I am nearly four weeks out from my second L4-L5 microdiscectomy in 3 months. As background, I’m 30. I’ve only ever had occasional low back pain but a series of long trips and a new job had me off my game this June. I developed a bad cold, and the next thing I knew a cough caused a herniation with severe weakness/numbness in my calf and foot. I am used to biking 20+ miles at a time and walking hours a week in NYC (my home) with no pain, so it was a shock — I’d embarrassingly never even heard of sciatica before this.
I was lucky to have had a microdiscectomy within three weeks of my injury. They removed a huge 5cm fragment from L4-L5, and I woke up instantly feeling better. That lasted a week before I reherniated doing a gentle stretch, with pain in both legs. Ultimately, I had the revision after seeking a second opinion. My surgeon estimates I have 30% of my L4-L5 disc left; L5-S1 is bulging.
Thankfully, the surgery was successful, my leg strength is 95% back, and pain is tapering. I’m learning to be patient, and am on a gentle walking program with plans to introduce PT and Feldenkrais. I start remote work in a few weeks then will ease back into office life.
After 3+ months of pain and limited activity, the idea of returning to my normal life is intimidating. I know I’ll need to make big changes to stay healthy — but I also need to walk the city, ride the subway, take stairs, and carry necessities to the office. No car. Currently all I wear is Hokas! Not exactly professional.
What changes have folks on here have made to improve their outlook and be comfortable after discectomy or fusion? Orthotics? Compression socks? Foot pads/rests at the office? A light backpack? How did you ease in?