Discectomy Pain

Discectomy Recovery: The Should and Shouldn’t Do

The list of things I was told to do by medical professionals post discectomy was short.  They told me to rest, eat healthy and avoid any position that involved flexion.  I was prescribed enough painkillers to last a week, instructed to walk a little bit more each day to stimulate blood-flow and once again, to avoid any bending, hunching or movement that would push the disc at L4/L5 laterally.  All of this advice seemed obvious but was appreciated and after a few days the soreness subsided and I gained my strength back.  As Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, founder and president of Atlantic Spine Center states in this well advised article: Do’s and Don’ts after Spine Surgery “patients and their families should be aware of several things that can smooth the transition from hospital to home, and then back to regular life”

But what about long term?  It’s become obvious that I won’t be able to do all the things I did before I was sidelined by Sciatica and that I’ll need to change some habits, routines and lifestyle choices to avoid re-herniating.  Though I’m still in the early stages of figuring all this out, it has donned on me that perhaps a discectomy could be seen as a pivot point in my life.  An opportunity to try things that I might not have if ye ol’ back hadn’t forced me to.  But the tradeoff is yet to be determined so I’ll hang on to my mountain bike for now.

Here’s a good research study done on 196 patients who had discectomies and how it impacted their lives long-term.


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