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Learn how a lumbar disc herniates and
can cause lower back pain
Sciatica is leg pain caused by a
problem in the low back.
See how a disc degenerates and how it can cause pain and other symptoms
I'm your same age and I have had what I would call a successful fusion of my L4-L5-S1. The recovery is not easy and will probably be longer than you want or plan for... but for sure I'm a LOT better off than I was before surgery. I would say 95% of my pre-op pain is gone. I do have some minor daily nagging discomforts but they are not really that big of a deal. I'm not running around doing what I did when I was 25 years old but as a whole my life is fine with some common sense lifestyle changes. I don't go out and play basketball, or carry heavy loads of firewood... but I'm active and swim almost every day along with daily walking. Some things you can do to help ensure the success of your surgery and fusion include: obey your doctors orders 110%, obey the no BLT rules 110% even when you start to feel better, do not do anything that will overly stress your back for at least 12-18 months, walk outside every day at least once even if it's just for 5 minutes and better yet walk outside twice a day. Don't smoke or take any kind of NSAIDS during your recovery, and if your doctor approves it use a bone growth stimulator.
The surgery itself is a piece of cake... your asleep... it's the recovery where you will need to put on your big boy pants. The first week will likely be hell... assuming you are comfortable in hospitals stay in the hospital as long as you can as they can help a lot with hospital grade pain killers. Some people react badly to anesthesia or various pain meds make sure your doctor knows any issues/allergies you have experienced before with different meds. Make sure you have a family member to help 24/7 once you are home for at least the first week and better yet the first 6 weeks. Don't panic if you still have lots of nerve pain or even new nerve pain coming out of surgery. The inflammation in your nerves heals VERY slowly... taking weeks or even months to subside and until it does your nerves will fire and give you lots of pain. Having said that however it is good to try and get off the pain meds as soon as possible post surgery... some of them can be very addicting. Once you start to feel better you are NOT healed... the actual bone fusion process is VERY slow... so don't over do it or you will pay the price. Your health and healing comes first for the next 12-18 months... no excuses or compromises. Follow the rules... use good common sense EVERY day combined with LOTS of patience and a positive attitude... and should get you through it just fine with a whole new lease on life.
Sorry... I just now realized you're 5 days post op. Some of the above inputs you can ignore... other bits may be useful. Hang in there you're just at the start of 26 mile marathon... slow and steady wins the race. Are you up and walking yet..??