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16 days post op PLIF...

mistymaammmistymaam Posts: 63
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey folks,

I just had a PLIF procedure done for my S1, L5 a little more than two weeks ago. I feel I have been careful to not bend or twist as much as possible. However, I feel that I have to twist to some degree as I get out of bed or change positions. I am large chested and carry most of my weight there and have issues with trying to maintain proper alignment. My big issue is that I am very afraid of delayed or no fusion because of the pressures being put on my lower back. Am I worried about nothing...or are my fears justified. What kind of bending or twisting do they mean? At the waist?...causing a 90 degree angle? Or even slight bending to reach for something? Sorry for all of the questions...I am just worried about the success of my fusion.


  • I don't know the answers but I have the same questions. I had a TLIF 22 days ago and can't seem to find the information. I've just assumed it meant any avoidable bending, twisting, and movement. I wear my brace and that prevents me from moving too far.

    I hope you find your answers and heal really quickly.
  • I am glad to hear about someone who is in the same boat as myself. I have to agree with you about avoidable bending and twisting...but I obsess sometimes and make myself a little crazy! :0) The NS told me the only real stipulations were not bending or twisting and said if I lifted more than ten pounds it would hurt like crazy. I never used a brace...they had me walking the first day to the potty. The following day- PT twice a day until I went home. Talk about huffing it! Are you on pain meds still? I hope your recovery is successful and quick! Take care.

  • Hi

    I didnt have posterior fusion mine was anterior at L5S1 with a disc replacement at L4L5.

    I would suggest that you avoid whatever bending and twisting you can. If it hurts real bad when you do something take it as a sign that you should stop. Also I hurt like hell if I sat in a soft chair or lounge so I needed to sit on firm supported chairs, lounges etc with some added support (rolled up towel) for the lower back. I put a timber base under a lounge cushion and that helped. I also found sitting at the solid timber kitchen chairs was better than any other. The car hurt like hell too, especially the trip home from hospital - I thought I was going to die! Struggled like hell to get in only to wish I could get back out. If I did it again I would look for a wagon to lie down in the back or take an ambulance home. Every bump hurt too! I and everyone around me thought the front passenger seat would be the best to sit in but in the end the rear seat was so much better for access. Just needed to sit with my arm or a rolled up towel behind me for lumbar support.

    I basically found that you need to have firm support under you and firm lumbar support behind your lower back to support the corrected lordosis (curve)

    For picking things up, I went to my local hardware (Bunnings here in Australia) and purchased a picking up tool for $5. Was cheap enough and by simply using it to reach for items on the floor etc and squeezing the trigger I could avoid bending. Could pick up paper, pens, clothing etc. Use others for heavier stuff or just avoid it. You dont want to have to undergo another surgery simply because you did some simple thing wrong.

    You may find sitting in a reclining type chair useful as long as it provides plenty of support. Also when lying down if painful try a pillow or similar between your knees when on your side and one or two under your knees when on your back to take pressure off lower spine. You can buy from Clark Rubber here a triangle shaped support for under the knees when on your back, and also the one to suit between the knees too. Only problem is they are expensive here at around $250 the pair, hence the reason I try make do with pillows.

    I also took a calcium supplement with added vitamin D thinking it has to help the fusion. The recommended dose was 1 or 2 a day so I took 2 twice a day after meals. I took one called caltrate simply because it had the vitamin D in it but many others are available too, just may need separate Vitamin D tablets (Vitamin D is needed to allow your body to absorb the calcium). I also take glucosamine and a multi vitamin. I basically took twice dosage and had no side effects. I know of others who did the same.

    The surgeon here highly recommend you walk as much as possible as it helps the fusion and bone growth. Only walk on flat areas until told to progress to hills most likely at 3 months. Walking at first is painful with short 100 metre trips seeming like a marathon, but soon enough you progress to walking for 30 minutes or more. It does end up making you feel better and stronger also.

    Good luck with your recovery. Dont try be a hero in the process and avoid medications or try lift or bend etc as the only one that loses is you. Best wishes, Mick
  • Thanks so much for you very comprehensive reply. I am having the problem now that you had with sitting on a sofa/chair that is too soft and not rigid enough. I have been sitting in my (previously) uncomfortable chair and feel so much better because of the rigidity it offers.

    It's funny you should mention the cheap grabber. I live in the states and I went to Menard's (hardware store) and they had the grabbers for $5, as well. I have even been able to slowly and tediously do small loads of laundry w/o having to bend using my grabber. The box said..."Robotic arm!"

    How is your recovery from your surgery(s)? I know I am early in the recovery process, but did you have any issues with fusion when they did your follow-up X-rays? I saw in your info that you still have back and leg pain. Is this sciatica? Is the lower back pain due to the hardware, perhaps? I go in for my 5 week on Nov 9, so I am hoping all the oranges, V8, almonds and tums will help! I don't eat it all at the same time! I am glad you suggested the Caltrate...I did not think of that as being an option. I think I will get some so I have the calcium and vit D together.

    I have to comment on your ride home from the hospital...I only had a 1 level fusion, but holy cow it hurt to go home in the front seat, as well! And, when I was going to the pharmacy to get my Percocet and Valium...they took an hour to get my meds! I finally told the pharmacist that I had just been discharged from the hospital and had my lumbar fused...the guy could not even look me in the eye and quickly filled my prescription. That was NO fun.

    Take care and hope your pain goes away soon,

  • Do you have a brace? I had a warm and form brace for 6 weeks and it helped with support as well as prevented me from bending and twisting too much. At my 6 week check up the xrays showed I already had pretty good fusion started. The grabbers really do help, don't they? I had one on each level of my house. One of the hardest things for me has been to learn to use my legs instead of my back to pick things up as I have progressed.
  • I hear ya about needing those grabbers...I should have them in every room for me!! I egt so frustrated trying to get stuff out of my freezer, which happens to be at the bottom of the fridge! But, I seem to have reached a level of relative independence. I do not have a brace...the NS never mentioned I needed one. However, I only have a one level fusion...it looks like you had mauch more to fix! Wow, how was your recovery? I hope you are feeling a lot better than before.
    Take care,

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