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Plif surgery this wednesday and need advice

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My second surgery is this Wednesday. I had l5-s1 plif in 2006 and now I need it done the segment above. I'm already having issues with constipation from taking norco and flexerill and worried it will get worse after surgery. I took miralax and was up all night with severe stomach pains I almost passed out. Finally went to bathroom felt little better but stomach still upset. Does anyone have advice on a more natrual gentle way treating and preventing constipation before and after surgery. I had constipation problems my last surgery and it was very uncomfortable. Also do some of you have problems with you family not supporting or not being sympathetic at all about your spine problems or pain. My family don't think I need the surgery because to them I look fine and I carry my ten month old son around cause I have to. And Im not bed ridden like they think I should be if I was truely in so much pain and how can I still work .I feel I have to prove to them i'm In pain and that their is something wrong wiith my back. Every day I'm in pain and I have to block out the pain with narcotics that my neurosurgeons precribed because he knows I'm in pain and I have a bad spine. What good would I be for my family not working or in bed.luckily my husbands sees me suffer and knows I'm in pain and is very supportive of my upcomin surgery. Do you just not talk about your medical problems to those who are not supportive? I almost didn't want to tell my family when surgery was cause it upsets me so much. I appreciate any inputs and advice .


  • i wish i had the solution to all your questions...i dont... except to say we cant control what other people are thinking...and many times we cant even be certain what they think. they might even be more concerned about your condition than you realize. maybe they dont want to show their worry because they think youll worry more. thank goodness your husband is there for you..try to be yourself and if you are in terrible pain dont be afraid to scream a little...it will show them youre alive and in pain...as for being constipated i have nothing to add rather than the usual stool softeners and fruit.
    hang in there jas...we know youre hurting....pete
  • I can help a bit with the first problem, but not so much with the family issues. This is a common problem for those of us with back problems. Everyone has back problems or knows someone who does, so they all feel they are experts on the topic...never mind that they have pain once or twice a year that is cured with two aspirin....I have chosen to just not discuss my problems. I have a whole series of generic answers that I spit out depending on who asks. If those in your household are supportive, that's all you need.

    Now, for the constipation...first be sure you are eating well now. Avoid sugars and sweets. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables with the peels --especially grapes, apples and blueberries, high fiber foods...cereals, grains, fiber bars, etc. Drink LOTS of water and juices, particularly prune juice if you can handle it. Ease up on dairy...especially cheese.

    You might want to start a stool softener right now. If you can't take a OTC product like miralax, can you take senocot or dulcolax? They work differently from miralax.

    Also, any exercise such as walking you can do, will help get things moving.

    Good luck to you on Wednesday. Hope this will be the surgery that eases your pain.

    xx Gwennie

    You might want to go to a health foods store and inquire about some of the herbal teas that are good for constipation and some of the supplements such as aloe vera, psyllium or flax seeds, etc. But your body will be happiest if you can get things under control through changes in diet.
  • or Docusate Sodium - it's a stool softener - no harsh chemicals or too much roughage to get your system so upset. Narcotic pain meds can cause constipation. Colace is a much gentler option for you.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi Jas

    I have 10 prunes every night because of the constipation, or sometimes have 5 prunes and 5 dried apricots. I get a bit of gas but nothing like the terrible cramps from chemical stool softeners, and the prunes and apricots are yummy.

    I have a similar problem with family and friends not understanding chronic pain, so I don't talk about it unless asked. Like you, I look fine on the outside. The most important person, your husband, knows how much pain you're in, so don't worry too much about your family.

    Wishing you well for your second surgery on Wednesday.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Oh, yeah, everyone has some kind of opinion about your back pain, some suggestion or story about them or someone else who just got over it by doing X. I even had a chiropractor I met in a social situation question why in the world I had surgery. Yeah like he had a clue about what was going on. I don't even talk to my family much about my pain anymore. I hide my pain a lot, too, especially since my surgery a year ago. Everyone thought that would be the magic pill, and it wasn't, and I hate that they're disappointed that I'm not better. Sadly, I suffer pretty silently.
  • Hi Jas
    I cannot help too much with the constipation issues (my surgery is 2 weeks today, and I am on gabapentin 3600mg, which actually mostly gives me the reverse problem, offsetting the effect of the opiates).
    Anyway, regarding your family, you are not alone. People see you getting on with your life – what are you supposed to do - sit in a corner and cry all day? You don’t want to make out its worse than it is, and you want to enjoy doing things while you still can – after the operation you won’t be able to do some of those things for a while, right?
    My youngest daughter (age 24) said to me recently, after I had tried to tell her that although I looked OK I was actually in bad pain - ‘what does that mean? I don’t know what it means when you say that – what is my response supposed to be?’
    She had a point – I guess I wanted her to understand, but she really can’t, she has never had to get on with life in the midst of severe pain.
    So I get where you are coming from.
    The worst thing for me is that I start to wonder – why am I having surgery? – surely I can’t be that bad if I can still cook the tea/ walk around the house/ laugh – without screaming in pain all day long.
    Then I remind myself that I am taking action in order to make sure it does not get to that point. Thank God that with the help of painkillers we can still function! What we want is to get to the point where we don’t need massive amounts of painkillers, and their awful side effects, to even do the most basic things. Hence the choice to have the operation.
    People who haven’t been there don’t get it; and like Gwennie and Lexigirl, I wish I had a pound for everyone who said to me ‘Oh, I have a problem with my back too’, when what they have is a muscular twinge now and then. It is hard for people who have not had constant grinding pain to understand how it can steal your energy and joy, but it is still possible to function. What we would like them to understand is how much it takes out of us to keep on going!
    Who knows but that the those people may one day know bad pain and then they would understand, but we wouldn’t wish that on them in a million years, so we have to accept their lack of understanding as best we can. When you think of it like that, it’s good that they don’t understand!
    Anyway, stay strong – you don’t have to prove you are in pain to anyone, you know you are, your husband gets it, and that’s enough. Good luck with the surgery!
  • :H

    I honestly think the problem with my family and friends not believing that I was in pain hurt worst then the pain did. :''( I love them so much and it hurt. I am a very understanding person and I guess I expect too much from the ones I love. I think most of us Spineys have had the "constipation" problem. That to shall pass! Oops :jawdrop:

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • Thank you for all your posts. I keep tellin myself I'm over it with the whole family issue but it still hurts when I hear my father telling other family that I really don't need surgery because I can still function but last I knew he's a car hauler and not a neurosurgeon. Well on another note eight hours to go till my surgery. Getting nervous but I know I'm in good hands. Thanks again - Jen-
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