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I had an L5 S1 microdiscectomy on the 17th June 2016 (10 weeks ago). I had a large hernia and leakage from the disc and had sciatica and weakness in my left calf muscle. After the op, at first my recovery was really good. Pretty much no back pain at all, and strength coming back steadily to my calf. I had started work doing 4-5 hours a day standing at my desk with no ill effects, and as much walking on the flat as I liked. I was doing Physio with lots of gusto and felt great.
Then after my 6 week check up, I blew it. I did a 100 minute mountain hike and a 30 minute bike ride. Idiotic. I know. I was feeling great before and during and thought I could handle this if I went steadily. 100% wrong.
The next day I woke up with 7/10 pain in my back and leg. I stayed in bed for the best part of a week. It started to get better but still bad. Then at the end of the week I had a crisis at work and had to stand about for about 3 hours. That was the last straw.
Since then I have had ongoing pain around the site of the op. I can't stand for more than a couple of minutes without getting a sharp progressing pain in my lower left back. The leg pain is mild for now thankfully. I tried continuing to walk while I recovered for the first 2 weeks. About 1km every couple of hours. That was a bit up and down and I was getting depressed at the lack of any progress. My surgeon gave me an MRI that showed no reherniation, just more scar tissue as expected. She said it ought to get better, gave me a load more painkillers and said to keep moving around and walking. The relief alone actually helped with the back pain a bit bizarrely. But not for long...
I tried continuing walking daily, about 3 x 20 mins, but the pain just stayed the same for another 10 days. I went to my GP to get some meds to deal with my terrible mood and lack of sleep. The frustration, lack of confidence in my recovery and anger at my own stupid action has been causing me to get really depressed.
He told my to do much less walking as this would aggravate the damage to the tissue in my back and that I should lie down most of the time. He said to do very light Physio only. He gave me Valium to help sleep and put me back on 20mg of steroids to help with the inflammation.
I am 5 days into this and going a bit crazy. First I don't know if I should believe my surgeon and go with the active recovery, or the GP and 'let everything calm down'. Second I don't notice any difference to the symptoms with either approach. Honestly, if I had confidence in either course I could relax but they basically disagree completely! And no one is saying what specifically is wrong and how/when it will get better.
In writing this and comparing to other people's posts I do appreciate that many have it much worse than me. Plus I also have the luxury of being able to take a bit more time off work and having a saintly wife to look after me. But my state of mind is kind of in free fall as I don't know when all this will bottom out and get better, and whether I will ever get back to the very active lifestyle I had before... So any words of wisdom would be hugely appreciated.
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