Hemilaminectomy and microdisectomy L4 L5 and walking like a number 1 :-)

Posted , 5 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

Just sharing my experience 1week postsurgery... my sciatica pain down my righr leg is completely gone. I have a tingling sensation in my left big toe and 2nd toe...mind you this is a huge improvement as those toes were previously numb.

Prior to surgery l had pain that would come and go for a period of about 6 years. I worked as a treasury officer in a Bank lifting money bags and boxes on a frequent basis.

Having become more sedentary in the last 2 years my pain became more intense and constant. I have been told sitting causes more pressure on the discs. October last year l lifted 2 watercooler bottles up a stairs at the office and replaced an empty one on the cooler. My pain became acute and walking was severely hampered. Not to mention l began walking bent like a number 5. I became a patient of 2 chiropracters which provided temporary relief to the nerve pain l had been experiencing. Following an MRI I had consultations with 3 neurosurgeons. One wrongly diagnosed cauda equina (confirmed the error with the other 2 surgeons and 1 chiropracter) and informed me my option was rods and screws...disc removal and fusion. Thankfully l chose the surgeon who offered a minimally invasive procedure and l am recovering well. My postop appointment is tomorrow. The 3rd surgeon did provide important advice that prepared my body for surgery and is helping my healing. He advised me to follow a vegan diet for 2 weeks prior surgery. I had to eat at least 3 potspoons of peas per day along with fruits vegetables and whole grains, lots of water, apple juice, ginger tea and supplements vitamin C, B, folic acid, vitamin E in specified potent amounts,and coconut oil. I was instructed to stay away from garlic (thins the blood), pepper (except cayenne pepper) as it irritates the nerves and citrus that also irritates the nerves.

I have reintroduced lean meat and fish into my diet and have found l feel great!!! I have decided to eliminate citrus for the next 6months. I have booked a Caribbean holiday (2 months post surgery) to refresh myself.

Throughout the pain experience l have kept a positive and prayerful mind. I had no fear going into surgery and was excited to regain my life and return to doing the things l loved.

I watched comedies before surgery to ensure my 'happy hormones' were always activated and meditated on a picture in my mind of myself jumping and lauging and excercising which l love. One week Post surgery l'm not jumping yet but keeping the laughter and gratitude high!!!

I hope my story encourages you to take charge of your health and encourage optimum healing.

0 likes, 24 replies


24 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there - thank you so much for sharing.  I am so happy you are better and how could you not be.  So positive - hope some rubs off on me.  Enjoy your vacation - truly deserve wink

    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your kind comments and wishes....remember at 1 week post surgery l'm still on the road to renewal :-) ....

      This site has taught me that my journey has just begun....l trust that your journey will also be an inspiring story....what is your procedure?

    • Posted

      I started having lateral calf pain and then pins and needles on thigh - my doc was on sick leave so I went to the hospital and was given naproxen. Told it was tendinitis. Then I had pain in wrist and given prednisone for tendinitis and referred to rheumatologist. Calf pain kept getting worse the naproxen or prednisone did not touch it.  Did MRI for leg showed nothing. MRI back showed L4-L5 herniation so sent me to neurologist who did probe into front of calf with needle and said probably coming from back so gave me Gabapentin. Had so much pain in ankle after neurologist probed with needle needed to walk with cane. Was told to double Gabapentin and have epidural. I did not have back pain until several months after calf started hurting. I am sure the back pain is due to walking different because of the calf pain. The rheumatologist gave me celebrex and helps a bit. I also had a subtalar cortisone injection.  I can't believe having so much ankle and low calf pain that is coming from the back.  

      It's been over a year of doctors - hope I get somewhere soon - really depressing.  

    • Posted

      Thank you for sharing.....Your experience really touches me...l am sorry you are having so much discomfort. You have reminded me that before my quest for solutions l experienced severe cramps in my calves in the past 3 years, the right one in particular. I never made any connection to my back.....That pain was intense...at other times l had shooting pain that felt like ants walking up and down my left leg. I had to be taken to A&E a couple times for pain injections. I had piriformis syndrome as well...My back only began hurting, as you correctly identified, when the body makes compensating adjustments.

      Walking became so difficult the week before the operation that l reserved it for trips to the bathroom or getting into a vehicle....you are not alone...l totally understand what you are going through....

      I was prescribed Olfen 75, mydocalm and neurobine forte....

      One neurosurgeon showed me a nerve diagram that highlights the relationship to the discs at different levels....you may be well on your way to getting major relief....l pray so....

  • Posted

    I had severe sciatica around 4-5 years ago...nothing worked.  Neurosurgeon went in and found a bone spur "crushing" (his word) my sciatic nerve root at L4/L5.  Shaved it off plus a little of the calcified disk at L5/S1.  Walked out of the hospital pain-free that afternoon.  No rehab.  Took a few days of anti-inflammatories to calm down the jagged nerve but that laminectomy fixed the problem in a heartbeat.

    Comedies: Perfect.  Norman Cousins wrote a fantastic book "Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient" back in 1985.  Cured himself of a rare illness by locking himself in a hotel room and watching old films of The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, etc.  Basically, he laughed his way to health.

    Understand that the mind can only focus on one thing at one time.  If it's your pain that that becomes your whole life.  If it's something else (book, movie, killing zombies on Xbox...), the pain recedes to the back of your mind.  Pain can be controlled if your mind wills it.  Then again, there are kidney stones.  Sorry...2mg Dilaudid IV push STAT!!!!  I'm really good but there ain't no mind that can handle that...I know because I've had four...FOUR!!!  On a scale of 1-10, I'd say we're probably high four figures...  Dupont used to have a motto in the 50's: "Better Living Through Chemistry."  YES!!!!!!  Sometimes ya just gotta go down that path...no choice...

    • Posted

      Our minds are really powerful indeed....never had kidney stones but l heard that pain is on another level......

      It is refreshing to know that your laminectomy was successful....how long ago was that?

      Laughter is definitely a great medicine smile

    • Posted

      About 5 years ago.  Then two years ago, I needed a fusion of L3-S1...and now I've been suffering from spinal foraminal stenosis since October.  Sciatic pain down BOTH legs.  Surgery is March 24th.  

      Doc had two choices: 1. Unzip my back, take out all the hardware, clean everything up and then fuse me L2-S1...or 2. Use a new EXPANDABLE spacer.  The neurosurgeon uses the skills of a general surgeon to open me up FROM THE SIDE and inserts the spacer in L2/L3.  Then he uses an allen wrench to crank open the spacer (like a jack lifting a car when you have a flat) until he gets the separation he wants to open the formainal canal and free the nerve.

      Option 1 results in 5 days in the hospital and 6 months of rehab.  Option 2 ends up being one day in the hospital, zero pain immediately, no rehab and a permanent solution.

      Guess which one I chose... 

      How did I get this way...including an artificial hip and a metal knee?  Hockey...45 years of it.  For people engaged in competitive, high contact sports, warning: there's ALWAYS a price to pay somewhere down the road...ALWAYS...

    • Posted

      Wow what an experience!!! I guess that's why my mom quit competitive hockey early....

      I am inspired by your courage, sport and adventure...l guess you chose option #2

      You must have had many priceless rewarding moments in your life playing competitive sport....

      My aim is to be able to maintain my pain free state and do 4 miles of walking daily which include steep inclines...and of course return to work....l also want to be able to hike and, if l have to, run with my luggage to a flight terminal smile

    • Posted

      On day 10 l had my first postop visit where my stiches at the 1" incision were removed....The surgeon said l was healing nicely...

      I confirmed that l was using correct body mechanics to lift (nothing over 5lbs) move and function while performing daily tasks around the home....

      Today l will start my back strengthening excercises beginning with planks...of course the approach includes a happyy positive mindset!!! I really thank God for my progress 💕

    • Posted

      Slow and easy.  If you overdo it, notice the signs and back off.  After these types of surgery, the phrase "no pain, no gain" is the worst way to approach a gym.  For us "pain = setback" is more appropriate.

      My daughter is a graduate nutritionist plus an ACSM- and ACE-certified personal trainer for over 16 years. (American College of Sports Medicine certification is the gold standard...take two years to obtain.  Plus she's got 16 ACE certifications.)  Her recommendation is to start with light weight and more reps...endurance before strength.  Then add weight gradually.  Any pain...back off.  Give it a try...

    • Posted

      No pain no gain was the leitmotif in jiu jitsu class.....Agreed....Slow and easy indeed is the order of the day...thanks man smile

      The plank felt good. The superman stretch felt good. I decided to follow your advice and go slowly....Yesterday l walked on a gentle incline in my neighbourhood....and that felt great...l'm building up to take on my driveway which is steep...then the hills where l live, that helped build my total body condition....ahhhh !!! l did notice that dinner plates no longer feel heavy...

  • Posted

    Today marks 14 days post surgery...l walked 1 mile today with one down hill slope and it felt good...but l'm soooo tired this evening...happily so...

    Dinner plates have become lighter and l rarely experience any discomfort in my back....one thing though...if l lie on my back my incision hurts...so l stay on my side...

    A bit of numbness and sometimes a tingling in my left foot...

    Still enjoy naps during the day and l'm allowing the healing process to take its course...



  • Posted

    I am 6 weeks post surgery and had a reminder on Saturday that the healing process is not controlled by me....my actions just support the process....I listen to my body and maintain a consciousness in ALL that I do.

    My goal is functional fitness so my posture and alignment are paramount in all my movements day to day...

    I am thankful to God that now I am able to wash most dishes, travel in a vehicle without feeling a pull in my back (I use a cushion for support) and I can walk moderate inclines with ease, using small steps...

    Tolerance for sitting has improved and once I sit for 45 mins maximum I get up and walk/ stretch a little....

    My day includes the performance of lunges, body aligning on a wall, and stretching on a stepstool with only the balls of my feet in contact  with the stool and bridges are working well for me...

    I practice squatting when retrieving low items and minimize forward bending......maintaining a neutral spine is paramount..I must say that it is only at week 5 I introduced a small amount of formal excercise.

    I let my body tell me what I can lift and so far I can comfortably move items around the  house that weigh about 1 L.

    The challenge remains pulling open the doors of some establishments...I wait for someone else either going in or coming out.

    Diet wise I eat everything maintaining a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables. I drink about 2L water every day, no citrus juices. Protein through beans meat and fish is high on my list.

    I take suplements; a multivitamin,hign potency B vitamin, Glucosamine, chrondroitin and MSM and Omega 3.

    I remain in a spirit of thankfulness.

    I know there is much more distance to cover on my journey and with wisdom, God's guidance and practicing functional fitness I'm well on my way to a remarkable recovery smile 

    Be encouraged



    • Posted

      Hi Malaika,

      i enjoyed reading your positive progress and wish and wish you continued success in recovery. 

      Are you you still using a physiotherapist at this stage post op ?

      good advice on the preparation for surgery diet - while I am quite new to this, a change in diet may help general healing - so will start to make changes smile

      all the best


    • Posted

      Thank you Jay.....

      I'm not usung a physiotherapist at this stage however l do the excercises no more than 15 mins on a morning after drinking approximately 500ml of water to rehydrate the discs to take on excercise pressure.....

      While l'm at home l walk along my corridor in lunges and practice neutral spine position standing against a wall...this helps me gauge and eliminate forward pelvic tilt...

      The diet really makes sense....l'm happy the information was useful...

      In terms of lifting items l have no strain when l hold them in front of me, higher than my waist and close to my body....

      I attended a church service yesterday and found that clapping strained my back...soooooo l have decided to add clapping to my excercise routine...

      As l reintegrate into life l take mental notes of any actvity challenges and adjust my workout...

      Are you due to have a procedure?

      Time, healing, renewal,

      M .

    • Posted

      Heh M,

      At present I am looking to give conservative management the best chance I can in the aim of avoiding surgery. That said, mentally I am more prepared if this is the direction of my future.

      For me the biggest problem is sitting and I can't do this for any real length of time which i think is mentally worrying me more than I expected.

      I'm shaking this off though and from tomorrow trying to refocus on sticking to a holistic programme covering excercise and diet.

      Keep posting M and keep up the good work smile

    • Posted

      Tis great that you will give diet and excercise a chance!!!

      Our bodies are able to heal themselves given the right environment....

      The 3rd neurosurgeon l saw would have liked me to give that a try but if l was able to be off work to try this l would have...it's not so easy when you have an employer and are bound by HR regulations....

      He did tell me that a patient who beat his condition with diet and excercise was a martial artist and mechanic who also received regular injections....not sure what or where....but his condition improved, l was told....

      There is all to gain from trying

      Courage, wisdom, patience

      M .

    • Posted

      Just an update....

      I am 7 weeks post surgery and decided to give up carrying a cushion around for back support while travelling. This is to encourage my muscles to work to stabilise my spine under different conditions.

      I have been in different modes of transport post surgery and have found some vehicle front seats very uncomfortable. I took a domestic flight and l felt like the seat was trying to curl me in....thank God theflight was only 20 mins.


      * Take a small pillow for lumbar support and neck support on an aeroplane just in case there aren't any on board.

      * Avoid front seats with uncomfortable head rests.

      An appointment with my neurosurgeon is scheduled this week.

      I have added side planks to my excercise regime.....while listening to my body when it whispers...no need for it to speak loudly ?

      I carry a light bag when l'm out to literally hold my money keys and handkerchief...l hold this bag on one shoulder.....no attempt made at this stage to try a backpack....no lumbar loading for a while...

      The journey continues...

      #functionalfitness #healinginprogress

    • Posted

      Sounds very sensible and 7 weeks in your progress sounds like it's all on track. Agree with you on uncomfortable car seats... my car has low seats and I made the error of driving it a few weeks after injury which really slowed me down. I'm opting to not drive for now which in London is fine with the public transport network. I'm guessing your in the states which would make this much more difficult. Remember not to overdo things 😀

    • Posted

      Car seats...car seats...car seats..sometimes I have issues with restaurant seats ....in some food courts for example....in time I know these issues will be a thing of the past !!! smile

      I had my 2nd post surgery visit where we discussed returning to work... I was asked to slowly bend and touch my toes and bend on both my left and right sides...I was rather shocked at the surgeon's question but I performed the stretches and I felt soooooo much better afterwards...

      He explained that the pulling sensation I would feel occasionally on my left side was scar tissue and once I added stretches to my excercise I would soon be relieved of those symptoms...so now I have added stretches to my excercise routine and the difference is remarkable.... I am now able to clearly make a distinction when I feel movements with my spine...

      I return to work on Monday....so I'll see how this week fares...

      Oh now clapping is like second nature haha smile



Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up