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8 weeks post PLIF Questions

talia22ttalia22 Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
i am 8 weeks post plif i have not had any complications but i dont get my xray to see if things are fusing till May and my Dr is not helpful at all! but from what he has told me i should be back to doing everything as normal just as limited BLT as possible. well the past 3 days i have admitteddly pushed myself with house work and going out to dinner etc i am not sure if this is normal pain but i feel horrible and my back hurts worse than it has in a very long time...it doesnt feel like i seriously hurt something but i am in lots of pain all day my back hurts in the lower part of my back where the surgery was BUT i thought a few weeks ago i read that some people got bad pain at the 8 week mark...is that true? also should i just lay low for the next few days...and how low? i know these are Q to ask the Dr but he is useless. thanks


  • If you did not bend doing house work I would be very surprised, and I suspect that is the source of your pain.

    I had a one level PLIF two years ago, and prior to house guests arriving for the Christmas holidays, I was trying to get the house picked up, changing sheets, etc. I was incredibly sore for days afterward. I'm sure it depends which level is fused but I still have trouble with bending.

    At only eight weeks post-op, you are still very early in your recovery. I personally would not risk anything at this point, regardless of what your doctor told you. The first three months are really critical and to me, it only makes sense to be as careful as possible. It is such a short time in the over-all scheme of things that why would one want to risk having to start over?

    I would be surprised if you damaged anything, but I would caution you not to keep pushing things. I would take it easy for a couple days, limiting yourself to walking for your main exercise. Be really careful that you are not bending at the waist, twisting, or reaching with your arms stretched overhead or out to the sides. Be very careful about your posture and use good body mechanics. If you are driving, limit your time spent in the car, and when home, do not sit for more than about 15 minutes at a time.

    You want to avoid getting into a cycle where you are causing inflammation, and then having to treat to get inflammation to go away. Inflammation can really slow up healing once it gets going. If you are still really uncomfortable tomorrow, remember to use ice or switching back and forth from ice to heat.

    I'm glad you are feeling well enough to do all this activity, but I think you would be wise to try to take it a bit slower in the near future. Keep in mind that your body has been through a major trauma and it needs time to heal. Try not to be in a hurry to rush the process along. Usually one pays for that approach in the long run.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Anytime you push past your own personal limits you will pay with pain. How much, how long, it depends on you. And I think your surgeon may have painted too rosy of a picture for you. You need to go much slower and find out what your personal limits are. and it's possible that there will be many for quite a long time. We all heal differently and there is no set timetable. A lot of Drs. don't have good communication skills. Unfortunately, I think you may have one. But that is what this place is for. Don't be afraid to ask us. Someone will always be there to help you.
    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!
  • Eight weeks is still so early in your recovery. I think that at that point after my TLIF, I was also having back pain, but I knew it was pain from the surgery itself, not the pre-op pain, because it was located at and around my incision.

    I can tell you this: I'm exactly 10 week out from surgery and I have days where I feel very, very good (let's forget my neck stuff for the sake of this discussion). Yesterday was one of them - just so little pain. So, I hauled my laptop and junk with it in a case to the library, then went to the grocery store and did some shopping carrying a hand basket. I ended up buying more than would fit in the hand basket, so I had some heavy bags to take home. So, I hauled home the case with my laptop and stuff, then the grocery bags, then made dinner. I felt great.

    Today, I feel like crud. I know I did too much and at this point in your recovery, it's very easy for you to do the same thing. We really won't be totally recovered until probably about a year, but should be much better by six months.

    Eight weeks out you should really be watching what you do, taking care of yourself and not overdoing it. Each time we overdo we risk our fusing and unless you want to be back at the hospital with another surgery, take it easy. When you have days that you overdo, and you will (everyone does), try and take it easy the next day or two. When you have the pain from doing too much it's your body telling you to stop and take it easy. Be sure to listen to it, it's right. Take it easy.

  • The docs don't seem to have any real idea of how we actually cope day to day. I know that at 8 weeks post op I would have had to lay low for a couple of weeks after doing all that you did. I am only just now getting the balance right (I am 5 months post op!!). My doc told me at about 11 weeks that I could "go back to normal". Well I don't think so! Gwennie is right with the whole inflammation cycle. I have lived through it so often - mostly as a result of doing too much. I have just learnt to say no to stuff despite what the doc says. He doesn't live in my body so how can he know what is too much for me?
    I found my surgeon fairly unsymapthetic and unhelpful with regards to what are the right and wrong things to do. I think that they think so long as the hardware stuff is ok then that's it. It's like they don't think about all the rest of the picture.
    I have found that some of the stretches help with this pain (especially the one where you pull your knees in towards your chest)and I have tended to give my core physio exercises a rest when I have been in this situation. You just have to get used to listening to your body. I know that it is hard though because very often we don't know what was too much until the next day.
    I am still not doing too much housework but I have started increasing my swimming. I am also going to work which has taken a massive toll on my recovery!
    My physio friend and my GP have both said that I should expect a little bit of pain if I am improving- sort of no pain no gain. But it is important to get the right level - not so much that for a week after you can't do anything and not so little that you see no progress. So I suppose I expect to be in pain by bed time until I am back to "normal"
    Anyway - good luck. Have patience and you will get there!
  • In my opinion you have had life changing surgery. My experience tells me that it is dangerous to think you can go back to what your life was. It will work for a while but then you will start to have problems again. I have had 3 back operations in the past 11 years and for the first 2 I got up and running and went back to my everyday life doing what I had always done. This has proven to be a mistake, at least for me. The areas above and below where I had lumbar surgery end up taking the extra stress to compensate.

    I am taking this recovery very slow and getting used to the idea that exercises and stretching have to be part of my every day plan. Like combing your hair or shaving. I had surgery on Jan 20th.

    It is VERY hard not to BLT and have a normal life, but in reality that is what needs to be done. Protect yourself. Everything will get done. I have found that it can take 7 to 10 days to get a strained back to start feeling like it did before you over did it.

    Lay low until you start feeling better and try not to over do it when your feeling great. Easier said then done.

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'm around 6 weeks post op. I previously had L4-S1 fused and they added L3 this time while re-doing the hardware all the way L3-S1.

    My surgeon turned to my husband at the consult a few weeks before surgery and said "I don't care what she says about how well she feels, you are to treat this as a serious issue and she is to avoid any activity that twists or bends the spine and avoid these for 3-6 months". So I can walk and if I can squat a bit keeping the back perfectly straight that is allowable. Everything else I avoid.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • It sounds like you are doing really well, and it doesnt hurt for the Dr to tell hubby that it is so serious, so he can watch you , cause I can't and I don't want you to have any problems #:S
    Take care of yourself, you are in the big part of recovery and I remember how hard it was not to do what you shouldn't. Have a good weekend and take care, Robin
  • Dust and cobwebs can wait till tommorow, cause Julie is healing and healing is harder! :) Take it easy and dont let yourself heal. You dont want to go through it again. So be careful, and rest and walk and take care of yourself! Love, Robin
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