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New to forum and have questions

BrookeBBrooke Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone. I have chronic low back pain and my neuorosurgeon has suggested a spinal fusion of L3 L4 L5-S1. I really need to know what to expect after surgery. I live alone and was told I will need help to recover. Surgeon said I would be in hard back brace for 3-4 months, no driving for 6weeks, no BLT. What about stairs after surgery? Basically, I need a detailed, blow by blow, of what I can and can't do after surgery. I would really appreciate any replies. TIA


  • Welcome! This is a VERY helpful site! I just found it a couple days ago, post surgery, and I wish I had found it pre surgery!!

    I would definitely start by reading the stickies at the top of the forum! They are helpful as what you might need.

    Everyone is different. It really depends on a bunch of things...like your age and weight and general health for example. If you are young-middle age and in good health, you probably will be able to go up and down stairs only as needed after a week or 2, but you'll find only AS NEEDED because it doesnt feel good. Is there someone that could stay with you the first week? Maybe could go grocery shopping for you for the next couple of weeks? It is a major surgery, so you really need to know in advance that you will be down for a bit.

    Good luck!

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    And welcome to the forums. First off the info at the top of this page (post op must haves) is where to start. And I'm wondering will the surgery be a anterior, posterior, 360 or one of the other approaches? My first surgery was a ant. post. 360 3 level. And mt Dr. didn't think I could do stairs. So I got a bed for the family room (central to everything) and I was glad I did. I think I could have done the stairs if I had too. But the first couple of weeks are really tough. If you live by yourself I'd recommend trying to have someone stay with you or at least come over every day. For 2 weeks if possible. this surgery is very challenging. And you really will need some help. Keep asking questions on here and you will get all the answers and help you need.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Welcome to the forums

    First, I suggest you get a second opinion. Possibly with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon since you've already seen a Neurosurgeon. It's just always good to see what each recommends. Especially because there are different methods of doing a fusion so you want to see what the options may be.

    In order to recover at home, without much assistance, you will need a "grabber" (picks up things that fall, things you need to reach, etc). You will also need some type of assistance. Perhaps someone who can stay with you when you first get home until you are more able to do stuff yourself. Then some friends/family who can come over a few times a week to help with getting groceries, doing laundry, and cleaning.

    I am in an LSO brace (the picture of it is the picture next to my name on each post). I have to wear it 2-4 months and no driving for thee first six weeks. The LSO brace is lumbar sacral. There is also a TLSO (thoracic lumbar sacral orthotic). That version is bit more uncomfortable.

    This is one surgery you can't do alone. You need help at home to get what you need. I am 3 weeks post and feeling pretty good. At first I needed my hubby around at all times, but now not as much. He went out with some friends for a a happy hour and that's fine with me. Personally I have 3 cats so the only time I've panicked is when I drop a pill and am worried they'll eat it if I don't pick it up and if my grabber can't get it. So make sure you can have some friends/family "on call" if you need something as you recover and no longer have immediate3 needs. You will need them to drive you to and from appointments in the first 6 weeks so keep that in mind as well.

    Take the time to read all of the posts here about what people have needed and how they've survived, and that will help you plan for your recovery. I can also say, 3 weeks out, that I am so glad I did this. The significant surgical pain is gone and I now just have an "ache". The worst part is, for a fusion to work you can't take any NSAIDS (aspirin, aleve/naproxin, advil/ibuprofen) for about 3-6 months and that's hard!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hi Brooke and welcome! You've gotten good advice already and you'll get more. I totally agree with my friend SpineAZ in that this is a hard surgery to do by yourself. I am 3 1/2 months after having an L5=S1 Fusion done. My wife helped me when I needed it. I found I could take pretty good care of myself once I got home. I did need her to change the dressings on my incision and drive me around. Other than my one month check-up and one trip to the WalMart parking lot, though, I really didn't go too many places for 6 weeks. Now, I get around well and I agree again with SpineAZ in that I'd do the surgery again. It wasn't much fun, but I do feel better now.

    The problems I have are: getting dressed, I still need help putting my socks on. Getting bored- seriously. I have been off work since surgery Nov 10,09. I'll be off for months to come, so boredom is a becoming a problem. Lastly, just being off work could be a problem! I'll be out about a year in total. I think long term disability will take care of me, but be sure to ask your doc how long you'll be out of a job.

    Write back often..
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,878

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

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    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Jeauxbert, Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro
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    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    There are only some guidelines regarding post surgery.
    Take a look at this Spine-Health article:

    Back 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
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