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?? for ALIF patients re: after care

NEBakerNNEBaker Posts: 53
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm almost four weeks post op and I have a few questions about ALIF L5/L6 after care. In particular, my questions are about log rolling and bending.

My pre-surgical pain is gone so at times, I am doing things that I shouldn't and then I notice that I shouldn't be doing whatever it is that I am doing. For instance, I'll get up in the morning and instead of log rolling out of bed, I sit up. Or, instead of log rolling to get into bed, I'll sit down and then lay down like the good old days. I always seem to notice when I do this so I am extra careful the next time to not do this, but when this happens, I get so scared that I just messed something up. Are the post op instructions for log rolling mainly to help with the incision pain or for optimal spine fusion? I know I shouldn't worry so much about messing this up, it's only been a few times I've done this, but still I worry.

While I'm at it, it is close to impossible to put on my pants or tie my shoes without bending just a little. Any thoughts on these two things would be greatly appreciated.

In addition, I'm going back to work this week for 18 hours a week - very light duty. I'm kind of nervous about this but I am still a little excited too. It will be nice to get back to something "normal" in my life.


  • already released you??? I didn't know that there was an L6- humm... I am so happy for you that you get to get back to somewhat of a normal routine- thats awesome. Be careful and don't over do it. I find myself feeling so good and then WAM- I over do it and I am out for the count for a day or two.

    Keep up posted about how work is going.

    be good to yourself

  • Thanks Leo - that was L4/L5. I shouldn't try to type in a dark room :)
  • When you have a fusion it is very important to retrain your body so that you eventually learn to use good body mechanics all the time without thinking about it.

    I would worry as a chef as there are so many heavy things to lift. I think it took me a year after my fusion until I could move my stock pot, and that's one just for a family, not a commercial one!! You will need to be reminding yourself all the time to be careful and sensible. You should not be reaching -- overhead, especially, but not to the side either. Reaching and twisting is the worst!!

    I'm sure you didn't hurt your hardware by bending a couple times. But try to get into the habit of avoiding bending and twisting at the waist. Learn to do the "golfer's bend" or squat.

    Sit down to put on your pants and shoes and socks. Your goal with fusion should be to avoid having to have another fusion. You want to learn to move in a way that causes the least amount of stress to your spine. Your adjacent discs will not be taking more of the wear and tear of daily movement, so remember to be kind to them.
  • Hi Kristin

    Sounds like you're doing well, but do be ever so careful at work - seems to be very early to be getting back even for light duties, but I guess getting out of the house and doing something you like is something to look forward to.

    I've got a dressing stick which has a hook on one end. Like Gwennie suggested, sit down to put your pants, etc on and the dressing stick will help you pull them up. It came in handy for me last year. In the "must haves" sticky, there's a suggestion about a long handled shoe horn and that's something I'm going to get this week.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I am 7 weeks out (360alif fusion l-5/s-1) and feel pretty ok most of the time. I try to be careful, but occasionally forget and do things I shouldn't, like when i am in bed and want to turn the lamp on and am on my right side I sometimes twist to the left and reach to turn it on before I even realize it. I usually catch myself too late. Same thing with getting out of bed, I sit up sometimes. Usually I have no problems from this, I just try to remember i can do damage and work harder to do things the right way. Bending too, after 30+ years of bending the wrong way, such a hard habit to break. If i don't have my grabber I instinctivly bend to pick something up and these are the things that I pay for, bending hurts and i end up having to lay down for a while to recover. Its all about learning a permanate new way of living and it does take time!!!
    Hang in there and don't be afraid, you probably are not damaging anything, especially if you don't have new or different pain, but you can always call your surgeon and ask him to xray or examine you if you are worried.
    Good luck and keep us posted on your recovery.
  • Thanks to all of you! My doctor only released me for light duty and he gave me very specific instructions as to what I can and cannot do. He's known me for years and visits my restaurant and knows my level of activity. I can only ice cakes, do paperwork and meet with clients to plan holiday menus and to meet with vendors. I can only work three hours a day - no more than 6 days a week. I brought three grabbers in with me today and I am constantly using them. Some of my shorter staff members are using them too, which I encourage so they don't end up with the same issues I have.

    Trish, I think I need to master the art of using the dressing stick. Standing up to put on socks and pants are a thing of the past - even sitting down it's hard. I'm going to try to become more proficient with the stick - that's my goal this week. It's always good to have goals :) I love the long handled shoe horn the hospital sent home with me. I just ordered two pair of Earth shoes that don't tie - that should make the shoe issue a little easier too.

    I did call my doctor today to see if I could get my x-ray a week early so I know that things are where they should be. He agreed - especially since he said I could go back to work. Better to know that things were good when he okayed me.

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I am going to remember to pause and count to 5 before I move, roll, sit, etc... so I actually have to think about it first.


  • Have you always worn Earth shoes?
  • For my career, I wear Earth shoes and Dansko but until I feel more stable on my feet and I know some bone growth is occurring, I'm sticking with the Earth. I hesitate to have the wobbling in the heel I sometimes get with Dansko.

    In the "old days', when I worked up to 16 hours a shift on concrete floors, it was recommended to me by a Chiropractor to start the day in Danskos and then after eight hours, switch to Earth shoes. I can't remember what the exact reason was, but it was to stop my knees, back and hips from aching, and it worked.
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