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4 months post op

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone!

I am now almost 4 months post op from my PLIF at L4-L5. For the most part, my life is back to normal now. No more accidents, no more excruciating pain... THe past week or so, my back has been killing me. I stopped taking my Vicodin about 2 months post op, but still have some left. This past week I have taken them almost every day. I am supposed to be in physical therapy now, but I lost my job while I was on medical leave and have been desperately searching for another one.
I do go to the YMCA every day for at least an hour and walk a few miles even though it hurts like hell when I am done. I have been taking tylenol and ibuprofen but they are not helping. THe pain. is not from the surgical site usually but more in my thoracic and cervical sprine. Has anyone else had this problem this far out at post op? Should I ask my surgeon for more pain pills just in case or what?

Also, anyone else having problems sleeping since their surgery. My life is tylenol and OTC sleeping pills. Even with the OTC pills, and with the change in schedule seeing as though I dont have a job, I finally doze off at about 4-5 am and do not wake up until noon. I have tried staying up all night and exhausting myself for the next one, but that does not work either. God, anesthesia does crazy things to the body. I am sorry this is so long winded, I have had a rather bad day pain wise. I swear I can almost feel the screws today.
Any advice is welcome. It is good to know I am not alone when it comes to this.


  • Hi Kaz

    Sorry you've been having more pain this last week. Is it possible you've been doing too much? I think you need a >:D< >:D<

    I can't answer your questions because I haven't had a fusion yet (that's next month). I had a discectomy/laminectomy last year and went into PT at 3 weeks and I'm sure it did more harm than good.

    I'm so sorry you lost your job and that's very hard to take especially when you're doing your best to recover. Looking for a new one could also be opening up the "pain gates" a bit more, but I know you need to do this.

    Take care.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • :D Welcome :D

    It's a bummer that you're having such pain at 4 months out ~X( . I would certainly chat with your doctor about getting more pain killers so that you can be comfortable.

    I haven't had surgery so I can't comment on post operative healing. I can tell you that I can relate to the sleep problems you're having. Definitely post a thread under the sleep section on the forum. There a tons of us out there who can't sleep (LOL!).

    I've tried OTC sleeping pills and even got Ambien from my doctor to no use. I'm like you, get my best sleep between 4 and 5 a.m. sometimes.

    I lost my job also while trying to work while in pain. The added stress of having to find a new job may be causing your back to flare up. Just a hunch but I find any new mental stresses that come my way tend to intensify my sciatic pain.

    I certainly hope your doc can figure out why you're having pain above the surgery site and takes care of your pain issues.

    You'll got lots of support from our spinies here.

    Best of luck to you,

  • I too am 4 months post op (ADR L4-L5 and ALIF L5-S1). I too have noticed occational pain in middle of spine. Doc says its completely normal because of all the work he did on my spinal column.

    It's great that you where able to stop the vicodin so early. I am still taking mine because OTC's don't help.I take anywhere between one to eight pill depending on what day it is and if I over did it the day before.I probably will not be returning to work due to the severe nerve damage in my legs.

    I too have nights that Im not able to sleep. I take my vicodin, read for a little while until I get sleepy.

    Try this; Body scan and relaxed breathing

    lay flat on your back, concentrate on your breathing counting each one as it goes in and out. Relax each part of your body starting with your toes right up to the top of your head. Focus on each body part relaxing and listen to your breathing. This really works for me when trying to go to sleep. I also do it when I am in a lot of pain during the day when the vicodin isn't helping.Some nights I reach 100 breaths and others Im at 50 when I fall asleep.I hope this helps.
  • I take Tylenol PM EVERY night - still. I just ache too much to do without. At least with it I get 4 hours of sleep. When I need more sleep (have more time to come out of it the next day) I add a Melatonin (OTC sleep aide that my home nurse suggested).

    I don't know that I would just out and ask for more meds, I would tell the dr, that your pain has changed - see if you can get an apt - see what's going on.

    p.s. I agree on the stress being a big cause of increased pain - been there, done that. It's a nasty cycle that is a bugger to get out of - kind of like trying to relax while looking a hungry tiger in the mouth.
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