You may shower, but otherwise keep your incision dry. Clean your incision daily using a cotton ball with alcohol.
Walking and lying down will be your most comfortable positions. Therefore try to limit meals and car rides to 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
You may and should walk 1/4 to 1/2 of a city block two to three times per day. Gentle stretching side to side, and looking back at the ceiling and then forward to place your hands on your knees is best done before and after each walk.
A Medrol-Dose-Pak (or an “ANSAID”) medicine may be given to decrease inflammation following surgery. Many studies have shown that the “juices” inside the disk (specifically the mucopolysaccharides of the nucleus pulposus) irritate nerves resulting in inflammation even if there is no further pressure being placed. Viox and Celebrex are examples of the newer generation of Non-steroidals. NSAID’s can cause fluid retension. This may be exibited by higher blood pressures and/or edema in your legs.
Duragesic Patches, Kadian, Oxicontin and various forms of Percocet may be prescribed post-operatively. These later medications are potentially addicting, so we will want to wean you off these quickly. All of these narcotc medications will make you prone to constipation. Eat lots of fiber such as Bran or Citrucel. Mild narcotic medications include Lortab, Vicodin, Darvocet… will be used next. Take them only as needed for pain. Switch to Tylenol or Aspirin as soon as is comfortably feasible. Medicines prescribed by Dr. Gerber/Lusk will be called into your pharmacy for your convenience. Continue to take your “routine” medicines as listed in your discharge sheet.
Sometimes when a nerve is decompressed it will begin to “fire” spontaneously. This is similar to when you have been sleeping on your arm and it begins to “wake-up” causing a pins-&-needles sensation. This usually occurs at night! So there is no need for alarm; get up and walk around, and if need be take a pain pill. Unlike before surgery, this type of “nerve-awakening” pain improves with activity.