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Okay, how much longer?

JoyJJoy Posts: 560
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my fusion surgery 6/26/08 and I still am hurting. First thing in the morning and in the evenings are terrible. I wear a brace all day. I've noticed that I hurt more when I lay down on my bed (on my back). I would have thought I'd be feeling "good" by now. I don't go back to my surgeon until 10/20. Is it normal to still be like this? Thanks ahead of time for your comments.


  • I had mine on 8/5 I am only sore now-hardly any pain. I would call the doc. Granted-I do not work and my husband does EVERYTHING so I only have to work on getting better.
  • I forgot to mention that I am 64-1/2 and was and am in terrible physical shape. Have done nothing but office work all my life! Sounds like you are doing wonderfully! I, too, have someone else do just about everything for me. I try to use the treadmill at least every other day to get exercise. I bet you don't even have to take pain meds, right? I've cut down to trying to use them only once a day. Maybe I should take them more often and start taking the muscle relaxers again?
  • I'm sorry to hear you are still hurting. You have been in your brace a long time. I wonder if you might have some serious muscle atrophy happening?? Does it feel like mechanical pain or can you tell? Are you walking? If you are really concerned give your doc. a call and see if they think you might need to come in sooner?

    Just some thoughts?
    feel better.
  • Joy, I consider my laminectomy and fusion at L5-S1 a great success BUT I did suffer mild pain when lying flat on my back for a long time afterward. It was only about 16-18 months after my surgery that I could lie flat on my back without any lower back pain at all. My doctor and physical therapist had no answer for it other than it was due to the change in geometry due to the fusion., Anyway it finally disappeared for me and I hope it does for you too (an much more quickly)
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Joy, I just want to reassure you that it simply takes a LONG LONG time to feel better. In fact, you are healing very well & that's great---but you simply won't feel a lot better for quite awhile.

    I haven't been here for awhle b/c I'm working again (teaching 2nd grade) & haven't had time; but I had my PLIF (w/ 2 lammies & all the other usual stuff, inclding the iliac crest marrow punch, etc) & it took (& it is STILL taking) a much longer timeline than I thought it would. My NS, who is always supportive & totally honest, said not to even THINK of feeling "somewhat normal again" until AFTER a year...which would be next January for me, and he even said "beoynd that even"....

    So you are very "early out"---rest, walk & be patient...fusions are brutal surgeries & just take a HUGE amount of time to recover from. I had 2 previous spinal surgeries & this one was, by far, the most taxing...

    So take it easy! And yes, AM's are the worst--still takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed & the stiffness/ achy-ness & sore-ness are still there, even now, after almost 9 months. Remember: we are now mechanically different & we must respect that, allow for that & just be patient.

    Best of luck to you! I was showing a start of fusion at 10 weeks & now I'm about 80% there---so it DOES work! Just takes time!

    Blessings to you! It's a long road home, but you'll get there!
  • Joy-I do not take pain meds-YOu are right. I did not even take a single pain medication in the hospital even! But that is not cause I was not in so much pain that I wanted to DIE (the first few days)-but because I get sick from them. I would say that I would not have even needed them by the 2 week though. I lost 92 lbs over 10 years ago and I have been a "walker" ever since-so that may have helped. I would say keep walking as much as you can-if your doc says it is ok. Sorry to hear you are still in pain :(.
  • You are all so supportive...makes me want to cry! I really appreciate it. I'm not a patient person, so this is not so easy. Just think of all the times we have bent over and taken it for granted. Can't even get my underwear on now without a "grabber." LOL It's so good to come here and vent since everyone else is saying, "Your back STILL hurts?" like I'm supposed to be totally pain free now.
  • Joy, you sound so sweet!

    Please think of the fusion recovery as just that: RECOVERY!!

    Take your time, allow TIME to do its job & as long as you a re not geting worse, your x-rays show progression, etc...ya j just gotta WAIT!!!

    Seriously!! You'll have good days, bad days, in-between days...but you will get better. And it will HURT for a LONG time...

    LOL about the underwear & grabber!! I still need my grabber & I now go "commando" b/c of the bother of the brace, any waistbands around my incision area & the logistics of having to "go" in 30 seconds (all teachers ever get!)....DRESSES are wonderful! Especially if they lined & you don't need a slip...Just put on the dress, use your brace as a fashion statement ( I add a pin-on flower to mine, etc) & get on w/ you day...!

    Do whatever you have to---you are now "exempt" from any rules: what we;ve been thru allows us "carte blanch" to live our lives, in our "new" bodies, anyway we can!

    99.9% of the general population has never gone thru what WE have: major spinal surgery that assualts our entire central nervous system. We are now entitled to "do" or "be" anyway or anyone we wish!

    And when insensitive people still chide me about any back pain I just give them a withering look, pull up my shirt and say " What would YOU do with this?!"

    It has made more than a few people speechless--and that's my whole point: we are so special, we are soooo strong, we can now do ANYTHING we want to!

    May you heal well (take your TIME!!) & go on to a wonderful "post fusion" life! It will be different, and you will miss your former body, but believe me: you will be wiser, more compassionate & possess more patience & forebarence than before...which leads to an inner calm that no one will ever be able to take away from you.

    We may lose our "before" selves, but we get to "re-invent" what's left...a gift few others are given.

    So---go put on the dress, wear comfy shoes & go forth!

    Blessings to you! You'll be OK!

  • I just wanted to ask -- are you wearing your brace while laying down? If so take it off....

    Enough of the stoopid question

    Try using a pillow or two under your knees while on your back and one betwee you knees while on your side.... It has helped me immensly

    Best of Wishes,
  • Cheers to that sister!!! I love your way with words :)
  • I have tried laying on my back with and without the brace. It's very uncomfortable with the brace on, but actually my back feels better when I go to get up. I have also done the pillow thing under the knees and it does help also. Worse time I have is in the middle of the night when I have to go to the bathroom. It hurts so much when I get up that it takes too long to make the trip. Hey, accidents happen, right?
  • I love that name! I am 51 this year and not in the best shape either. My last surgery in April of this year really took a toll on me.

    I have been through several surgeries and sailed through them all and went right back to work.

    Not so much this time around. Doc said I could be back to work in 2 weeks after Cervical fusion. Was more like 5 and I beat myself up the whole time because it took me so long.

    Even after returning to work I strugged with pain and fatigue. Am doing better but still not my old self.

    It is harder to bounce back from surgery as we get older. Give yourself whatever time you need to get there and don't beat yourself up about it.
  • I am about 6 weeks ahead of you and I am still on a low dose of pain meds.
    I m also younger (a bit) and though I am overweight I did get pretty fit before my surgery. I put it off for a few months so I could go to th gym and stop smoking.

    So I would say you are doing pretty well

    Lakesdie- I love what you wrote. :)

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I'm 1 day ahead of you with surgery and I still take pain meds. Don't feel like you can't take them if you are in pain, the docs give them to us for a reason.

    Best of luck,

  • hi joy darling.
    sounds like your doing fine!!!!!
    iv found just from "old spiney friends' on the old site and even new ones here, those braces boy, can be uncomfy.
    remember when those braces are on which prevent you from bending, twisting etc, your not using all those core muscles. so i would imagine you would be sore.
    i do not have one now nor did i the last fusion last year.
    and boy when you do not have one you can really feel those back, ab and hip muscles getting a work out.
    im dying right now with leg/butt and of course inscision pain but im only a few days out. it takes me A LONG TIME to get off the couch where i am sleeping. its like you do not even want to get up to go into another room or the bathroom as you know what its going to feel like. OUCH. but its more a pulling sensation. which i do not know what is worse that or actual pain hmmmmm.
    your still early out, you have alot of healing to do.
    i cut down on meds on the 3rd month. then the dr gave me some in the 4th month just to take for "rainy days" as there will be some..
    i feel horrible now taking meds and of course hubby is like "hunny that is what they are here for take them on time, do not wait till it hurts" he is RIGHT. i need to stay on a schedule.
    but sometimes in your mind you just want to wait it out so that you know you have them when needed. but im slowly learning not to do that.
    like i mentioned in another post, sorry for the long rambling. i am in alot of pain and well this board and all you wonderful "people" keep my mind off of it. ;)
    and if i do not make sense its because i take my percocets, valium and soma and get a little whoooo whoooooo 8}

    hang in there this is a very involved surgery and a long recovery for some of us.
    any new pain or symptoms that you did not have before your bother you just call thats what the drs are there for is to answer our questions, even if not serious.

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D<
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