recovery time

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Hi Jules,

I have just read your post to Gail. It will be three months before you can go back to work??? That really shocked me. I was planning on having off just under 6 weeks for my L5/S1 microdiscectomy, including the op itself, hospital time, everything. I need to be back at work early January. I really thought just under 6 weeks would have it covered. Have I got it horribly wrong? Dare I ask how long other people reading this as well have needed to have off work after their op?? I work in an office in London, with just over an hour commute by bus/train each way so I understand it would be a bit of a tiring trek each day.

How's progress, generally?? Have you still got your grabber or is that not consigned to the cupboard, or e-bay smile smile smile smile

Best wishes

TFU

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  • Posted

    Hi Truly,

    My Occupational Health nurse has advised 3 months post-op recovery due to the nature of my work..I'm a Community nurse so I do quite a lot of driving, short trips but it's constantly in and out of the car and during visits and as I administer injections there's bending over someone lying on a bed or if they stand up I need to kneel on the floor. So my back needs to be quite strong prior to returning to work. There's also the thing about posture....my visits can be for up to an hour, so whilst I dont mind standing if the person I visit doesn't have a suitable chair, it could be quite uncomfortable for him/her to have me standing over them. The job is also very fast paced, but fortunately the only lifting I have to do is that of my work bag which is quite heavy and there is no way I can contemplate carrying that at the mo. You might be OK after 6 weeks, it depends on your job, as you are not driving and office based it should be OK..are they going to do a workplace assessment when you go back. I am going to ask for one for my office space and also go through all aspacts of my job with Occ Health prior to returning as I want to ensure that nothing at work will compromise my back's continued recovery.

    Everything continues to go well, I am driving which is FAB and returning to a normal life. Before the op I was disabled. I could not walk far due to the pain, could not drive or work and was taking Morphine. The operation has given me my life back. A few days before the op I too was having serious doubts and that's when I started posting on here. I have found that the operation is no where near as bad as the pain I was having. I was more limited in what I could do after the op in terms of bending lifting etc and still am to some extent but this is a means to an end as this is part of my recovery....but 3 weeks post-op I have my life back. Tonight I drove my daughter to Guides and saw her make her promise...I couldn't have done this before. I get really emotional at times because I can now do things as before and there were times when I thought I would have that pain forever. I have a different take on life now and don't take it for granted. :D

    Take care,

    Jules xx :D :D

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I had my surgery ( 2 level spinal decompression ) which took 6 hours, on the 8th of June this year , and I have returned to work twice , and am once again at home because of some residual pain. I must admit my surgery was difficult , and I have come a very long way in my general recovery, but because I can now stand upright , I have been getting sacroiliac pain. This was because of my change in posture. I think it all depends on what you had done , and also how quickly you heal. I know I have been fixed , so I'm just trying to be very patient which is hard when youve been in terrible pain for so long. Core muscle work is very important too.I have a sitting job in an office , and when I go back I have to sit on a wedge cushion , interdispersed with time on a ball cushion. You must make sure you get up and move around every 20 - 30 mins or so as well when you go back.

    I wish you a very very speedy recovery, but just take it easy!

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  • Posted

    hi all

    my job is more or less same as jules , only i have to use the hoists etc so i was more or less thinking around 3 mths , i said to my team leader i want to make sure im %100 fit before i go back cos i dont want to go back on sick. i have been thinking of my posture i do try and be good about it but i and several other people have noticed that my position is strange my shoulder is higher than the other one and my head is permanantly tilted??prob physio will sort that out post op hopfully. people cant believe it when i tell them that i done this injury over 2 yrs ago and im still like it. i couldnt believe it myself looking at the copies of my xrays and mri they were a whole year apart!!!! no wonder my posture is bad eh.

    beaglemum you say you had two level spinal decompression, at what level im waiting to have the same at c5-6 and c6-7. ONE DAY!!!.

    gail

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  • Posted

    Hi Girls,

    Phew!!!! I feel a bit better now. I was really panicking. I understand now why you need extra time off, Jules and Gail. Beaglemum, seems you do similar work to me. I will try to keep moving around, but it is difficult. I do take a little break for a walk about at around 4.00 each day. I will have to try to be more careful when I go back to work after the op. Unfortunately, in my job, January is manic and I'm more used to doing 80 plus hours of overtime during that month than taking it easy.

    Quite where I go for back to work advice, or even back to normality advice I have no idea. Where do I find this Occy Health person, or do they find me???

    I know that in terms of pain, I am luckier than most people, at least I can function reasonably well, even if it is just due to the truck load of opiates I take each day. Without them, I'm on my knees. I am also highly dissociative (I have PTSD) which certainly helps as well. Also, I have a lot more numbness than pain now. At one time it was all pain and plenty of it, but now I would say the numbness is a greater problem. The surgeon described it as \"less of a nuisance\" which yep, it is that, but it is also more likely to be permanent, even after the op. On that basis given the choice I would rather have had the pain back, as the prognosis is better!! I will also be interested to see how the op affects my walking. As a result of the disc problem I ended up with foot drop. With little pain (due to the meds) and 'normal' or 'numb' elsewhere it isn't too bad, but with pain and numbness combined, it is awful beyond belief. They are a sort of double act. It's sort of like adding 5 for the pain and 5 for the numbness, but getting an overall score of 123!! It makes no sense. In anticipation, I am going to buy a walking stick. I really needed one before when the pain/numbness was really bad, but thought that was the beginning of the end, so I didn't buy it. I used to stumble/trip/fall a lot as a result, but after the op I can't risk falling over, particularly in the winter.

    As for getting my life back, right now that concept seems totally alien to me. Even though I only did this on 4/5 January 2007, I have got so used to it now, I can't imagine anything any different.

    I am pleased to hear that people say how surgery has transformed their lives. I find that quite hopeful. I have learned so much from the people here and am very grateful for that.

    Best wishes

    TFU

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  • Posted

    Hi Truly,

    Just one question, why will you need a walking stick? I'd wait and see until after the op for what you will need. If you need one they may even supply one at the hospital. Prior to the op I was certainly compensating with my right side and found I was sitting like that after the op which was more habit than neccessity. The physio should see you post-op and go through your excercises which I had to start on day 1. I am still doing these x4 a day...they are lumbar stabilisation excercises. The physio had given me a copy of these at the pre-op assessment so I practised them prior to the op. It's also so important to keep moving, walking, but within your limitations..how will you now your limitations? All I can say is that you will at the time. You know, it is so amazing how quickly your body recovers after the surgery...it's been 3 weeks for me and I'm amazed at what I am able to do ..I still have limitations but as I said in my last post it's a means to an end. I didn't have the microdiscectomy I had the open plan version and I'm in a good place at the mo and I'm sure you'll be fine. Just remember to do your physio, be positive and be very aware of your posture. By the way, Occupational Health is provided by the employer so it's worth checking out if you have access to one.

    Take care,

    Jules xx :D :D

    PS check out my blog to see how it was post op

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  • Posted

    Hi Jules,

    I don't think my employer would have an occy health person, so it looks like it will just be me muddling along then.

    As for the walking stick.....when there is pain in the equation, my mobility is bad. When pain isn't in the equation (thru the meds) it is pretty good. It is this whole pain meets numbness thing that is the problem. I don't know how to describe it really. But with pain meets numbness, I have a lot of pain in my foot when I walk, I can't lift my foot up properly, my foot sort of tips inwards on contact with the ground and my foot and knee are unco-ordinated, they are sort of out of sync with each other. With all this I can barely walk 100 yards without stumbling (or worse). To add to my joy, struggling along makes the back pain worse, much sharper, pulling into my leg with every step. After a while I am totally exhausted and I have to lie down. But when pain isn't in the equation, just the numbness, things are a thousand times better. When I came off the meds for 27 hours I was shocked at how quickly I went from functioning very well, back to this scenario again. I think that I had convinced myself that wasn't going to happen any more. That over the months, I had improved. The worse of my pain is in my foot. When this kicked off in January the pain was much higher, towards the top of my leg, then over the following weeks it went much lower right into my foot, then the numbness crept in until eventually most of my leg from knee to ankle was numb. To counter this, the pain in my foot at night was unbearable, it was like my foot was being crushed on the inside. Then after a few weeks, the pain became a burning sensation at night, but now at night it is numb, apart from 4 of my toes which hurt all the time (a lot) and are now permanently scrunched up and locked. My days of wearing flip flops are well and truly over!!! Now the numbness has crept to about three inches above my knee. That came after a few days of feeling like I had insects walking over my leg. My leg generally is much weaker and I have lost a fair amount of muscle, but actually that is from both legs. I have been told the op probably/possibly won't do much if anything for the numbness. The relief from pain isn't going to come immediately, and so then I'm back to the pain meets numbness and the mobility problems, unless I keep taking the tablets, but I don't suppose that will be encouraged as it defeats the point of the operation. I know that after the op you are supposed to keep mobile and I am happy to do that as I am a very active person, but I am not expecting a miracle and if the pain and the numbness can't be kept apart, I know what is coming. I don't want to risk stumbling or tripping as it will be hard enough to keep my balance and not fall over with the pain and numbness resuming their double act, but after the op it could be disasterous. As I say when the pain is under control with the meds I am really pretty much ok, but the contrast when the pain isn't under control is very extreme.

    Does this make the slightest bit of sense to the L5/S1 people?

    Best wishes

    TFU

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  • Posted

    Hi Truly,

    What you are saying makes perfect sense, the sciatic pain is unbearable. I had awful pain from my buttock down to my toes, it felt like the worst Chinese burn you could imagine! The medication helps you to function too but these also have their down side but it's a benefit vs risk scenario. I think as well when you are incapacitated by the pain and cant move quickly/normally you feel vulnerable to being knocked/pushed by other people, especially in busy areas. I'm no expert but I would seek advice from the physio about the walking stick as using a stick could also affect your posture. After the op, your legs may feel very strange for a week or two with the nerves and muscles regaining some of their sensation. After the op I still had this feeling of vulnerability which is completely normal as I was guarding my back. This passes and once your on meds whch dont mess with your head your confidence grows no end. You may find that you do not have any more pain in your affected leg too which is great. I now it's hard to be positive after what you have been through and there are no guarantee's that the op will work and there are risks involved but again this is a benefits vs risk scenario. When my surgeon went through all the risks on the day of the op I was a wreck and wanted to run away but I'm so glad to have had the op. It's your decision but if I were you I'd wait and see afterwards re the walking stick.....and is your like me you'll be too busy carrying your new best friend the grabber around with you.

    Take care hun,

    Jules xx :D :D

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