Got back pain questions? Our Back Wellness Coaches have answers. Text Us Now at 412.419.2225. It's FREE!

  • Post-Op Depression

    Pamela | June 25, 2018 - 8:10 PM Depression


    I had what was pretty much an emergency surgery back in February. I had injured my back in December, was on and off in pain and was going to PT until February when something snapped and I had a massive L4/L5 herniation which required a laminectomy/discectomy. I've never had any surgery before, I've never been in pain like this before. I went to physical therapy for two months as instructed, and now I'm on my own. I'm back at work, I feel lethargic, angry, sad, robbed, resentful, just like absolute garbage. I have cried every day for the past 6 weeks, sometimes uncontrollably. I had NO IDEA that recovery from this surgery would be so emotionally draining. I am afraid to exercise, afraid to do the things I liked doing before my surgery (yoga, spin class, kayaking, horseback riding), I fear I'll never be able to do these things again! I tried going to the gym once, had a panic attack, cried and left. I still have aches in my lower back and my sciatic nerve down my right side is still numb/tingly/not 100%. I am afraid it will never be 100%. Basically I've never been through anything like this, I feel unsupported, I don't know who to trust when it comes to "what's good for me", I've been getting acupuncture and massages but in terms of building strength and flexibility i'm terrified. I'm afraid one wrong move and I'll have to go back to the hospital. Also I've gained 30 pounds since my surgery and that also makes me feel like shit. I had completely changed my eating and exercise regimen a few months before my surgery and worked SO hard to get in shape and that is all taken away from me. All that work for nothing. Now I'm depressed, I eat my feelings which makes me more depressed, I have no way to get my endorphins up because I'm afraid of exercise, and I feel hopeless. I am considering going on anti-depressants; i have been on them before as I have a history of depression. I didn't see this coming and I'm just exhausted. As if the physical pain, 2 months out of work, & going through surgery wasn't enough. 

    Have you dealt with post-op depression? What worked for you? Did getting a personal trainer ease your fears if yours were like mine? That is something I am considering.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and for being here. It helps just to not be alone.


  • ChiefBacker
    July 5, 2018 - 11:04 AM

    Hi Pamela.  Welcome to BackerNation.  I can relate to your journey as I have had 4 back surgeries.  3 of them micro-D and the last being an artificial disc.  My second was an emergency surgery as I lifted a couch and the next day could not walk or move.  Had to be taken to hospital in ambulance.  I totally understand you being worried about various things.

    First.. there is a 5-15% chance of reherniation.  So the statistics are on your side that you will not reherniate.  That said.. you should def. not do things like bend to lift up a couch like I did or anything that is too heavy.  

    You should be able to get back to all those activities you are passionate about, however you should let your body take the time heal and get strong again.  I would not get just any old personal trainer.  I would find a PT that is knowledgeable on back and spine rehab.  IMO, personal trainers could have you do something you shouldn't when you might not be ready. 

    Easier said than done, but don't feel hopeless.  Lots of things to look forward to.  Just need to put in a little hard work to get back to where you want to.  We have had many people in our community talk to a therapist to help them along and put things in perspective.  That could be an option for you.

    As far as weight gain.  We've all been there.  Myself included.  I was able to shed pounds by simply keeping my calories to 1500 per day.  And then by slowly adding in more movement, exercise and calories burning activities.  It helps to have a fitness buddy to keep motivating each other.  Meal prep and portion control are big.

    Message me and we can chat more.