Well this week marks 4 weeks post op microdiscectomy L5-S1 back surgery. Still feeling great! I only took 2 pain meds within the first 8 hours of surgery, more as preventative because I didn't want to wake up in pain that first night. It's crazy that I felt so great immediately after surgery! My theory is I was in so much nerve pain before surgery that anything from a little incision was a piece of cake! I also believe that because of my activity level pre-surgery, it truly helped with my recovery process. CrossFit does a body good!
I have no pain in lumbar region, but within last 2 weeks I have had some sciatic nerve pain again. Made me extremely nervous and anxious as I know that pain all too well. It's been a level 2 pain scale compared to "through-the-roof" pre-surgery, and seems to occur after sitting for extended periods of time.
I went for my post-op appointment today with my surgeon and brought up the nerve pain. He said that if I sit too long it can compress and put some pressure back on that nerve root. It's still healing so I need to make sure not to sit for more than 45 minutes, and get up and move around. I do get relief in morning so I can tell it's just being up and about, and doing more activity as of late. I need to remember that I'm not that far out from surgery still, and the scar tissue needs time to heal over, so I need to dial it down a notch or two and keep my Wonder Woman outfit in the closet for now.
I also have been super antsy to increase physical activity level. I am getting more soft and fluffy than I prefer to be. Ha! Plus, physical activity provides a positive effect on my mental health. This mama needs her gym time! I was very specific with my surgeon at my post-op appointment in asking what activities would be ok moving forward. My mentality is, if I feel good, I'm getting after it. That wasn't going to fly with this recovery and probably is the reason I got to the point I was at with the injury. My pain tolerance is pretty high, and I need to remember feeling good doesn't equal healed! I was still put on a 25 pound lifting restriction which, for me, is treacherous and somewhat laughable. Trying to listen and abide to the doc! Also, no running, jumping, air squatting, kipping, or compression like movements for another two months. Bummer, but going to utilize this summer time to try some new activities I wouldn't otherwise try. I got clearance to bike, so I'm going to dust off the bike gear and get after it. My quads & lower half need to work hard and this appears to be one of the few activities I'm cleared to do that will achieve that!
It's really amazing how great I have felt immediately after surgery to each day after. I felt like I had been on an extended time out in life! There was so much nerve pain, it was just do what I had to do, then get home quickly so I could get comfortable. I didn't really leave a 10 mile radius from home and there were no social outings for me. It really felt like a blur of time over those 3+ months because I would just try to manage a day, go to sleep, and hope that time would help the back get better. It never did...
Most people are super afraid of back surgery and I would say it was definitely the last option I considered. I tried chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory drugs, massage, books, etc. With the first two back episodes, these therapies were effective in healing, but with this last episode, nothing worked. It was about quality of life at that point! I had exhausted options and was frustrated living with pain. Some friends connected me with my back surgeon and I am so grateful for his service. He discussed options available and I had tried all of the above except surgery. He listened to my frustrations and heard my concerns, and he felt that surgery would be effective since I had exhausted the other options. I am so glad I made the decision to have the microdiscectomy surgery.
I'm looking forward to the 3 month mark and getting back to my usual CrossFit movements. Until then, I'm going to enjoy my modified activity, try some new things, and enjoy the family time!