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Fusion spineys- Do you ever get to the stage

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was just wondering if you ever get o the stage where you are not aware of having a fusion.
If you have experienced this how long did it take you and how many levels did you have done, what was the procedure etc.
I am so waiting for that day. I still need my raised toilet seat in the mornings though could do without it as the day goes on. Not a big deal but with other things I feel I am constantly aware that I have had back surgery and would like to move on.

I would love to read your stories.

Blessings Sara O:)


  • Sara, thanks for starting this thread for I am also curious if I will ever feel "normal" or close to it. I'm 5 months post op S1-L4 fusion and not doing well at all.

  • yeah, I know what you mean. Still need the raised toilet seat, use my cane, walker is on standby. I'm so glad I didn't give them away after my first surgery.
    I still have problems and am always getting on and off steroids and Toradol for the back pain and sciatica that just won't quit. Now my other leg wants to act up. Oh well. I feel like I did prior to surgery, but I know I have to be patient.
  • Being patient is the hardest thing to do some times. I know I'm getting sick of hearing that word. I feel worse now then before my surgery. The only good news I've had is that I finally started to fuse. Sorry to be so crabby. I'm just so frustrated.
  • so looking forward to the day when I am unaware of having any surgery. I know it will come. ;)

  • hi all-
    im a year past 2 surgeries L4/5 plif and at 6 weeks post op a removal of screw inpinging on the l5 nerve root.
    i am still waiting for that time when i dont feel like ive had back surgery - i dont think its ever going to happen. i do feel that i will never feel normal - lets face it it is a massive surgery - i do feel better pain wise tho. and as the months go by there is still improvement. i go to the gym now - every other day i do a 10 minuite fast walk, 5KM on the multi strider in 21 mins, followed by 4KM in 10 mins on the recumbant bike, followed by climbing 15 floors on a stair machine, followed by 6 minutes on the versa climber, then i get my swimming costume on and swim 30 lengths in the pool. i would never have been able to manage that before my op - so i think im doing pretty much ok.
    i wanted to give people here a positive outlook because although i still have some nerve damage caused by the screw - i am trying to get on with my life, and only have to take maybe 1 lot of painkillers every couple of days or so.
    patience is the key - i dont have much of it, but neither do most.
    have a reasonable day
    love AJ x
  • That is great you are doing so much.
    I have been going to the physio- gym. A gym set up and supervised by the physios and then hyrotherapy. I only have 3 sessions left and am sure hoping that I can go to the gym after that.
    I would prefer the gym to just walking and as summer is nearing it is also air conditioned :))(

    But I really am impressed and will think of you every time I get on the walking machine.

    Sara O:)
  • Sara,

    I am 17 months post op from a multi level fusion and I can honestly say most of the time I am aware of my fusion. There is that stiffness or twinge when I turn or twist. Occasionally, if I am doing something which absorbs my attention, I'll forget about my back.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • I am 7 weeks post op tomorrow-honestly, if I did not have to wear this stipid brace, I think it would be easy for me to forget I had the surgery! I am just a little sore. I am so thankful that my recovery has been so quick. I pray that yours only gets better!
    btw-I walk, walk, walk,.........MIN. 1 hour a day-up to 2 hours a day. Walk and rest. that is it!
  • I'm glad to read this post. It gives me an idea of what to expect. I am looking at a three-level fusion, L3/4-S1 soon. I am still working, sitting on a very strange looking cushion and getting up to walk (more like shuffle) every now and then. I am wondering what it will feel like when those three discs are fused. I suppose I won't be that hot on the dance-floor anymore, right? :D As if I am now! I'm figuring I'm always going to have some level of pain and stiffness, but I'm praying I'll get to a place where I can get rid of these Fentanyl patches and just occasionally take something for pain. I do have times when things feel fairly calm, but other times when I am so frantic with the pain I cannot even imagine what it would feel like if I weren't on the patch with percocets to back me up. I also now have a TENS unit that seems to help a bit.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Sara, I had exactly the same three-level fusion as you, but my surgery was a week earlier than yours. I actually feel quite normal, that is, I am not aware of the hardware in my body, and I observe the BLT rule because I was told to do so, but I think I could actually move quite well (sometimes I have to reprimand myself because I realize I exceeded my allowed range of motion). A few days after surgery my lumber area felt a bit tight, also when I began walking. But it is OK now. The only indication I have that I am still recovering is that I tire rather easily. But I only need a few minutes rest to recover. I am walking 1 1/2 hours on the average day, sometimes a bit less, sometimes more. My Os does not want me to walk more than 1 hour at any one time. My pre-surgery symptoms are gone (leg pain and numbness) and even the "rusty" feelings in the morning or when I got up after sitting for a while, when it took several minutes before I could straighten up and move with ease I discovered that was not due to getting old, because I no longer experience it.

    This was my first spinal surgery, so maybe I didn't have so much scar tissues as some people with multiple surgeries. Also, after my problems began within seven months I had my fusion, so probably there was no permanent nerve damage.

  • Why are you taking Toradol so soon after fusion surgery? Toradol has been specifically cited as a drug that inhibits fusion. Just want to make sure that your surgeon prescribed it and not your family doctor or someone else who might not be aware of its potentially huge consequences to a fresh fusion patient.
  • I wondered that too when it was called in for me. My NS had upped the Neurontin before giving me Toradol, and it did nothing. He specifically said there was no choice. This happened around August, I think. I've been on a rollercoaster of steroids for flare ups. Right now I'm back on Toradol, 14 weeks out of a TLIF/laminectomy.
    Today, I finally called my surgeon because I developed nerve pain in the opposite leg a few days ago. I feel left sided back pain, muscle spasms in the thigh area and calves, numbness, pain, and burning in the lower leg and foot. I was hoping it's transient. I just started PT last week, ans already cancelled 2 because of the flare up, and today because of my new symptoms.
    The NS told me everything looked good after my first xray, and post op ct myelogram.They are wondering why my right leg sciatic nerve is so unrelenting. And when I get my call, I have to tell them about my left leg. Great.
    Any ideas? I would be much appreciative
  • Wow all of you experienced so much and still in hurt after surgery. I am now in the brim of choosing which surgery options for my spondyloptosis L5/S1 but i am not convinced on whether I should do the operation or not..

    As i think the pain is still bear able now but not sure in the future when i get older..

    Hope all of you will get better soon after your ops..

    Oh I am a newbie here wat is PLIF ? and what is BLT rule?
  • Hi Imelda, PLIF is posterior lumbar interbody fusion. BLT is bending, lifting, twisting. I know lots of new shorthand to learn. I think there is a link about all the abreviations somewhere on the site. Welcome to SH, Sue
  • Imelda,

    did you miss my post two above your? As I said, I am doing very well and I am pain-free. Now a little tiredness and some tightness in the area of the surgery are too small prices to pay for being better (significantly!). Yes, it takes time, to some people less, to some more, and often there is pain but mostly the pain can be controlled. And the upshot of the whole thing is, that the majority of people are glad they had the surgery as eventually they are able to do so much more than before.

    So don't get discouraged, surgery is not the answer for everybody but for many it brings a new lease on life.

    Good luck,

  • Kin
    Thanks for your post..at least now im not so discouraged..even though im still confused onto which surgery to choose..i guess i should choose the less risky one..

    Yeah i guess lots of new terms to learn from now on then..ohh all the new medical terms ^__^


  • There certainly is hope! For me the point was at about 12 months. From then on I started having long periods (days and days) of no back pain whatsoever. Now at 19 months I only get back pain if I do something that I shouldn't, like lift something too heavy or lift something awkwardly. That pain is always muscular and settles down after a day or two.

    For me it really is getting to the point where I often think 'did I really have fusion surgery?' And then I see the screws sitting on my desk at home (I needed to have them removed at 7 months so I mounted them in clear perspex as a reminder) and remember 'yep'.

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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