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5 weeks out and still pain

iowarobiniiowarobin Posts: 1,268
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I sm five weeks post surgery 2 level PILF with instruments and BMP. I am on 75 Fentyl patch and taking 30 MG oxycodone every 4 hours, and have 5 mg vallium as needed for muscle spasms. I try to walk as much as possible. I cant drive, cant even sit up straight in car, can sit for maybe 15 minutes in chair. Am I being wimp? My pre surgery pain was quite intense. I had 3 discs with tears, 2 with annular tears. I was on 50 fently and 15 oxycodone before surgery. My Dr told me that I woulod be on this meds for quite a few months yet. I just have so much pain, wondered if I was alone in this. I also get quite wiped out. But my surgery was almost 8 hours long.


  • At 5 weeks post-fusion you are still in the early stages of recovery. Being wiped out and not being able to sit for more than a few minutes at just 5 weeks seems pretty normal to me. I was 4 to 5 months post surgery before I was able to do much without being totally drained of energy. Actually, when I went to my primary care doctor at 6 weeks and complained of still being wiped out - I thought something was seriously wrong with me - he just laughed and reminded me that I had had major surgery and that this was a LONG (1 to 2 year) recovery.

    At 6 months post I still get really tired and sore if I sit for more than about 45 minutes without getting up and moving around. And if I sit too long in any one day I really suffer the next day.

    Progress for this recovery is best looked at month to month rather than daily or weekly. There are lots of ups and downs. Remember on days that you feel pretty good not to overdo (thought it is hard not to) or you might spend a few days with more pain and less energy. Just walk as much as you can, try to keep yourself distracted and entertained as best you can, and let time and rest help your recovery.

  • You just had major surgery, you are not being wimpy. I bet you do feel wiped out, sounds like you were in pretty bad shape pain-wise preop.

    One comment-why did your doctor do a two level fusion when you had 2 bad discs? I ask because if an adjacent disc is bad when you have a fusion, some surgeons feel like that the stress of the fusion will cause you to need surgery very shortly again. I would be interested to know what your surgeon's opinion is on this.

    In just my opinion, you have good reason to feel wiped out. One thing I would ask for if your incisions are healed, is water physical therapy. Some mild walking in the water(it takes the weight off your joints and back) and then "hanging" in the deep end with a floatie for gentle traction can feel very good. If your surgeon recommends it, you might really find it helpful. When do you next see your surgeon? I'm not talking about some wild and wacky aerobics dancing to the oldies exercise, just some mild stretching stuff in the water. It really feels good.

    I'm sure you will be on those meds for quite a few months. One thing I noticed is that while you have valium for muscle spasms, you are not on a regular muscle relaxant, too. Many people do well with Robaxin or Skelaxin as they are specific to the back muscles.

    This is a long recovery for this surgery. It is very normal to have ups and downs and sometimes feel like you're only having downs. You sound pretty normal right now to me!!!!
  • You are so early in your recovery. Rememember the damage in your back was not done in 5 weeks, so it is not going to take 5 weeks to get well.. How about, you walk 5 miles into the woods you have to walk 5 miles out. (People use to say that to me with my weight loss although Im sure I could do more damage gaining weight than the time it takes me to lose it.. Please be easy on yourself and take this time to heal and maybe do something that you have wanted to do or try. I have been 5 months in healing and I still have a long way to go. somedays you will feel like your doing well and then wam the next day you feel like your going backwoods. Cyndi
  • I first went to a Dr who was going to do a 3 level fusion. I was scared and so got another opinion with the Dr who did my fusion and he had reasons for only doing a two level even thought I had 3 bad discs. He explained to me that with each additional level that you fuse at one time, you have a increased chance of failure. I had annular tears in L4 L5 and L3 had minor tears. He felt it would be better to have a 2 level sucessful fusion, and have another later than to risk having failure. I have had 6 surgeries in the last 16 months so I know that my body has gone through alot of stress prior to this surgery. So although I dont want to ever go through this again, I wanted to give myself the best odds of it being sucessful.
    Thanks for all the replies. I just feel so drained, and hate taking pain meds. I have had then for the last 2 years and cant wait to get off them!
  • I have been told that the rule of thumb for healing from a major surgery is for every half hour in surgery, you take 2 weeks off from work. So with only 5 weeks so far under your belt, you are doing great!

  • It is so hard to deal with this type of surgery, and there is nothing out there to prepare you for this. It is a shock to your body and mind. I felt the same as you after surgery and had a real rough time-no energy and lots of pain to go around. I too had my fentanyl raised post op, and it made things a little more bearable. It is still early in the recovery for you and it's common to feel that way. However, always keep in touch with your surgeon if the pain is escalating. They may order a ct/myelogram to see if something else is up. PS. You're not a wimp B) Take care
  • I really appreciate all the encouragment from my friends here. I try to keep positive attitude, but when the weather outside keeps you in the house because of ice and snow, it sometimes makes it hard to walk in the house. I checked with my Dr about going to aqua therapy, just to get into pool and walk. I got a fast and big no to that. He said I couldnt do that yet cause it would put to much stress on me. Ok then. Lately my hubby hasw been taking me somewhere once a day to get some walking in, ex. hospital, Pamida and that has helped. Not only cann I get better walking in, I get to see actual people too! My furry friends at home help keep me company, but they are not big conversationalists! LOL Bless all of you and have a pain free day.
  • Absolutely not!! I'm 7 months out from a single fusion and am only now beginning to feel "normal." The trauma to your body is horrendous and it does take a long time to heal. I am probably much older than you and think that alone made my healing time slower, plus I'm overweight and not in good physical shape.

    It sounds to me like you are doing just fine. Keep up the walking...so good for your mind and body!
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