that if it doesn't create pain at all, that your morning stretches in bed should be ok. I'll call & ask them next week tho! I, like you, got the okay to do anything "as tolerated" at about 1 mo. I had good instructions til 3 wks - (see below) then it's basically "ok, you're on your own!" (AS TOLERATED!) :eek:
I agree that's way too vague. Espec. when little things that are not ok to do come out later in conversation w/them @ almost 3 mos post op like "no full body stretches til 5 mos" :roll:
I did get an instruction sheet/packet from Neuro's office explaining instructions for 1st 3wks explaining wound care, straining/lifting,showering,medication,
posture & body mechanics as shown below. (Also, the P.A. said the Dr. didn't think I needed Physical Therapy- but I think a lot of the below info the PT provides(?)
Daubie & Bufalo:Micro-Disc/Laminotomy 0-3 wks Post Op Instructions that I received:
Bed mobility: Need to roll like a log out of bed:roll both hips & shoulders at same time in one direction to sidelying position;from this position move legs frwd off bed w/hips flexed, then use your elbow & other hand to push up to sitting position. (They offer a 3 mos course SOMEWHERE in how to do this!) (just kiddin) - (it is easier tho if the PT or nurse had showed you how in the hospital). Shoulders & hips shld move as unit always. I found by tensing abdomin it was easier to move this way. This prevents using your back to get up. Important not to twist or bend from waist til okayed by Doctor.
Sit to Stand: Slide fwd in chair & use your legs to stand - don't lean fwd when getting up
Stand to sit: Keep trunk straight, sit on front part of chair using legs to let you down, then slide back in chair,don't lean fwd & sit back in chair.
Posture: Sit w/back straight against back of chair. Place both feet flat on floor. Hips & knees shld be level. Protect your back w/a rolled up towel or lumbar support.
Sleeping: best sleeping positions are:
On your back w/one not too big pillow under your head & 1 or 2 under knees
Lying on side w/pillow under head & 1 pillow between knees. Firm mattress is preferred.
General: don't twist back, move body as unit always(in bed or standing)
don't reach or bend over to get things til cleared by Doc
Don't lift anything heavier than a plate til cleared by Doc (no groceries, trash, small kids, etc.)
Take lots of short walks, gradually increasing distance. Walk at steady pace that's comfortable for you. Good walking shoes - no hi heels or boots.
Exercises: Gluteal isometrics:squeeze buttocks together & hold for count of ten
Quad Iso's: Tighten up top thigh muscles, keep knees straight as possible, push the back of knees into bed & hold for count of ten
Ankle pumps/circles: Point toes down then up. Repeat. Perform ankle circles in 1 direction - then the other.

Hope this helps! :round:

Everyone take care & find something to smile about ea day!
Laura :smile:



[This message has been edited by TexMich (edited 06-11-2003).]
Good Morning! :wave:
Hope everyone's looking fwd to a great wk-end!

Hi Daubie - is the sun actually going to shine here today????? [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/cool.gif[/img]
I was actually in your neck of the woods yesterday -(nice area!) one of the other "transplanted" Texans is buying a beautiful place out there off of Fagen Rd. & asked me to come along for the inspection prior to closing. (Supposed to last a couple of hrs & ended up as 4 1/2!) During that time, learned a lot about Michigan from the seller's son & the real estate lady 'tho - a)we hate canadian geese here b)don't let them nest if at all possible c)they're on the endangered list but don't believe it/let that stop you from running over them if you get the chance d)etc etc
:wink:

Really just kiddin (kinda)! (But I did find out you run out of things to talk to complete strangers about at about 2 hrs)! My friend/her husband & I met my husband & some of his coworkers at a sports bar afterward & had a nice time tho.
About your discomfort yesterday, I remember ups & downs as part of healing process, hard to say about the treadmill - but some have found the treadmill (so early post op) was a bit too jarring & that just walking outside (no rain today!)(we'll believe it when we don't see it!) - was best. Sometimes walking feels better than standing, laying & especially better than sitting. I found that an anti-inflammatory always made me feel better into the next day. Never overdid them- but Vioxx (w/food!) or just a buffered aspirin or two- some use extra strength tylenol/aleve for inflammation - everyone's different in what works best for them. At one point I had a lot of pain when re-herniation was suspected (but not the case!) & took Hydrocodone- Vioxx worked best tho for me. Also, I think I left out that when you're "rolling like a log" it helps to have your knees bent w/feet flat on bed, keeping elbows on bed w/arms bent upward & tense your whole trunk down to the knees rolling with shoulders as a unit -then use the elbow that shld already be in position, to raise up on. (think i've just written a book on everything(& more) you ever wanted to know about rolling like a log!) :roll:
Concerning returning to work- everyone's different- but w/your long drive . . personally, I'd give myself the whole month or maybe start back at 3 wks for 1/2 days- not sure if 1/2 days wld be worth it to you since you'd spend 2 hrs of your day driving tho. Doctors seem to downplay recovery time- I'd be very interested to see if THEY had a microdiscectomy & actually go back to work full time after a wk or 2!

Maybe some others can give their feedback on going back to work after surgery.

Have a good wk-end everyone!
Laura :round:




[This message has been edited by TexMich (edited 06-13-2003).]
Good Morning all. Mike, I wasn't given any instruction for stretching exercises post op, but TexMich posted this for me so I went back and found it. Hope it helps:
I had good instructions til 3 wks - (see below) then it's basically "ok, you're on your own!" (AS TOLERATED!)
I agree that's way too vague. Espec. when little things that are not ok to do come out later in conversation w/them @ almost 3 mos post op like "no full body stretches til 5 mos" :roll:
I did get an instruction sheet/packet from Neuro's office explaining instructions for 1st 3wks explaining wound care, straining/lifting,showering,medication,
posture & body mechanics as shown below. (Also, the P.A. said the Dr. didn't think I needed Physical Therapy- but I think a lot of the below info the PT provides(?)
Daubie & Bufalo:Micro-Disc/Laminotomy 0-3 wks Post Op Instructions that I received:
Bed mobility: Need to roll like a log out of bed:roll both hips & shoulders at same time in one direction to sidelying position;from this position move legs frwd off bed w/hips flexed, then use your elbow & other hand to push up to sitting position. (They offer a 3 mos course SOMEWHERE in how to do this!) (just kiddin) - (it is easier tho if the PT or nurse had showed you how in the hospital). Shoulders & hips shld move as unit always. I found by tensing abdomin it was easier to move this way. This prevents using your back to get up. Important not to twist or bend from waist til okayed by Doctor.
Sit to Stand: Slide fwd in chair & use your legs to stand - don't lean fwd when getting up
Stand to sit: Keep trunk straight, sit on front part of chair using legs to let you down, then slide back in chair,don't lean fwd & sit back in chair.
Posture: Sit w/back straight against back of chair. Place both feet flat on floor. Hips & knees shld be level. Protect your back w/a rolled up towel or lumbar support.
Sleeping: best sleeping positions are:
On your back w/one not too big pillow under your head & 1 or 2 under knees
Lying on side w/pillow under head & 1 pillow between knees. Firm mattress is preferred.
General: don't twist back, move body as unit always(in bed or standing)
don't reach or bend over to get things til cleared by Doc
Don't lift anything heavier than a plate til cleared by Doc (no groceries, trash, small kids, etc.)
Take lots of short walks, gradually increasing distance. Walk at steady pace that's comfortable for you. Good walking shoes - no hi heels or boots.
Exercises: Gluteal isometrics:squeeze buttocks together & hold for count of ten
Quad Iso's: Tighten up top thigh muscles, keep knees straight as possible, push the back of knees into bed & hold for count of ten
Ankle pumps/circles: Point toes down then up. Repeat. Perform ankle circles in 1 direction - then the other.
END. Mike, hope this helps. Sounds like you must be feeling pretty good!
Thom~ hope today is finding you well! Night sweats, eh? Nope, never had them. Sure hope you don't have pneumonia! That is always a possibility after any surgery. Better get it checked out.
Well, my test yesterday worked. I contribute my increased foot pain to working. I did all my PT exercises yesterday morning then took it easy. Although the foot numbness was there, I had very little pain with it. Guess I'll have to lay around for the rest of my life (ha ha, just kidding, NO WAY). But at least I put my mind at ease that PT isn't hurting me!
Laura, Lisa, Dave, Rathead, B'Bill and everyone else, hope you are all having a great weekend. Beginning to wonder if you guys managed to sneak into Dee's trunk after all :smile:


------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03
Hello everyone! Linda~ woohoo!!!! I am sooo glad you got some good care and understanding yesterday. Heaven only knows you deserve it! I think it means a lot if you know a doctor you trust refers you to a doc he trusts. I had all the faith in the world with my surgeon because my neurologist said he was great, and I trusted my neuro. Maybe things will start moving for you! I thought that was insane that you had to go every 28 days for med refill, too. What was with that??? I am so happy for you!
~Seekbliss, I am so sorry that you had to receive this news. I'm glad you're an optimist too (as I am) but I know sometimes it takes work! Don't forget, medicine in not an absolute. Keep doing those therapy exercises and don't give up. I won't give up for you. Regarding how you sit, etc., my doc never gave me any advise about how to sit either. "whatever is comfy" was my advise too. But my therapist said I should, forever, do the log roll to get in and out of bed. Seems like once your healed, shouldn't matter, but I'm not taking any chances!
~Thom, did you ask the therapist about scar tissue, and advise him you form keloids? Maybe that may make a difference on the stretching exercises? That is great that you got to start today! Did you learn a lot and feel very confident in the therapist? I don't know what a pelvic tilt/twist is? And how did the tens unit feel??? Please let us know how the chair feels. I'll do whatever I have to (or pay whatever I have to) to be comfy. And speaking of that, I got my tush cush today, sitting on it right now as I type.
I feel great today. It was my first full day of having the tens. I used it last nite before I went to sleep and felt better this a.m. than normal (but I usually feel ok in the am anyway). I used it on and off all day at work and.... NO FOOT PAIN!!!! Until I drove home, that is. I don't think anything is going to help that! But, I did my stretching exercises when I got home (no pt today) and used the tens for 1/2 hour and... pain is gone. Then I came to my computer with my new tush cush and....NO PAIN!!! (I've only been on for 1/2 hour, but before I would already be feeling it). Also, it does feel different to not sit on your tailbone. I never realized it cause I never sat on a donut or anything, but it is much more comfy. When I sit here to type, I have a foot stool. I am constantly moving around to get comfortable, crossing/uncrossing legs, put feet on the stool, off the stool, etc. I don't have to do that today. Anyway, I will let you all know if the comfort continues after using it a couple days, but right now I'm in heaven! All in all, I'd say it's been a great day!
Laura, where are you? Are you abandoning us? Just kidding, I know you are probably very busy, dancing and gambling and such!!!
Hi to all, Samantha, how's the neurontin working??? Have a great nite, everyone and talk to you soon. ~Daubie

------------------
Car Accident 2/2/02
Herniated disc L5/S1
Epidurals x3, PT 4 mos, some relief
Microdiscectomy 6/6/03





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