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road to success 3 1/2 months after fusion...

DanaDDana Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm happy to report that even though my huge fusion (all lumbar discs added to T-level fusion) suffered a major setback early on--a serious stress fracture--I am on the way to success.
It has been 3.5 months. The stress fracture caused by one of the screws they put in was so serious they were going to re-operate, but things turned around and it has healed well and the latest CT scan shows new fusion growth.
Believe it or not, I still have surprising mobility, which I was worried about. I've always been flexible in the hips and legs (to compensate for lost flexibility of first fusion at age 17), and it appears as if, when I am fully healed, that I WILL STILL BE ABLE TO BEND OVER AND TOUCH THE FLOOR. With a "table-top" back, of course, but still... I thank those limber hamstrings.
Because of the set-back, I've had more pain than I should have, even with such a big fusion. I still need about 3 10mgs pills of Narco (hydrocodone) a day. The pain is more muscular, not bone pain. Surgeon says it takes a long time for the pain issues to resolve, to be patient.
At first, I could not even stand or walk upright, but I am upright now. I "workout" each day and practice isometric exercises, standing "core" work, straightening, walking about a mile on some days. Some days have more pain and stiffness than others, but doctor says, "This is not a life sentence. Give it time. It is still early, and you had a major setback."
I hope he is right. I want to be pain-free, but at least now I no longer am crying every day from the inability to function. I mean--I couldn't stand straight, or balance, or anything. I spent weeks at home in bed, and now, although I still have more of a road ahead, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
So will you! Anyone recovering--if my nearly-fused back can recover at age 49, so can yours. Take your vitamins and eat right and walk and do your isometric exercises. Miracles do happen.



  • It's really wonderful to hear about miracles! I enjoyed reading your post and wanted to tell you Congratulations! What a great attitude too! Your Dr. is right and sounds like a good one! I does take time and patience. However, I'm sure before you know it one day you'll wake up and realize you don't have the pain you have today and can look back at how far you've come!
  • Well, it gives me something to look forward to at least. Seeing as I've got problems in C, T and L spine at 29, I'm not looking forward much to the future, but I've been able to avoid surgery this far. That's pretty amazing.
  • You give me a bit of hope. I am so stiff after my three-level fusion. I'm afraid to try and bend over and touch the floor. My PT doesn't want me bending. I'm trying to lead as normal a life as possible, but often, at the end of the day, I'm just stiff, sore and wiped-out. Tonight is one such night. I'm on the couch with the laptop on my knees. I'd love to have a little wiggle in my tail again!


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I still get stiff, and although I can not YET touch the floor, I am getting there (I can sit straight with legs straight in front, etc). I know exactly what you mean by the end of the day. I often feel fine in the mornings, and then... by late afternoon, I'm stiff as a cadaver. I fear there will always be SOME sort of stiffness--in fact, I'm sure of it--but I hope it will not be as bad as what I get now. The exercising I do (modified so there is no bend/twist/lift) really helps "soften" up.
    Try this: back up against a wall, and lift your arms over your head and reach for the ceiling. Reach and reach and reach, as if someone is pulling your hands. Inhale deeply and slowly, then suck in your stomach muscles. Relax and repeat, over and over.
    Another one that helps a lot: Stand straight, stomach in tight. With bent knee, lift one leg high as you can and "pump" it one in up and down. You will feel it works your abdominals. Repeat with other leg. I find that exercise really helps break the stiffness.
    I have lots of other modified exercises. I wonder if I should do a post with all my "special" isometric exercises that I find have kept me in very good shape, in tone, and helps with the stiffness.
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