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Back Surgery 1 month postop- Pain L5-S1 fusion Spondy discectomy pars defect and dural tear during s

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All, I am new to this. I had an L5-S1 fusion, Spondy2, with pars defect 3 "floating bone pieces were removed and used for fusion, decompression, a replaced disc also an accidenal dural tear during surgery with leakage (contained) but SWOLLEN! I go for a soft tissue ct tomorrow to find out the extent of the leak.

My real issue is PAIN. I am a 34 year old male in pretty good shape. I am a month out and I'm going crazy! the constipation is horrible (thank god for fleet). I am on Percocet but I feel like a junkie because I have to go to the doctor's office to pick up a written script ever time I need meds (evedentally the pharmacy can't call that in). the meds work pretty well, except for the side affects.

How long bfore I'm normal again ;-)arrgghh...I always feel I should be doing more physically to get back on my feet quicker...

BUT IT HURTS!!!! lol

any suggestions???



  • Man a Dural tear is not going to make things any easier.
    I had same condition as you, Isthmic spondy.
    Im six months out of PLIF L5 S1 and starting to feel normal again. Its a long recovery and at a month out you shouldnt do much at all.
    I would imagine the tear is going to make it a lot more painful, Ive heard of the terrible headaches it causes.
    I found the worst drug for the constipation is the best one for the pain control and that was the oxycontin. As soon as I was off that stuff things "picked up" lol.
    Just take it real easy mate. This time is critical for the future sucess of the surgery. Dont do much of anything for at least two to three months.
    Im 42 and in good shape and am amazed just how long the recovery takes!
  • Have you tried Miralax? It is available over the counter now and should help ease things along. You may still need the Fleet ocasionally though ;)

    I didn't have the same surgery or complications as you, I am 3 weeks Lumbar Fusion post op, but I can imagine it will be a journey as I am setting in for, as well.

  • Hey Justin, I'm 9-10 weeks out from PLIF, & I STILL hurt a lot. I do ok most days, but the days I walk a lot really kill me. I take Vicoden ES, & Methadone, still hurts a lot. I really do believe & have reconciled myself to the fact it is going to take a good 6 months to a yr. to feel half way normal again. I thought I was strong, would recover fast, I'm 52, & it has really gotten me down. No bending. No lifting. No twisting. No anything you may as well say. I don't even know if what I'm taking for pain meds is very strong for what I had done, I see a lot more people on oxycotin, before the Vicoden I was on Lortab. Took 2 of those to get through the pain. Just sit back & relax, it will be awhile before it gets better. Remember patience. MY husband has been carrying the load, makes me feel kinda worthless. But you must do what the doc says. Also on the constipation, I took stool softners, 1 every day, it worked for me, better than that fleet. Good luck with your pain, God bless, Linda
  • First stop being so hard on yourself. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. "Patience" is going to be your best friend for a LONG time. You look to be a young healthy strong young man, you're going to be just fine. Your only 1 month out? I was an absolute mess at 1 month post-op from my 3 level fusion, I am now 11 months, and it's been a hard painful road. I'm FINALLY at the stage of saying to myself "hey, I'm getting better". BUT it's taken this long.

    There are still many many things I cannot do, or maybe I've finally mentally trained myself that there are certain things I just will never ever be able to do again. Life is just different, but I won't let it win!! I still take 3 percocets per day, plus 1/2 valium at night to help me sleep. My biggest issue is that I still cannot stand for more than 15 minutes without the pain getting unbearable. I cannot pick up anything over 20# again, EVER. I can turn around and look over my shoulder while driving though, I do pick things up off the floor, but with my left leg extended straight out in back of me.

    The biggest thing I can tell you is walk, walk, walk. Start out just on small excursions. I started just with going up and down my stairs twice a day, then walking just my driveway length once a day, then slowly added length to it till I could finally do a mile. BUT, with my cane.

    I couldn't even start PT until fusion was seen on x-rays that was at 23 weeks!!! Now at 11 months, I still do my core strengthening excersises, walk a mile, ride my stationary bike 5 miles. If I go out of the house (we live in the mountains, and it's a 45 minute commute to the city) I ALWAYS wear my Tens Unit and my back brace, and take a percocet, STILL. (Tens Units are awesome!!!) Cuts down your pain med intake.

    Oh, for your "potty" problem, lol... I did have the same issue for quite some time until someone told me about fish oil. I take 2000mg with dhea everyday,.. problem solved. PLUS it's just really good for a lot of other stuff. I also take multi-vitimins, Calcium+D, B+ complex, extra D, anything for bones and tissues is great!!!

    You just had a major surgery, go on this site and watch the video's on Fusions, and you'll see just what they did to you, and you'll understand better "Patience". You're going to be just fine, but the healing process takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years!!! Good luck, and buy some fish oil, and walk....
  • We are all very different in our surgeon approaches and our own recoveries.
    I had 3 level fusion and fortunately went to rehab so the first month was in hospital.
    I started PT straight away and went twice daily in hospital then 3 times a week after for PT and hydro for 4 months.
    I am now nearly 9 months and have been going to the gym for a month now and loving it!
    No I dont lift heavy weights or things but I feel I can do stuff. I get on the treadmill and the cross trainer, do stretches, exercises, step ups, lunges and resistance training. It is a hard slog and I could wring my clothing out by the time I finish but I go 5 days a week and I really feel it helps me mentally as much as physically.

    At the moment- Walking is your best friend. :D As long as you can with the dural tear of course. But the more you move around the better off you are.
    I really hope things improve for you soon.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Justin, welcome and speedy recovery.

    This is a massive, huge operation and you need to appreciate the trauma your body is going thro.

    4 weeks is very early and the soft tissue swelling will only just beginning to subside, let alone any of the other bits going on due to the dural tear.

    I use oxycodone - great for pain but rubbish for bowels - but would rather be comfortable than worry about my daily doses of laxatives and bran! lol!

    I am 23, 11 and 3 months post surgery from unstable spondy, bilateral pars fractures, decompression (plus lucky me - I get added complications for free!)

    Please be patient, the recovery is slow and your expectations will drive you as nuts as the pain.

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