Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Spinal Injuries Forum

6 weeks inti recovery from spinal fusion

Had instrumented spinal fusion L4-5 S1 decompression on 19/10/11. Prof Ghabrial Lingard Private Hospital Merewether and as I live 250km away from Hospital was flown home by Air Ambulance 7 days after surgery. I believe Text Book perfect is the correct description of my operation. I had my 65th birthday a couple of weeks after the surgery. So far so good, 6 weeks today and still relativelly pain free. Purchased a Bed Pole to help with getting in and out of bed and husband put bed up on bricks to make it even easier to get in and out of bed. Took Endone for first two weeks, now 10-20mg codeine plus 500gm paracetamol depending on discomfort (as opposed to pain)every 6 hrs. Walk around and around the house with aid of walking stick as there are no footpaths or particularly level ground outside-worked out should be up to 1/2km with spare capacity which I use to increase my UP time at computer, visitors, sitting etc. Worse part is the muscle spasms -a couple a day, just like being jabbed with a cattle prod. Not pain as such just a severe jolt. Start hydrotherapy in 9 days. Intend trying to get in and out of car by this weekend. Have been using cold packs if I feel any inflamation in the muscles. Main thing is..original pain is gone and look forward to next few months when restrictions will be lifted. Only health problem before surgery was polymyalgia and a none functioning adrenal gland caused by the medication for this.
I am restricted to wearing a Knights brace whenever I am up which is a nuisance but I can see the reasoing behind it and am very careful where I put my feet when I am walking as I am terrified of falling but otherwise no regrets. Actually got quite excited about washing up lunch dishes yesterday...LOL...still, it was a major acomplishment. Still need help dressing and undressing...lucky my spouse is a caring person. Hope this helps any one heading into surgery...just remember, every one is different but being positive heps. Good luck!
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First Helper Fredowitch
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replied December 12th, 2011
Surgery with Prof Ghabrial
Hi, my husband has just had surgery with Prof Ghabrial at Lingard as well. He came home in the air ambulance on Saturday and I have him on a bed in the lounge room at the moment so he can be part of our life...Christmas etc. He is in incredible pain and still has numbness and tingling down his left leg. He is worried there will be no improvement. He is also on endone but only has enough for a couple of days. Wondering how long before your pain settled and you knew there would be some relief from the original symptoms.
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replied December 12th, 2011
So sorry he still has pain...my pain never got above 5/10 after surgery and I realise I am very fortunate. Found that the spasms were the worst and felt like they would put me down on the ground. Do you have a stick for him to use when walking? This helped me a lot just as security. A Bed pole to help him get in an out of bed? I also used icepacks-5 min at a time (something I picked up from another post somewhere) Apparently heat limits the healing process? I still get numbness in my right foot when I stand for a while. But the original pain and symptoms were immediately relieved. Walking is very important even if its only round and round the house which is basically all one can do when its raining. And I slept/rested A LOT the first couple of weeks. I would suggest you phone Prof Ghabrial...maybe he will suggest he continues with Endone every 6 hours or suggest something else for him? I used 2 strong painkillers containing 10mg codeine and 500mg paracetamol every 6 hours religiously for first couple of weeks after Endone whether I needed them or not. Sounds like he has a caring wife and this will be a big advantage to him...luckily I also have a caring partner who also has a back problem and understands the limitations. Good luck and try and have a Merry Christmas
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replied December 13th, 2011
Thank you for your response. I am glad for your recovery. I think he is in for a hard time with it. I will try the cold packs, didn't think of that. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
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replied January 21st, 2012
To willowharleyfender...been thinking abt your hubby. How is he now? Hopefully feeling much better?
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replied January 22nd, 2012
Fredowitch.. Its funny you say you got excited doing dishes, before my surgery I couldn't stand long enough to do all of the dinner dishes. I too got excited (post op) for being able to stand and do all of them without pain.

Willowharleyfender.. I hope your hubby if feeling better. The only pain I had set in a cpl hrs after surgery (or once anesthesia wore off). It burnt like fire. The dr said it was nerve pain. He said it 'should' settle down and go away (and it did by the 3rd day). He said just moving those nerves to operate can cause those residual effects. I don't know if tingling and numbness are included but those are certainly indicative of nerves. Hopefully he is on the upswing.
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replied March 9th, 2012
Hi all. This is my first time on the forum. I will have a fusion of L4/5 and L5/S1 on April 2, 2012. It seems that I see a lot of post op pain in these posts. It's helpful when I see one like yours Fredowitch. I also have had a double fusion in my neck (auto accident) about 15 years ago and it's bothering me because of how I walk with back pain. Hope you are recovered totally by now!
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replied March 9th, 2012
Thanks bluejabrat...Yes I think I am abt 80% better than I was. Still not perfect but hope that time will heal even more. I hope your back heals as well as mine seems to have done.

Neck pain is not good and can be aggravated SO easily. Have had a minor version for years. Always found hotpacks were pleasant even though they dont fix the problem.

Please keep us posted as to your progress when you come home after your fusion.

PS. My daughters father in law had a fusion 30 yrs ago when he had to stay in a plaster body cast for 6 months. HE misses out on nothing, is a very active 75 yr old, still climbs up ladders and paints houses. That was my role model. Stay positive!
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replied March 19th, 2012
I am pretty sure I will be having a fusion, To tell you the truth, I am frightened, not so much about the surgery itself,
it is the post op surgery,The pain, How much pain. Will the
surgery really help my life. I have talked to my DR about my fears, but he thinks I need one in the worse way. Both legs are
killing me, lower back feels like it is breaking into.Guess
everyone has fears of some kind concerning surgery, but I have had two back surgeries before, the first helped tremendously,
the second hasn't helped at all. I am seeing another DR. Sometimes they schedule too many patients for surgery on the same day, & someone doesn't get the attention they need. Thanks for listening to me.
Jancann
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replied March 20th, 2012
Hi Jancann...best of luck with your decision. I was also having a lot of lower back pain, walking with a stick, limited mobility. Realised just today that I am getting IN and OUT of the car now(5 months post op) without having to pick my leg up manually..Yayyy! Have only had one back surgery so far...hope it stays that way. My post op pain wasnt too bad, not pain free by any means, but manageable with the pain relief I was given. Have to say it was worth it to me....hope your result is as positive. Good luck...Helen
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replied April 7th, 2012
6 months into full recovery...first long car trip (350km one way) 2 strange beds in 4 nights -one a futon. Lots of stairs, lots of unaccustomed walks trying to keep up with younger fitter family members and a swim in Cold water. Now home again with NO apparent problems. Slight burning down right side which I blame on the unforgiving Futon. Thank you Prof Ghabrial. Now all I have to learn is how to get up off the floor gracefully...loL Hopefully everyone else is doing,has done or will do, as well. Happy Easter.
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replied May 16th, 2012
7 mnths along...another long trip..9 hrs to Canberra. No worries at all, except for normal old age stiffness...lol. Still get some pain at night, have problems getting comfortable and sleep with a pillow between my legs to help posture and have given up on getting up....off the ground that is, and have to be careful abt getting things off the bottom shelves. Can't believe that this time last year had to use a walking stick a lot of the time and almost overdosing on pain relief. Now planning a trip to Cape York in next 12 months. Hopefully evenyone else is doing good too, time will help the healing process. Take Care xxx
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replied July 4th, 2012
FINAL POST....just received the all clear from my surgeon who said he would normally see me in another 6 months but because my X Rays show that bone is aready growing over my graft and I feel so good he doesnt think this is necessary. I know I will never be the sam
e as I used to be but I will certainly take what i have which has to be an 80 per cent improvement on pre op. Thank you Professor Ghabriel..lovely man, hope I dont have to see you again.
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