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First post in May under Surgery buddies

As mentioned in May, I had a laminectomy L2-5 and Disectomy L4-5 on the 27th, was sent home to walk and see the surgeon in 6 weeks.  The walking was painful but I was pushing through it because one of my neurosurgeons stated no limits on the walking and said it was the most helpful for the recovery.  I still had no leg pains after surgery and was down to taking one Ibuprophen (Paracetamol) in the mornings.  Prior to surgery I was taking 300mg of Tramadol as well as Gabapentin daily.  I had an appointment for a f/u with my surgeon and explained the pain from walking.  He set limits of 2-40 minute walks a day and 30 minutes on a stationary bike.  For a week I tried the two walks a day.  The day following my f/u visit I ordered a decent stationary bike (here on July 17, two weeks later it has not arrived yet).  I started physical therapy two days ago.  Oh, I have been wearing a semi-firm back brace since surgery.  My therapist started me on exercises daily and told me to wear the brace only when on my walks.  I did that yesterday with back pain every time si walked without the brace in our flat/condo.  I had a good night of sleep last night and woke op with less pain this morning.  I put my belt on, my mask on and at 7am went out with two hiking poles to walk.  Around the time of my f/u visit changed from crutches to hiking poles.  (They seem to provide more support).  I can walk an hour nonstop with little pain.  At this time I am sitting with no back pain.  The second I move to get up I have a little sharp pain in my lower back.  In walking from one room to the other the pain dulls.  I’m about 30 minutes from my second set of exercises.  I was informed by my MD and a member of this forum that this is normal and I am still early in recovery.  What do others think?  I realize many of you are dealing with the virus at this time and elective surgery is always in the future but if anyone besides an admin is reading, replies are appreciated.  I have some additional questions.  PT again today and I get to use their bike!


Should I be concerned about surgery failure at this point?

When should I expect a significant amount of recovery?  Some say up to a year.  I am almost 69:y/o.  Every morning there seem to be miniscule positive changes.  Some mornings it is more difficult to walk than others.

When can I bend over to tie normal sports shoes.  The ones I am wearing right now are slip-ons but uncomfortable to walk in.


This little-by-little recovery process is difficult for me because I have been very physically active my entire adult life till January this year.  I’d still be riding a road bicycle and doing downhill skiing here in the Pyrenees had the MD’s not told me not to participate any more.

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Comments

  • I have replied to you before and I still think you are doing well in your recovery, you had a fairly major surgery, there was a lot of moving things around, cutting and nerve irritation, all of that takes time to recover and we all do it at a different rate. This is just my experience from several surgeries, I would not consider surgery a failure at this point, as I said earlier, my surgeon says to expect 1 year before you are fully recovered, now that doesn't mean that you shouldn't see improvements along the way. For me, I really started feeling better at the 3-4 month mark, but again, we are all different. As far as shoes go, I was told no bending for 3 months and to be very careful after that.

    One other thing, I am a moderator here, one thing that is unusual about this forum is that all the moderators are also spine patients, I have had 7 spine surgeries, 5 lumbar, including 2 fusions, 1 thoracic discectomy and a C4-C7 cervical fusion surgery, you can be confident that if you ask a member of the admin. on this site a question about recovery and they answer, they have been there and done that.

    I found during my recoveries that a positive attitude and looking for the little improvements helped me more than anything.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip 

  • Just frustrated.  Going to phisio now a couple of days a week and started exercises.  It seems as though there has been very little participation in this page since January?  COVID?  I have a Facebook page for expats moving to or living in Spain.  I have six admins who are Expats as well.  Lots of people wanting out of the US.  Oh, I really like your surgeon’s philosophy.  I don’t like the slightly disorganized structure of this page, but that is another issue.  The topic areas need better definition.  Surgery buddies says for surgery and the recovery buddies says for follow up but nowhere is a note saying to continue your recovery notes in the Surgery buddies section.  However, I have been told by another moderator that is how it is supposed to be.

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  • Just went out to walk but my legs said “no way”. You seem to be an expert on back surgery, unfortunately.  How should I use my back support belt at this point?  My physical therapist said to not get too comfortable with it and to start using it only when walking.  

  • I don't know about the expert part, let's just call it experienced. I will tell you what I was told about a back brace by my surgeon, he wanted me to wear it for 8 weeks when I was walking outside or riding in a car only, he didn't want me wearing it around the house while doing daily activities unless I was going to be doing something that I probably shouldn't be doing anyway, the reason  for that was your back muscles will not get their strength back because they are supported by the brace, he basically told me to use common sense as to when I should have it on, I don't know id that was a good statement on his part or not because I hated the thing and tend to be a little hardheaded.

    Surgery buddies is a good place for, before and after surgery because you are with other members that are having surgery in the same month, it's a little slow there now because so many surgeries have been delayed because of the virus.

    I had days where walking just wasn't in the cards just like you, I did it this way, if I knew I couldn't walk very far I would just walk around the house as much as I could, again, here's what my surgeon said about walking, he said he wasn't concerned about distance, he just wanted me to keep moving, on bad days I would get up and make 1-2 laps around the house, sit or lay down and do it again every hour throughout the day, I would use ice packs in between to help with the soreness and inflammation, that was my routine.

    Recovery is mentally challenging, in fact I think that's probably the hardest part of it, we all want to get back to where we were before our injury and surgery and it wears on you when it doesn't happen the way we thought it would, that's why we need to look for the little improvements, because the little improvements eventually become big, at least that's what got me through all of it.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip

  • Chip, after moving from a rather large home in Wyoming to a flat 1/3 of the size, I no longer have the areacInonce had but do manage 20 minute walks inside here.  I did just that today here

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  • That's good, just keep moving

    Chip

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