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TraseeTTrasee Posts: 571
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
After being back to work for 3 weeks, I am suffering badly. I got off work Friday night and have been miserable since. My lower back aches and burns and now my right thigh is completely numb. I poked it with a push pin and can't feel it. I am mildly freaking out. I have a follow up a week from Tuesday. But may make a call to surgeons office tomorrow. I was feeling pretty well except for the work thing and I know that is just from sitting. I don't know what's going on now. Sigh. 3 steps forward, 2 back. I just want to be back to normal. Thanks for the vent.



  • Trasee

    I'm about to go back to work too in about a week. :S Desk duty also, do you get up every half hour and walk around? Just curious. Hope you feel better. ;)
  • Hi Eric,

    I cannot actually walk around, but I can get and move about. And I do so frequently. I don't know if this is just an accumulation of the whole week or what. Guess I will find out next week.

    Good luck with going back.

  • You have been on my mind since you went back to work. I am so sorry you are still having a rough time. Just remember what you are feeling is NORMAL, its going back to work too soon (Insurance, etc. most times determines this).

    I think you are doing phenomenal in your healing and attempts at going back to work! I know what you mean about meaning back to "normal". For most of us our "normal" is different, and we have to adjust to that.

    You are a very strong woman, you will be OK, each week will be a tiny bit better, and then maybe you will be so busy living that you will forget about us......

    So many of us are with you, take care, Lisa
  • It's a pity that you had to go back to work so soon but understand it would have been necessary. I'm 4 and a half months out and still have problems sitting for any more than half an hour at a time, and can only do that a couple of times a day.

    Do call the surgeon's office and I hope he can help you.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Trasee I'm so sorry you are in pain. Remember that you are asking your body to do so much more than it has done in months. And day after day you have to keep asking.

    I feel pretty good all day and then when I get home my lower-mid back hurts. It always seems to be in the kitchen so I think it is telling me not to cook :) Such a smart back!!

    My son just started weight lifting and keeps reminding me that you have to tear the muscle first to make it stronger. Guess that's where the saying no-pain-no-gain comes from.

    Check with your surgeon to make sure you aren't doing anything that will hurt you. After that just remember that each day will get a little better.
  • I am so sorry you are struggling! Going back to work too soon stinks! You should definately call your surgeon and just let them know the new numbness. I think next week is too long to wait to tell him.

    Hang in there and let us know how you are doing! Shari! :-)
  • I am sorry you are suffering so much. Even at my worst I haven't had the numb thight thing, although going back to work has resulted in lots of two step forward 4 steps back moments though. I have also found that I don't have bad days - more like bad weeks/10 days. My good spells are definitley shorter than the bad ones.
    I know none of this helps you but I didn't want you to think you were alone/odd/messing stuff up. I have worried (and do) endlessly about the what ifs of going back to work too soon. My surgeon is very blase about it all - he isn't the one watching me trying to get up out of bed to go to the loo in the middle of the night. I am like a stranded whale or maybe a beetle on its back!
    I hope that you will have a few good days soon. It is just difficult to get the right amount of rest when working and so it takes longer to pull through these rough patches.
    Let us know how you go. xx
  • :D :D :D Smiles around! Oh, honey, I feel for you! If life would just be fair, and you could go back to work when you were ready.

    Are you using ice or heat on your back while sitting at work? I'd try ice first as it will aid in calming down inflammation.

    You're still so freah from surgery -- hopefully being young you'll heal faster. Just rest, rest, rest on the weekends and get some walking in also.

    Sending you healing, positive mojo! :D

    Take care,

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I can't help but think your surgeon would pull you out of work, with the new symptoms. This is obviously NOT GOOD for your recovery. And could cause more problems down the line.
    I'm reading this late. So I hope your Dr. has already made a decision favorable to your condition.
    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!
  • I'm so sorry that you are having these issues. It sounds like you are moving around a bit verses solid sitting, but let your body guide you. Hopefully your surgeon will have "good news" as to what is going on. I hope it is a simple adjustment for you. You are young, and strong. Please let us know how it goes. Positive thoughts and prayers heading your way woman!!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Traci,

    I know how it feels. I went back to work part-time after 4 weeks and did work from home the rest. That helped laying down and using a laptop. I've been at work full time for a while. I see 2 things.

    1. Keeping up your basic energy level. I swear I barely make it through supper some nights. Then nap until 10-11pm. Then wake up and go walk.

    2. Sitting. The whole concept of sitting and working I believe is designed to make spiney people cry, at best... On bad days you just want someone to shoot you.

    I'm taking vitamins and exercising and eating better. That seems to address Item 1 pretty well. That and laying off the pain killers.

    Sitting. I get up a lot and walk up and down the hall. It doesn't seem to be enough. I'm going to start walking outside at lunch time again. See if that helps. You have to get up and move for at least 5 minutes or more from what I can tell. Based on how compressed my spine feels. That is purely feeling and not scientific.

    The other big one is stretching. Not sure what you were given to do. I'm doing these back stretches that help. If you can't walk around, but you can get up. Try some light stretching. Bring a small mat to work and do it besides your desk if you have to.

    Other than that I seem to be ok. When I get home at night and sit for a while I feel the ache. Get up and walk around the house. Then go walk the dog for a good 1-2 miles. I feel *much* better about the time I get 1 mile into the walk.

    Good luck. It's rough. I feel your pain.

  • I was not able to get into my Dr any sooner than my scheduled appt. I will just keep pushing along until I can see him. I always knew that all of my pain may not be gone completely. But I didn't expect these probs almost 4 months later. Thanks for the input!! You peeps are the best!!

  • I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time. Of course, I can not even imagine working at this point. If I sit more than 1 hour my feet become rock solid numb. I certainly hope that you can talk/see your Dr. soon. You are the woman!!!

  • Hey friends,

    Closing on the end of the week and still having such pain. Low burning pain. I am slightly disgusted at this point and will be happy to see my Dr Tuesday. Tonight my hardware feels like it has grown. I don't know, may be something like the Tingler. I don't know if any of you remember that old Vincent Price movie. It is on fearnet on demand sometimes. My spine is just going to jump out and run rampant through Nashville. I am trying to focus on humor and not cry. I am really a happy person. So this is doubly hard on me and wearing me down. PT sucks and my therapist says she's seen so many have hard recoveries from the fusions. She thinks I am doing great. I wanna slap her LOL. But she is kind and knows when to say when.

    So thanks for reading my big run on paragraph. I hope you are all well and healing in the right directions.


  • I am sorry you are still having such a rough time of it. It is a long recovery, and you are holding up pretty good considering all you have been through. Maybe you can take it easy over the weekend and get some extra down time, and it will help.
    I hope your appt goes well for you, and maybe get an adjustment to meds or something to make you more comfortable. Take care and know we are thinking of you! >:D< Robin
  • Hey Robin,

    Thanks for the good wishes. To everyone else too. I just think I went back to work too soon. It's not a physical job, just the opposite. Too much sitting and even as frequently as I stand up, I cannot walk around. Only breaks and lunch. Hopefully my dr will be helpful Tuesday. But I suspect he has done all he can. And he is going to say it's just the healing process. But best to everyone, you are all so kind, And your words help more than you know.

  • Traci, I have a (girl)friend who had a fusion at L5/S1 and she had trouble for awhile (I think her muscles and ligaments had to adjust, not to mention her nerves from being pressed on for so long), but started really noticing improvement at about the 6 month mark and progressively got better and better. It took about a full year and now when I ask her how her back is, she says "great." I kept an eye on ner progress and I'm glad she is doing so well. I'm a little jealous that she is so active again and I'm living on eggshells. Anyway, hang in there, fusion does work more often then we think.

  • Traci:

    I'm going back to work tommorrow. :S Its a desk job and my employer has been understanding but my job can be stressful. I'm in I.T. At Friday was my 5 week mark from thr ALIF, I still have pains of course, but I am running out of leave, so I am going back. Will let ya'll now what happens.

    If I didn't have the periodic leg pain I would be a lot better. :S

    Good Luck Traci I hope you feel better at work. ;)

  • Eric, I hope your first day back was better than you could hope for. I stayed home today. I was miserable for most of the weekend :( I really hope being in IT you able to move around and go station to station. Or are you the IT guy that has to sit most of the time?

    Jane, I hope the facet injections give you enough time to heal somewhat!! We do deserve a better spring!! :)

    BB, Thanks for the heads up on your gf's fusion. My dr told me 6-12 months. So I was aware that I may have additional pain. I just wish my job didn't make it so much worse. This pain is different than the pain that caused me to go for fusion in the first place, so I also suspect it is muscle and nerve pain. Maybe a change in medication? I will talk to Dr tomorrow and see what he thinks.

    Again, thanks to each one of you. I know you all have your own aches and pains and keep on keeping on, too!!

    Gentle hugs,
  • I was hoping that if you had a few days off, you would get some relief. Maybe you need to take a little more time off to heal. If you are sitting all day, it would be hard on you. Hope you are feeling better, Thinking of you, Robin
  • Trasee said:
    Eric, I hope your first day back was better than you could hope for. I stayed home today. I was miserable for most of the weekend :( I really hope being in IT you able to move around and go station to station. Or are you the IT guy that has to sit most of the time?

    Jane, I hope the facet injections give you enough time to heal somewhat!! We do deserve a better spring!! :)

    BB, Thanks for the heads up on your gf's fusion. My dr told me 6-12 months. So I was aware that I may have additional pain. I just wish my job didn't make it so much worse. This pain is different than the pain that caused me to go for fusion in the first place, so I also suspect it is muscle and nerve pain. Maybe a change in medication? I will talk to Dr tomorrow and see what he thinks.

    Again, thanks to each one of you. I know you all have your own aches and pains and keep on keeping on, too!!

    Gentle hugs,


    I used to be the support guy, the one you see that comes to you to help you at your desk, but now I'm the one in the back. I work on the servers now, in the rear with the gear. I still go out and see people because sometimes you got to see it at times and I like walking around.

    As far as my last 2 days, yesterday was bad, :S got to work my back was killing me, but after I got going it got better. Walking was better then sitting. After I got off, back pain was bad all night. This morning it was bad where I didn't want to go to work. After taking my meds, I just felt better and I went in late. Worked the whole day, didn't feel much pain till the end of the day.

    I am now, but I am furloughed tommorrow so I at least got a day off. But I called my doctor this morning and I talked to a nurse there and she said, its very normal at your stage, but its better to get moving then sitting, and I could tell today. Moving feels better at times.

    I hope your feeling better, its not easy, people have been asking me at work all the time about it. Fusions are not a walk in the park, far from it.

    Take care. ;)
  • Hey friends,

    I have been off work all week. I saw my surgeon on Tuesday and he is not "panicing." I told him how awful the pain has been once I work 3-4 days and 5th is almost unbearable. He seems to think my pain is nerve regeneration or muscular. He also said this is part of healing. I don't know what to think about this pain. I didn't expect to feel like this after months. He did not give any meds for nerves.

    So, I am just stuck at this point. I am still walking and doing the stretches from pt. Also cannot stand a tens unit my pt got me. Makes the pain even worse. I am still taking 7.5 lortab 3-4 times per day and flexiril 10mg 3 times a day. I don't think the meds are helping anymore. I have been on them too long. I don't know what to do. Any suggestions? Needless to say, I am waiting for my surgeons office to call me back. The receptionist suggested I go to the ER if the pain is too bad. That doesn't seem logical, since I have a Dr. Just ridiculous.

    Hope you all have a great weekend.


  • You should go see a Pain Management Dr. At this point it doesn't matter where the pain is coming from. That fact that you are having enough pain to keep calling the surgeon is enough for me to think you need to have the meds adjusted/changed. I would tell the surgeon that if he can't/will not help you with different meds then you will be going to see a PM Dr. I wouldn't play around with a Dr. that ignores what you are telling him. Some of these Dr.'s can be arrogant just by not helping out or making sensible suggestions. It may be that a visit to the ER will be enough to get some action.

    Good luck. David
  • I'm thinking the same as David, that you should be referred to Pain Management. Surgeons of all specialty are under so much pressure re the amount of pain meds that they perscribe and each new story of celebs/athletes/others ODing of Prescription meds make it that much tougher for us that really do need them.

    My surgeon has just added a PM Doc to his staff and after the inital script, if you need more, you are referred to him. Ironically, it's the same one I have been going to for the past 5 years!

    Once you get into a Pain med., things change totally, for the better. There, they will talk to you, problem solve with you, and respect what you tell them and the level of your pain! Every appointment I have ever had with PM, I've always left feeling better than when I walked in. Yesterday I talked to my PM on the phone, trying to find a combo of meds that will work for me. When I appologized for calling his responce, was. "please don't be (sorry), This is what I am here for"!

    That is exactly what you need! You shouldn't have to go through this pain. There is something called a pain syndrome that can occur and they definately don't want that tot happen!

    Hang in there chickadee! Hope you get some much needed rest! Hugs xxxx Shari
  • Thanks so much for the input. I never really thought about a PM dr. I never felt the need to have my pain managed. HOW retarded am I? At this point this may be the only option left. I am at the end of my rope and have absolutely zero tolerance for my surgeons staff anymore. Ughhh and they started out so nicely. So, do I need a referral for pm? Not really sure where to go from here. Thanks for the replies. This site and members have been more helpful than the people that get paid to help me. So much for healthcare in America.

    Traci xo
  • It really depends on your insurance re a referral. If you don't know where to start/who to go to, you could call your surgeon. They are usually more than happy to refer you to P.M. so that they aren't responceable for prescribing pain meds. Or you can ask others that you know who have had surgery or back issues. Good luck and I hope you have had a nice weekend! Take care~Shari

  • Shari,

    thanks again for the advice. I will check with my insurance. I did have a nurse with my insurance co. contact me right before surgery and right after. Maybe I will give her a call and see what she thinks. I doubt my ins co. will be happy to have more to pay for another Dr. Nor am I happy for my out of pocket co-pays.

    I feel like I am being brushed aside because Dr (claim already paid) is not seeing how this is really affecting me. He can't see how hard it is just bathe and fix hair for 45 min - 1hr drive to work, and then 8.5 hrs of up and down trying to be comfortable at work, and having to take 2x my meds just for the 45 min - 1 hr drive home. Then my utter lack of comfortable sleep, even with ambien. Weekends suck too, I just don't feel like doing anything. Of course, I still do my walking and pt stretches daily. Hoping he is right and just part of healing process.

    I'm sorry for the rant here. I am not sure how to get through this and not become the B**** I feel like being. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  • They say it takes 6-12 months to recover after a spinal fusion, so he should be more supportive. But he probably sees it as his role is finished. I have gotten so mush support, encouragement and help from my Pain management team! I think you will be so suprised. Hopefully you will find it so worth your co-pay.

    I have to see mine each month right now for as long as I am on oxycodone, but I will happily pay my co-pay for the support and help that I get from him. Wish you lived in Texas and I would get you hooked up with mine.

    I am suppose to go back to work after 3 months on June 1. I worry that I won't be ready. I'm hopeful I can take a little more time if I need it.

    Hang in there! Maybe this time next week, you will have had your inital appointment with P.M. and will be getting some pain relief! Shari
  • In my experience this happens very often where the surgeon feels he is done with you after 3 months or when he releases you back to work. As I have mentioned in another post to me it is pure arrogance. They tend to act like like "I fixed your problem so I'm done with you" It is very hard to find out how a Dr. will act after a surgery has been completed. I don't know if they are afraid of giving pain meds or what. Pain meds are a major part of a treatmenmt plan. I hate to see how much it costs me, out of pocket, each year to deal with health issues. Its like paying for a nice car. I would just call a PM Dr. and see if you can get in. If you don't know of one I would just ask your PCP. They tend to know who's good. I hope you are able to get some relief soon.

  • Somehow I missed your post. It just plain stinks that you are having a rough time still. Maybe as the others have suggested, try a pain mnagement dr. Thankfully my surgeon has always been sympathetic to my pain issues. Check with your Ins. co. if you would need a written referal just to be on the safe side and then go from there.

    If I lived near you I'd come and bring you some comfort foods and you could vent to me. But, I am in NJ, so you can only vent, anytime.

    Hope you get some relief soon, Lisa
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