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3 Weeks Posterior L4-S1 Fusion is this normal?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 36 Female, overweight, I have had degenerative disk disease at L4-L5-S1 since I was 23. Had first surgery 2004 L4-L5 diskectomy/lami, second at same site 1 year later NS removed 6 grams of scar tissue and disk material. 4 years later 3/09/2009 had L4-S1 posterior fusion, since day 1 of surgery left foot has felt like it is wrapped in an Ace bandage that is too tight, my back feels like there is a high pressure soda can in it. Every movement hurts, I brace when out of bed, have a bone growth stim that I wear all the time which despite what the professionals say does cause aching down my hips and legs. When standing if I take the weight off my left foot it lifts up by its self and goes back and to the left about 1 foot off the ground it is freaky, the NS and his nurse sayt that they had to clean a lot of garbage out of the nerve exit and that it is irritated and should wear off as well as the Ace bandage feeling.
After surgery I was 5 days in the neuro ward, where I was up walking short distances 1 day after surgery, I was then moved to the physical rehab ward where I spent a week with 3 30 mins sessions of each OT and PT. I have a front wheel walker and try to go out and walk 1-2 times a day but pay for it if I over do it.
My feet are swollen, my left foot is huge, I keep elevating it but it isn't helping much, I had dopler done and don't have a blood clot.

My pain is much worse than before surgery, the first night home I slept through my pain meds time and woke up wishing I was dead, it was horrible, I am now on 40mg Oxycontine 3 times a day and Oxy IR 15-20mg every 4 hours, Zanaflex (Tizanadine) 4 mg every 6-8hrs, Xanax for anxiety and stool softener.

My regular DR who had been managing my pain decided the day after I was released from the hospital that she would not manage it any longer and refused to refill my pain meds because she is only a PA and felt that she didn't know enough about my condition so I ran out of meds on day 6 home from the hospital and suffered an entire day until I could get in to see the new Pain specialist my NS recommended.

Every day is different, some days I feel like I can do more and then I go 2 days where I don't even want to shower.

Is any of this normal? Has anyone had any of what I am feeling? The possessed leg worries me as does the level of my pain.
Any feedback suggestions are welcome.


  • I had two level fusion ,same levels as you and discectomey on Dec 11. I did not have the foot swelling. The last week I had alot of burning pain on my leg and foot and my Dr gave me prednisone, which has seemed to help. I had suffered with torn discs for 2 1/2 years, and so i still have alot of pain after surgery, which is getting better. I think you need to find out about swelling. Keep walking as much as you can. Even though it hurts, try to do some short walks around the house. I kinow that it is hard, and hurts, but my surgeon was not concerned about how far I walked. Just that I did walk several times a day to keep blood moving. As you can see, I am almost 4 months post op. It is a long recovery, but I look at how I was after surgery and after each visit to surgeon.I know I am doing better. Just not as fast as I would like to.. I still have pain, although it is better, I think that everyone heals differently, You have gone through a huge surgery, be paitient and give it time. You are way to early to worry about pain yet. Check out swelling, and if you Dr cant tell you, maybe a second opinion? Good Luck..PM if I can help.
  • I had a three-level fusion in November. I am only now getting back to feeling well and I know it will be many months before I feel normal again. My right foot is still numb on the outside of the foot -- sort of like that ace bandage feeling you have. I have felt like I've been nailed to a board. I describe my recovery from surgery as a long slow crawl out of the pit of despair. I think I am now at the rim of the crater. Just a few weeks ago, I began the Graston Technique at physical therapy. It is painful, it uses metal tools to sort of squeegee the knots out of my muscles. It is, however, helping immensely. I would imagine it will be a while before you're ready for something like that. Walk as much as you can. It really does help, but know that you are in for a long and very slow recovery. Fortunately, I had gastric bypass surgery right after my fall, but way before my spine surgery, so I've lost most of my excess weight and the doctors say that is what has really helped my recovery. I know losing is one of the hardest things to do, which is why I took what many call the "easy" way out. Nothing easy at all about it, but it is so worth it.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • You sound discouraged but don't give up. I understand that healing from spine surgery takes a lot of time and patience. I will pray for you. Do what the doctor says and remember to take things at a slower pace
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