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Post Surgery Endoscopic Decompression L3-4 Should I Start Physical Therapy

I am a 62 year old male who has had no serious health problems before.  I would say though that I did have an L3-4 herniated disc when I was in my 20s that resolved with physical therapy.  About 3 months ago I had a major slow on-set of back pain where I couldn't stand up at night.  After that I went to physical therapy and it started resolving.  After about 2 1/2 months I was about 80% although my lifestyle had changed completely in that I was no longer a runner/biker but would exercise at the gym and do about 15 minutes of perscribed physical therapy per day.  At the end of December it just went acute and then I had an MRI and there was noted an 'extreme' heriation pressing into the main spinal nerve, very obvious what the problem was.

On the 2nd specialist recommended endoscopic decompression L3-4 which I believe has various other names.  They videoed the procedure and gave me the removed disc tissue to keep.  Very good immeadiate feeling after surgery, but by about day 2 some symptoms returned, some leg spasms and general soreness.  Now at day 11 the spasms have gone away pretty much, sometimes there is level 1 pain/soreness at the operative spot and just feel stiff when standing up.  Today was kind of kinked a bit when I stood up and had to stretch out, which was something somewhat similar to prior to the operation that I would get sometimes, after the beginning of the condition when it had improved with physical therapy.    

The surgery was done at a top name hospital in Thailand with very good (I believe) care/operative ability/equiptment.  The doctor recommended 2 weeks minimal activity with light walking allowed.  Here they do not recommend any kind of post operative physical therapy.  I have been trying to walk about 1/2 mile per day at a relaxed pace which is fine and not eventful.  I think the recovery activities recommended here may be different from other places.  

The back symptoms come and go, I guess this is pretty much normal, I would be interested in hearing the other names of this procedure (1/4" opening offending disc material that is pinching against nerve removed).  Also I am really curious about the standard recommended physical therapy regime recommended as standard.  Are light back exercises recommended (like those perscribed for lower l3-4 back pain)?  I do feel the physical therapy I was doing prior to what ever caused the condition to go acute was helping quite a bit.  Also, anyone know what goes into the created opening when the disc tissue is removed, is it just general fluid or what?  Others experiences with recovery, up and down?  



  • Welcome macmiller we’re glad you’re here!

    None of us here can tell you when the proper time is to start PT, I was not allowed to start until the six week mark, the hospital gave me a sheet of very gentle stretches at discharge, I would encourage you to talk to your surgeons office or a licensed PT before starting any exercises this early in recovery.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you read the article Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery on Spine-health? It offers a lot of practical tips around what to expect before, during, and after surgery. You may also want to check out the video How to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery, which also has some great tips.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • I had 3 level. I am at week 14 let's chat I am. 65 had surgery  in India i am. In Philippines  now doing my Pt i plan to travel to Thailand  to resume I am. USA Citizen. Ask your Dr about pt

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  • I will start next week 15  I wore belt 12 weeks

  • Are you still InThailand

  • macmillermmacmiller Posts: 2
    edited 01/16/2020 - 12:54 PM
    Have you read the article Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery on Spine-health? It offers a lot of practical tips around what to expect before, during, and after surgery. You may also want to check out the video How to Prep Your Home for Spine Surgery Recovery, which also has some great tips.

    Yes thanks these were great.

    Teamusa2020 :  Interesting, yes still in Thailand until mid next month, yes would be interested to hear more of your experiences will ook at your posts.  

    One other problem I had is the corset thing caused an alergic rash and was not really able to wear it on the inside or outside of a shirt.  Not sure how necessary it is.   

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