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chronic fatigue syndrome after operation

strakerstraker Posts: 1,851
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi all by now i am sure that most of the regulars on here are aware of my situation regarding pain and my impending operation regarding possible ADR..but i have noticed that since my last operation two years ago i have been permanently tired .have any of you folk had the same thing ?after my first operation i recovered very well and tiredness was not a problem .i was back swimming 6 months later and baring a bit of pain in the back i was able to do most stuff .but since Nov 07 i have never recovered and now even the simplest of task leaves me knackered ..maybe its the lack of sleep or the drugs but its very hard work just to get by day after day
tony x


  • I don't know if it's chronic fatigue or if I'm just horribly depressed, but trying to get my carcass off the couch to do ANYTHING is a real problem. I go to work and have to sit in a chair for nearly nine hours a day (I do take breaks), but when I get home and on weekends, all I want to do is nap, stretch out my back, and perhaps watch a movie. I've become a real lump.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Until this past surgery, I "bounced" back pretty fast. This last one however I was wiped out for about a week after I got home. Still a bit tired, but I think that is a mix of broken sleep and pain that comes and goes along with "normal" future worries. For me though, I think more of it is crappy sleep since it is broken into hour and a half "naps." Hope you find what is causing yours. Take care. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I really think that it is the drugs in my case but I think that I could sleep 24/7 with no problem at all. It may also be due to my lack of activity which I am getting ready to try and change. What ever it is really makes me feel years older than I am.
  • Linda, In your case I think your body is still exhausted from your surgeries -- I found after my fusion that it took a long time to get my strength back. I could only manage one thing a day for months. I would only schedule one appointment per day to avoid getting overly tired.

    And Tony, I don't know if it is chronic fatigue syndrome but I do know that dealing with chronic pain is exhausting, both physically and mentally. It is a vicious cycle when you can't sleep due to the pain, but then the lack of sleep results in more pain. When multiple surgeries are involved, the problems are just compounded. You lose a bit of conditioning with each go round and it is hard to build it back up when you don't feel well.

    I'm kind of in the same boat and don't quite know how to get out!

  • J.J.Grey said:
    I really think that it is the drugs in my case but I think that I could sleep 24/7 with no problem at all. It may also be due to my lack of activity which I am getting ready to try and change. What ever it is really makes me feel years older than I am.
    You actually bring up a point that I clean forgot about - activity level! I am definitely NOT near as active post surgery, and I am sure that coupled with crappy sleep can play a role. Excellent point there! No drugs here...just broken sleep, and yep....much less activity! Good catch there J.J.!!! :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I'm nearly a year out of surgery. I rarely take drugs anymore -- occasionally, if I do something stupid. I really thought I'd have lots more energy by now. I do my exercises -- pilates and some exercise ball stuff. I walk the dog and half way through my walk I feel like my spine is twisting. I feel like a have a rod all the way up my back instead of just the very lower part. I have absolutely no energy. I'm a quilter and haven't made a decent quilt in over a year. I have no energy or desire to do it. Does it really take a couple of years to heal from these things?

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

    I was reading somewhere, that constant pain doesn't allow you to get your REM sleep (think that's the right kind). Anyway, whichever one it is, you need it to feel refreshed and because you're woken so often from the pain, it never allows your brain to go into the REM state and from what I recall, that's the one which leaves you feeling utterly exhausted every day.

    The other thing which we were discussing was fibromyalgia. Perhaps someone else can add to this; quite a few people claim that their surgery gave rise to fibromyalgia.

    Bye, Val
  • with the points about lack of true, restful sleep, as well as lack of activity. I'm in week 5 of recovery from an open TLIF L4-S1, and am actually pain free. But I am always so tired and lazy! This is my second week back at work (desk job), and if I weren't so tired I would feel great. But I haven't had more than 1 or 2 true night's sleep per month for almost 2 years and man is it taking it's toll! And it got much worse after the surgery, because of course I was(am) healing after a big surgery. I've tried all kinds of OTC, herbal/natural and a few Rx sleep remedies but none seem to work for more than a day or two if at all.

    I have been forcing myself to walk as much as possible (2-4 mi a day), not only because it helps the healing, but also to fight the fatigue, and to try to make sure my body is physically tired enough to sleep. But it's a miracle when I get more than 3-4 hrs of sleep at a time. But I sure notice the difference when those few hours are true, deep sleep.

    I wish I had answers though, instead of just chiming in saying I can't sleep for s**t either! lol Best of luck finding something that works for you!
  • Hi Tony,

    I can't add much to the above responses. I think that between the lack of sleep, meds, the body being under such pain and stress and the emotional drain; its all just so exhausting.

    The lack of exercise doesn't help either, but for many it is too painful. Its no wonder you and the rest of us are exhausted.

    There is also the added stress for many who have to work, have young kids or a parent to take care of, etc. Where's my magic wand when I need it?
  • @) With pain wracking your body 24/7, I'd wouldn't be "dancing with the stars" either (LOL!) -- I agree with everyone's comments above -- I haven't had surgery and developed fatigue in November of last year that kept coming and going -- it was really crazy in May (which is why I lost my job), got better over the summer and then comes back.

    I just went to the doctor yesterday to chat with him about "where do I go from here" -- he upped my dose of zoloft and is doing more bloodwork. I told him I was concerned because if I couldn't go back to work due to this issue, I'd have to apply for disability. What was I going to say -- I don't feel well and I'm tired -- I've check out books from the library on fibro and chronic fatigue and I have symptoms of both but not one or the other entirely. Anyway, just taking it a day at a time -- so even with my sciatica somewhat under control, I still feel like I'm walking around with concrete legs and my head is "swimmy" at times.

    My best to you my friend and, as always, still playing the lottery for you (LOL!)

  • Hey Tony,

    I am unusually tired all the time and it has been since I had my back surgery. I know that just being in pain is exhausting and the meds combined don't help. Right now I am dealing with increased pain level so I can't sleep and it's 2am. I'm still waiting for my BT meds to kick in. Normally I get about 4-8hrs sleep at night but wake up constantly at night due to pain and I sleep 2-4hrs during the day. I am still exhausted and feel like I didn't sleep a wink everyday.
  • edited 05/18/2014 - 1:08 AM
    I have a decompression of the 3 levels of my lumber spine and a fusion at 4/5 in March 2013 (14 months ago)and since the operation I have been getting weaker and weaker when it comes to walking, holding items etc. The nerves for my right leg have either died or dried out so i have to wear a brace on my right leg (Foot just flops). Thing that gets to me most is the chronic fatigue. I am still trying to do as much work as possible (video producer). I have a large garden. Mowing the grass used to take about 70 mins. Now it's the whole day with regular breaks to get my breath back.I try and walk up a hill every now and again with the dog..have to keep stopping. Sometimes get a pain in my chest and have to give up. I have tried energy drinks etc..not sure if they help. I know i didn't allow my back to recover properly in the early stages..went back to work within a couple of weeks of the op but i really did think I would be less exhausted by now. I find it difficult to stand and hold anything...feel like keeling over.If any one has any idea about how to deal with the fatigue I would be eternally grateful. (I have been going to physios..and it has helped but not with the fatigue...only thing I can do normally is swim! Any suggestions please.
  • PinkellaPPinkella Posts: 211
    edited 05/19/2014 - 3:01 AM
    I think major surgery is draining.I. had major surgery last April for something other than my back and it took me about 8months to get rid of the fatigue feeling and it wasn't as major surgery as spinal..So I imagine Spinal can take you even longer !
    I've always took vitamin supplements that I've found have helped after surgery-alternative herbs ect always worth a go to as long as you check with your doc.. They say if your napping,then that must mean your body needs it.Remember your body has been through a MAJOR TRUMA ! Sleeping is when your body heals at its best.I think its a matter of been patient and allowing your body plenty of time to heal .
    Also remember pain is very exhausting in itself some days I am absolutely wiped out with back pain mentally and Physically because there's no break from it
    Anyway I hope you feel more refreshed soon :)
    Facet joint Arthritis L3,L4,L5,DDD.
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