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My Microdiscectomy: Six Month Post-Op Report

2014 March 16
by Becky

I realized the other day that I had back surgery six months ago.

SIX months ago I had surgery on my BACK.

Takes me a minute to let that really sink in.

It all feels a little like I was watching the whole ordeal unfold in some sad, day-in-the-life movie. Was I really unable to sit in a chair just six months ago? Did I really lay awake at night in pain? Was that me taking medications and icing around the clock with no relief?

I don’t remember the pain, how it felt, and I certainly can’t even begin to figure out how I functioned with it. But the exciting part is my current state.

I feel great.

My back, or to be more specific, my sciatic nerve, never hurts anymore. Sure there’s soreness sometimes if I don’t watch my posture or sit/stand too long. But never pain. NEVER.

BackUpdate-SittingOnCaterpillarBefore surgery, sitting like this would have caused tears.

When did I really realize the progress I’ve made? When just a few weeks ago I took my first spinning class in a year.

And then took another. And another. Like I’d never spent a day away.

I’ve felt good enough to try an hour of cycling for a while now, but I was too nervous to go. Scared I’d have to leave the class in pain or that I’d re-injure myself. But then I thought about my physical therapy routine, the one that, up until a few weeks ago, I’d been doing a few times a week for months, and realized I was ready.

Physical therapy has got to be a huge part of my recovery. After my doctor mandated six week wait (do nothing but walk for six weeks, which seems to be the standard recovery for this surgery), I started with a nearby therapist who gave me exercises to do at home, plus I was walking almost every day—all what I thought was fine. But a friend told me about his “incredible” physical therapist and I was intrigued. My friend was put through workouts, stretched, and personally coached with significant results. Nothing like what I was doing.

BackUpdate-PhsycialTherapyThe mini track where I did thousands of squats, chair scoots, and monster walks.

So I started training there, a place called Sports Medicine & Training Center, and immediately began to feel improvements, increased flexibility, and more strength. The very first day my workout took an hour to complete…I was put through a gauntlet of machines, treadmill walking, stationary bike riding, and stretching.

Here is a typical workout:

– 8 min on bike, alternating directions each minute
– 3 laps of rolling chair scoot (don’t underestimate, it’s hard)
– 3 x 10 band twists
– 3 x 10 incline press against table
– 2 x 10 hip stretches, level 3 on the total gym
– 70 pounds 3 x 10 hip machine, both ways
– 90 pounds 3x 20 hip machine other way
– mini squats, 3 laps (up and back), about 250 squats total
-3 x 10 total gym pliets, highest level
-3 x 10 total gym calf raises, highest level
– 3 x 10 leg press, 75 pounds
– 4x 10 leg curl, 20 pounds
– 10 minutes on treadmill, walking at 3.5mph

And it just got harder from there. Stuff was added, things replaced, and the workouts got longer. In addition to physical therapy, I spent quite a bit of time on both our home treadmill and the treadmills at our gym. At least 45-60 minutes every other day. I also stretch every day and do short core work a few times a week.

BackUpdate-TouchingToes2I can touch my toes…with my hand almost flat on the floor

By the time I left PT, after over three months of going twice a week, I’d almost regained my flexibility, almost. Things on the left side are still a bit stiff but getting better every day. Plus, and probably most importantly, I had the confidence to take over my workouts on my own, at the gym. No more living in fear of re-herniating.

It’s invigorating.

Since my surgery I have:

  • Walked up to four miles at a time. I can walk forever.
  • Stand-up paddle boarding in the ocean.
  • Sat through 16 hours of flights to and from Hawaii (plus another 8 hours stuck in an airport).
  • Took Ethan to the City Museum and climbed, slid, crouched…everythingLast spring this almost killed me.

StandUpPaddleBoard-Becky2

  • Jumped on the trampolines at Skyzone.
  • Sat in a car all day traveling the Road to Hana.
  • Picked up Ethan and carried him as long as my arms will allow…kid is getting big.
  • Put on my shoes and socks every day without laying down.
  • Sledded down and walked up Art Hill, over and over.
  • Snorkeled over a reef.

Some of these things may sound silly, but anyone who’s lived with back pain knows…they are milestones.

Since I’m constantly asked (it’s crazy how common microdiscectomy surgery is!), my recommendation for recovery is:

  1. Listen to your doctor. He/she said do nothing but walk for six weeks, DO IT. No lifting, twisting, or bending.
  2. Get off the drugs as fast as possible…unless you want to forget multiple days or weeks of your life (no, really).
  3. Tylenol or Aleve when necessary at first. Why live with the pain? It won’t be forever.
  4. Intensive physical therapy after six weeks. Workouts supervised by a professional who can answer questions, correct form, and manage pain when necessary.
  5. Stay active. The more I sit around, the worse I feel.
  6. DON’T push yourself too hard, too fast. Re-herniation is a real thing, I know someone who had it happen.

I’m not an expert, just one success story. Not that I’m surgar-coating things…there will be set backs—I was a complete disaster for at least two weeks after surgery. But I hope these tips will help anyone preparing themselves or just coming out of this ordeal.

I can’t even remember the desperation we felt six months ago. I say “we” because my back problems affected our whole family, even Dewey. (Murphy probably made out OK since I was laying down a lot, perfect kitty snuggle position) I can’t even count how many times I sobbed and wondered if I’d ever get a break from the relentless pain. Even after surgery I doubted my recovery, convinced I’d never be the same.

But now I’m extremely hopeful. I hope to make a full recovery, getting into better shape than I was a year ago. I may never run again, it’s a decision I’ve made because it’s proven to be too hard on my body, but there are so many other physical activities in which I plan to partake.

Like spinning.
Walking to our fabulous park.
Hiking trails with Ethan.
And sitting in a chair, for as long as I want.

So many people have reached out to me about their microdiscectomy surgeries and I love helping to lift their spirits and provide hope. I was there, lost in recovery and searching for support. You’ll always find some here!!

45 Responses
  1. March 17, 2014

    Great advise. Hope I never need it.

  2. March 17, 2014

    yay! Glad you are doing so well. Your advice is spot on. You have done such great work putting in the effort after your surgery, so I am sure you are thrilled to see it pay off!!
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  3. March 17, 2014

    Hi Becky! Kristen, from thirdstoryies just sent me here because I just posted about my “inevitable” surgery. I have to say this made my day… week… month! Thank you for posting something so personal. You never know who it will touch and what a difference it will make in someone’s life. :-)

    I too am about to have this very surgery and have been scared to death. It’s so refreshing to read someone’s honest experience. It’s also comforting to know that this is something you can get through and actually have a life again. Some days it feels like I’ll never be the same. (insert tears!)

    I’m a lover of a good hard workout and if you ever visit my blog you’ll see that I’m a lover of hard work in general. Which is probably why I’m in this mess. Being so active and in what feels like the prime of my life, makes this feel ten times worse. So thanks for all the great info. It will definitely help me in the weeks ahead.

    Congrats on all the hard work and positive attitude. I hope you continue to feel stronger and healthier each day. You’ve certainly given me hope and a full list of questions to be asking. I hate it when doctors are so vague about what you can and can’t do. (or should or shouldn’t be doing, that is) Thanks so much!

    Stacey
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    • Becky permalink*
      March 18, 2014

      From one person who never stops to another, I know how hard it is to have life put on hold for this stupid back pain. I’m so glad my story has given you more hope…it was not a “perfect” or “easy” road, but so far it has a happy ending that’s just getting happier! You will be active again, you will feel good again. Just try to dial it back for your recovery, listen to your docs, and you will be on the road to normalcy in no time. I remember when that 6 week wait seemed like FOREVER. But before I knew it three months had passed, then six. The first four weeks is torture!! Keep me posted about how things go! Make sure to ask for help! Not worth overdoing it to get something done on your own. There’s plenty of time for that.

  4. Alicia permalink
    March 18, 2014

    Was looking forward to this post! My favorite pic was of you touching the floor!!! Weird to anyone who hasn’t been thru it. I look forward to that day! Not just having the ability but the mind-set to do it without fear. My other favorite pic on your blog is of you bent down by Ethan. (Leaving the freezing weather.) I can’t wait to be on my kids level again! Since finding you and your support I am more positive abou this and just hit 4 weeks today and my pains and other “ughs!” are greatly improving! Thanks so much again!

    • Becky permalink*
      March 18, 2014

      No problem Alicia, so glad I can offer some support!! You are so close to feeling great, just hang in there!! As my doc’s nurse always said, “Be good to your back.” You won’t be limited forever.

  5. Lisa permalink
    October 9, 2014

    Thank you. This is the first experience i’ve read that has given me hope. It’s been two years of hell till my disc finally ruptured forcing surgery. i just want my life back. i was so active . i miss hiking and spinning and Zumba and working out at high intensities. depressed and 40 lbs later, i see hope. Maybe i can get my life back.
    glad you are doing so well. xo

  6. Scargosun permalink
    February 25, 2015

    If I was not at my desk at the office, I would be in tears right now. It seems like your back issues are/were the exact same as mine. I have been fighting against the pain for six months through the chiropractor,yoga, exercises, Biofreeze, I should own stock in whatever companies make generic otc ibuprofen. I broke my ankle in January, postponing my neurosurgeon appointment for six weeks. The crutches and the boot made everything worse! Finally I had my appt yesterday and they recommended surgery. I have been reading nothing but negative things about the surgery and then I came across your blog and for the first time, I felt a little bit of hope. Now, because that is the way life is, I fully expect to NOT have the pain free post op feeling but reading that it DOES get better makes me feel more confident. Thank you for putting this out there. You have no idea how much it meant to me.

    • Becky permalink*
      February 26, 2015

      I’m SO glad my posts have helped you. Every time someone reaches out to talk to me about my surgery, it makes me feel like I’m helping! I had one friend that helped me a lot, she had the surgery and it worked and talking to her was amazing. But she also said there would be no pain when I woke up and man was I scared when that pain was there. I totally freaked. I thought something had surely gone wrong. But here I am now, sitting in a chair with no pain, writing this to you, right after taking a spinning class and playing with my 4 month old all morning. There is life after this horrible pain. Just listen to your docs, follow their instructions to a T. And get off the drugs as fast as you can, they are very scary. Oh, and order one of the giant ice packs from Amazon, they are amazing. I wish you luck and please check back or email me if you have any questions!!

  7. May 18, 2015

    Thank you for this! I am 1 week out from my SECOND micro discectomy! I am miserable and trying not to fall in to a deep depression, but it is so hard. When I started to feel that pain down my leg out of the blue AGAIN (you know the pain) I immediately knew I would be having the surgery again. No question. I hope and pray that this is it and that fusing is not in my future. I am 34 and active (when my body has allowed me to be) and would be devastated if I didn’t come out of this 2nd surgery back to my old self. My surgeon has not recommended therapy after either surgery, so this is something I will be asking about and looking into.

    Thank you again, your story is encouraging and uplifting!

    Will we REALLY never run again? UGH :( I hate that reality…
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    • Becky permalink*
      May 28, 2015

      I’m so sorry I haven’t responded to this!! Basically I read your comment and proceeded to FREAK OUT about the possibility of someday needing ANOTHER discectomy. OMG you poor thing. Backs just suck, clearly. My surgeon did not recommend therapy either, but I requested it to get myself back into shape and build my confidence again. I was too scared to do anything but walk! I recommend asking for it, it can’t hurt, right?!

      Good luck to you and I hope you are feeling better soon. For me it was that 4 week mark that made a HUGE difference. Week One is a fog, the drugs were in full force. And be good to your back!! NO more surgery.

  8. Becky permalink
    May 28, 2015

    Exact. Same. Story. Even the name is the same :). I’ve been googling a ton, post surgery three weeks. My microdiscectomy was not a miracle but immediately there was sciatica pain improvement. I’m young(er), under 40, and had a disc rupture in April I was in surgery three weeks later.
    The days are hard because they see-saw. One day I wake up with tremendous improvement, I’m still dealing with some numbness and weakness, and then the next I’m hobbling around. I cannot wait to start therapy, which won’t be for at least another month. I am grateful though. Grateful that my pain continues to subside and your post gives me hope that this is not a new normal but just a phase I must move through to get back to “me”.

    • Becky permalink*
      May 28, 2015

      I will think good thoughts for you! It will get better, it has to, right? The issue is fixed, it’s just still bruised and sore and needs tons of TLC to repair. It is just a phase, you will be you again! Just a more back-conscience you. I know now when I’m overdoing it and I stop IMMEDIATELY. It’s been almost two years and I’ve only had one episode of back spasms that were completely unrelated to my surgery, just totally freaked me out and had me ready to call my doctor at any second if I felt that familiar sciatica pain. I think it was caused by wearing my baby in the Ergo on my front, I only do back now.

      Just take time and know this will all feel like a bad dream in 6 months (or less). Keep moving, don’t sit too long without breaks, and get into that therapy to strengthen your back as soon as you are cleared. My therapy helped me feel stronger and more confident, it was amazing. Good luck!!! Thanks for reaching out!

  9. Becky permalink
    June 13, 2015

    Hi, I wanted to say thanks for sharing your story! Your honesty is refreshing and inspiring. I have been waiting 9 months for surgery, L5 herniation. I got a cancellation spot and have surgery soon, 5 days notice – with two young kids and a husband who works halfway across the country, has made for some serious chaos! ???? I am now searching for all of your other posts on your recovery. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Christine permalink
    April 12, 2016

    FINALLY!! A positive story. The internet is terrible for seemingly focusing on the negative. I have my surgery April 21 and look forward to finally being able to walk normally and one day put my socks on in less than 10 minutes!!
    I have re-read your story 4 times now and shed a tear or two. You are right, it affects the entire family. Sometimes it’s difficult for them to understand the level of pain or the limitations (sometimes I just can’t sit!).

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Christine

    • Becky permalink*
      April 13, 2016

      Christine, I’m SO glad my story has inspired you. And I’m really excited for your surgery, even though I know it’s super scary. But how could it be worse than living with horrible pain every day??? At least that’s what I told myself. I actually had to re-read this post too because I barely remember what my ordeal felt like, have almost forgotten the pain and the daily burden on my family.

      It’s been 2 years and tons of activity and I’m still feeling great!! Wishing I wasn’t wearing a boot on a broken foot right now, but seriously anything is better than back pain.

      Please shoot me an email if you are bored during your recovery to let me know how it goes!!! Good luck and here’s hoping you will get your life back soon.

  11. Viv permalink
    November 4, 2016

    I was so happy to find your site. I have been trying to nurse a huge herniated disc for 16 months. Some days I feel better and then others take me right back to day one. I am debating trying the micro-d that 4 different neurosurgeons have told me to try. Thanks for giving me some hope that I will be able to be re-tackle my life! I am ready to feel better (or at least to stop crying ;-))

    • Lisa permalink
      January 1, 2017

      Hi , I’m almost 3 weeks post L5 s1 discectomy and your story makes me feel more
      posative about my recovery ! It has been scary since I really scared about re injury! I’m a 54 yr old female and I want my life back . I’m walking every day and looking forward to pt . I feel so out of shape from being so inactive for 8 months with such pain . O haven’t tied my shoes for 9 months now . I have not been able to ride my motercycle for so long ! I hope I will get back to normalcy in 2017 . Your story helps me to try and stay more hopeful and posative !
      Thanks for sharing . I also put on 15 lbs since this all happened . Next week I’m going to start the 21 day challenge to get my weight back in line . Looking frward to pt in 3/4 more weeks . It’s hard not doing things !

      • Becky permalink*
        January 6, 2017

        Sounds like you are on the right track Lisa! I was terrified of reinjury too, it happened to a friend of mine, but the lesson I learned was she WAY over did it WAY too soon. I think it’s almost worse when you feel great immediately following surgery because you end up rushing your recovery time, which is a full 6 weeks just to physically repair your body from surgery, plus more for letting the nerves calm down from being decimated for so long.

        I also did the 21 day challenge! Totally worked for me, also did a whole 30 that helped a ton. PT was crucial for me to gain back that confidence. You can always lose the weight, but letting your back heal is something that can’t wait!! Good luck and I’m so glad my story provided some support!

  12. March 3, 2017

    I am so glad I found this! There are endless horror stories online and reading them all was starting to get me down. I am 1 week and 1 day post microdiscectomy and I’m feeling good. As soon as I woke up from the surgery the sciatic pain was gone and I was beyond relieved. I’m 35 and pretty fit (although I have not worked out at all for 3 months due to the pain). I am nervous and excited to get back to activity and in my case considering how good I feel now I know I will need to take it slow and be VERY careful. I believe at my 2 week post op appointment they will tell me to start PT (I work at NIKE and we have it onsite!!). I am very optimistic that PT will give me the structure that I need to feel like I’m on the road to recovery without letting me do too much too soon. I’m nervous about going back to work and having to sit a lot and know I will need to be very focused on taking good care of myself and listening to my body. My main problem now is that I lost feeling in both calves/feet and it’s coming back slowly (I’ve graduated from a walker and barely getting around to using a cane to go for 3/4 mile walks for the past 4 days). Balance has improved but there is no way of knowing when (or if) full function and strength will return. Agree with you on the pain pills, they are nasty! I’ve only needed a few since coming home thank goodness. Fingers crossed all goes well, I think the worst part is knowing that I will always fear a re-herniation because that pain was off the charts terrible. Anyway thanks again for posting!!!

    • Becky permalink*
      March 9, 2017

      Sounds like you are doing great Katie! Just remember it takes 6 weeks for you to heal from surgery, so don’t over do it, even if you feel like a million bucks! And how stinkin cool is it that you work at NIKE and get PT on site?? OMG going to PT was horrible, it took so much time. If it wouldn’t have been so worth it, I would have skipped it. My doc actually didn’t even prescribe it at my 6 week check up, I asked for it to regain my strength. Glad I did! Some day soon this will all feel like a bad dream, so happy to hear sharing my saga helped your spirits!

  13. March 13, 2017

    I’m really please to read your positive story. My wife had a Microdiscectomy about 3 weeks ago. We saw the surgeon today and he seemed pleased with her progress. She is still experiencing pain in the nerve, we’re told it will slowly go away but it may never fully be gone. Your story has given her some perspective from another who’s gone through it. Thank you.
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    • Becky permalink*
      March 13, 2017

      I’m so glad my story is giving your wife some positive vibes, week three was still so hard for me!! Tell her please to hang in there and be good to herself, go slow. It’s such a short time in the grand scheme of life but feels like FORVER when you are waiting for the paint to go away. Please check back and let us know how she’s doing!

  14. Allen permalink
    May 23, 2017

    Your success story keeps me hopeful about my own microdiscectomy recovery. You’re totally right, the first 4 weeks were absolutely miserable but I am starting to feel like I can actually be a functional human being again. I’m a 25 year old that had a fairly active lifestyle before so seeing you talk about getting back to doing the things you love drives me to be patient with the process…but impatient at the same time haha.

    Just wondering:
    Do you feel like you’re now at a point where you don’t even (or barely) think about your procedure?
    Do you go out and not wonder about if there will be chairs/couches with good lumbar support?
    Do you bend down to pick up your kid without thinking about your ergonomics?
    Basically, do you feel like just any other normal human being again?

    Thank you.

    • Becky permalink*
      May 24, 2017

      Hi Allen! Congrats on being 4 weeks post surgery! Glad you are starting to feel better!

      To answer your questions:
      1. I don’t think about my procedure in any way than something I survived. I have completely forgotten how incredibly hard it was, how scary, and how bad the pain was before I had it. What I call my “surgery spot” part of my back NEVER hurts. I never have that constant piriformis pain, no pain ever shoots down my leg, and I’m never scared that I’ve re-injured my self. Ever. I still have muscle spasms from time to time from overuse but those were happening long before my herniation, I just have some curvature in my spine and have always had issues from overuse. I have to be careful, but that goes along the lines of “be good to your back.” I can do what I want, but there are certain moves/strains I know to avoid.

      2. I do not worry about chairs and couches when I’m out, but I do try to use good posture at home (doesn’t always happen). Our couch is pretty firm and we have a very firm mattress on our bed. I hate sleeping on the floor but I recently took a trip with a bunch of friends and we jammed in one hotel room so I took the floor and OMG my back felt AMAZING both days. So while soft couches and beds feel nice for a few minutes, very firm is much better for me.

      3. Again I try to use good posture and lifting techniques but I don’t really think about it. I carry my 2.5 year old all over the place (but I also make him walk a lot, common, he’s like 40 pounds!)

      4. I feel like a normal human being! I just don’t take my back for granted. I’ve heard re-herniation stories and don’t want to be one of them. :)

      Hope this helps! Hang in there and keep being patient!! It’s only a short time in the long run of life :)

  15. Rachel permalink
    June 4, 2017

    Becky,
    Thank you. Google is giving me PTSD, worrying about reinjury. I saw you said you have a 2.5yr old. I was going to try n get pregnant w my last baby this summer, but, then, L5S1 herniation ruined my life on march 30th. I am 2 wks post op. And 1 wk b4 surgi i was 100% bedridden, transported to hosp by 911. So on top of limping in pain for 7wks i had 1 wk of no movement, except screaming in pain. I feel lost in recovery, but hopeful. I really have completely been trying to wrap my head around no 3rd baby for our family. How long after discetomy did you get prego? Sciatica pain while prego? Csection???
    Oh i have so many questions

    • Becky permalink*
      June 5, 2017

      I’m so sorry to hear you were in that much pain! But you had the surgery and now just need to give yourself time to recover. My docs reminded me that I wasn’t only healing from surgery, I was healing from months of my nerve being smashed between a herniation and a bone spur…it sucks waiting but in the long run, it’s only a couple months, right? So I was also scared there would be no more kids in my future, but I felt SO good about 3 months after my surgery that I decided it was time to try for #2. I had absolutely no issues carrying my 2nd, no sciatica at all, and had a natural birth, no drugs, and no back pain. It helps that my second was born after only about 20 minutes of labor :). Take one thing at a time, focus on you (as much as you can with two kids to take care of!) and hopefully you will feel confident enough in a few months to try for #3!

  16. June 20, 2017

    Hi Becky,

    It was great to read your story. I’m day 21 post op today and I’m struggling a bit with the psychological recovery. This of course lead me to google which is usually the worst thing to do but Im so glad I found your post. I’m 26 and had a microdiscectomy at L5. I’ve had good days and bad days. I was told to lie flat as much as possible. I started sitting last week and I’ve slowly progressed to 20 mins at a time. Im also walking around for 20 mins at a time but so scared to over do it. I still have very mild sciatic paic in my left leg. Nothing like ot was pre op but its presence is freaking me out because I’m afraid that means Im over exerting myself!! Its actually good to have it reaffirmed that Im doing the right thing by resting still. I just feel so lazy and useless!!

    Michelle

    • Becky permalink*
      June 22, 2017

      I’m so glad my story helps give you some hope for a great recovery!! Keep up the walking, it’s important to keep those muscles working and helps with scar tissue too. But always smart to stop yourself from over-doing it. You aren’t lazy, you are recovering from major surgery, TO YOUR SPINE! Take it easy and good luck!

  17. July 18, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! I’m 26 and after 9 long months of pain from a car accident, I’m having my microdiscectomy at L5S1 tomorrow. Your story definitely helped calm my nerves.

    • Becky permalink*
      August 24, 2017

      Wow that is so scary Brittany, I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this! Hope your surgery went well and be kind to yourself during recovery! Happy I could help in any way :)

  18. August 24, 2017

    I’m so glad I found this. There’s too much horror on the internet. I am going in for my microdiscectomy in 2 weeks. I’m terrified. This gives me hope. I hope you post another update about it…how you’re doing 3 years later. Sounds like probably great! Yay!

    • Becky permalink*
      August 24, 2017

      I know Brenda, I have to stop myself from searching anything because the stories are so bad! I’m so glad I can offer some hope, I really am fully recovered and feel great 3 years later. I should do a follow up post based on how many people find me here! Good luck with your surgery and take it easy on yourself during recovery! Ask for help! Here’s hoping you are on the road to recovery.

  19. Nicole permalink
    August 25, 2017

    Thank you for this post! So many terrible stories. A ray of welcome sunshine this is!

    I am 4 weeks pre-op for a microdesectomy and doing one last ditch PT sessions in hopes for a miracle cure therefore not needing the operation at all. I always hope for this but anticipate after 11 months of trying What seems like everything , the operation will be what is needed
    Mine started with terrible buttock pain that would wake me every time I rolled over in bed (and still does) my PT and RMT treated it as periformace syndrome
    And after 2 months of no relief my GP sent me for and MRI and there is was mass l4l5 herniation. In the meanwhile if was getting tingling down back on my leg into my toes and sharp – punch you in the gut- outer shin pain. This is where I really became immobile ( feb 2017) I have to plan all outings carefully so I know ahead of time how far I have to walk so I know if I need to use my crutches.
    My GP sent off referral to Orthopedic surgeon (April 2017) who saw me within 5 weeks (June 2017) and he booked me for September 2017. She also sent off referral to a neurosurgeon at same time and I have that app before surgery and feel could about second opinion and possible options.

    Friends and family all have their opinion and it took me aback how many try to talk me out of doing it- they just have no clue be cause they have never had this. They can’t wrap their heads around why I can’t make it around the grocery store or walk the dogs around a small city block. Sometime I want to say “you got me! I am lying on the floor grimacing in pain at a family function for attention” lol.

    I am scared to have the operation but know that I cannot wait another 10 months to start living my life again so for that reason I am excited and optimistic. This thread makes me very hopeful.

    Thank you again for sharing!

    *typed on cell phone apologies for grammar and spelling*

    • Becky permalink*
      August 25, 2017

      I hear you Nicole, it comes down to “I have no choice.” When a physical therapist broke down what was probably going on in my back and explained the surgery, I cried. He was basically a stranger and I bawled in his gym. I was so terrified. And so I waited until the doctors told me I HAD to have the surgery. And honestly, it was a relief. I was so tired of being in pain and waiting for it to miraculously go away, since nothing I did seemed to make any difference. Until they’ve had back pain, others just won’t understand. You do what’s best for you and listen to your doctors. This is a very scary thing and I will never make anyone feel like it isn’t. I wish you luck and a speedy recovery! Six weeks is nothing compared to 11 months of pain, right?

  20. sandra o'kane permalink
    March 5, 2018

    I just read your story and you have inspired me. I am 49yrs old & coming up to 5months post microD L2/L3 surgery on the 9th March and I worry I won’t be the same again.
    I started with pain in my lower back which got worse and travelled to my right hip experiencing excruciating pain. I thought it was sciatica so got some physio & the pain subsided but my right thigh/leg was pretty weak so I had an MRI 2months after the pain started & I was told possible nerve sheath tumor or disc after 2nd MRI. I was up the walls with worry so had to have surgery asap because of possible tumor but it turned out to be a bulging disc. I was relieved there was no tumor but am experiencing discomfort most of the time post surgery.

    I feel great one day then crap the next thinking i will re-herniate. The pain is mostly in my lower middle back & it is very discomforting. Like you I feel it is affecting my family as I complain alot with the pain and am frustrated alot.

    I have enjoyed reading your story and now feel hopeful as I was starting to think I should be fine by now and hope I can really relate to your story once I’m 6months post op which is next month.

    I do physio once a week, walk almost every day & just started some PT which I feel unsure about as I’m have discomfort every day and thinking to give it up and just do my physio, walking & some swimming.

    I get confused on the wrong & right thing to do – feel pain if i do too much & pain if i do nothing.
    It’s hard to reach a happy medium. I also feel like I’m always using my back surgery as an excuse when I genuinely can’t do certain things.

    I also feel like I never can get the right advice from doctors & even physios on pain, relief & how long this will take to heal etc…… it gets so down-heartening.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s comforting when people understand your pain and experience in all this.

    • Becky permalink*
      March 8, 2018

      Hi Sandra, so happy my posts can offer some hope! I’m sorry you are dealing with pain still, and all the anxiety that goes with it. I hope you turn the corner soon, start feeling good more and more!!

  21. June 18, 2018

    I had disk fusion surgery in 2006 and was pain free until Jan 2017. I had an MRI and was told I had a herniated disk but that a micro discectomy should fix me right up. After the surgery I woke up and was asked to walk. I had been experiencing horrible sciatic pain and foot numbness. As soon as I woke up I got up walked to the restroom and was pain free except for the surgical sight pain. Two days later the sciatic pain is back worse than before. My doctor keeps referring me to pain management and this person and that person. I finally talked them into a follow up MRI and was told it looked fine and should improve with time. That was six months ago and I have had only one short bout of relief that lasted until I walked around the zoo. Hasn’t stopped hurting since although they say the surgery looks good. I am at a loss. I was hooked on pain pills before and refuse to take them again. Please anyone with any ideas?

    • Becky permalink*
      June 18, 2018

      I’m so sorry Danny, this sounds really horrible. My only advice would be to get a second opinion, it doesn’t sound like your doctor is taking your pain seriously enough. I hope you find relief soon!

  22. July 8, 2018

    Thank you for

  23. July 8, 2018

    Thank you for writing this. I am going into week 5 after the microdiscectomy. I am now crying daily, frustrated and in fear I will never recover. Was given the ok to start walking, 20 minutes per day and can increase weekly. My body is so stiff, aches- not the same as the sciatic pain before (mine got to the point that I could not walk or stand), so grateful that has been relieved. I was very very active before now still can’t sit for more than 15 minutes. I’m told that I am healing and my issues are normal and part of the process. Just frustrated and hoping that one day, I’ll feel like myself again.

    • November 4, 2018

      Also 5 weeks post op too , am feeling the exact thing with groin ,thigh , down leg pain and now hip pain !!!! Just want to get moving again , without hurting .

  24. November 4, 2018

    Great , read up !!! Thank you , I m 5 weeks post op Discectomy after 2 years of pain in leg and back , I still have have pain and cant walk properly , just limp, and hip pain too . Just feels as though its not going to get better . I have given up doing so much and just want to return to ‘normal’ life again , as in even just walking …. no pain , I cycled everywhere , which I really enjoy but even that was painful . Anyway was wondering what I could to relieve groin, thigh outer leg pain . What stretches , exercises …… Am always googling stuff now for info , yours has been the best .

  25. Robert permalink
    December 29, 2018

    Had microdiscectomy 11-1-18 On L5S1 ( second on, first one was on L4 15 years ago ) Am now 8 weeks post op and feeling very good ! I believe the trick is to find a great surgeon and do exactly as they say. I started PT 2 weeks after surgery twice a week and also at home on off days, very important. PT takes about an hour and a half to do, including heat and icing, so watch a movie and get on the floor and do your PT. I know it’s hard to do this on your own but what else are you doing ? Sitting and watching tv right. Also walk walk walk, I wore a path out on the carpet doing laps like a caged tiger, get up every hour and move. Keep a positive outlook, you will get better ! Also DO NOT READ THE HORROR STORIES on the net, they are nothing but bad vibes. Put in the work and you will gradually feel better, when this happens the more you will be glad you put in the work. It’s a great feeling only those of us in this club appreciate. So hang in there, be persistent, and you will get better.

  26. Roselyn permalink
    January 13, 2019

    Hi Becky,
    Thank you for your story. I am three weeks post op. I took my dogs out (2 50 lb labs) and got pulled a little. I immediately knew I shouldn’t have probably done that. I now have hip pain and buttocks pain and some soreness in my calf like before. Just hoping that it goes away soon. My doctor assured me I didn’t re herniate but its just taking a toll on my emotions! I just want to get back to doing normal things again. I dealt with my pain for exactly a year before I was able to get surgery. Now I just feel like it is never going to get better. I am 26 years old and am a teacher so constantly on the floor with the kids. Ugh, thanks so much for your story tho! I hope that this goes away. I start therapy Tuesday! I had my surgery 12/21/18

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