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Hernia Surgery Recovery

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  • Hernia Surgery Recovery

    Hello hello,

    Here's my issue: I am having surgery this upcoming Monday to repair a small naval hernia (just above my belly button). The doctor told me no heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks afterward. I'm super bummed about this, as I feel like I have a ton of momentum going currently, and its frustrating to have such positive progress halted, even if for a month or two.

    Now, I do plan on being active ASAP, which will probably involve a lot of long walks and possibly racquetball or sprints after a few weeks. Hopefully this helps keep my progress moving along.

    I'm wondering if anyone else in the Primal community has went through a hernia surgery, and cares to share what their recovery process was like, how long they waited before hitting it hard again, thoughts on using a weight belt to prevent recurrences in the hernia, what they did to keep active, any good exercises that can still be done without aggravating the healing area, etc.??

    I'm a new convert to the PB lifestyle, having 'officially' started just over 5 weeks ago. I'm a 26 year old male. I started at 240+ and am already down to 226 lbs., so things have been going great.

    Thanks for reading,
    Ginger Thickbeard

  • #2
    Hey dude!

    No need to fear! Having hernia surgery was the best thing that could have happened to me because I SLOWED down. I realized I didn't need "chronic cardio" to lose body fat. However, before I give you MY advice, let me tell you, heed the advice of your doctor first! I just had laparoscopic surgery to fix an inguinal hernia (with mesh) two and a half weeks ago. My advice to you, or anyones elses advice to you, could be completely wrong depending on what kind of surgery you are having. Are you having open surgery? Laparoscopic surgery? With mesh? Without? All of these questions will severely change what you should and should not be doing after surgery. Laparoscopic surgery has a quicker recovery time. I do not want to give you bad advice before I know what kind of surgery you are having, the last thing I want you to do is get hurt and stress that area even worse.



    • #3
      I am having the same operation on April 6. I will update this thread.


      • #4
        My husband has a double hernia surgery at the end of August 2010 and he has only been lifting weights again for the last few months. He says the incisions still burn sometimes when he moves wrong. Good luck with your surgery even with all the pain he said its still worth it to get it done. His doctor told him most people with double hernias only get one fixed and never come back to get the other one fixed because of the pain.
        My blog - About me, my family, and my hobbies!

        *Please ignore my horrible typing and grammar I am usually typing it all on my very uncooperative phone*


        • #5
          With I could give you more optimistic news, but it's a pretty lengthy recovery. The first day my husband was in a lot of pain. It eased up after that and I remember he mowed the yard about a week later (he was going stir crazy, not used to time off), but lifting things was out of the question for at least a month and that was starting slow. If you push it too fast, you can do damage and it's not worth it. I know how frustrating it is. I was going at a great pace last year and then I injured my knee and it's been a process coming back from that. But just do what you can. Good luck.


          • #6
            Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated.

            My hernia isn't inguinal in nature(towards the crotch), its a naval hernia, directly above my belly button. Its very small, about the size of a cherry, and my surgeon estimates the tear is probably on the scale of a centimeter or so, and therefore unlikely to need mesh. I've been considering requesting mesh be used though, as I really dont want to have to worry about recurrences. . Unfortunately, I don't think its going to be done laparoscopically, but rather in the traditional manner.

            RMunoz- your surgery was 2 1/2 weeks ago... was the soreness debilitating at all/for any length of time?

            As far as lifting heavy things goes, I'll definitely be following the 4-6 week timetable, and ease back into it. Its very frustrating, but my biggest fear is a recurrence.


            • #7

              I had my surgery the beginning week of March.

              Surgery Day - Surgery went fine, I was wheeled out to the front of the hospital and able to walk slowly to my truck to be driven home. I was able to walk up and down the stairs with a pain level of about 6. I was not able to stand straight up, or SNEEZE. Both made my stomach hurt terribly.. level 8 pain. Surgery day my body was very confused. I'm in the Air Force so I was given 7 days uncharged leave.

              Surgery Day +1 - Woke up with a pain level 9. Couldn't lay straight in the bed. Had to sleep in a ball and for the rest of the week slept on the recliner. Had to be pushed out of bed. Took percs every 4 hours. (Make sure you take your stool softener, all jokes aside!) Shuffled around that day (wife was shopping for a vehicle.) DOC recommended that I was up walking around. Maintained a level 6 pain throughout the day. Had to crouch in a ball when sneezing, literally, or pull my legs up to my chest. Still not able to walk straight up, hand to crouch when I walked. Activity was only shuffling.

              Surgery Day +2 - Still shuffling, not able to walk upright. Pain level 4. Still taking percs every 4 hours. (Stool softener, seriously). Shuffled around here and there, wife took me out and to the store. Activity was only shuffling.

              Surgery Day +3 - Still shuffling, but able to move around. Pain level 3 when it got closer to take my meds, trying to wean off meds. Went to breakfast on my own. Activity still shuffling.

              Surgery Day +4 - Still shuffling, able to go to movies that night. Pain level 2. Not able to walk fast. Able to shuffle here and there. No exercise, activating was still shuffling, almost regularly walking.

              Surgery Day +5 - Walking. Walked 2 miles. Felt weird, was not able to stand straight up. Pain level 2.

              Surgery Day +6 - Trail walking for about 2 miles. Felt like I had the flu, perc withdrawals will give you flu like symptoms.

              Surgery Week +1 - Walked every day for about 45 minutes, parked as far as I could from work and and walked about a .5 mile in. Off meds. Back to work. Sneezing still really hurts. Thought I was good enough to "lightly jog," so I gave it a try. Didn't go so well. Went with my dog, he got scared by something and shot underneath my feet and I had a twisting pain in my stomach but I'm fine.

              Surgery Week +2 - Walking. Standing upright. Biking. Hiking. Rollerblading. Very light cals. Lunges, 5lb weight for arms and shoulders. Light swimming (kinda hurt because I was stretching out my body.)

              The most important thing is that you give it time to heal. I had laprascopic surgery so my recovery was quicker. My doc told me just to be smart, nothing high impact on the abdominal region. If it hurts, then stop.

              I would recommend ordering the book "The primal blueprint" and reading during your recovery time. I was able to break away from "cronic cardio" and see that I just needed to have an active lifestyle. I'm a runner, and not being able to run for two weeks scared me to death, but I was able to loose about 7 lbs during that down time by just remaining active by walking, hiking, riding, blading and having fun. Not by the 3,6,9 mile runs everyday and then feeling depressed when I was unable to run. It's true, 80% of what you see in the mirror is diet.

              **Open traditional surgery will take longer to recover. Please do not use my experience as a guide because even though I had surgery in a similar area, the surgery was completely different.


              • #8
                Great post RMUNOZ!

                I have been reading through inguinal hernia posts for a few months now, about 6 actually. I have had a laparascopic surgery on my inguinal hernia recently. I found that blogs were a) very comforting and informative on the processes and what to expect and more importantly b) very good in letting me know what to do post surgery, since surgeons and doctors throw a blanket rule of "lift nothing for 6 weeks" across all surgeries and for very actice people literally give you NOTHING to work with. Through blog reading I have discovered that some professionals and other people that have had the surgery do infact advise walking, cycling etc.

                This is my blog to give something back to the FORUM world, this is just my experience so far, please feel free to make comment or ask any questions.

                PRE OPERATION

                I play a LOT of basketball, I also go to the gym every day for 1 hour, until this point only doing weights routines as the cardio workout I get from playing ball keeps my weight down, according to overweight people TOO far down. I am a 33 year old male, work an office job and I can't sit down, so when i'm not working i am very active. I felt what i thought originally was a tear in my upper left quad, I did it during a bball game and knew something was wrong, but figured it would go away. The actual pain did go away breifly, however over the next few weeks of playing bball, and doing weights I found that my speed and jumping ability was less, and the weights i was lifting were decreasing. I went to a physio who immediately starting rehabbing what she described as an adductor strain. This seemed to work for a while, but eventually did not, and during a game of bball i felt a RIP across my lower abs. Assuming I had torn something I then took a couple of weeks off bball, kept up with light gym work, and started eating anti inflammatory drugs flat out (along with a bag of psyllium husk a week for stooling purposes). On and off for a month I tried to battle my torn muscles, then I decided to go to one of my Bulk Billing doctors, and tell them I wanted a referral to get an ultrasound done to check for a hernia, as my twin brother and father had both gotten hernia in recent years (doctor reluctantly did this, EVEN THOUGH their touch stomach and cough test didn't work!). Turns out I had a hernia...

                Then I got a referral to see a surgeon, who told me that if he were in my situation he would look into whatever is possible NOT to undertake surgery.... so I went and saw what is the top sports physio on the coast, his general advice was that there is no fixing it, however since i would be on a waiting list as i am not paying for the operation, i could try strengthening the abdominal walls (most doctors / physios automatically assume the patient doesn't already do ab work). so i spent the 3 months that I was on the waiting list for surgery doing ab work, straight and side planks, sit ups, leg raises, crunch's, etc. etc. At times I would think that this was helping, so I would go off the anti inflammatories, but as soon as the drugs wore off the pain was back. So I had surgery when mytime came, which is now 3 weeks ago today. NOTE, no matter what i did and what i thought was helping, in hindsight, it was only ever the celebrex that i was on that improved anything.


                So, surgery on the 30th of January. It was an afternoon surgery booked for 1 pm. At 1 the anethesist put in the catherter (spelling?!) and told me they were putting something in that was to prep me to knock me out, this must have been an anethesist's joke as i woke up at 3:30. The surgery was to take about 45 minutes, so I was a little concerned that mine had taken 2 and a half hours. I was hopeful to go home that arvo, but at 8pm when wifey came to get me I was told I would have to pass urine to go home, so I stood up and then fell over. Got back into bed and told wifey to go home, I was so dizzy and light headed I couldn't stand initially, this wore off by midnight, but the next check out time was 10am. SO, the next morning when the surgeon comes around to discuss the surgery with me (along with the 9 students following him) I am told that my surgery was fine, a little harder than first thought as my spermatic cord was protruding through the hernia and had some calcification?! The surgeon also commented that my abdominal wall was very muscly, and that my blood pressure was only low as I am very fit. This was encouraging at first as my first thoughts were that I may be able to get back on the horse quicker than others, but when I asked him about recovery he booked me an appointment for 4 weeks time (next week) and gave me the blanket "don't lift anything over 3 kg's". To me that seemed and still seems a little bogus, given that 3 kg's is a 3 litre milk container. I do however realise the doctor's restrictions in giving recovery advice, particularly given every man and his dog want to sue people these days. So I go home, with the pain killer prescription of panadol and nurofen (over the counter drugs, I had MUCH more impressive stuff at home anyway).

                POST OPERATION

                DAY 1 The morning I get home, at this point i am on very low pain killers. I am confined to bed rest (couch) and really wish a) i had not annoyed the pay t.v. people that have black banned me and b) had not used up all of this month's internet. In the mid arvo I decided to take my dog for a walk, where I stand there in the park and she chases everything that moves. Walking felt pretty good, it was the sitting up in normal position that hurt. My abs killed me to cough and sneeze, and even at this point I couldn't clear my throat without extreme pain. At the end of the pain killer 4 hours it definitely felt worse, so I was on these all day.

                DAY 2

                Woke up with definitely less pain, sitting in normal position stilll hurt, butlying flat was okay. I went for a light stroll that day with only slight pain, coughing and sneezing were still not going to happen. It is about this day that the local anaesthetic was to wear off and cause a little pain, otherwise I would have gone off the pain killers.

                DAY 3 AND THE REST OF THE WEEK, I went off pain killers, went for a walk every day, getting up to a few kilometres with very little pain. Within a week i could lie on my back and lift one leg off the bed at a time without the burning sensation that my hernia would give me. Probably not the best idea to have these little "tests" on yourself, but I couldn't help it.

                WEEK 2, after spending lots of time reading physio and other patient blogs I had given myself a rehab program. As outlined earlier, my doctor / surgeon wouldn't help. I found that having a program to at least work with allowed me to remain positive, and actually restricted what I did to what I had planned. So for the week I spend 40 minutes walking, not power walking but enough to sweat a little, followed by a hamstring and lower back stretch. Cough was at this stage easier, clearing my throat was possible, sneezing still hurts a little. No drugs since day 2. No other pains to speak of.

                WEEK 3, according to my rehab plan (actually it was found on a physio website of triathletes in the US somewhere) i was able to commence cycling for 40 minutes, and doing a raised leg ab crunch and a pelvic tilt routine (mild). Ensuring no pain in hernia area. I also commenced light leg muscle stretching. On the Friday however I decided to go for a light jog, I was happy to jog until anything hurt, and nothing did. I ended up jogging about 6klms, and felt good at the end of it. HOWEVER, the next morning I was walking to an appointment and felt aburn in the hernia site, and SHAT myself thinking that my light jog had sone come damage. Through reading a lot more blogs I found that some pain in the hernia / surgery sites was somewhat common upuntil a month orlonger post surgery, so that information was enough to put my mind at ease. Now the start of the 4th week and that burning pain has come and gone a couple of times. Does anyone else get this pain on walking? Like a burning sensation with on the hernia point... I have also since felt a similar pain lower down towards the scrotum, similar again on the opposite side, also eleviating some of myconcerns that I had damaged the hernia.

                WEEK 4, Starting today. According to my rehab plan I was to start jogging today, continue doing the raised knee crunch's, pelvic tilts, and start introducing light "planks". Since the recent SHITTING of myself, I am now just going to continue cycling for another week and do what I did in week three, as my follow up appointment with the surgeon is next monday.

                Thanks for reading, sorry if it was too long... I will update with further information in a few weeks and give feedback on whether or not the rehab I did was a good idea...

                Cheers, Dubah

                Last edited by Dubah; 02-19-2012, 05:31 PM. Reason: grammar corrections


                • #9
                  I had an umbilical hernia a couple of years ago. It was done laproscoplic so only four little holes in me. They put in mesh and I am not too worried about it coming back.

                  It took me a long time to get to where I felt "normal" like 8 weeks. I did lots of walking and started off slow before I worked back into getting back into shape.

                  Just let your body lead you on it....some heal faster than others but as long as you go on your plan I think you will be fine.

                  They talked about 2-3 weeks but that was way far off for me.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ginger Thickbeard View Post
                    Hello hello,

                    Now, I do plan on being active ASAP, which will probably involve a lot of long walks and possibly racquetball or sprints after a few weeks. Hopefully this helps keep my progress moving along.
                    Unless the doctor OK's it I wouldn't recommend any exercises involving hard contractions of the core-sprints, racquet ball, etc.

                    I'm wondering if anyone else in the Primal community has went through a hernia surgery, and cares to share what their recovery process was like, how long they waited before hitting it hard again, thoughts on using a weight belt to prevent recurrences in the hernia, what they did to keep active, any good exercises that can still be done without aggravating the healing area, etc.??
                    I had a hernia repaired when I was 25. I was told by my doctor to take 6 weeks off from work. I didn't want to miss out on a paycheck for that long so I asked him to let me go back after 4 weeks. He agreed as long as I restricted my work activity. In the end I should have listened to him because it seemed to delay my healing and I was in quite a bit of pain. If I had to do it again, I would take every bit of downtime that the doctor recommended. It was probably about 8 weeks before I started back to an exercise and martial arts routine. Starting off slowly of course. I still have slight discomfort in my incision area from time to time which I believe is a result of not allowing it to fully heal before returning to work.

                    I have heard that the surgery is better today than when I had mine 14 years ago. That being the case, your recovery time very well could be much quicker. However, I would follow the doctor's advice.