How long to recover from back surgery? Central Prolapse on disc T10-T11?

Hi I started my running career with couch2 5K about this time last year and got right into it up until the turn of the year when I seemed to be dogged with minor health problems. Then I did my back in, not quite sure how but it started about ten weeks ago after a fit of coughing. Anyhow it turns out that I have two issues with my back the more serious being the disc prolapse pressing on my spinal cord, which is causing weakness in both legs along with numbness and tingling. Walking is very difficult and I lose my balance a lot. I am due to go for an urgent operation to resolve the issue and was wondering how long I can expect to be out of action for?


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  • Hello Jellyhawk, what does your surgeon advise? Disc prolapses are not to be messed with. I sympathise though and speak from a little, much more minor, experience - I had a lateral C6-C7 'bulge' myself which was treated with physio and exercises, no surgery needed, and it does get better. That only affected my left arm though. Take very good care of yourself.

  • My consultant recommended urgent surgery as the prolapse is large and in a position where there is less room for the cord to fit. This however makes the procedure more difficult so he has referred me to another specialist who performs this procedure a lot. I am still waiting to hear from him. I have had some physio already which helped with the associated muscle spasms and the pain is all but gone, however my condition is unlikely to improve without surgery unfortunately.

  • I wouldn't run until you get the all clear from your doctors - ask them for clear instructions on this, I'm not a medical professional so can't give advice. Glad the physio has worked to ease the pain, if they have given you exercises I'd keep doing them religiously because personally I found they really do help to strengthen and open up the area. Being aware of posture's important too. It's tough that you have to go through surgery, but if it fixes the problem then it is for the best, and it's good that you are going to an experienced specialist. Very best of luck with everything.

  • Hi jellyhawk really sorry to hear of your injury and wish you all the best for a good outcome and speedy recovery. I would be guided by the experts as they are the only ones that know exactly what is going on with your back/spine and I'm sure you will have a physio who will keep you right post op. Take care and keep us posted of your progress. I'm sure with time and the right help you will get back to your running as soon as possible.

  • blimey that sounds tough...I think this question is definately one for a healthcare professional who will be able to guide and advise you....all the very best and i hope you get back out there soon :)

  • It's really how long is a piece of string answer, everyone recovers from things at different rates, it's one to be guided by your medical team.

    Hope it all goes well.

  • Thanks everyone,

    I shouldn't be so impatient really. Being able to walk properly again would be a bonus. I signed up for a charity 10k river rat race event in August (before I was struck down with back backitiis) and was hoping I could still do it, but that is looking unlikely now :( . Still theres always next year.

    I will keep you posted.


  • Hello again everyone,

    Just a little update. I finally had my operation at the end of July and I am pleased to report that it was a success and I now am able to walk again without looking like an extra from a zombie film :) . The loss of power, co-ordination and feeling in my legs has improved considerably although it hasn't resolved completely. I am hoping it will with time. I am still in a lot of pain from the operation and I don't have as many ribs as I used to, but it's a small price to pay. The operative pain is also improving daily and the pain relief meds are doing their job.

    I keep on eying my running shoes in the hallway and reliving my glory days as a c25k super athlete. I doubt I will be back running any time soon but I can now get across the road before the green man disappears so

    you never know :)

    So plenty of physio and a bit of good luck and I will be back at week 1 with the lovely Laura, hopefully before the winter kicks in.



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