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4 week update post microdiscectomy

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:31 am
by Henry
Just to let you all know that 4 weeks post surgery I am very pleased with the way it has gone. Almost all pain now gone apart from a minor tingling and numbness on front of shin where the pain had been terrible before the microdiscectomy. Now almost got my life back and know how to pick things up without bending over and am doing lots of exercises including core strengthening and now easing into the RYB ones also. Surgery seems to have worked for me but I think I was a particularly severe case and as mentioned before I just couldn't put up with any more pain or relapses. Getting a good surgeon was the main thing and it was he who convinced me to have the surgery based on his experiences of doing 500 back ops a year.

Regards to all,

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:52 pm
by astro
Good for you Henry and glad it worked out as we all hoped for you!

I think the mental side of it was harder to handle than the physical for you, that's the way it was for me too, I understand where you're coming from.

We all seem to concentrate on the physical aspect but to me as I was laying there for months awake at night in agony, losing weight, my leg wasting away, the really debilitating part was the thoughts of doom and gloom. I just couldn't lay there any longer! I was going crazy so I forced myself to get up, get better or bust.

But....I'm making fantastic progress with Dean's RYB and Randolph's "push the envelope' mentality, it really does work! BUT.. you have to know how far to push have to build up, I've found it took 2-3 days after a hard RYB session or hard long walk to feel the benefits, recover and attempt another. Cobras seem to be fine anytime, anywhere, especially in between the hard sessions where you're back muscles stiffen up and get rigid. Then you can build up daily RYB and walks.

Cobras are my mainstay, for me they're the single best exercise. Doesn't matter if you can't do them properly yet, just do them, push yourself a little. Walking also worked wonders. I was hobbling along half doubled over 5 steps at a time for a mile. With the pain I felt, I thought I would either collapse, get better or end up in a wheelchair, but I got better, for me at that stage I truly didn't care about the pain any longer, it was the thought of losing my whole way of life that pushed me on.

I listened to my body, I learned how far I can push myself and then back off. This is important, don't push yourself until you have recovered from the previous session.

I haven't relapsed as did Henry, it's been all progress for me. I can fully understand the blow to his confidence once that happened...and his decision to have surgery. I think he did a bit too much too quickly. (settle down Henry!)

So to any newbies out there, I advise you to read, read and re-read all the postings you can. Not only will you gain knowledge of how real life people deal with this sciatic monster, learn from mistakes, gain from successes, you will also gain courage and confidence to beat this thing!

Anyway, these are my thoughts...and happy for you Henry, I know the relief you feel getting your life back, I'm getting mine back now and it's better than ever, savoring every moment.


Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:54 pm
by randolph
Thanks for the good news, Henry! What kind of post-op PT instructions did the surgeon leave with you? Getting any regular, supervised PT? I'd be interested to know what kind of post-op care you receive, thanks.

Thanks for your good news, too, Greg. I get the impression you're recovering much faster than I did, in response to your willingness to push yourself more than I was willing. Good Show!! Glad there have been no relapses. Looks like you've found that fine, middle ground between not doing enough and doing too much, so you can heal as fast as possible.

I continue fine and better. Had a nice 1 hr run in the cool morning air a few days ago, and have been keeping up with the honey-do's ... including 3 hours of hand-digging 2' trenches for a French drain, today ... with plenty of breaks for forward and backward bends.


Further update and PT post surgery

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:58 pm
by Henry
Just to let you all know that everything still going well after surgery and just an odd tingle in the leg but no pain. Can also sit OK now. I have had 6 PT sessions. Mainly core strengthening pilates type exercise to strengthen transverse abdominal muscles. I plan to join a pilates class soon. Minor bridging exercises and rolling side to side with knees up also advised. I asked about cobra positions and was told OK standing but go gently. I suppose it is slightly different after surgery compared with using cobra etc to deal with an actual prolapse. Dean may have other ideas but I must admit I am not sure whether to use the RYB exercises now my prolapse is sorted surgically. The other big thing I have been told about which I don't think figures much in Deans book is lifting, how to lift, bending knees, getting close to objects before picking them up etc. Also stopping and walking about after 30-45 minutes driving if possible. All this is aimed at preventing another prolapse. It feels as though my actual prolapse where is has been operated on is all healing very well with fibrous tissue formation and my optimism is steadily increasing. Hope this helps any sufferers who are thinking about surgery because pain is too bad to wait any longer just using exercises. If you are going down the surgery route only do it as a last resort but above all check up and make sure the surgeon knows what he is doing Ask to speak to some of his recent patients.

Regards to all


Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:00 pm
by randolph
Hello Henry.

This comes in response to your Sept27 post on Cygnet's thread, but seemed better to post on your thread, since it concerns how to continue healing from your injury and surgery.

You ask a good, challenging question: what is the right amount of exercising to do, to get maximum healing in minimum time? It would be interesting to hear everyone's answers on this. Not doing enough, prevents or delays healing; doing too much, causes new injury. So as we each search for the middle ground of doing the right amount (how much is not enough, how much is too much), we've each probably come up with some different approaches.

Here's mine.

It's helpful to remember that no one knows your body better than you do. So all the books with all the exercise programs have to be taken with that caveat in mind. All you can do is experiment with what has worked for others. Nobody's program is going to be 100% right for you; basically, you have to design your own program as you heal, adding some as you can do more, dropping some that get too easy. And certainly, the number of reps you do for each exercise is going to vary, sometimes, day-to-day. It also depends on your long-range goals: are you hoping to become Arnold Swarzenegger II, or do just enough to prevent obesity and keep up with the kids at DisneyWorld once a year?

It's also helpful to remember that healing seems to happen in response to exercises you do. It's the same principle behind the fact that we won't learn to walk if we continue crawling; muscles increase in strength and flexibility in response to the need to do so. Sometimes, you need to plateau for a while, to rest up for the next push up the hill ... but stay too long doing the same thing for too long and healing stalls.

Finally, more exercise is necessary as you continue to heal. In the beginning of my rehab from sciatica, it was all I could do to bend over enough to touch my knees, and doing 5 pushups was all my back could handle without painful strain. Now, it's easy to put my palms to my toes ... and do 25 pushups at a time ... but that's not the end of it. To get stronger and more flexible, I'll need to continue to push it ... a bit. I've heard that in general you don't want to increase your daily exercise by more than 10% in one week. That works for me, and I continue to slowly improve without re-injury or muscle strain that lasts for more than a few hours.

I suppose not everyone is going to thrilled with the idea that there is no one exercise program that you can do for the rest of your life to heal from and prevent back injury. But to maximize healing in the minimum time, you have to be willing to try different exercises, doing various reps at different times, and dropping some exercises. I suppose if you've got the bucks, you can hire your own personal trainer ... but then you wouldn't be here if you could afford that.

This all seems rather common-sensical to me today ... but I didn't know this simple stuff two years ago when I began rehab from sciatica that I developed from exercising wrong for 30 years. So maybe it will help someone else.