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Am I where I need to be? frustrated, discouraged...

laughnsmilellaughnsmile Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

I had MI TLIF on 12/3/09. I feel I have done real well until the 5th week. It is difficult to know what contributes to what. But I went back to work for half days.
After one 1/2 day, It was clear I was not ready and I took off one more week. After 1/2 day of work, I got muscle spasms I had not had before. Pain around entire middle, front and back, like being tightened tighter and tighter.
I had outside numbness on both legs that since has left.
I was very stiff.

Well, I thought I needed to walk more...that this would help. I am only able to do 1/4 mile and pain at the site where my leg joins the hip stops me from being able to walk further.

Well, I had to go back to work yesterday 1/2 day. It hurts
to get out of a chair and to walk. I took pain pills to get me going yesterday...but actually fell asleep!!! Today,
I took 1 pill and it helped for a couple of hours.

I've been in tears since I came home from work. Part from
the constant discomfort and part from fustration. I want
to be able to work and function. I feel I was doing better before last week.

my husband says to call MD. I have appointment next week.
I feel my increased pain is from pushing myself and taking less pain meds. But I really dont' know....

For all of you with experience... what I feel at 6 wks..close to 7..is more discomfort, stiffness, muscle sepasms, to be expected? When did the discomfort leave
for all of you who have been through this. I want to stop
the meds, but without meds it is really painful to get out of a chair, walk, etc.

Any comments will be helpful.


  • What kind of work do you do? Did you have to go back to work for monetary reasons, or did your Dr. release you to work??

    I am 8 weeks postop PLIF, and feel like crap. Severe pain, and I have not tried to work, due to the very labor intensive nature of my job.

    Last week, I had coffee with a friend at Starbucks, and after an hour, I thought I would die with severe pounding, burning pain and numbness in my extremities, and went straight to bed. It was then that I finally realized...I have to rest!!!!

    I have to take Percocet 3 times a day. There are several people that have had surgery within a month of us, and I think that they all have had challenges with pain. Without this forum I would never have know how patients typically progress after this surgery.

    Your body is telling you everything you need to know. One of the mottos on this site is: If it hurts, don't do it. It is sooo true!!

    Good luck, and take care,


  • Sorry to her your having a rough time. This is something you want to take slow and easy to let things heal. I remember at 6 wks. post op I was taking pain meds every 4 hours and muscle relaxers every 8 hrs. around the clock. You may want to lay on ice as often as you can, this seemed to do wonders for me. I was off 4 months before I was released to go back to work and it was still tough for awhile. Hope you get to feeling better soon!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    post surgery to still have soreness and discomfort.
    Returning to work can just increase those negatives.

    Part of the problem, is that after your surgery, you need to retrain and recondition muscles, tendons and more that have been disrupted due to your surgery.

    I know that you might be feeling good before returning to work and you began to realize that things are going to be fine.

    Please dont be discouraged. When you first start to return to work (and it really doesnt matter what you do), you are beginning to use your complete body and some of that was impacted by your surgery.

    I know that when I returned to work from each of my surgeries, it was a struggle. I had more pain, discomfort and was really depressed.

    The bright side is that as long as you continue to do all the things you need to do (Exercise, Diet, etc) you will start to gain strength and energy.
    Before long, while at work you might not even remember your surgery.

    HOWEVER!!! Thats when many of us fail. We feel good, so we forget to do the right things. And if we continue along that path, we open ourselves up for more problems and potential surgery.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I noticed that you had minimally invasive tlif. Sometimes we put more pressure on ourselves just because it was MINIMALLY invasive. Yes the surgical pain is gone a lot quicker, around 4-5 weeks for me but all the stuff going on inside still takes just as long to heal. Doctors' attitude dont't help at times. I've read where people go back to work in 2 weeks with MI. NOT. I'm at 13 weeks. I wouldn't be able to work at this stage. Certainly not for a full day. I've recently had to start taking gabapentin for the nerve pains in my legs. Luckily I took early retirement a few years ago but this surgery has certainly impacted my quality of life. I used to volunteer at the food bank where lifting is required. I don't see myself doing that soon or ever. Hang in there. You are still very early in your recovery.
  • I went back 11 weeks after PLIF and it has been quite hard. I am now 14 weeks post op and it is getting easier now. I couldn't have imagined going back as early as you - no way! If you can take the time then take it. You can't get it back later.
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