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New spineys, what we've learned...

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
To our new spiney friends:

I'm going to go out on a limb and speak for 99.9% of us that have had spine surgery and say that recovery is a very, very, very long road. I'm posting this because I've seen a common thread among new spineys that say they're still in pain after 4 weeks, or 6 weeks, or 8 weeks.

Well, you know what? Darned right you are! You betcha!

(I was originally going to put here a graphic description of exactly what is done during or spine surgeries, then thought better of it for those that are still contemplating it.)

I just want you to know that I didn't realize until after I experienced my surgery, seeing other's experiences and talking with folks here on SH that any spine surgery is very major surgery.

That's NOT to say that it isn't worth doing because so many times it is (mine included), it's just to say that you and your loved ones both need to realize you are embarking on a long journey, not necessarily a BAD one, just a long one.

With that being said, SH is a very valuable resource for you because you'll find a lot of information here on these forums and outside these forums, and you'll also find support and friendship. And when it's over and someone asks you what surgery you had, you can hold your head up high (hopefully LOL) and say "I had cervical spine surgery" or "I had lumbar spine surgery" or "I had thoracic spine surgery" instead downplaying it by saying "I had neck surgery" or "I had back surgery."

Anyway, I don't really know what posessed me to write this, but here it is. Good luck and welcome to all our new spiney friends.


PS I don't usually write these very long, contemplative posts. Could it be my meds? 8}


  • i liked how and what you said it is very much how it is. people just dont realize how difficult it is. thanks for the post.. p.s. it probably is your meds...lol.
  • I LOVE what you wrote! You nailed it! My surgery was 6-1/2 weeks ago (fusion of L1-L5, 12 screws, 2 rods, cage) and I have felt like I should not have pain or anything anymore. After reading what you wrote I feel so much better. I have actually felt sort of guilty that I'm not 100% well. I know that may sound weird and your message is exactly what I needed to read. Thanks so much for your thoughts! I know when I am finally 100% healed (and I have faith that I will be) I will be proud to say I had lumbar surgery. It has been a long, hard, painful recovery...but I know I'm going to make it!
  • Cath -

    You are so right! It is a long, often boring recovery that requires more patience than I could have ever imagined.

    I went into my spine surgery not really understanding what a long road it is. After my only other surgery (a total hysterectomy) I was back at work in 2.5 weeks. So I really expected to be in pretty good shape at the end of 6 weeks post-fusion. Hah!

    This site saved my sanity! Reading the experiences of others let me know that what I was experiencing was normal and gave me valuable information about what I should and should not be doing. On the days that I found myself in tears, thinking I would never feel good again I could read these posts and know that it would get better.

    Thank you to all the members here who do so much to support others!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    Cathie, what you posted is so true.
    There is no such thing as a simple spinal surgery.
    And there is no such thing as a simple recovery period after surgery.
    Plus post spinal surgery, there is no such thing as doing anything you want to do regarding physical activity.

    Besides the technical pieces of the medical side of spinal surgery, the emotional part is so very important. No person should have to go through all of that by themselves.
    Everyone needs a helping hand, be it physical assistance or just lending a compassionate ear.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Here's a play by play of my recovery for the 1st nine weeks....

  • I just wanted to write this from a perspective of someone who has been recommended for surgery (in the next two weeks) because I am pretty much disabled now, with no quality of life and extreme pain constantly, which I am sure many of you have been in.

    I have researched, read and researched some more as under no circumstances would I even consider entering into any surgery without being fully informed as much as I can be without being medically trained. I would find it difficult to imagine this being a quick recovery, afterall they are going to cut my stomach open, put foreign metal objects in to hold a part of my spine together. I would view it on a par with brain surgery or heart surgery really and my doctor agrees. I have learned so much from this forum that I am really thankful for with experiences of what people have had through the various types of surgeries for the various problems. However, it isn't always apparent as to the quality of life of people before they went into the surgery and this is the most difficult point for me in making my decision as to whether to go in for it or not.

    I have lived with pain on and off for over 20 years, but I didn't see it as bad enough to warrant even having it investigated (if only I had taken it seriously then), I just layed flat for a few days and then got back up again. however, since Nov 07 my life has been completely restricted and it seems to be getting worse. Today I had to attend an appointment, I can't drive anymore because my back just gives in without warning, so I had to pay for cabs to and from the appointment, I then had to take copious amounts of painkillers just to get myself from my door to the taxi with the aid of two walking sticks and still in pain. This was a good day however, because for the last week I haven't been able to walk at all, even with the aid of sticks and my partner. This is because I was silly enough to move my half full dustbin bag so that birds couldn't get it. I am absolutely dreading the operation because of the risks, but I am pretty much crippled now and this is my future if I don't take the risk. My GP summed it up when she said it is like I have a choice between jumping into the sea and risking the sharks, or jumping into a lake and risking the crocodiles.
    I really appreciate all of the support of this forum and the information and I have so much empathy for what people on the forum are going through or have been through. I am just completely confused as to whether I should go for this now or just wait until I lose bowel/bladder function and then take my chances with an emergency surgeon as this seems the inevitable outcome of my situation. I have virtually no disc left at the L5 S1 level.

    The other aspect to this is the impact on my partner who for the past year, has pretty much been my carer. He doesn't moan about it, but our future we planned is impossible now because I can't do anything, so it isn't just me and that makes my decision even more difficult. It looks like if I choose the surgical route then my partner has the next year or two still being a carer (assuming nothing else goes wrong in the op) and if I don't go that route then he will be my carer for the rest of my life. What a fantastic choice.
  • I am post op 20 days and the past two days have been extremely painful. I needed to be reminded that I have a way to go before I will be healed. I have laid down for the past couple of days, made sure I take my pain medications on a schedule and rested. It is hard to remember that this is a process and there are good days and bad days so I thank you for reminding me of that. Patience, patience and more patience. Now I feel better about my present situation. Thanks :)

  • You said it Cath!

    Between Cath and Juliann it's raised an old childhood memory of a quote I was raised with:

    "The objective of all (insert 'spiney's' here) is to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon. However, when you are up to your a_ _ in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp."

    Basically - when you are living in a world of pain it's hard to not obsess or worry or stress over the possibility of never feeling better or, heaven forbid, what if something is really wrong - how can you NOT have those thoughts go through your head??!! Particularly as the months drag on and on.

    That's where this site is priceless - where you can ask and compare to others going through the same thing. Is what you are experiencing normal or not?

    So much of healing is mental - how can you even begin to heal with those 'alligator' thoughts chomping around in your head?? How do you remind yourself that you probably didn't have a choice on your surgery? That healing takes time, a lot of time...

    So keep on hangin' on and we'll be here when you need us.

  • Like most everyone else, I had absolutely no idea that recovery would take so long and have recently realized that I may never feel "normal" again. I still have muscle spasms and neck pain and can't look in any one direction for any length of time before the pain worsens. I've started having some significant sciatica and tailbone pain that is at its worst when I lift something heavy, stand for too long, or turn the wrong way. Sometimes I do it anyway knowing I'll pay the price later.

    It's kind of like this: I hadn't been to the dentist for about 15 years or so and started having some pain in one tooth. When I got a job whose insurance enabled me to start getting some work done on my teeth, I went to the dentist. Once he started working on the tooth that hurt, a whole new host of tooth pain started. It didn't end for two years. It was like he opened this huge can of worms.

    It seems like that's what happens when we have surgery on our spines. It opens a whole can of worms and that can might be fathoms deep. I realize it now, and I can live with it. Well, there's really no choice, is there?

    Ooops, got a little off-topic there. Anyway, I guess the motivation for this post is that for anyone who is facing spine surgery for the first time and has no idea what they're facing, I'd just like them and their loved ones to understand the situation before hand and be prepared to face this long-term. If you end up back to your old self in a relatively short period of time, then that's icing on the spiney cake.

  • Thanks for the post!
    I am 16 days post op TLIF, and I keep telling myself I should be ok, and not need anything for pain at this point. Most of the time, I take a acetaminophen and I'm fine. But yesterday,I walked a mile and a half and did a few more things than I should have, and I'm sore. So yes, I'm sure it will be a long recovery...with good days and not so good. Living alone makes it harder, too. I've worked in the medical field for many years, I just don't know much about spinal procedures.
    I know part of the problem is feeling guilty for not being at work. I'm not used to this.
    This site is great!

  • This is a great topic Cath! I think of my recovery like a lifestyle change instead of a diet...it's going to affect my life for a long time (possibly forever) and that's ok. I'd rather expect that it does & live my life in the new parameters I have so that I don't further injure myself by pushing myself too much to "be healed".

    I'm SO, so, so thankful for this site!
  • I have often wondered why many spinal specialists err on the side of telling their patients the recovery time is shorter than it really is. Luckily, mine was very honest with me and probably laid out the worst case scenario, so at least there were no surprises!

    Sometimes people wonder why I am still posting on the board. I've almost come to think of it as my mission in life to help open some people's eyes. Too many people enter into spinal surgery without having explored all their options, without having "done their homework" both in learning about their particular condition and researching their particular surgeon, and without understanding what they are getting into...that surgery will be a life-changing event...and that once entered into, there is no turning back. As long as people understand this about spine surgery, then they are able to make a valid decision.

    I would never discourage anyone from having surgery. People just need to understand that it is not like any other surgery! Even heart patients have a more straight-forward process.

    Here's to knowledge!!
  • It surprised me to know that not all surgeons/doctors are honest about what this surgery can mean for people and as others have already pointed out, the long recovery period. I feel fortunate in the fact that my doctor and surgeon have been very honest and if anything the doctor has really asked me to think about it very carefully before proceeding and even went as far as telling me the success rates quoted by my surgeon sounded too high from the docs experience.
    My surgeon first told me all of the things that can go wrong, before he told me any possible good outcomes. He has also told me on several occasions that this is the 'last resort'.
    I was a little angry at first when both the Doc and Surgeon approached it in this way, because it wasn't what I wanted to hear of course (who does?), I was selfish and wanted to hear that everything would be back to normal after surgery, but I am so thankful for their honesty as I am for the individuals that make up this forum that are kind enough to share their experiences.I feel like asking my colleagues to check the site out so they have more of an understanding of what people go through and what this surgery means, because they certainly don't at present.
    I think what is good about this forum is that all individuals opinions and experiences are as valid as the next persons and that it is supportive.
  • My surgeon said that I would be pain free right away after surgery. That was not the case. I'm 8 weeks post op and still have severe pain.
  • Cath, I too am glad you started this thread!

    I have DDD, no surprise there but mine was much more aggressive than most and I had 2 triggering events that caused severe instability and a lot of pain. My only option was fusion 'if' I couldn't live with the pain. I was an athlete (bicycling is my passion) to begin with so had an advantage being healthy (meaning not overweight, no other conditions such as diabetes, non smoker, etc, etc). My surgeon told me up front that due to my age (51) and health that there was no reason I couldn't get back to doing what I did before but it would take several months and a lot of hard work (on my part) to get there. I couldn't live that way so I decided to have the surgery.

    I didn't tell too many ppl that I was going to have a lumbar fusion because many ppl either only know or only remember those who have had bad experiences. I'm not sure why that is but I decided I didn't want to hear it. I kept my discussions between a handful of knowledgeable/positive ppl.

    I am 10 weeks 1 day post surgery and I have no back pain at all unless I twist my lumbar spine. I do have what I consider to be muscular issues (in my back and hips) that are very uncomfortable and some of which was there before the surgery. My surgeon said the surgery could possibly end that discomfort and so far it has not. I'm not discouraged though. I've been in PT now for 4 weeks, 3x per week and I do my exercises faithfully when I'm at home. Some of the exercises or stretches are quite challenging and I find myself, whenever the therapist says 'ok, next we're going to do xxx', saying 'oh really! just how are we going to do that?' I really believe at the time that I can't do it but when they show me how or explain why it's ok to do to begin with I feel better mentally and can do it! It's amazing. Today for the first time I am able to bend down and pick something up off the floor, nothing heavy or bulky just small stuff but that's a huge accomplishment for me. I still can not put on and tie my shoes. I feel better every single day but it is an incrementally sloooooow process for sure. It's like life is moving in slow motion but thankfully moving in the right direction.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that there are so many variables (age, weight, other diseases or conditions, etc) that one must really be committed to all the hard work involved in the recovery process and most of all have patience.

    Patricia's tag line basically sums it up nicely.
    "Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
  • I'm so amazed at how everyone feels the exact same way I feel. How we didn't know how long our recovery would be, either from ignorance or because a trusted doctor told us so.

    And Ron made an excellent point: we will forever be mindful of our spine, what we had done, and what we "shouldn't" do. The limitations that are left over from our surgeries tell us so, and when you forget, even years later, it comes back to bite you.

    Our spines are so delicate, not really made for walking on two feet or jumping or running or lifting.

    For me, I'm proud to be a spiney and I have a wonderful battle scar to show for it. There are people I know that couldn't walk down the path that all of us have, and I'm proud of our brave spiney family here on Spine-Health. We share something that others could't possibly understand and it's our nice little secret.

  • I am also at 8 weeks past surgery for C5-6 and C6-7. Still in a lot of pain. Ask the doctor on my first check up at 4 weeks and he said that he had to reline my spine and that is why I was still having pain.

    I will be glad when I can go through a day with pain, if ever??

  • Thanks so much for this post. I am 5 months out and the one thing I have to continue to work on is to have patience.

    My biggest piece of advice is for those with significant others to please make sure they are aware of what you will be going through as well. I think that taking them to appointments is a really important thing to do if at all possible so they will understand things better. While my DH has been really supportive, I really don't know if he understood the extent of the recovery process. He has really had to take over most of the housework and a lot of the parenting duties that I can't physically handle. I know we are finacially strapped while we are going through this, but if possible find people to help them handle the chores, etc. For example we have hired someone to take care of the lawn so he doesn't have to do it. Really let them know how much you appreciate what they do. Because you will really need their support through the process.
  • I'm 6-7 weeks post-op, and one of the lucky ones. I was able to swallow right away without a problem. Just felt dry, and I ate smaller bites the first night. I was walking 2+ miles after the second week. I am now driving 75 miles/day to work, and doing my regular 8 hours every day, 5 days/week.

    HOWEVER.... I'm aware of my soreness all the time....Every day. For me it's more of just a constant nagging thorn-in-my-side, not the agony others have gone through. But it's still there all the time... just in different levels throughout the day. Again, I've been very lucky. I've been able to handle the pain and function so far without much extra effort.

    I'm down to only taking 2 500mg Tylenol tablets about every 8-9 hours, but if I miss it, the pain starts to escalate quickly. I'm also 47 yrs old, so I'm no spring chicken.

    I've resolved myself that I won't be fused until November, and possibly even later. So far I haven't experienced too much depression, but then again I haven't had time to. Then again.......let's wait until November and see if I'm eating my words!
  • It's so good to read that other have the same pain as I do. I was so unprepared for this recovery and pain. And the crazy thing is I am a neurodiagnotic tech and monitor spine and brain surgeries for a living. I monitor the same surgery I had several times a week. I monitor the spinal cord and nerve roots for the surgeon during surgery and tell him if things are improving. I'm also a nurse. I have herrington rod at T12-L2, done 25 yrs ago. I dont remember the recovery being this hard but of course I was younger. After reading other peoples comments, I think I'm hard on myself and expect to much to soon. Because I see cevical fusions done so often, I didn't look at it as such a big deal. I just want to thank everyone that shares their story. It really helps alot.
  • I see it's 3 mo since your surgery. I had a ACDF C5-C6 on April 16th. Suppose to see my surgeon for the first time post op today but for the 2nd time they change appt till tomorrow. I am still having so much pain in my scapula area and neck. Still having to take Percocet and Soma. I didn't expect pain this far out from surgery. I have Alograft and no plate. Don't see many on this site with no plate. I have to wear a collar for 4 mo which I understand causes most of my pain. I now have nerve pain back in my left thumb. That makes me alittle nerves since I had 3 heirniated disc and they only did 1.Do you still have alot of pain? This recovery is not what I expected. It's very hard to not feel depressed.
  • My Dr very much minimalized the surgery. I do think the surgery was the right thing to do because my pain progressed very rapidly and the numbness and weakness was very scary. I don't believe I could have waited much longer in that agony.
    That being said, he did tell me my relief would be immediate and that I would return to work in 2 weeks. I honestly don't see how that is going to happen at this point. I still have major weakness, nerve pain and numbness....just not nearly as much pain.
    I would have felt much better had he been straight up with me. There just seems no possible way to have surgery of this sort and the problem fixed right off.
    Also I had very little post-surgery instructions. The bulk of it was to "limit sitting and walk several times daily". No time limits, no distance....nothing until I see him again in 2 weeks.
    Then I am to return to a job that I am on my feet for 12 hr a day? I really need that little man rolling on the floor laughing emoticon!
  • I'm glad I found this post. I'm meeting with an NS next month and trying to prepare myself as much ahead of time to hear that I am a surgical case. Trying to just get used to it being a fact rather than a maybe. I know my biggest problem will be boredom during recovery and not being able to do for myself. Thank you for bringing the focus back to "it's major surgery. it's major recovery" :)
  • I lurked here prior to my cervical fusion and have continued to read since it. Since the legal stuff regarding the car accident that put me in this spot are still up in the air, I am posting with relative anonymity; I'm sure any of you who've dealt with insurance companies and legal counsel can relate. It sure makes it hard to just be yourself and seek out advice and info online.

    I'm so glad this thread is here. Like many of you, I am still dealing with post-op pain and wondering how long it will take for nerves to regenerate and heal. The worst pain I have is scapular pain on the right side.

    This has actually been here since my car accident in 2007. I'd had shoulder issues since the initial whiplash calmed down. I ended up having a distal clavicle resection with acromioplasty on my right shoulder in August 2008.

    After healing up from it, I was still having right scapular pain and both pain and weakness down my right hand and into my thumb. My shoulder surgeon said it didn't make sense for this pain to be ongoing, so ordered the MRI.

    The MRI showed a herniated disc at C5-C6 and severe DDD at C6-C7. There were also bone spurs throughout the area, some of which pressed on nerve roots.

    I had an ACDF March 30 this year, C5-C6-C7 with bone bank bone and a titanium plate across the three vertebrae.

    The surgeon made it sound like this surgery would be a much easier recovery than my shoulder surgery. He said he would have me in a soft collar for two weeks, and that was just for comfort.

    I'm now 9 weeks post-op and still have severe pain in my right scapula. It's a deep ache, sometimes with sharp stabbing pain. The back of my neck and down between my shoulder blades burns often, too. Sometimes it feels like someone's stabbing the back of my neck with a knife.

    I have fibromyalgia, triggered by the car wreck. That, of course, affects everything as well.

    At my last appointment a couple weeks ago, my surgeon said the bone graft looks good. He gave me a sample bottle of Lyrica and said to try taking it at bedtime. Aside from it making me a little sleepy I didn't notice any relief.

    Night time is very rough. I am more comfortable sleeping in the recliner, so that's where I am most nights.

    The only thing that's helped the scapular pain is Vicodin. I've tried 1000mg acetaminophen, but that doesn't begin to touch it. Darvocet isn't much better. I have been stingy with the Vicodin, only taking it when I'm having a bad pain day and nothing else has helped.

    Now I have reached the surgeon's post-op time limit for narcotics, so the Vicodin will no longer be an option for me. He will give me Darvocet or Ultracet along with Neurontin.

    Truthfully, I am scared about how I am going to cope with the bad days. I do not have a high pain tolerance to begin with. The fibro makes me hurt all over some days, and when the scapular pain is added to it, it's really bad.

    Before my accident, I never needed stronger stuff this far out from a surgery. Sometimes I still can't believe how a rear-end collision has changed my life.

    The surgeon said I can take the Neurontin throughout the day if I want to try it; he warned it would probably make me drowsy. Since reading up on it and talking to friends, I've heard enough horror stories about Neurontin, I really don't want to take it. It sounds like Lyrica isn't much different.

    I'm really discouraged and afraid of what my life may be like in the future. I am thankful I only work a day or two a week at a cafe during the slow summer season; my boss is terrific and has been really supportive, as have my coworkers.

    Still, I don't know how it's going to go with the physical demands and the commute. My pain flares up worse for 2-3 days after I work. Again, the fibro seems to make everything worse.

    I am thankful to have a wonderful husband who supports me in both word and deed around the house. I also am thankful I am able to just work my part-time job and that I don't have kids to raise (the dogs and cats are enough!). For the most part, I am a positive person and have lots of good friends who support me. The chronic pain is just getting to me.

    OH, man, I am rambling. I shouldn't have lurked for so long...Maybe my first post here wouldn't have been such a book!
  • How many people here were told by their surgeon that "once they fused" they could resume all their regular activities and passions? Even those that were physically rigorous?
  • Mine told me with the fusion so low in my neck I would have minimal limitation. It's true I can turn my head back and forth, but I still can't do up and down without discomfort and still feel like I have a golf ball stuck in my throat some days.
  • Well Cath,you have sure made me think.I had my first ACDF in 1993,and that was a tough one,but I was 33 and even though it took quite awhile to recover(I had to wear a hard collar for 3 months!)my major pain and headaches went away.At that time I had bad low back pain and spasms but never did anything about it except go to the chiropractor.I continued to do the same type of work I had always done,really physical,heavy lifting.In 1999 while moving my furniture for the 7th time(into uhaul,out of uhaul,into storage,out of storage etc...) in 8 months(my husband was having a midlife crisis and we moved 3 times) I went down for the count and landed in the ER.Still I did not get it through my head that I had something wrong,something that needed to be dealt with.We moved again...and my new job was alot of driving and heavy lifting,in addition to a large landscape project at my house.After 3 years I went down hard again,had another ACDF,(moved again 2 weeks after surgery)followed by a shoulder surgery a year later.I have not been painfree for a very long time.We moved yet again....and that one did me in,the moves,the yardwork,caring for a young child,and a husband that thinks I'm a machine,have made me a basket case.I wish I would have been able to say NO to all the C@@P that was dumped on me.I am to blame for my problems,I should've taken my pain seriously and taken better care of ME.But even after all of that...I still thought that after my 2 level ALIF last year I would be my old self.It is only now,after having yet another level fused and possibly more surgery ahead,that I realize,I will never be doing the things I used to do.I will never be without pain.My surgeon did not tell me I would be,he said "best case,you'll get %50 relief,and we will have stopped any further damage".I didn't realize I was one of those people that thought back surgery would fix me right up,but I was.And I was wrong.It's hard to accept.I let things go too long and let other people minimize my pain,and now I'm paying the price.It's still hard for me to take care of me,I feel guilty when I take the most comfortable chair,(amid sighs and snorts)..or when I say NO,I can't do it.But I'm trying.. I expected too much,but it wasn't beacause my Drs gave me that idea.So here I sit(in the most comfortable chair)wondering what to do next. For what it's worth,if you need surgery,do it ASAP,and listen to your body! Sagehen
  • i too am a success story! yay!!! i had surgery nov 13/09 c4-6 acdf. i only found out in july 09 that i had my problems. so no time to contemplate. with the major problems i was having went with the surgery. right after surgery when everything hurt i thought i would be in pain like this forever and it scared me. but i kept telling myself that the pains will pass and heal and that i wasnt going to be a statistic on the never work and play again list. when i was strong enough i started working out and walking a lot of miles. the pains started going away little by little. cant say that im free of all pain. but, the pains i get now are nothing to what i had. i take no meds except tylenol every few days,went back to work march 2nd as a mailman,walking route not driving,work out daily. everything i do now though i do safely. if something needs lifting over 35 lbs i ask for help, if mail is too heavy i use a cart, as for working out i dont lift over 40 lbs. so things can get back to normal just not the normal your used to doing. have to give in and tell your self that. otherwise you will be back on that table with another surgery.
  • At a follow up appt 6 months after my fusion, I still had pain but I still believed I'd get better after being told I'm a slow healer. I felt optimistic and told my surgeon that there is still time for me to improve.

    Well, another 5 months went by and I went back with my head down feeling like I "failed" or something. I was already told my fusion surgery didn't work out due to continuing pain but I thought that it just needed more time for things to heal. I had already found out prior to this appt that I had permanent nerve damage in one leg and scar tissue on the levels that were operated L4-S1.

    I still am grateful to my surgeon for fixing what he could and feel that he did his best despite all the problems such as severe DDD in those levels, arthritis in my facet joints, and DJD.

    There's is one good thing out of all this- I have fused beautifully according to my surgeon #:S
  • Nicole74 said:
    My surgeon said that I would be pain free right away after surgery. That was not the case. I'm 8 weeks post op and still have severe pain.
    Exactly! I have a feeling so many posting here..."I'm still in pain at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 3 mo." etc. is because that's what our surgeons lead us to believe! How many people here were actually told by there surgeon that yes, there is a chance your pre-op pain will be gone when you wake up from surgeon, and "its a surgery so of course you will have some post-surgical pain", how many said outright when we go in there we are stretching and pulling and breaking and you probably will hurt for months,maybe years after this procedure in a much worse way than pre-op"? We all hear the "this procedure should make you fuse; once you fuse you won't have that pain". I don't think this is a case of selective hearing - where we hear what we want to hear, I do believe it was what we were told, and how it was said. I got the "it may take up to a year to fuse" over and over, but "you should go back to work at 6 weeks or so." Well I did, and regret it 100% (now 15 months post-op and not fused).

    So is it any wonder we are all surprised at 6 weeks, 12 weeks etc. when we hurt so, so much, and come to a site like this with the "what went wrong with me, I still hurt so much" questions.

    Has anybody here felt "guilted" by their doctors "expectations" into doing more PT that your body felt was right, going back to your job before you felt it was right, or feeling like a dog with its tail between its legs for still needing pain meds beyond 6 weeks (let alone more pain med). We don't want to be malignerers, or appear "lazy", we certainly wouldn't want to imply their surgery was less than perfect now, would we?

    I'm in tears guys, today was so bad. I guess I have to change my name to "once optimist".
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