Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Anyone Like Me?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L1-L5 fusion 2-1/2 months ago. Would like to hear from anyone who had this level fusion and how they are doing. I have 12 screws, 2 rods and a cage. Still in some pain and feel like I should be doing better than I feel. Honestly, I hide from my family how I'm really feeling. I know I shouldn't but I do. Have to be strong, ya know? Anyway, anyone else have comments about this large of a fusion? Just curious and need to know I'm not alone! :H


  • I hope you mean s1-l5, but for a five level fusion, you should not be talking about going off pain meds yet! >:D<
  • Yep, I mean L1-L5. I was going to have L1-S1 but the day of surgery the doctor suggested I stop at L5 and if needed, someday, do the S1. Right, I'm soooooo glad I did that. L1-L5 has been bad enough. I guess I'm not the whiner I thought I was huh?
  • I only had a one level fusion and wasn't doing all that well at 2 and 1/2 months. I started feeling better around 16 weeks.

    You really had a BIG surgery and even though it is hard to be patient, you need to realize that it will take probably a year until you feel more like your old self. As my surgeon always used to say to me, "It took you quite awhile to get to this point, and it will take awhile to get better...."

    It is very difficult because no one other than other spineys understand this process. After all, people recover from open-heart surgery faster.

    If you can't talk to your family, come here. Everyone will understand that you have had a surgery that is very difficult and we will know what you are going through.

    xx Gwennie
  • I'm still on pain meds 4 months after only one level!!! Don't be so hard on yourself, you are in no way a whiner!
  • I responded to your other post,and now that I know the extent of your surgery- there is NO rush. It's only been a couple of months and it isn't far fetched to have a good amount of pain this early in your recovery. I think you're doing okay, and you must remember that it will take a long while to recover. The nerve can take up to 2 years to completely heal. Just keep taking your Norco and Gabapentin and give your body time to heal. Hang in there sweetie >:D<
  • Thanks so much Gwennie! I needed to hear that. I've been on the computer all day and I guess I just needed encouragement...I sure got it! Everyone here is fantastic! I guess that's why my doc says don't get off the pain meds too early...he knows my fusion was a biggie! Thanks for the love! :*
  • As I said, thanks Kat! Thanks sooooo much. It means a lot to me.
  • No one gets an award for being the first to get off pain meds. When I had my fusion, I was advised by others who had many more back surgeries that I should take my meds religiously...setting an alarm and waking up in the night to take them, never letting the pain get ahead of me. I also had a doctor who believed in the value of not being in pain, so I followed everyone's suggestions. And then one day, I kind of woke up and realized I didn't really need them any more. Learn to listen to your body. Don't fight with it.

    Your body heals better when it is also not having to deal with surgical pain. Don't listen to anyone else but your body and to some extent, what your doctor tells you!!
  • Me and Gwennie must have posted at the same time. Anyway, I'm glad you feel a little better
  • I had a five level, 360 fusionin early April of 2007. I was on Percocet the first 3 months along with Flexeral. I continued on the muscle relaxer and Tramadol another 19 months until I weaned myself off of them. As far as my pain doctors were concerned, I could have been on those drugs the rest of my life if I needed to. I still have pain but its tolerable, Aleve helps. If your like me,with a fusion as large as ours, your back will always feel stiff. After all, its held together by all that hardware.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Hi Blambert,

    My fusion was "just" L4-L5, in Feb 08, and I've had a good recovery. The stenosis pain stayed in the OR; the postop pain was nasty, but tolerable, thanks to Oxycodone, then Hydrocodone. I was off pain meds in about 8 weeks, but took Soma for spasms for another 3 months. Haven't even had an Aleve since.

    My biggest suggestion is to embrace PT fully. My surgeon has his patients walk a mile every day, from the first postop day on, then increase it to 2 miles at 4 weeks. I didn't miss a day, and still do it.

    Started formal PT, 3 times a week, at 8 weeks. Stretching, flexibility exercises, balance exercises, and light lifting. I did the exercises at home on the days with no PT visits.

    After the 8 weeks of formal PT, I kept going, working out about 1 1/2 hours a day, and, at the surgeon's recommendation, found a neuromuscular massage therapist, going once a week. That worked out the kinks and loosened up the area around the fusion site

    At about 6 months, I suddenly found that I could call myself "fully fused," and that was confirmed by X-ray at my 6-month visit.

    I'm a happy guy. Recovery was hard work, but the work was worth it. You've gotta do the work.

    Bottom line advice: Walk lots, and do the PT work.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
  • Hi Bambert,
    Hey I'm with everybody else ,you have had a major surgery.I used to think I could go without the meds,"cuz I'm tough",and then my PM Dr explained breakthrough pain and how having it hinders your healing.Your body reacts to pain,everything goes on alert when you have pain,it puts you on guard.And that takes energy that you should be using to heal.This isn't as good an explaination as my doc had,but I think you get the idea.2 1/2 months is nothing when it comes to a multi-level fusion like yours.I had a 2 level last May and my incision site is still sore!So take it easy....just remember you don't want to make things worse. Feel better have pleasant weekend...Sagehen
Sign In or Register to comment.