Starting physical therapy after second microdiscectomy

Hey all,

I had a L4-5 microdiscectomy recently, and I’m pretty sure I injured myself getting into the car leaving the hospital (mentioned this in an older post). The pain never went away, and by week two it was so bad that we scheduled a second surgery. I went back under the knife exactly five weeks from the first surgery, and everything has been going great. No pain at all at 10 days post op!

So today I had a follow up call with my surgeon. He mentioned that I’m extra susceptible to reherniating the disc now that I’ve had the surgery twice, and is recommending that I don’t do much of anything for three whole months. I’m allowed to walk, but that’s it. He said physical therapy could do more harm than good, and that I shouldn’t even start it until after the three month mark.

I know some people on here have had the surgery multiple times. I was wondering if anybody had to follow a similar less-is-more recovery plan. I plan on following his orders, of course. But it seems strange to me that I’m being told not to do ANY kind of therapy during the healing process. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!



  • I have been through basically the same thing and my surgeon said the same as yours, his explanation was that he wanted everything to settle before allowing me to do much of anything physical.


  • Hi there!

    I had microdiscetomy back in June, still having some pain and doctor thinks it could be reherniation. So I just wanted to see how you were doing with the second surgery? Does it seem like it was worth it still?

    I go for a MRI in another 6 weeks if I'm still in pain but this is on my mind :)

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  • Hi Chels. I’m currently 24 days post op and pretty much pain free. The only real bummer is waiting until the three month mark before doing much of anything. I feel so good and just want to start physical therapy, but the surgeon says that everything is way more sensitive and my chances of reherniating again are higher now that I’ve had a second surgery. 

    Hope you didn’t reherniate, and that it’s just your sciatic nerve flaring up. Keep us updated!

  • Same thing with my recovery.  Neurosurgeon requiring me to wait until 12 week review for any type of PT.  Walk, walk, walk, ...but no PT.  I have my 12 week post-op on Monday.  Fingers crossed that everything is fusing properly.  (I had laminectomy, discectomy, L2-L5 fusion). I cannot wait to get active again! 

  • Fingers crossed for you jtgrilling! You’ve had a lot of work done and I hope everything goes smoothly with the rest of your recovery :)

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  • Flydebs54-  thanks for the note.  Blessed to report that my neurosurgeon gave me the “thumbs up” on my recovery status!  I can start light weightlifting and core exercises but straight back or supported back exercises only. No running or jogging, as he explained the fusion and nerves can take up to a year to fully fuse/heal.  Gave me some safe  core strengthening exercises to do daily and I’m back in the gym again!

    I’m exercising 40 minutes and walking up to 5 miles per day now and feel fantastic!  Sciatica is GONE.  Life is great.   I am a bit stiff/tight when I wake up but wears off once I start moving.

    My learning was trust the surgeon on your recovery plan.  I was really concerned about the whole no PT thing, but understand now how it benefited me.  

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