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5 weeks post op...L4/L5/S1 fusion..muscle spasms are back

sbmlatssbmlat Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my fusion surgery (PLIF) on Dec 2nd. After coming home first 2 weeks I had excruciating pain. But from 3rd week pain subsided. By 4th week I felt much better. That week I reduced Percocet medication and instead of taking two tablets for every 4-6 hours, I started taking 2 extra strength Tylenol and 1 Percocet tablet (after consulting with the Surgeon). I was hoping to get off from narcotics as soon as possible.

Regarding the exercise, initial weeks I used walker to walk inside the home. But by 4th week I could walk on my own with the brace on. All our bedrooms are in the 2nd floor. So daily at least I have to climb the stairs 2-3 times.

But from early this week, I am having same muscle spasms and lower pain back same as in week 3 (pain scale - 5 to 6).

I am little confused. Why the sudden change in the situation. I am thinking of visiting the Surgeon again this week.

I am 35 old mom and with 2 kids. I am type-2 diabetic and currently taking insulin after the surgery. As of now I am on Percocet, Valium, Ambien.

I appreciate any response.



  • I had the same surgery as you a year ago. I had muscle spasms for many weeks after and still do. I am not the right one to talk to as I am still on fentanyl and oxycodne for break thru. But your body has gone through a very huge surgery and will take along time to heal. But if you feel better, call your surgeons office and talk to them. You might have to have something for the spasms. But dont worry to much, eveyone heals differently and I think from what I have heard, most PLIF have spasms for awhile after surgery. Good Luck and PM me with any questions and I will try to help you out. Love, Robin

    PS It sounds like you are doing quite well!
  • Thank you for the quick reply.

    I did some shopping last week. (my husband drove) In one store I used walker (I didn't walk that much) and in another store I used store scooter.

    My husband thinks I am going too fast. I agree with him. Now with this pain from this week, I didn't go down the stairs for 3 days and stayed in bed most of the time.

    I am kinda of confused with this muscle spasms and weakness in the legs. During the 4th week I didn't have any muscle spasms and I didn't take Valium for that week.

    I will keep posted after this week.

    For my surgery, surgeon placed 2 rods and 6 screws.

    BTW, from your signature I see your hardware is removed. I am under the impression that the hardware which is kept during the fusion doesn't have to be removed for the life. (Until unless any other complications arrive from the surgery) Could you please clarify me further.

    Thank you

  • I just wanted to remind you that healing and recovery will not always progress from week to week in a smooth, upward trajectory. Especially when you start moving around a bit more, it is difficult to find the balance between moving just enough and not doing too much.

    As soon as you do too much, pain levels may shoot up, muscles may spasm, soft tissue protests, etc. It takes very little to cause a flare up in pain. I always say it is much more like learning to walk...two steps forward and one step back...sometimes on occasion, falling down (hopefully not literally!).

    You need to learn to increase activity VERY gradually so the soft tissue has a chance to adjust to the new positioning, new posture, etc. Some muscles haven't worked in a long time...all of this takes awhile to recover...and recovery is a long, slow process.

    Regarding hardware, it is designed to remain in the body, but there are special circumstances that can occur that result in hardware removal. In very rare occasions, a person can be allergic to the materials used in the hardware. There can be a mechanical problem where a screw can loosen or break. A screw can be improperly placed and end up rubbing up against a nerve, or other tissue, resulting in pain. etc.

    Try not to be discouraged. It sounds like you are doing very well in your recovery.
  • Hey "sbmlat", sorry to hear your in so much pain. I am a couple days short of 3 months post-op from my Open TLIF L4-5.

    I was having some muscle spasms as well. They started around week 5-6. I'm happy to say that I am no longer having the muscle spasms. =D&gt

    Around 8-9 weeks I began having very sharp stabbing pains, in my lower back, around my incision. This would happen whenever I stood up or "tweeked" my back in just the wrong way. It sucked the wind out of me & felt like someone was cutting into my lower back with a knife. I contacted the doctor & was told that it was "pissed off muscles". This went on for around 4-5 weeks.

    I'm not trying to scare you, just wanted to give you an idea of something else you may begin feeling.

    Be strong & take care!!!
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