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Post surgery recovery - L5-S1 microdiskectomy, S1 Laminectomy

Hi all--I got so much good info from this forum PRIOR to my surgery, I want to chronicle my recovery for others to learn from, too.  Thanks to all who have posted before me--your experience and your advice helped me prepare for my procedure and recovery.  Thank you.

--Hours 1-12 post-op---->  Pain Rx, intravenously--Dilaudid.  I was on PCA pump, a dose every ten minutes if needed.  Needed to pee a lot because the IV fluids and also I drank a lot of water--the anesthesia and pain Rx left me with cotton-mouth.  It was difficult to pee, which is to say, I didn't have the muscle control at first.  (The muscles were still "asleep", I guess.)  I did quite a bit of walking from bed to potty, which made my wound bleed.  My bandages had to be changed twice.  I had a hard time learning how to log roll the first few times.  ADVICE--The BEST way to get up and down from a sitting pos'n is to place all your weight on your HEELS--it forces your back to be straight and makes all your leg muscles work, taking the strain off your back.  Place your feet shoulder apart and point your toes out like a duck.  It helps--A LOT.  Or at least it did for me.

--Hours 12-24 post-op----> Pain Rx was changed to Toridol, by injection.  IV Rx changed to Morphine, PCA every 10 mins as needed.  The Dilaudid and anesthesia coming out of my body made me ITCHY!!!!  So I got benadryl in my IV to stop the itching.  Slept for a few hours, then woke up at 4am and couldnt get back to sleep.  Did a lil more walking, but not as much as the previous 12 hours.  Appetite was back with a venegence!  ;-D  Only hit the Morphine twice in the 12-24hour period--and once was just because it was there and I couldnt fall asleep!  LOL  But right before leaving the hospital 24 hrs post-op, I hit it three times in 30 mins because I had about a 30 min car ride ahead of me and just wanted the little extra pharmaceutical help for the ride.   Oh yeah--they gave me Colace to help loosen my stool and also IV antibiotics before I left.  (I started passing gas in the 12-24 hrs post op.)

--Day 2, post-op-----> Consitpation.  Not a lot of surgical or incision pain at this point.  Insomnia again at about 4 am.  (That has GOT to stop LOL!)  Got out and about at the grocery store.  Went to have lunch at pizza joint.  Was a lil scary at the grocery--wearing the brace under my clothes where people can't see it makes me nervous--afraid to get bumped or jostled, esp with lil kids running around.  Hypersenstivity to "touch", which is to say, I don't want people touching me, even my loved ones.  I just want to be "left alone" in that way.  I dont want hugs and I dont want hand or arm rubbing--my body is already hypersensitive at this point, I don't want more nerves "on alert."  (Ordinarily, tho, I am a touchy-feely person...but the last couple of days I just want to be left ALONE!)  Oh yeah, I am on Darvocet as needed for pain.  I took one before bed last nite, one this afternoon at lunch.  Took one just now (approx 2.5 days post-op) because muscle spasms are kicking in.  Dont know if its because I was sitting in chair awkwardly or because I couldnt get comfy sleeping on my back so i slept on side w/pillow tucked between knees for a couple hours.  in any casse, standing is best right now.

This is my experience so far.  Oh yeah, the smallest movements are the hardest (like, scooching into a car seat sideways, or up or down on the pillows to get comfy.)  If you have any advice or questions, feel free to post.  I'd be happy to offer any help and/or welcome advice.  

All in all, thus far, the recovery is fine.  I feel ok (considering) and the pain is really just localized.  And now it's time to get up because I've been sitting in this chair for waaay too long!  :-)

32 Responses
171791 tn?1358217981
I have 2 herniated disc.  L5-S1herniation encroaching on the lateral recesswith what appears to be disc material immediately adjacrnt to the right S1 nerve root.  Facet joint tropism at several levels most at L50S1 Mild circumferential disc protusion at L4-5 slightlymore marked on right.   This is per MRI report.  Also Spondylosis with disc desiccatioon at nultiple levels.  Suppose to have surgery by end of week per my dr.  Which I go to surgeon Wed.  Is this something like what you had on your MRI?  I have buttocks and leg pain on right side and foot stays cold.  Also veins have broke in back of thigh.  Please get back with me.  nuggetone
Avatar universal
Hey there!  Sorry to hear you are in such pain.  The good news is, your doc is helping you find a way to get relief.  HANG IN THERE!  :D

I did not have Spondy., nor did I have multi-level herniation.  (I'm told mine was just really, really "big", as in--a LOT of disc material.  My surgeons were very good about explaing and showing me everything on MRI ina way I could understand it.)

I had the same buttock/leg pain but only on the left side, as the protrusion was on my left side.   No vein issues for me.  My feet are cold since the surgery (3 days ago) but i attribute that to healing and my body working extra hard to heal my lower back, so of course, my circulation, although normal, may be a little off in my lower legs/feet.  (go figure--I just had major surgery on my lower back! LOL)

What are your questions/concerns?  Maybe I can help?  I'm not a doctor, but maybe I can at least help you be a little less anxious.  My experience continues to be a good one, and I will be happy to share any information/experience I have with you.  

Take care of yourself and in the meanwhile, write down all your questions for the surgeon before your appt and do as much research as you can.  These forums are great for that.  Talk soon!

171791 tn?1358217981
i find it weird that today I have no pain, just a little tender in right buttocks area.  Even when I cough it dont hurt.  What's up.  I have rested alot but does that mean if I went back to same ol routine that the hurting will begin again?  Did this happen to you?   Just wondering.  I do have questions for surgeon.  Like I said I go see him Wed.   nuggetone
Avatar universal
I had a diskectomy & laminectomy about 11 weeks ago. Recovery has been very slow. I am now able to get around ok but if I do too much, later that night I have a hard time walking. I was given exercises to strengthen my muscels but when I do them I'm shot for the day. I have tried to speak with the doctor but he will not see any patients until 90 days after surgey. I am now experiencing burning in my right leg and pain in my back on the same side, up till now the pain has always been on my left. Is this normal? Is this just another step in the healing process?
Any insight to how long the healing normally takes would be a great help.    teacher19
Avatar universal
I had an extensive  l5 s1 laminectomy and foranotomy for a very large rt sided herniation on 3/10/08. Experienced excruciating pain and spasms in my right buttock, exc. pain in back of leg and behind rt knee, outside calf, right ankle and numbness on outer side of foot. Since surgery, I feel no pain at all. Did not require pain medication but still taking muscle relaxers but do not think I really need any. started walking on 3/11/08 and was up to 3 miles per day by the 7th day post opt but told to back off by the home nurse so I am back to about 1 mile. Only problem is some painless swelling at the bottom of my incision - kinda looks like a small egg when I stand. not a big deal but I don't like how it looks so will cover this with the dr when I see him on 3/24. hang in there
Avatar universal
Just a surgery on L5 S1 (laminectomy). Dr. told my husband it took longer than exspected due to i was worse than he thought it would be. I had a cyst that calsified around bones and nerve. My question to anyone is, Is it normal to be told to remain flat till the 3 week check-up? It seems impossible being I have a 1yr old.  Plus, I'm a bank teller and on my feet, and lefting coin boxs all day, how long is it till I'm back to my daily tasks?
Any help will be gladly welcome!!!

Thanks: Mz.Aaby 4-13-08
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