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Lumbar Fusion S1 L5 L4

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in New Member Introductions
Would like input as to when you could work parttime?fulltime? after fusion. I am 5 weeks out.
This is my third lumbar surgery, but first fusion. My right leg and foot are still numb, have a turtle brace that I need to wear till it is fused 3 to 4 months is projected. I was told it could take up to 2 years for numbness to go away.
I was up and about pretty good 2 weeks after my first surgery. At work 6 weeks after my second surgery.

Presently I am still feeling very tired at 5 weeks, can't sit long and walking far isn't an option. Am a little discouraged :0(

Would appreciate your input. Thanks so much!


  • What did your dr. tell you about going back to work? What kind of work do you do? What kind of fusion did you have? The fusion takes a lot out of you! I had L2/3/4 and I was still pretty weak and tired 5 weeks out. I think you are probaly doing well for what you have just been through. Your body needs time to heal. Soon you will feel better. You won't feel it daily but you will see and feel the difference weekly/monthly! Take care and get the rest you need!
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you know we all heal differently and perhaps this time it is taking alittle longer. :? contact your doctor if you are worried. :-C i hope you are feeling better soon. :D don't overdo!!! Jenny :)
  • please don't stay discouraged, i know it's impossible not to feel overwhelmed, especially after all you have been through. Obviously you are a fighter, tomorrow you can take more steps then you did today, and keep after your health care provider until you have a solution!
  • except mine is 4 weeks post op. I had 2 discs totally removed, replaced with cadaver bones wrapped in protein material and titanium rods and screws. My STD runs out in October and with the amount of back pain I have (100x worse than pre op) I can't imagine being able to return to work that quickly.
  • As you know, there are so many variables in this fusion equation that it is hard to offer anything but personal comments.

    I had a fusion as my first surgery, and then a year later had a "little surgery" and there was absolutely NO comparison. Even though the second surgery went in over my first scar and was just as long and he cut through the same big back muscles, I felt perfectly fine from the second day. I kept waiting for them to connect the IV line to the machine that drips in the pain meds...finally asked and the nurse told me I didn't need pain medication. I nearly panicked, but as it turned out, she was right! I had one pain pill in the hospital and nothing after I left.

    But the fusion was a whole different story. I was on pain meds for the first eight weeks, at which point, I stopped. I started to drive at that point, and after that, my strength gradually returned. I felt well enough to take a plane trip half way across the country and spend four days looking for a house with my son at 13 weeks...and I didn't start PT until 16 weeks.

    From reading lots of people's stories, I think 3 months is a fairly normal "turning point" for many fusion patients. But it takes a long time to regain strength and really start feeling like yourself again. I think wearing a brace delays the process somewhat because the muscles have more of a chance to atrophy.

    Numbness and nerve pain are, from what I can tell, completely unpredictable. I also believe the surgeon is only giving you platitudes when telling you it can take up to a year, or up to two years to go away. He is hoping he will no longer be seeing you at that point so he won't have to explain why it is or is not going away...just my cynical attitude, sorry!!

    Doctors cannot heal nerves nor do they understand why some remain problem children and other times, they heal perfectly. I have one that is a problem child and I have yet to find a specialist who can tell me what is causing the problem.

    Hopefully your recovery will go smoothly. Just learn to be patient and learn to listen to your body. People get into trouble by trying to rush the process. It is baby steps...but, before you know it, you will find yourself through the worst of it, and recovery will pick up speed.

    Blessings ~
  • From everything that I have seen, every single person recovers differently than anyone else. Just remember that you must take care of yourself and try not to push too hard before you are ready. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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