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6 weeks post op PLIF

talia22ttalia22 Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
first off-when will the fusion begin? 2nd how much twisting or bending is to much? are we talking ANY? i have it easy i do not have a job and no kids so the laying in bed is easy most of the day but i get sick of just lying there and i clean or if i get something off the night stand or from behind the bed -is that twisting to much or is it the amount of times i do it in a day? my dr tells me nothing at all and tells me i should be OFF meds and if i am on them i am just using them to use them because i should have NO pain that over the counter meds wouldnt control. that is bullshit i am sorry but how doe he know? luckily my family dr understands as he has had back surgery himself. So i get meds from him but i just need some support. i am getting discouraged. how much should i be doing at this point? how mnay hours should i be moving around at 6 weeks? Ive looked thru the site but cant find exactly what i am lookin for as far as answers. Can anyone help me out??


  • Have you had your first postop visit with your surgeon? They will do x-rays at that point and some do show signs of fusing by then. You know how your pain is so I am glad to hear your family doctor is helping you with pain meds. Do follow the no bending, twisting or lifting instructions.

    Best wishes,

  • You will need to follow the no bending, twisting or lifting instructions. When do you see your surgeon again? Some people fuse earlier than others, so hard to say when. I saw my neurosurgeon at 5 weeks post-op and he didn't want to see me again until 6 months, so I guess he was hoping that I'd be fused by then.

    Are you able to go out walking yet? I think it was about a month before I started going out. I was walking up and down the patio before then.

    Your surgeon doesn't sound very understanding about your pain levels, but good that your family doctor who has been through spine surgery is helping you. You know how much pain you have, so if you need to be on medication, take it. I was taking my meds for a couple of months and then gradually reduced them, and only occasionally when I have overdone it, do I need to take them. I had to get extra meds from my family doctor too - she has back/leg pain and has been very understanding.

    Wishing you all the best for your recovery.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I agree that still no BLT at your stage. You should be out and walking every day as that's the best thing a recovering spiney can do to promote healing and fusion. I'd say that staying in bed all day is definitely a no-no - you should be active, just try not to bend or twist or lift anything over 5lbs. or so. I've bent and twisted a time or two and it didn't kill me, so I guess that it's not necessarily a deal breaker if you make a mistake with the BLT every now and then.

    But you're still pretty early out from a PLIF and need to take care of yourself and pay attention to how you're moving. My surgeon said I would have my restrictions for the first three months (and I wear a brace) and I think that's pretty much the norm, from what I've read here. At six weeks out, I was driving, walking and doing small things around the house, like picking stuff up off the floor with my grabber tool (my puppy likes to rip up toilet paper rolls, ugh) and cooking. I can't lift the laundry, but if my hubby gets it out of the dryer and puts it on the kitchen table, I can carry a couple pieces of clothing at a time and put it on the kitchen counter, then I can fold it. It adds to my walking, too. LOL

    I'm sorry about your doc's lack of pain management and rotten bedside manner, but glad your family doctor understands.

    Take care.
  • I agree with Cath, I'm at the 4 week mark from L5-S1 ALIF. I just had my Post op yesterday. Sorry about your doctor and your meds, mine just adjusted mine. I was talking to the nurse and she told me pain wise, it can be the worse weeks 4 thru 8. Why they understand the meds. Why I have read people on "other websites say", I was done with the meds week 4, I'm like thats BS, its got to be someone pretending to have had a fusion done. I know there are people that can be done with them week 6 and onward, but its not unusual for it to go longer. Their just not wanting abuse. But its sad for people that really are in pain. :s

    I got the shock of my life too, that was one of my questions, when do I start PT and when can I bend, he was like probably around Memorial day. :O Told me about 3 months was when PT would start, so BLT continues onward.
    I try to look at it positive like I'm 4 weeks down 8 to go.

    I also like Cath asked him, what if I accidentally did something, like slept wrong or bent by accident. My doctor doesn't believe in back braces, he thinks people lose their muscle tone, so I don't have one. He basically told me, 1st try not to do it utmost, but if it happens its cool, he said it can prolong the healing period and all that. So I try my best not to do it, but stuff happens. ;)
  • AS FAR AS MOVING AROUND I AM DOING JUST WHAT ONE OF YOU WROTE ABOUT FEEDING HTE DOGS LETTING THEM OUT,LAUNDRY (WITH THE HELP OF MY HUSBAND) stuff like that but i dont leave the house much other than to go to my moms house or to the market for a quick trip. does this sound pretty average for 6 weeks? i dont do much walking aside from "chores" but i am thiking about gettinga treadmill just for simple walking-do you think that would be ok and if so when would be the soonest you suggest? my dr is no help.
    I called and talked to his assistant today told her that my two male huskys (70lb dogs) got intoa a fight and i instinctually bent over and jumped in to break it up and pull them apart. it wasnt even that much but i could tell as SOON as i realized it i stopped went directly to bed but this was about a day and a half ago and my Dr's dont seem to be very concerned even though i have had pain in my lower back as soon as it happened. she said she would get back to me by Friday-not to mention i asked her about my meds and she said i should be off the pain meds at this point and if i couldnt do that then 5mg 3 times a day was all he would do. thank god for my family Dr who i am seeing and will give me the meds i need so i just told my surgeon to forget the meds i just wanted to know about the back and if he should give me an xray to see ifi screwed anything up...which is my biggest fear
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I am 4 weeks post PLIF (with lateral apprach as well). I am up to about 4 hours a day sitting up with the brace on. I did sit in one place for too long last night and paid for that all of last night and this morning as I was so sore. So now, even if I plan on sitting in one place, I also plan to get up at least once per hour.

    As for bending, lifting, twisting I do zero or as close to that as you can get. I use my grabber for anything I drop on the floor. I did drop a pill the other day and my cat was coming to investigate so I did as little bending as possible but had to contort to some degree to get the pill off the floor as I couldn't get it with the grabber.

    We have a front loading washing machine on a pedestal . So this morning I had a small load (just my undershirts that I wear under my brace) so that I could load in and start. But when it was done hubby has to transfer it to the dryer and get it out of the dryer when done (dryer is the old standard front loading with no pedestal.

    I try to log roll off the bed as much as I can. And for all other activities I just concentrate on the best spine body mechanics that I can. I am still on some strong medications and I do get up at least once in the night to wander a bit around the house (back seems to get stiff). Hubby is sleeping in the guest room as I watch TV late into the night and/or wake up at odd hours and turn on the TV.

    I was in the hospital a week so I was released on a Tuesday and my first post-op was set for that Friday. He removed dressings on that day so I could finally shower. I should be able to drive by the end of March and I see him again March 8th. I also have a bone growth stimulator and I understand I may have that longer than I'll have the brace.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I think one of the biggest things to do (besides the no BLT - which you'v been told and the walking - again, someone already mentioned it) is to take some good deep breaths and relax :)

    I don't know that a treadmill is a good idea - particularly if you are not really familiar with treadmill walking. Besides, the incredible boredom that comes with waiting to heal is increased if you just stay inside the house. Good weather should be cropping up - I say take a good 2-3 20 min. walks per day to get that oxygen flowing to the wound site - it's the best thing for speeding up your healing.

    As for meds, I can't help much. I was mostly off the rx's by 3 weeks out. I did have muscle spasms that I got a valium rx for at about 2 months. It took me months and months to finish the prescription and I think I was mostly using it as a sleep aid there towards the end. I did take OTC melatonin for sleep and mood improvement for about 6 mo. post-op. Now it's just Tylenol PM for those achy days after a 10 hour work shift.

    I would watch your flare up and if it gets worse or does not improve after a week or so - then you might need to worry. Well, I'd worry too if the pain was excruciating - then I'd be all an ER trip!

    I have to admit that I was not so strict on the BLT - well, kind of... I don't know. I did not have a picker-upper-thingy and I was squatting - so maybe that isn't exactly bending :)

    Good luck!

  • well i didint have a bone graft in my hip and that makes me nervous that it wotn fuse because it is not my own living bone. also as far as bending i am not bending over i am using my legs and all legs to get downinto the floor to pick up dog food dishes etc my thighs are terribly sore but at least i know i am not using my back. my dr didnt say this would be an issue-do you guys agree or should I stop that? i thought iwas doing so little but reading everyone elses i am starting to think i am over doing it. as far as the dog fight i broke up my back is killing me today it hasnt hurt like this sinceb4 surgery.
    oh and as for sitting i sit up in bed with those chair things that are just back and arms so i sit that way in bed- usually for a good amount of time each day but i do not actually sit in a chair for anything. should i be? when is it ok to sit and not worry about it? guess i can look that up on here.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    You can definitely ask your doctor about the treadmill. We have one so my doctor said it was fine. But I had to start very slow and only when my husband was close by.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 

  • Reading about you dropping a pill on the floor, got me thinking, as I have a young granddaughter. I thought of what I would do, if that happened to me.

    My plan is to wrap sellotape around my grabber (sticky side out) and then use it to stick to the tablet.
    Thought I would share that plan, in case it helps anyone else.

    Sounds like you are well under way in your recovery after your shaky start SpineAZ. Keep it up!
  • My Dr said no way to treadmill. He was very concerned about the risk of falls or slipping or not stepping right. Wouldnt let me do it for 6 months.
    As far as dog dishes, you may squat, but when I do that, it causes alot of pressure in my low back when I go to stand up. I had 2 level fusion and still having pain. Having discogram for the other disc that was iffy. So trust me, Dont Risk IT. I am very discouraged by having to go round 2. It is not worth it, try to use pitcher to fill water dishes if you can, and I had scoop that I dumped food into dishes.
    I was also told not to sit unless eating or restroon. That was for at least 3 months. I couldnt drive for 3 months. All I could do for the first three months was walk, lay, stand. Also if you need something on nightstand, log roll. If you need something behind bed, get up or grabber.
    Bending lifting and twisting is very important not to do, as you are in critical stage of healing. My fusion was healed at 9 months, enough to take out hardware. (Didnt help). But it was over three months before we could really see it fusing well.
    It is hard to be layed up in the house during the winter. This is my 2nd winter. But once the weather allows, you will enjoy walking much more.At six weeks you are still very early in your recovery. But try to take as many little walks as you can. I ended up walking around the house. Also Dont reach above your head.
    I understand where you are at the boredom. It will get better, especially if the weather gets nicer. I had my husband drive me to our local hospital to walk when he got home from work. They have alot of people use the hallways to do this. The clinic and hospital are linked together. Maybe there is somewhere you can go and do this. Just getting out a bit can help.
    If I can help you with any questions, please feel free to PM me. Good Luck, you are through the roughest part. Now just comes the paitient part. As you get feeling better, it becomes easier to deal with. Just take baby steps when you start walking outside. Several small walks are much better than one long one. Have a nice day. Love, Robin
  • the sticky tape on the grabber is a great idea! I have some double sided tape laying around that I can try. Brilliant.
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