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Spinal fusion recovery (Page 1)

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Hi, I'm new to this and honestly don't know where to turn. I've been reading posts that people have gone back to work after five weeks, I'm four weeks out and no where ready.
December 12 2008 I had my surgery, spinal fusion, pedicle screws, they removed my disc, put in a cage with donor bone.(L5-S1). I think thats it but the day I had my surgery we had a horrible ice storm and no one seemed to be able to give me many answers. It was a Friday, my surgeon was gone for the weekend, and the nurses there were the worst I have ever had.
I am still having leg pain, the left side of my back is burning. I'm not sleeping, haven't had more than a couple hours a night since my surgery. I have my post op appointment this coming Thursday. I thought I would be off the pain meds by now but every time I try to take less a day I pay for it. I now have to call for a refill.
Three and a half years ago I had a disectomy, it worked wonders. Not sure what happened but when the pain started, I went back to my doctor who inturn sent me to my neurosurgeon, my spine was collasping, my disk ruptured again. I was asked if I was in an accident, I was not.
So I'm four weeks out and am still miserable. I walk, I wear my brace, I'm still waiting for my bone growth stimulator. I can't walk outside, its complete ice so my husband brings me to stores. I'm getting so frustrated and so depressed. I'm sick of the pain. Can anyone tell me how long this recovery is, I know its supposed to be a while but when I see others are already back at work it makes me nervous that this didn't work.

Any help would be great.
Thank you
Kristen
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First Helper Dippyduck
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Users who thank kj10601 for this post: Dlain 

replied January 12th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
Kristen,

I'm sorry you are in so much pain still.

Recovery from a spinal fusion can take quite a bit of time and you are only 4 weeks into the recovery period.

It can also be individual as well. Some people will recover faster than others.

It can also depend on factors such as how long nerves where being compressed, how weak you where before surgery etc.

When you see your surgeon for your post op visit, have a list of questions to ask him/her and also have someone else with you when you see the doctor.

Be sure to tell your surgeon everything you have said in your post about your pain level, how miserable you feel etc.

You didn't say why you are waiting for a bone growth stimulator or why you would need one, but ask about that.

I would suggest that you ask about a muscle relaxer as well. You have had lots of muscles pulled aside to move them out of the way for surgery and many times patients are given, not only pain meds, but also muscle relaxer to help decrease pain.

I know it's hard to be patient during the recovery process, but a fusion is more involved surgery than a disectomy and the recovery period for a fusion is much longer.

discuss all of this with your surgeon to get the answers that you need.

Good luck and let us know what the surgeon says and how you are doing.

Fran
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replied March 1st, 2012
How long should I be dependent on pain killers?
I had the same surgery 2 weeks ago today. I am able to ambulate around the house just fine. I am not a patient person and feel helpless. My family is picking up the slack for me. Anyway, my physician said that it can take up to a year and a half for full recovery. Ugh. I too wan to get off the meds...I hate meds. I don't want to become addicted to pain killers and muscle relaxers:( My emotional state is not well as I hate sitting around. I will be going to post op appt in two weeks. I am going to as if I can take less potent meds. We shall see.... Good Luck with your visit.

Michelle
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User Profile
replied March 24th, 2012
Pain after back surgery
This is my first post. I had a fusion 14 weeks ago, I am still having pain. Pain from my right foot all the way to my neck when the nerve is irritated. I cannot lift my right foot off the floor,as in tapping my toe to music. They tried putting a brace on it to stretch the nerve, we had to stop that because it caused so much pain. They are now trying water therapy along with massage therapy. My massage therapist tells me that my whole right side locks up, and she works for an hour to get the muscles loosened up. At times I can feel a burning in my face, right cheek and the right side of my chin. Seems pain meds do not help much. My dr. told me I had a lot of damage to the nerve. I don't seem to be getting any better. I am unable to walk very far,and usually us a walker when I do. I wonder how long this will continue.
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replied May 24th, 2012
Thanks sucks Glen

I am a 31 year old male and had a fusion on L5-S1 on February 9. My main complication is back spasms due to the weak lower back muscles. I am in my 3rd week of therapy and i'm working hard to strengthen my muscles to eliminate the tightness. Muscle relaxers help, laying on my back helps... activity tightens everything up.

The radiation in the legs is something I have never felt and am thankful i don't have to. I thought i was in bad shape.
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replied January 12th, 2009
Thank you. I am waiting for the bone growth stimulator because I need to get financial aide, my insurance only covers part of the cost and its not a lot. I need one for the fusion I'm assuming, I have donor bone.

I do have my list and I am on muscle relaxers also.

I have this awful burning pain on my left side. Its new and started a few days ago. I did call and am waiting for a call back from my surgeon. Thursday can't come fast enough.

My doctor did warn me, and I totally trust him, that this was a very painful surgery, I was so scared, but never prepared for all of this.

At least I do know now that four weeks is not a long time for recovery. I honestly thought I would be all better. Not sure what I was thinking!

Thank you so much for getting back to me, I don't feel so alone anymore. I can feel myself getting more and more depressed and now I have an outlet. No one really understands, as much as they feel they do, unless you've gone through it.

Thanks again,
Kristen
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Users who thank kj10601 for this post: Effiehil 

replied July 12th, 2011
Hi Kirsten,
I had the same type of fusion (disc removed and cage inserted with 4 screws), performed in Sept 2010. I am still in alot of pain!! I know everyone is different and i am not trying to dampen your spirits further, quite the opposite, don't be to hard on yourself and take the time you need to heal.
Diane
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replied October 23rd, 2011
Continued Pain from Anterior Lumbr Fusion
Hi, I am actually reading these posts because of my 33-year-old son's anterior lumbar fusion. He had it in April of 2011 and is still in extreme pain if he isn't on pain meds. He has a lot of pain in his lower abdomen and testical area. Does this seem normal to any of you who would know?
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replied February 10th, 2012
hi, i am 29yr old male. had my surgery in oct 2011 and am in a similar situation to ur son. i also have pain in left side of my stomach area that continues through my genital area down to my knee. i spoke to my surgeon about this at my post-op check up and he said it was just due to the nerves which had been over-stretched for many years had now been retracting to what their normal position should be. and the recovery of this all depends on how long they were over-stretched for! so he didnt give me any specific time for how long i would be in pain but did say it is to be expected.
all the best to ur son. and tell him to keep his chin up. a few yrs of pain for a more pain free future!
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replied July 9th, 2012
You may want to check him for hernia. My bf had his four vertebrae fused in Feb.2011, two days 14 hours! Six month later he had to have a hernia surgery. He had similar numbness, then pain in lower abdomen and groin area. Good luck!
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replied December 31st, 2011
anterior fustion
wow, taytt, that is sad!!! mine was in August 2011 and i returned to work in Oct part time because I felt useless around the house. I felt I was getting better until it got cold. I don't want to do anything because I am sick of the pain and the pills that only hush it a little. I pray everyone hang in there I have heard it is a long haul!
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replied January 25th, 2012
oops, the surgery was in June!!
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replied January 5th, 2012
Spinal fusion
Hi I just had same procedure in nov 2011. I am still so sore I feel as though this is how it's going to be. This was my 4th surgery had emergency fusion l4-5 2000, 2001 revision of fusion it didn't fuse so they put in artificial bone and a stimulator to help it fuse. They did this fusion with cage l3-4butim told I needed three disc done but doctor said it was a major ordeal. I just wonder how long it will take I haven't driven yet, I am not sure if I'm ready still sore which is normal. I was trying to walk everyday I try when I sit too long I lay down to take the pressure off my back. I seem to have forgotten from 2000 what I did during recovery. How soon did you start driving and trying to just perform your regular activities? I did belong to a gym and would like to get back I just feel that am I ready or should I have already been driving and the gym?
I am told to be careful because o the other two discs. I am sorry that you are still in pain. What activities do you do for your back? My surgeon said no physical therapy because he doesn't like the way they handle fusion patients. He told me do my own therapy he says I will know when I'm feeling okay to do things, not so sure. Well sorry to talk so much. One more ? How long didn't take you to recover from your fusion?
Thanks for reading and responding
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replied January 23rd, 2012
Spinal infusion recovery
I find that God has given us the ability to forget how much pain we were in the last time. My recovery last time from an easier surgery was worse. I am 7 months out. It took me 2 months before I could even sit. I drove after 4 months short distance, was told not to do anything, even laundry because it's about keeping spine straight, no lifting over 5lbs which limits a lot and no vacuuming!! You are still raw!!!! Don't do anything. My surgeon didn't want me having physical therapy the first time for the same reason but because I took so long to recover that he wanted me to this time but only for core strength, the excercies were very easy, no weights for you. I believe while i was trying to stay movable after accident and went to gym 5 yrs, that it ended up doing more harm because they have the same excercise regimen for all, i believe the weights and back strengthning were bad, even the eliptical was bad. Don't worry, read books or something, I read one novel a day. It's about attitude, you come here to make sure you are normal, you are, then you have to realize you are doing what you can do, which at two months is just walking and when it hurts, stop. I am still on Norco, I shouldn't be working part time because I am sitting!!!! but just had to, it's the drive there that is very uncomfortable. I have stopped muscle relaxers and anxiety meds, but still take 4-5 Norco a day and doc thinks I should be tapering off, will see him in couple of weeks and we have to have a talk. It is easy to get sad but you have to just hang in there, he told me it could take a year, so, you only do what you can do when you can do it, it will get better, I promise
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replied April 3rd, 2013
Very true about being hard on yourself. I had a double spinal fusion in sept. 6 screws fitted. Worsted pain ever. Am now 7 months passed & still in pain. Get good days & bad. But my surgeon insists its a slow process & can take up to a year to recover.
Think my problem is am a very active person & to be told you can't do stuff gets you down at times.
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replied March 25th, 2012
I had My 1st back surgery on 8/19/2011 which was in the L5 thru S1. Every post-op visit required an x-ray of which was useles, because it did not show that the 1st surgery was no a success as the mesh cage did not fuse. During this same surgery I also had 2 Titanium Rods and 4 screws inserted. i attempted to go back to work 01/2012 which only lasted for 4 days. I was unable to walk after only working 4 days. Keep in mind that I was a CSR which was a sitting job. On 1/17/2012 A CT scan showed that the mesh cage was loose and chipping places in my spine so I went thru another surgery on 2/3/12 and they replaced the mesh cage with Artificial Bone & Donor Bone. I am still in the hardshell full brace from shoulders to tailbone. I have 2 episodes where I have had a knot come up at the top of my incision (of which the Dr. says that it's a pocket of fluid) and several times that I can't make my left leg go and my feet stay numb. I am beyond wanting to get thru this. I have to have assistance with everything except bathing. I hurt ALL the time and the mental part of all of this is really starting to surface.I have a CT scan on 3/27/12 just praying that the fusion worked this time. I have lost my job bcz of this as well as my health insurance, bcz I live in a state that Medical Leave does not protect your job. Now I am getting bills, that I will never be able to pay. Just know that you are not alone and I am scared as hell, that my quality of life is never gonna be more that it is now. I certainly didn't expect to be disabled at the age of 42 of which is even more depressing. I have a GREAT Fiance and some GREAT Friends & Family that have been my support thru all of this which has made a tremendous difference. It is helpful to know that other people are experiencing the same difficult pain & suffering that I am experiencing. Again I say that you are not alone. I will recommend that you avoid any kind of bone stimulator. I personally know people that have had it done and they are begging for the stimulator to be removed bcz of unbearable pain and over growth of bone. Will pray for you that you have the strength and support to get thru this. Would love for you to repond back to me. Hang in there and as Dora says keep on swimming Smile
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replied January 12th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
Krsiten,

glad to offer support. Though I haven't had a fusion at this time, I know others that have, and some recover more quickly than others.

Some of it can depend on how the surgery was done, but most of it is because we are all individuals and we all respond to surgery and post op differently.

Doctors give us the statistical information on recovery, as that is the best they can really do. They can not determine how each of us will recover on an individual basis.

The burning pain you are feeling sounds like it is nerve pain. It is not uncommon for those nerves to start to act up a few weeks post op.

The nerves are very angry that they have been moved around during surgery, had compression removed from them and now they have to work again and recover from both compression and surgery.

They are going to let you know how angry they really are and start to act up as they heal and regenerate.

Be sure to tell you doctor about that burning nerve pain. He/she may want to add some medication for you for the nerve pain. Either neurontin or lyrica to help ease the pain for you.

He/she may also add a medrol pack, which is a decreasing dose of steroids to help ease the pain for you.

Narcotic meds are not going to help relieve nerve pain.

It may also be that the pain meds your surgeon gave you are not enough or the correct ones for you and your pain meds need to be changed.

I would also ask your doctor why he wants a bone growth stimulator for you. That is usually not given unless there is a high concern that the patient will have a problem with fusing post op.

Donor bone fuses very well.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Fran
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replied February 14th, 2009
spinal fusion
I had a double spinal fusion (s4 s5) January 5th. I am happy to find I am not the only one frustrated by the length of time it takes to feel better. I am in no way ready to go back to work. I can walk very slowly. I can get dressed, shower, sit with proper support. Bending is very hard if not impossible. I have driven a few blocks. Getting in and out of the car is very hard. I don't think I was prepared for the length of recovery and the pain associated with recovery. I wonder how long it will be before I can go on vacation, walk the beach and not feel pain. The surgery was a last ditch effort on my part to get rid of the pain which has plagued me for 10 years.

Perhaps someone could enlighten me on when I can walk at a normal pace without pain. Please. In general how long does the full healing process take. Maybe a time line?
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replied April 7th, 2012
I have been suffering from lower back pain for a couple years , i have done chiropacter, phical thearpy, pain block injections, all dr. said it will help by 50 percent , none of them help the only thing that makes a diff. is narcotic pain meds , the dr. wants me off them and is pushing for the surgery , after reading the post here , i never want the surgery , i would rather live with the pain and limted activity than go through multipal painful surgerys that may or may not work . let me ask you all if you could go back would you still have the surgery?? David
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replied April 14th, 2012
I am 9 weeks post surgery - 5 level laminectomy and 5 fusions as well as a straightening of the curve in my lumbar spine. I have followed the surgeons directions to the letter and am now in out patient PT. I am walking 2 miles every day and doing PT exercises at home. Am I pain free - no, but much better than before surgery. Before surgery horrible nerve pain in left leg. Almost total numbness and drop foot. This is all gone! I am down to 1 hydrocodone (10/325) 1/2 in the AM and PM and nerve pills and muscle relaxers. Every day feels better. I am on 6 months medical leave from my job - I work in a veterinary clinic and the job can be very physical. I am also 67 years old and would do it again, even knowing what I know now about the long recovery.
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replied May 2nd, 2012
Spinal Fusion T10-L5 Five Weeks Ago and doing well
Thank you for your post. I had an 8 level fusion on april 3 T10-L5. The first 3 weeks were hell, the time in the hospital was a nightmare because they could not get my pain under control and it was consistently an 8-10. So nauseaus I could not eat and lost over 10 pounds. Finally i spoke to the Dr.'s nurse practitioner, and she switched my meds around and it worked. oxycontin (long term relief) oxycodone (quicker acting/shorter relief) and a longer lasting muscle relaxer. Once the pain was under control, I was able to eat and concentrate on recovering.

I am now 5 weeks out and have gone from walking 1 block in the beginning to walking 2 miles/day. I am relatively pain free on my meds. I am working with a lymphatic drainage massage therapist, which is really helping with pain, tightness, edema.

The thoracic pain I suffered with for years is gone. I am having some tingling,numbness and pain in my right hip/buttocks/toes but that is the side where the bone graft was taken from my pelvis.

Anyway, I am following my doctors instructions: no bending, lifting, twisting, walking only. I wear my back brace any time I am out of bed. I see her next week for my post op.
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replied September 19th, 2012
Spine Fixation and Fusion
Hello, Its now one year exactly that I had my operation. I had a T10 to Sacropelvic fixation and fusion, with multi level vertebroplasties, and apart from the obvious discomfort after the operation for which I took painkillers (but only for two weeks). A year on I have no pain or discomfort, I feel my life has been given back to me. I am sure there are patients out there who have had a similar experience to mine, and wish anyone well who is about to have a similar operation
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replied September 19th, 2012
Spine Fixation and Fusion
Hello, Its now one year exactly that I had my operation. I had a T10 to Sacropelvic fixation and fusion, with multi level vertebroplasties, and apart from the obvious discomfort after the operation for which I took painkillers (but only for two weeks). A year on I have no pain or discomfort, I feel my life has been given back to me. I am sure there are patients out there who have had a similar experience to mine, and wish anyone well who is about to have a similar operation
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replied April 18th, 2012
David, I had my spinal fusion L4 and L5 on Dec 1st. Have rods and screws in my back and they took part of my hip bone to build it up. It has been horrible and I have had seven other surgeries in my life not back related but pretty intense but NOTHING like back surgery. It got so bad that I had no choice to have the surgery but at this time I cannot promote it. I had it done at University Hospital in New Orleans. No insurance. They are extremely busy and you only get a few minutes w your doctor. You don't even have a way of contacting him. The whole process with the system is difficult. Grateful for help but wasn't prepared for the system and the extreme pain. I can hardly work, the fusion is not taking, may need more surgery. I'm single, 48, cant get any financial assistance and everyday I try so hard to keep my spirit entact. My whole quality of life has changed as I knew it and I am scared and alone. Not a big support team around me so it makes it even harder and people run out of patience and don't understand when someone has pain. I wish you luck and pray your pain goes away. there is no easy solution to this. Shelly
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replied April 24th, 2012
Hi David

I'd like to offer a positive perspective.

I had fusion of L5/S1 three weeks ago tomorrow, and I'm already close to being pain free. I went off meds 11 days after surgery, and only feel minor pain around the bone harvest site, with slight discomfort when I roll over in bed. I can sit comfortably, walk a couple of blocks easily... life is looking pretty fabulous post-fusion!

My back pain previously was so bad, everything I'm experiencing now is a walk in the park. The fact that I'm a fit and healthy 37 year old probably has something to do with the pace of my recovery. I'm confident I'll easily be back at work after 5 weeks off.

I imagine it's generally only going to be the people who have issues with their surgery who are going to be trawling the Internet looking for answers, posting within communities like this one. You're only getting the bad news stories, when in reality they're a minority - ask your surgeon for their success rate, that'll probably give you a great deal more confidence in what is a well practiced procedure. Spinal fusion isn't new, it's been around for a long time now. Also do your homework and find the best surgeon possible - someone conservative is best.

Good luck making your decision!
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Users who thank FixedUp for this post: Bobsie3 

replied June 28th, 2012
hey same here so many horror stories really had me scared and now only 8 days out and feelin better than i have in a very long time semper fi
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replied August 29th, 2012
Thank you for this post. I am going in for spinal fusion on my l5-s1 this Friday. I am a healthy 24 yr old who is fairly active. I am an assistant manager at a retail clothing store, so I am constantly walking and moving. My job is very physical and I am not sure I will be able to go back within the estimated 6 weeks. Despite everyone telling me not to read posts online about this surgery, my curiosity got the best of me. I have read nothing but a long line of horror stories, so to know that there is someone out that that actually had a good experience is refreshing. Thanks!
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replied May 18th, 2012
Absolutely not! My surgery was March 15, 2012. I had two fusions in my lower back. It had been messed up approximately 10 years prior to surgery from being a cheerleader. I had almost learned to live with the daily pain before the surgery. Pain meds helped, but it never truly went away. So I was convinced to have surgery. Do you know that my nuerosurgeon's NP told me post-op that I just need to tell myself thay I'm not in pain and I will feel better. I have a two year old son and it's been really hard to not pick him up and have family always here to help out with him. He doesn't understand why mommy isn't holding him and playing with him all the time. I'm in so much pain that I get angry with myself that it is taking so long to heal. And after reading the posts on here, I couls cry to know that it is so common.
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replied May 18th, 2012
Absolutely not! My surgery was March 15, 2012. I had two fusions in my lower back. It had been messed up approximately 10 years prior to surgery from being a cheerleader. I had almost learned to live with the daily pain before the surgery. Pain meds helped, but it never truly went away. So I was convinced to have surgery. Do you know that my nuerosurgeon's NP told me post-op that I just need to tell myself thay I'm not in pain and I will feel better. I have a two year old son and it's been really hard to not pick him up and have family always here to help out with him. He doesn't understand why mommy isn't holding him and playing with him all the time. I'm in so much pain that I get angry with myself that it is taking so long to heal. And after reading the posts on here, I couls cry to know that it is so common.
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replied May 22nd, 2012
My husband has had two spinal fusion surgeries in two areas of his back and he is doing great. He has occasional back pain but the improvement is dramatic. I had spinal fusion surgery 3.5 weeks ago and I have no doubt that I will be back to work in a month. I have been working from home for the last week (which can be a little tricky when on pain meds) but I have some feeling in my feet when I didn't have any before.

The big difference I have seen is having a neurosurgeon doing the surgery as opposed to an orthopedic surgery. The doctor we have is wonderful. I have no doubt that all will be well. Yes I am in pain but it is improving, I have especially noticed a difference this week.

Even at this point, I am glad I did it. I know I have some weeks and months to go, but I it will be worth it in the end because I will be able to walk and stand for a much greater length of time.

Good luck to you and I hope that you do decide to have it done. If you are near the Atlanta area, Dr. Florence Barnett is the best and is very highly regarded for the results from her surgeries.

Take care, Susan
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replied June 28th, 2012
don't be spooked by other ppls experiences cause we are all diff I had a L5S1 8 days ago and feel better now than I have in years
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replied June 28th, 2012
don't be spooked by other ppls experiences cause we are all diff I had a L5S1 8 days ago and feel better now than I have in years
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replied September 21st, 2012
Spinal fusion and post op infection, still glad I had surgery
I had my first surgery July 26,2012. I had a lumbar fusion after slipping on the ice. My nerve in my spine was being compressed. It was ungodly painful. After the first surgery I went of the narcotics after 3 weeks I didn't feel they were helping. I got sick as a dog I thought it was from stopping the narcotics cold turkey. After a week of thinking I was dying, diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweats, over heating. No appetite, I couldn't even drink water. I went to the nearest ER. I had a staf infection. I got transported to my original hospital they had to reopen me and clean everything out. Thank goodness my hardware was ok and left in place. It's now been about 20 days from my second surgery. I'm not on any meds. I stopped the pump in the middle of the night because I was dead set on no narcotics this time. I do use muscle relaxers, and sleeping pills. I have also had to go on an antidepressant. I am in constant pain but not nearly as bad as it was before. Before it was like a cavity with tin foil being shoved in it. I don't walk nearly as much as I should. I feel like I sleep all the time. I know muscle relaxers make you tired but I maybe take one every 3rd day. I too have lost my job, as many others. Besides the fact that I cannot lift more than 5 lbs, I can't sit more than 30 minutes, it's unfortable to stand. Laying down feels best. I couldn't have worked if I wanted too. I just can't wait to be myself again. I'm angry, depressed, I feel useless mostly. But I am glad I did the surgery, before it was unbareable and I often thought about suicide. Now it is liveable, it's just not so pleasant.
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replied April 7th, 2012
would you have the surgery , if you could go back , ?
I have been suffering from lower back pain for a couple years , i have done chiropacter, phical thearpy, pain block injections, all dr. said it will help by 50 percent , none of them help the only thing that makes a diff. is narcotic pain meds , the dr. wants me off them and is pushing for the surgery , after reading the post here , i never want the surgery , i would rather live with the pain and limted activity than go through multipal painful surgerys that may or may not work . let me ask you all if you could go back would you still have the surgery?? David
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replied February 14th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
It can take a full year to recover from a spinal fusion.

You should not be bending in any way, shape or form, 4 weeks post spinal fusion.

No turning, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no lifting more than 5 pounds for quite a few months.

Much of what you may be feeling in pain is the nerves that are very angry after surgery.

It can take quite a bit of time for them to relax, and start to heal. Many times, the nerve pain can get worse before it gets better.

You might want to try some plastic bags on the seat of the car to help you slide in and out of the seat.

Walking short distances in a mall is a good idea.

You might also ask if one of the nerve meds, lyrica or neurontin might ease some of your pain and a muscle relaxer.

People heal at different rates of time and 1-2 months post spinal fusion, is still very early out to be thinking of going back to work.

Since both of you are having so many questions about your individual progress, they should be addressed by your spinal surgeon.

But, it sounds like to me that you are both being very impatient to return to normal activity. Patience is the name of the game now, and I know from personal experience, it is not easy.

Talk with your spinal surgeons, have a list of all your questions, including all that you asked here and have him/her address every one of them

Good luck

Fran
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replied March 2nd, 2009
Spinal Fusion
Hi all,
I had a L5 S1 spinal fusion October 31, 2008 I must say that the first 3 months really suck. The pain and burning is the worst but I can tell you that it will get better. My neurologist had me walking 3 miles a day come week 4 after surgery. I am now off my muscle relaxers and pain pills. I only have to take advil in the morning and at night. It is a long road but oh so worth it. Your body will tell you when you do too much too fast. I still get some occasional numbness down my right leg and foot and pain around my top pin on my right side. Heat and advil work wonders.
My sister also had the same surgery by a different Dr. 2 days before I did and she is still having issues with pain. We all recover at different rates so hang in and let your body do all the hard work until Physical Therapy starts that is. Smile
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Users who thank wangler4 for this post: ProudMom1969 

replied March 24th, 2009
S/P Spinal Fusion L5/L6 1/27/08
I am still in tremendous pain from my surgery. I had a 2nd one in May, 08 to push back a cage that was slipping out from my spine causing pain down my leg. Now, I am awaiting a 3rd operation for spinal fluid leakage. I am dependent on my medication to navigate thru the day. My back goes into spasm very easily upon any activity and is causing my days in bed unless it is absolutely necessary I go out.
Is there anyone out there that has chronic pain like this post-op over a year? I am extremely tired all the time due to this chronic pain and it has consumed my thinking making me anxious if I have to go anywhere or do anything.
I also have curviture which complicates my recovery and I wonder if I will ever be pain free or is this going to be my way of living for the future.
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replied April 12th, 2009
spinal fusion
I had my surgery feb 25th and I am frustrated as well. Glad to see that I am not the only one. Every time I try and stop taking the percocet, I end up paying for it the next day. I'm young, I'm only in my late 30's and I expected that I would at least be off the pain meds by now. I had L4-S1 fusion. I do the eliptical every day for an hour. I feel ok when I do that, but when I walk on the tread mill it hurts. I just want to know when this is going to be over...I know that I won't be able to go back to my job for some time, but I want to at least know that it will be worth it down the road!! I had both discs ruptured, on vertebrae shifted, and only slight sciatic pain, no leg numbness etc. I just want to know that I'm not going crazy here!

C
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replied April 15th, 2009
laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion involving the L4-
hi, my surgery was on feb 11th, 2008. i was told by the dr that it could be 3 to 6 month recovery for pain and discomfort but up to a year before i resume normal activity with losing 5 to 15% of back mobility.

it took almost 2 months for the leg pain to go away and i was told it was normal.

on my post op visit my xrays showed no fusion so they gave me a bone stimulator. it is a small and almost like a back brace that when on helps the bone growth. i have had it only for a few weeks and not even sure if it works.

my dr said that most patients are already in therapy and driving. there is no way i can do either. i still use what the hospital gave me to help put socks and shoes on and the gadget to pick up things or to reach high places.

they tell me to be sure to follow what the call the "BLT" no bending, no lifting and no twisting".

i am frustrated and semi depressed as well but we need to find something we can do to occupy our bed/couch time to keep our minds off not only the pain but the inability to function as we normally would.

smokers are higher risk for major complications so if anyone who had this surgery smokes needs to quit, i am still trying.

i can honestly say that i am worse now than prior to the surgery but i know in time things will get better.

spring is here so lets be happy that we can enjoy it instead of being at work. i try to take my laptop outside on nice days or sit by on open window. dr states that the more oxygen you can get the fusion to work faster.

i wish you all the best and remember that depression is a part of recovery. i am now seeing a physcotheraist to help me through it. also keep in mind that pain meds alter your way of thinking.

bj
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replied March 22nd, 2012
to everyone who has had back surgery> I had back fusions
decompressions and fusions 5 yrs. ago. Wore the stimulator and vest like I was suppossed to and never did heal. Went to a neurosurgeon - said none of my fusions fused and there is nothing that can be done. Take 5 pain pills aday and that barley helps me to do what I have to do.. Now I know that back surgery like I had uaually never helps. Had to retire my job of 25 yrs. because of the pain. Dont know what to do. No one seems to want to touch me. I think because another Dr. messed me up. If anyone has any ideas let me know.
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replied April 10th, 2012
Dr
I do not know what state you live in but I had cervical and lumbar discemtomies and fusions and everyone myself included am at awe at how well I am doing, Dr Kristen Radcliff in egg harbor, NJ is amazing, and I have went to about 7 doctors all not worth my time! God bless this is a very painfull illness we all have and his team is the best!
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replied May 21st, 2012
Spinal Fusion
Several comments through out here pertain to the Doctors.
Believe me, the surgeon's skill and knowledge is crucial
to success of fusions. I live in Clark County Nevada and
had the top neurosurgeon (Duke) in the west. I am now
70 years old, surgery was 4 months ago and I can do
everything better than pre-surgery. Some pain comes and goes and I believe it's connected to the growing of the fusion. I truly expect to be back on the golf course within 2 months, probably painless.
Don't mess with less than the best!
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replied May 21st, 2012
Spinal Fusion
Several comments through out here pertain to the Doctors.
Believe me, the surgeon's skill and knowledge is crucial
to success of fusions. I live in Clark County Nevada and
had the top neurosurgeon (Duke) in the west. I am now
70 years old, surgery was 4 months ago and I can do
everything better than pre-surgery. Some pain comes and goes and I believe it's connected to the growing of the fusion. I truly expect to be back on the golf course within 2 months, probably painless.
Don't mess with less than the best!
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replied July 22nd, 2012
try Dr. Cammisa at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. He is known to do revision surgeries for surgeries that aren't successful. He is head of the ortho dept, is older, and very conservative, No lieing, and up front with recovery issues, etc.
Good luck
Heather
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replied April 16th, 2009
Man alive
Thanks everyone for your posts. I am having surgery on August 27th at 7:30 am. it is intrumental on my L5 i believe. I have to say im kinda nervous after reading these posts. I hope you all are doing well. It sounds like I'm going to need friends after this lol... Shane
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replied August 12th, 2011
I had a spinal fusion on my L5 SI 4 weeks ago on July 14, 2011. I had previously had two disectomy done in 2002 due to leg pain in my right leg and then another surgery to remove bone and scar tissue in 2004 as I was having nerve pain again down my right leg. About a week prior to my fusion on 7/14 my disc completey herniated, blew out, ruptured what ever you what to call it and the pain down my right leg and into my right foot was aweful.

I am having great results so far as I no longer have any leg or foot pain. I do have some numbness in my right foot that should go away in 6 months to a year. I quite taking muscle relaxers and pain pills about two weeks ago as my pain os not bad at all. I do take a daily anti-inflamatory medicine and tylenol if I need it.

I am not suppose to bend or twist or lift anything over 10 lbs for a few months. My doctors has allowed ne to go back to work (desk job) as long as I am comfortable. I started this week working about 3 to 4 hours a day. That all I feel like right now as I have a 30 mile trip one way to work so I start to feel a littl stiff after 3 or 4 hours.

I do not wear a brace and at times I am a little stiff and sore due to getting up or sitting down wrong, bending a little to much etc.. The biggest problem I am having is getting hardley any sleep since returning home from surgery. Hopefully this will pass soon as I am getting exhausted. I did not sleep at all last night. I believe I have developed a case of insomnia that will hopefully correct itself soon.

Everyone heals differently and has different pain tolerance levels. I pray your surgery went well.

God bless,

Jay
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replied September 2nd, 2011
Hey Jay,
I just had l5s1 fusion with insrumentation on Aug 24. I was discharged three days later and so far things are progressing well. Everyone heals at different rates but to anyone that is going to be undergoing this surgery my best suggestion would be to work out; especially working the core muscles. As bard and painful as it was I went to the gym once and twice a day some days and worked hard at becoming stronger. I was walking the first day as well as climbing stairs so the hard work before hand really has paid off so far. I am also almost off any pain meds. I just take one or two percocet at night but that is only after a week post op.

I wish you all the best in your recovery! Things will get better just let your body do the work!
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replied September 18th, 2011
I have just recently had a spinal fusion l4l5 and a lamenectomy done on the 28th August 2011,. I am still in a bit of pain and spend a lot of time in bed. I go for walks each day and do my exercises the physio sent me home with from hospital. I must admit depression is setting in and I am very teary. I feel guilty that my husband has to look after me. I felt a bit better reading your post and seeing I was not alone. Sleep deprivation is my worst enemy at present, I am so tired everyday. I think I need to get a more positive attitude like you have. .....Take care and Good luck in your recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the many others out there like us
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replied September 18th, 2011
I have just recently had a spinal fusion l4l5 and a lamenectomy done on the 28th August 2011,. I am still in a bit of pain and spend a lot of time in bed. I go for walks each day and do my exercises the physio sent me home with from hospital. I must admit depression is setting in and I am very teary. I feel guilty that my husband has to look after me. I felt a bit better reading your post and seeing I was not alone. Sleep deprivation is my worst enemy at present, I am so tired everyday. I think I need to get a more positive attitude like you have. .....Take care and Good luck in your recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the many others out there like us
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replied December 16th, 2011
L4-5 fusion
Thank you for this post. I am hoping my recovery will be similar. I cannot walk without a great deal of pain now, so almost anything will be an improvement. The not sleeping thing is no fun, I have trouble now as every time I move it wakes me up. Ah well, my outlook is good, I hope for complete recovery but know it will be a long process
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replied December 5th, 2011
Im reading these posts trying to find out if anyone has had this done and are very satisfied.....but so far all I read is doom and dread....and Im left with no alturnatives...Ive got to have the surgery. Dang...
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Users who thank donb for this post: kimspears 

replied December 20th, 2011
Hi there, I'm a 29f who is very satisfied w/ a fusion. I had surgery on Nov 3rd to correct spondylolysthesis grade 2 w/ fracture L5-S1 by an orthpaedic surgeon. I went from being bedbound & unable to walk further than the bathroom w/ a walker to walking 2 mi/day unassisted at 6 wks post-op. I had the same reservations bc of what I read in forums but I am grateful for this surgery. In fact, I mentioned a lot of the neg reports from ppl to my surgeon before surgery & he seemed genuinely surprised. I have my life back. I'm 6 wks post-op but I can already hold my 6mnth old, do dishes/ light chores, get in the car & go somewhere,walk a lot. Every day is better. I am extremely happy. I don't discredit the frustration/anger/pain that others experience due to an unfortunate experience but do know that there are some of us out there that have been changed for the better. Best of luck!
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Users who thank callmenea for this post: repeatoffender 

replied April 30th, 2012
It sounds like you went through something very similiar to what I went through. I had a lumbar fracture and slipped disk at L5-S1 after my third pregnancy. I had to have the disk replaced and my spine fused with a cage at L5-S1 when my son was 5 1/2 monthsold. Needless to say, it's been frustrating. I am a mother of three boys ages 10, 7 and 6 1/2 months. I'm also a part time nurse. It's been almost 8 weeks since my surgery and there is no way I can go back to work at the hospital. And I've only recently been able to pick up and hold my baby for short periods of time. It's very encouraging to read your post.... How are you feeling now? Do you work outside of the home?
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replied April 30th, 2012
It sounds like you went through something very similiar to what I went through. I had a lumbar fracture and slipped disk at L5-S1 after my third pregnancy. I had to have the disk replaced and my spine fused with a cage at L5-S1 when my son was 5 1/2 monthsold. Needless to say, it's been frustrating. I am a mother of three boys ages 10, 7 and 6 1/2 months. I'm also a part time nurse. It's been almost 8 weeks since my surgery and there is no way I can go back to work at the hospital. And I've only recently been able to pick up and hold my baby for short periods of time. It's very encouraging to read your post.... How are you feeling now? Do you work outside of the home?
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replied January 18th, 2012
Spine surgery
I hope you are doing well. I had a fusion of my l5s1 in 2001 with instrumentation. Although it took me a good year to get back to feeling like myself, i did slowly see improvements during that time. Try to keep a good mental outlook. Don't over estimate how much you can do. But, push yourself to improve each week. Exercise is so important in this process.

It has been 11 years now and I feel like I am starting all over again. My pain has been increasing significantly in the last 5 months and I just had a disco gram on Monday. I said I would never have one of those again. Yet, here I am. I have to have spinal surgery again and I am dreading it. I know I will get through it, but I am older and not in as good of shape as the first time.

My thoughts are with all of us that silently suffer. But I hope we can all remember that life is a precious gift and each minute a blessing.
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replied January 19th, 2012
I'm so sorry to hear that you may need another surgery. Hopefully this will solve the new source of pain. My physical therapist also had 2 separate fusions and is doing well 25+ years later. As far as not being in as good of shape as you were before, please know that I gained 70lbs excess weight in the 2yrs before the surgery. I'm recovering well- already trying to walk it off.

Thank you for your advice not to over-do, I will have to force myself to slow down a bit. Its been so long since I've been able to do anything so its a big challenge. I'm 11 weeks post-op now and doing good.

Like you said, life is a precious gift! I think everyone on this board can realize that more than most. My back may be different now, but I sure am thankful for the other things that I didn't even think about before! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you go in again. Take care and God bless!
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replied January 23rd, 2012
I am a 50 yr old female that had L5S1 fusion on Nov 22,2011. I am almost 9 weeks post op and am wondering when does this start getting better. I am not in a lot of pain, but I get sore a lot and it seems like I can not find a comfortable way to sit. Just curious as to what someone who has been through this can offer. I would like to go back to work in another week or two. I work in an office so I would be sitting a lot, but I can also walk around anytime I need to. I have been walking an hour a day since around my 4 week post op and it helps. Would love to hear how others compare and when can I expect to feel a little more normal again.
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replied January 23rd, 2012
I am a 50 yr old female that had L5S1 fusion on Nov 22,2011. I am almost 9 weeks post op and am wondering when does this start getting better. I am not in a lot of pain, but I get sore a lot and it seems like I can not find a comfortable way to sit. Just curious as to what someone who has been through this can offer. I would like to go back to work in another week or two. I work in an office so I would be sitting a lot, but I can also walk around anytime I need to. I have been walking an hour a day since around my 4 week post op and it helps. Would love to hear how others compare and when can I expect to feel a little more normal again.
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replied January 25th, 2012
I am 7 months post op, I went back to work after 4 months part time. The pain is still there and still taking meds, sitting after 5 hrs is difficult and then the long drive home doesn't help. This however is mostly all I do, some lite chores around the house. It is a slow process but does get better!
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replied February 4th, 2012
double fusion with laminectomy l3-l5
Hi, I am 4 weeks post op double laminectomy with fusion on l3-l5 with screws and rods. I am off of narcos and able to walk but feel so tired. My surgeon is very helpful. Answers all my questions and gives me whatever I need sleep meds relaxers and pain. Meds. Really can't tell me how long recovery is and this dreadful tired feeling day in day out. Thanks for this board. Don't feel quite alone. From da aloha state...
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replied February 10th, 2012
hi there. i am 29yr old male. had anterior fusion in oct 2011. i am now 4 months into recovery and can say that the pain does get better. i am still quite sore and am unable to lay on my left side but pain has significantly reduced. i am however unable to sit for more than 20mins without pain which is the main reason why i havent returned to work. i am ok at home where if need be i can go for a walk or lie down in bed whenever pain gets too much. sitting for more than an hour without pain medication is pretty much impossible and finding a comfortable sitting position is still difficult. i have found the least painful for me was either walking or standing. but again i can only do this for a small time until i become tired. i am able to pick up my 5month old niece for small amounts of time which is wonderful. there is definitely an end in sight, and just try to keep positive. and exercise as much as possible without overdoing it. hope u feel more normal soon Smile
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replied May 12th, 2012
I had my surgery on Jan 20th L4/L5 6 titanium screws and a bar and those first few weeks I was wondering if it was all worth it. But, today just about 4 months later I am glad I did. I still have problems with an occasional spasm and bending is still a little tough but I am feeling better every week. I still take 1, sometimes 2 pain pills a day but my Doc says the fusion is going great. I did a lot of walking about 10 miles a week (rarely walked before). I made the decision to have the surgery because I didn't want to live with the pain I was in all the time, my goal is that in 1 year I'll be feeling as active as I was 30 years ago, I'm 57. Good luck to all, for me I would do it again, 1 year of pain beats a lifetime of it. If you have any questions please ask, I wish I knew about this site before I had the surgery, I learned so many things on my own.
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replied April 21st, 2009
Spinal Fusion
Hi All

I had a spinal fusion at S1 in 2005, followed by a double disc replacement at L3/4 and L4/5 the following year. Both operations were successful in their own right, although the first operation only put extra pressure on the discs above it, resulting in my need for the second op. Subsequent MRI scans have show the second operation to have been successful, with both replacement discs sitting where they should be. I have had subsequent facet joint injections with no effect.

Unfortunately, what no one ever explained to me was that there was a condition called Chronic Pain Syndrome. A condition that affects the nervous system that causes the sufferer to feel pain even after the underlying reason may have been fixed by surgery. This condition can affect anyone and is not just limited to back pain. I have just finished a 4week residential pain management course at St Thomas’s hospital in London, during which all this was explained in some detail. The simple fact is that once your nervous system has been affect in this way, there is no cure and it becomes a permanent condition. My lower back pain has worsened over the last three years, I have not been able to work, and have experienced a slow deterioration. The prescribed treatment is controlled pain relief, exercise, relaxation and body stretching.

Obviously I guess I am one of the unlucky ones, and am only now just reading about people who have had unsuccessful surgeries, pre op everything I ready pointed to most successful outcomes. It did take a good six to nine moths to recover from both my ops, although I did return to my office job 4 months after my disc replacements. Everything was sort of OK for about 10 months, when all of a sudden just reaching to open the back door, it was as if someone had just flipped a switch and turned on a permanent and nagging lower back pain. Ever since this pain has been made worse by any prolonged walking, standing, sitting, and can be made significantly worse for days on end by the most simplest or smallest movement. I have to wear a tens machine, whenever I go out, but most of the time I am limited to staying near the home.

I am sure that this is not the type of thing that most people undergoing or have had surgery, but I wish someone had explained this condition and the risks involved pre-op.

If anyone would like to know more about this, or has had a similar experience I would like to hear from them.

Gary
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replied July 13th, 2011
BAK cage fusion post op
Gary I think I have said that hundreds of times. They gave me a list of possible things that could go wrong but the same type of pain but worse was the end result.It has literally ruined my life. my BAK cage fusion L4 L5 was done in 2000.I wish everyone well and do not give up.I have learned to push through the pain in order to be more social.And wish I had done it sooner.I could type for hours if anyone has any specific questions please ask.Medications,therapy,ect what worked and what did not...PK
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replied July 30th, 2011
what am i facing in l5l4 fuson
I am faced now for a l5l4 fuson.i am on work comp and they keep me o far in pain hurt in jan 10 and just now got a doc to say need what i am worred about is i am 56 and want so life pain is bad now.what am i facing reading posts worries me.
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replied August 4th, 2011
Spinal Fusion
I am 57 and just had same surgery and doing pretty good, pain isn't as bad as anticipated. recovery is slow. when you are desparate enough and have to do something to return to work you will try anything. These post are old so it leads me to think these people are better or they be on here with more update woes! Good Luck
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replied September 18th, 2011
hi peter,
I had my spinal fusion L4L5 and a lamenectomy on the 28th aug 2011. Is the depression I am feeling normal after this surgery ? I seem to spend more time in bed and sitting is a killer. I know people are different in their recovery time , but when will I be `able to sit longer ? I feel sad that my husband has to do things for me. I wish you all the best
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replied January 23rd, 2012
Lumbar surgery
I don't know if how you are at the date now, but I would love to know. I read this and feel the exact same. I am so frustrated and just need to know if this gets better. I am 9 weeks into my L5S1 lumbar fushion. The pain is not horrible, but I feel I can't lead a normal life. Sitting is hard but as long as I get up and walk around every 20-3o min it helps.
I plan on going back to work in a week or two since I have a desk job and would also like to know what others response is to that.
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replied January 23rd, 2012
Hello there, I'm about 11wks post-op from an L5-S1 fusion. I'm a 29yr old f dental hygienist and I was told that I could return to work (also a sitting job- we lean forward about 10degrees w/ our backs to work on patients) part-time w/breaks during the day at 6 months post-op. My dr said in about 1 yr is when I can completely go back to normal and that the pain I feel now will be much, much better.

I personally would find it hard to work a desk job right now but if you are going back to work I'd like to share something my physical therapist (w/ 2 fusions himself) told me: buy a "Backhuggar" online, it's a dense foam wedge for a chair and also consider using a balance ball to sit on instead of a chair. Best of luck to you in your recovery!
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replied January 24th, 2012
I'm so glad I saw this post today. I am 9 weeks out from a s1/L5 anterior fusion. I went back to work at 6 weeks. I am a reading specialist in an elementary school. It has been rough. I can't stand the driving in the car. I am walking 2 miles most days on a treadmill and the stretches feel so good. Are you playing the rollercoaster game? I stand, then sit, then walk and then stretch in the faculty room (only carpet in the building). Mentally, I can't get past my doctor telling me that I had a 90% chance of this pain going away based on my history (no leg pain..all back). Everytime things flare up, I am telling myself it didn't work!! Here's the but...I have different sensations than pre-op like pain when I sneeze, pain when flat on my back, etc. Don't go back until you have to. I can't imagine bending over a patient and your jobs is a sitting one! I am still in a backbrace at work. It does provide great support and a great reminder.
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replied January 24th, 2012
I'm so glad I saw this post today. I am 9 weeks out from a s1/L5 anterior fusion. I went back to work at 6 weeks. I am a reading specialist in an elementary school. It has been rough. I can't stand the driving in the car. I am walking 2 miles most days on a treadmill and the stretches feel so good. Are you playing the rollercoaster game? I stand, then sit, then walk and then stretch in the faculty room (only carpet in the building). Mentally, I can't get past my doctor telling me that I had a 90% chance of this pain going away based on my history (no leg pain..all back). Everytime things flare up, I am telling myself it didn't work!! Here's the but...I have different sensations than pre-op like pain when I sneeze, pain when flat on my back, etc. Don't go back until you have to. I can't imagine bending over a patient and your jobs is a sitting one! I am still in a backbrace at work. It does provide great support and a great reminder.
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replied January 24th, 2012
Hi,
My surgery was a day after yours! I went back to work (teacher) at 6 weeks (I'm 40 years old). It has not been fun at work. I play the sit, walk, stretch, stand game. Mornings are not bad, but look out from 2-4 PM each day! Then I get depressed and tell myself the surgery did not work. I'm with you with not horrible pain, but if you are like me, your back is still the focus of every hour of every day. UGGG! I really wish I would have gone back half days. My doctor is also big on the back brace. I wear mine almost all day at work. Something that has helped me is a Youtube video diary of a woman who updates you throughout an entire year of her L5/S1 fusion. Watching her will give you a patience check. Just type in 8 weeks post a lumbar spinal fusion and all her clips will come up.
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replied March 9th, 2012
Hi petejr
my wife had 3quaters of her spine fuesed and from day 1 was in great pain it is now getting better maybe 4/5 out of 10 were it was 10/ out of 10 this is now six weeks post ope but finds when she showers the pain on her shoulders becomes 10 out of 10 for hours and then it will rejuice down again would this be normal
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replied November 17th, 2011
Chronic Pain Syndrome
This post was 2 1/2 years ago, so I don't know if he will see my reply, but I have to post about CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) -- I got that diagnosis after a knee injury and subsequent arthroscopic surgery left me with excrutiating pain, swelling, and inflammation in my knee. I was told there was no cure, only a combination of pain killers, which helped only a little. I couldn't walk without crutches or a brace for over two years. Then, thank God, I was referred to the Dellon Institute, a network of surgeons trained by De Alan Dellon, who has mapped the peripheral nervous system to a precision previously unknown. My surgeon resected (cut short) several nerves in my leg, and the result was 95% better. I can walk, kneel, or move however I want now. My surgeon told me that if chronic pain goes on long enough (over 7 years, about), then the brain becomes rewired and then even removing the affected nerves won't stop the pain. I feel extremely fortunate to have been referred to a Dellon Institute surgeon soon enough to help. If you have chronic pain, told it is CRPS or RSD, it might actually be peripheral neuropathy that can be helped or even cured by peripheral resection. Go to DellonInstitute.com to find a surgeon near you. (unpaid announcement and announcer!)
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replied November 17th, 2011
Chronic Pain Syndrome
This post was 2 1/2 years ago, so I don't know if he will see my reply, but I have to post about CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) -- I got that diagnosis after a knee injury and subsequent arthroscopic surgery left me with excrutiating pain, swelling, and inflammation in my knee. I was told there was no cure, only a combination of pain killers, which helped only a little. I couldn't walk without crutches or a brace for over two years. Then, thank God, I was referred to the Dellon Institute, a network of surgeons trained by De Alan Dellon, who has mapped the peripheral nervous system to a precision previously unknown. My surgeon resected (cut short) several nerves in my leg, and the result was 95% better. I can walk, kneel, or move however I want now. My surgeon told me that if chronic pain goes on long enough (over 7 years, about), then the brain becomes rewired and then even removing the affected nerves won't stop the pain. I feel extremely fortunate to have been referred to a Dellon Institute surgeon soon enough to help. If you have chronic pain, told it is CRPS or RSD, it might actually be peripheral neuropathy that can be helped or even cured by peripheral resection. Go to DellonInstitute.com to find a surgeon near you. (unpaid announcement and announcer!)
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replied May 5th, 2009
spinal fusion
I had a fusion of L3-L4-L5 after a compression fracture of L4 in an accident. My surgery was 2-25-09. I had lots of other injuries, so it was about a week after the surgery before I was able to walk again. At a little over two months after the surgery, I am feeling a lot better. I am able to walk about 3 miles and ride the exersize bike for about a 1/2 hour. I am getting some of my back strength back, but am not going to push it until I get the go ahead from my doctor. I am frustrated that I am feeling better, but still having to take it easy to allow the bones time to heal. All things considered I think the procedure was a success and am looking forward to being able to get back to my life.
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replied May 16th, 2009
Back Surgery
I had a double lumbar fusion on May 9, 2008 and I still have terrible pain. Just how long does it take for the pain to go away. Sitting still hurts and I still have trouble sleeping. I am still taking pain meds and muscle relaxants. This truly sucks!
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replied May 25th, 2009
getting better
Here are the coping strategies I have learned after a March 20,2009 fusion at L5/S1 and an L4/L5 artificial disk:
1. Most of my pain 2 weeks post op was coming from muscles that were all knotted up.
when I effectgively atretched them, the pain subsided significantly. I do a piriformis stretch by, face down on soft surface, cross one leg under the other, and slowly,m controlled by my arms, lower the upper body until I feel the piriformis' resistance and then hold til it loosens.
repeat other side.
2. next strategy: I discovered that 6 - 10 GRAMS of vitamin C a day and 20,000 to 40,000 IU of vitqamin
A makes a huge difference in the sense of strength I felt in my core/ (these are in addition to other vitamins: B complex, ginger and bromelain for inflammation - etc.)
3. Next: I think there is really something to the idea of homeopathic meds after all! G o to the health food store and get a homeopathic called "arnica montana" 30X and take four every hour until you start to feel better. It really helped me with pain.best prices non all these are at swanson vitamins on internet
4. Next strategy - invest in 4 good quality cooling pads from walmart - the cold is powerful and
will help, even will help heal as it reduces inflammation.
5. Next strategy -go to the web site for a leg lift support pillow - great investment because it increases the effectiveness of your lay down time (you'd better be laying down during the day!!)
most folks will do well with an 8 incher - they are on sale now!!
6. TAke care of your intestines if your having pain meds! you just don't bneed another medical issue!!
7. get with a good physical therapist - who knows you and will listen - really listen!!
8. If you can't sleep, take a few benadryl )it has dyphenhydramine and will put you to sleep -don't take it and drive please -that causes problems!)

I'mm 9 weeks post op and right there with you guys!!! I'm pullin' for ya!!
Joan
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replied June 14th, 2009
Had "Cage fusion" over 11 years ago, Cannot stand the
Kristen,
I had what the Doctors call "Cages" in my L4,L5 & S1, I am so sorry to say that this was done back over 11 years and I am in so much pain I cry on a daily basis and am so sick and tired of having to take pain meds. I had the surgery to stop the meds.

I have went to another doctor and they did a 5 minute look and said I was ok.

Who do I turn to, it is not in my mind I promise. I am at the end of my wits and do not know where to turn. I have went and made numerous purchases of braces just to keep my back straight so I can do things around my home, but sadly the next day I can barely move.

Has anyone ever had them removed and if so what did the doctors use after taking them out?

Please help me, my marriage is failing due to me not being able to drive for more than an hour or get on a plain, so much more to list...

I was that when the doctors started the cage fusion that it was a trial experiment? Has anyone else heard this?
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replied June 16th, 2009
Hi to you all, I had two back op's one in 1992 and another in 1993. First i had what i called number 8 wire coz it looked like a 8. Next op he took it out and fussed my back and placed a metal plate in. Since then i have suffered with Chronic pain, Numbness from waist down on left side,incontinence both bladder and bowel.Stabbing pains in top of legs have had 3 prednisone injections in each not allowed anymore so they cant do nothing. Also have a gratting and locking up sensation in left groin that really really hurts and almost drops me on the spot.I have only been like this since last operation when surgeon said he had to cut all the nerve endings and just hoped they would regrow. Well guess they never i dont know but know i have had enuff of living with this pain.Can anyone tell me why it is like this and will i ever be pain free. No because the Specialist says the op was butchered and there is nothing that can be done.Now at 58 my disc is collapsing just above fusion, lovely and sorry we cant do a thing. Thanx for comming go have a good life. Well maybe someone got a hint. I also smoke Marajana and it does help. Thanx for listening, Judzz
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replied June 22nd, 2009
I feel for every one still in pain after a fusion because I'm there myself. I had my fusion on L5 L4 and S1 and it was 2 years ago and I still feel like crap. They told me that everything was put back nicely and it all fused well and gee"JUST Cant understand why i feel so bad still". They said I had a 15 percent chance of feeling worse and really think I do.
What really kills me , is after my surgery they figured I would be "all better" so they lowered my pain med doses and that was dumb. My legs and hips and into my feet feel so bad. I get an epidural every 3 months but it wears out after 6 weeks and for the next 6 weeks I'm miserable. I've discovered a lot of things to do sitting down or else I would go crazy. I was always super fit and skinny and now I can't even walk in the grocery store. BUT WHAT'S WORRYING ME NOW, IS THAT MY HIP AND LOWER BACK ARE CLICKING WHEN I WALK. DOES ANY ONE HAVE ANY IDEAS WHAT THAT COULD BE? SORRY TO WHINE SO BUT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO REALLY UNDERSTAND ARE OTHERS IN MY SHOES...EM
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replied June 22nd, 2009
Disc fusions are only half the solution.
The thing about fusions they only tackle the symptoms and you need to treat the twist ir tilt in your spine to stop the cause irritating the discs. The docs may not have told you that but it really does require attention

Good luck,
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replied June 23rd, 2009
Steve , I really appreciate your attention and advice...How does one treat the twist or tilt in ones back. My problem wasn't with my discs, I was born with my L5 in two parts (spondalolithesis) and was an athlete all my life until I couldn't do it any more, about 6 years ago ,I'm 50 now. I messed up my back by playing tennis, hockey, skiing, etc and the bones were crushing my spinal cord roots. So they put the rods in to keep it from slipping any more and fortify it. I spent from the age of 17 to now in pain. The fusion did make my back sturdy but my pain isn't gone. The dr said that after all those years of the nerves being squashed that they're probably permanently damaged, and they show that with those nasty nerve tests, the ones where they stick long needles into your legs...those are AWFUL! But if you have or any one any other suggestions I'm open for them. I had a laminectomy first and tried everything from accupuncture to you name it before I had the fusion. Neurotin and Lyrica worked for me but I gained 25 lbs in a month with each one and decided I hated being sleepy all the time. So any other suggestions. I started the entire ordeal in great shape weighing 130lbs with 18% body fat at the age of 45. Now I'm the most miserable because I'm 156 with no muscle left and I'm miserable when I just get up to wash the dishes. IT SUCKS>>>sorry to whine ...again. Em
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replied December 28th, 2011
I really think your Dr. makes a big difference. I just had a S1 L4 L5 fusion 7 weeks ago, and I am doing fantastic! I left the hospital a day early. I never needed any assistance with anything, I was up showering, doing laundry, and washing dishes. I do take daily walks everyday, I think this has helped too. Good luck to all, but please do the research on your Dr. A great place to ask around is at the hospital, talk to the nurses they will tell you who they would go to if they needed something done done. Bridgit
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replied December 28th, 2011
I really think your Dr. makes a big difference. I just had a S1 L4 L5 fusion 7 weeks ago, and I am doing fantastic! I left the hospital a day early. I never needed any assistance with anything, I was up showering, doing laundry, and washing dishes. I do take daily walks everyday, I think this has helped too. Good luck to all, but please do the research on your Dr. A great place to ask around is at the hospital, talk to the nurses they will tell you who they would go to if they needed something done done. Bridgit
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