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it's a fine line

jayhawkjjayhawk Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Spiney's! I am 7 weeks post 360 fusion L4-5. I am struggling finding the balance between the right amount of activity and too much activity.

It seems as if I just keep doing too much! This past Friday my physical therapy was in the pool which I loved. I did too much, too big of movements, not enough stabelization/using my abs...I felt it shortly after my session was over. I know better!

Today I went much slower, had them watch me more closely, used smalled movements/range of motion and stabelized more engaging my abs. I hope it helped.

I'm walking each day trying to walk 1 mile each time usually twice a day.

I'm frustrated. I have my 6 week follow up appointment tomorrow. I pray that my xray will show fusing. I have been having pain from the ilio inguinal nerve under my abdominal insicion. Wondering what the surgeon will say. 2 weeks ago, he said it was too soon to have the nerve injected(blocked) due to the risk of infection.

Will let you know, my appointment is tomorrow at 8 am (what was I thinking?) Thanks friends! Shari


  • It's normal to want to do more too soon. That's why are bodies are so smart and give us warnings. At least you are listening.

    We'll all be praying for good news tomorrow.
  • Just hang in there. You are doing so well.And you got my prayer heading to you for good news tomorrow.

  • You are still so early in the postop period...hey...I'm still early at 5 months postop.

    I have tried to do to much to soon several times, and it just doesn't pay, especially when it really takes one year or so to get back to normal. It seems we all try to rush the process, but with no benefit.

    Please don't get discouraged. Just take your time!
    I have found that if I make a schedule and do not do more than that, I do much better...say...doing 2 chores a day, or if you must go out for groceries or lunch...that is all you do...then rest.

    Take care,

  • awe thanks spiney friends! I think no matter how much someone warns/educates you about how long a fusion takes to recover from, until you are going through it, you just don't get it.

    It helps to hear that it is still so early in the recovery process, it feels like it has been so long.

    Lisa~I love the rule of thumb per say, of two activities a day or one outing. I wake up and my list of "things to do" seems so realistic. Then I have PT and walk and I'm exhausted, and I think, but I haven't done anything.....

    It can be quite the challenge to not let the blues sneak in and take hold.....A few weeks ago we rescued a little Yorkie that was on the feeder road to our 14 lane freeway. The idea was to get her off the freeway and find her owner. No one has claimed her and at the same time we were going through the painful loss of a family member.

    She seems to have some abuse issues, we are working through it. No one has claimed her and last weekend my hubby finally gave in and said we could keep her. Last week she got all her vaccinations (with a clean bill of health) as well as got a beautiful summer hair cut. :)

    We have 2 big dogs, but I can't take them with me to walk, they are just too big. Our Yorkie is about 5 pounds and loves to go on walks. It helps to make me smile and breaks up the boredome of walking so much!

    Thanks for your encouragement! Gotta chase these blues away! Shari
  • We all know that this is going to be a LONG recovery, but doing very little makes the time drag so it feels like much more time has passed.
    I also think that 2 chores and 1 outing per day sounds like a good target.

    I'll be thinking of you tomorrow Shari for your 6 week check.
    We'll be waiting for your news.
    Keep following the rules :-)
  • Jayhawk,

    Bless you for taking in the little Yorkie.

    I hope you will continue to get better. Just as the other ones on here says, don't over do it. It is easy to do so when you get up and feel pretty good. Then when you do over do it, boy can you feel it later that day and the next.

  • Good luck tomorrow at your appointment. I am just over 2 weeks post op and I am wanting to do more each day because I feel like I could do more...walk more...or even a trip to the store if my hubby or daughter goes to get a few things. But I indeed pay for it as the day goes on. That is awesome that you took in a Yorkie...at least it has a good home now. Have a good evening and hope tomorrow goes well for you!
  • Shari

    I will pray for lots of bone growth!! It is a tough balance but we have to learn to pace ourselves!! We have too much invested to screw it up. I don't know if I could do the pool yet. It would definitly wipe me out for the day I think. I can go out and run errands for about 4hs and I am ready for a rest. I don't usually walk on the days i run errands alot so I don't get to tired.

    Your breaking my heart with the yorkie story. I've had a 10 lb yorkie for 8 yrs and he is my baby. They are the best dogs. I don't know how anyone can abuse a dog. I will have to post a picture sometime.

    Good luck tomorrow! Lynette
  • I read your post with great interest as I had a 3 level fusion 02/08. PT is just about killing me and no matter how much the PT is reduced the lower back pain and spasms really go crazy. There is some comfort in knowing others are experiencing similar issues and there is help and hope from other spineys. It was great to read about your new dog and how your kindness may give you an ideal walking buddy. Thank you for raising the issue of the "fine line" as living with so much pain again was getting me down. Now its very clear to me, slow down or my body will stop me with plenty of pain. Hugs n' Loves - Paula
  • The "rules" will serve you guys well...but still, you are going to have hiccoughs along the way. Traci and I are 5 months out, and I think we can write a book on that topic.

    I was just walking with my dogs this morning and thought that I really should have kept a journal of my progress, at least a weekly one. The recovery is so slow that you sometimes fail to see just how far you've come.

    For instance, around the first couple of weeks of March (3 months postop), I was going to PT twice a week, not walking much (bad weather), and living on my sofa most of my waking hours, and in severe pain most of the time...pretty depressing!!

    Now, I'm 5 months out; walking 2-3x day, doing my own PT, doing a few chores, reading outside in my lounge chair every afternooon. Still having discomfort, stiffness during the morning, and moderate pain in afternoon, but I feel so much more flexible. If I over do it, my pain will escalate at night, but over all I AM making progress.

    I have not found that magic pill or comibination of meds, or exercise to miraculously take my pain away...guess that would not be very realistic...right?! I just get out of bed every day and tackle the day...it is my job now...one that my life really depends on!!!

    Everyone have a great day...walk, rest, eat healthy, and smile!!!


  • Hi Shari

    Yeah trying to find the right level of activity is frustrating, but if one doesn't try, then you don't know what you can or can't do. Having to pull back from what I think is ok has frustrated me no end, but I think I'm finally getting the message of breaking up activities and being happy about it.

    What a beautiful thing you've done in rescuing that little Yorkie and I'm so happy that she's now one of your furbabies. I'm sure she'll continue to bring you lots of joy. Understand about your large dogs. I still can't walk my Labradors on leads for more than a minute, so I drive them to a park close to home where they're allowed to be off lead. We walk along the bush tracks and the girls jump in the river and swim. The water is brackish and they get a bit smelly, so I have to rinse them when we get home adding some essential oil shampoo to the water. It's a joy to see them so happy.

    Take care


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Spiney friends are the best! Thank you for all your support. I was having a down day. When I get down, it surprises and scares me. I know it par for the course, but.....

    I had my 6 week post op (1 week late) and I am pleased. Took xrays,all is securely in place ~ he says it is too soon to see much fusing. I admitted that I have bent a couple of times, but he says that based on the type of surgery he did (360~6 screws and 2 rods)there is almost nothing I can do to mess it up! YAY!

    We talked about the pain I am having with my abdominal incision and the ilio inguinal nerve. He reminded me how the nerves come from the side and go down at a diagonal to the pubic bone. The incision is horizontal, so the nerve is cut. He still wants to hold off on injecting the nerve because there is still a lot of swelling and healing to occur. That was music to my ears as I have really worrried about my swelling. It seemed so much more than others. I was beginning to worry that my belly wasn't just swelling. He reassured me that it is still swollen as he expects it to be. Upon measuring my belly has went down 3 inches in the past couple weeks! :) I still have several to go, but as long as it's moving in the right direction I am happy!

    He also talked to me about the nerve pain that I have and had in my right leg. Reminding me that it is the last thing to get better and it may take up to a year!!

    He mentioned several times that I will have good days and not so good, ups and downs, but to try to take them in stride and to not worry.

    He wants me to stay in my LSO brace until the beginning of June. Then switch to the softer brace for the next month. I go back to see him 6/15, and I am hoping he will allow me to return to work and my work will allow me to come back with some restrictions. By that time I hope to be much stronger endurance wise as my job is physically demanding (although I can assume more of a consultative role initially if I need to). I only work T, W, Th and by then school will be out which helps to lighten my load.

    All in all I think it was a good follow up and he talked to me more than I expected! yay!

    I hope ya'll are having a good day with minimal pain!
    gentle hugs and loud cheers for spiney success! Shari
  • I am glad you got the news you wanted to hear and everything is going as planned. I keep telling myself it's going to be a long recovery and I know I can do it if others can too. Those up and down days are hard to grasp. We feel alone and we aren't.

    About the swelling...I had to laugh when I read about your swelling. Not about yours, but my daughter and I were making light of the swelling I am having...We were joking around saying my swelling is down to preemie size...not a 7 lb. baby size. It just made me laugh because mine is just a little round ball size, which my surgeon said yesterday that it's normal. I guess it's good to laugh about what our bodies are doing to help get us through it.

    Keep up the good work! Glad you are having a better day!
  • It's all about patience is what I've found.
    I am 9 weeks or so from revision microdiscectomy.
    I'm struggling with the same thing and often think I should use a journal to track things.

    I find that just because I make it through a day in the office Monday....doesn't mean I can make it through the day in the office 5 days a week. So, it's about pushing but in moderation.

    I have found the same is true with PT and other activities. It's gradual in the sense of you can do more but not consistently.

    I can do more today but have to realize I have to cut back for 2 days before I can have another "do more" day.

    I'm glad you are sharing your experience with us. It's helpful!
  • Sounds like things are healing well. You have come such a long way in those few weeks and things haven't always gone smoothly.
    Do tell me how you got your surgeon to open up and talk!

    Mine phoned me today as he had got the results of the swab test on my incision and he is not happy with it so he wants to see me tomorrow morning to have a look at it.

    My 6 week check will be next Monday when he will x-ray (a bit early)

    keep healing and try not to overdo it.
  • I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Praying that it may be as simple as changing antibiotics. It is good that he is on top of it!

    I was surprised that the surgeon talked as much as he did. I was prepared for little conversation and I was worried he would not be concerned re the pain I've had with the abdomial area.

    Maybe it was just my expectations were low...:0

    I will be praying for you tomorrow and anxiously waiting for your post. I hope you have a restful evening!

    gentle hugs my dear friend! xxxx Shari
  • Does anyone else panic about returning back to work? I am scared to death about returning to work. The plan for me is to return mid June, not because I will be ready, but because it's the end of FMLA.

    I will be about 31/2 months post op. I will still be in my LSO, moving into the soft brace in July.

    I am a health care professional and I am great at taking care of others and not as good at taking care of myself (while I am at work).

    My job reguires me to drive to homes and provide "therapy" to families within the home setting. A typical day would be 6-7 home visits in a 7.5 hour day.

    I just pray I will be ready.
  • I totally panicked about going back to work and with hindsight I think I was right. I got little (for that read none) support and it definitely knocked my recovery back.
    Make sure you are clear about what help you will need to be able to do your job without putting your health at risk.
    I wish I had been able to hold off going back for a month.
    I am the queen of doing too much too soon and I have paid time and time again. Took me forever to learn to read the signs. I do now have little limits and they seem to work. So If I shop I may not walk etc.
  • I am in such pain (back/buttock/right leg) and am exhausted. My hubby is out of town, my daughter is home sick.

    I just don't have a choice, I have to be up, run to the store because of course, we are out of all things needed for a sick child...

    I just want to cry....I don't know how to get this right..I'm thankful I'm in PT and I can't imagine where I would be without my PT (who is on vacay this week) but it is just so hard...I don't know that things are too hard until later...yesterday, I took pain meds at 2 pm, 6, 9....and it didn't seem to help much.

    Thanks for letting me vent! It is so nice to have this forum full of others who understand!
  • are you sure we aren't twins seperated at birth....? Your post describes me perfect. I am strong to a hazard to my own health.

    I had a personal trainer who told me once I would make a perfect soldier (he is a marine) because I always "pushed thru" and did whatever workout and how ever many reps that he asked without saying a word!

    That same personality trait is hindering me now. I will try to be as ready as possible in regard to going back to work. The great thing is I have worked there for a long time (10+ years), which is almost unheard of for a therapist as there is such a shortage and they are always recruiting therapists hard!

    My hubby thought I would go back the end of May. I have my 3 month post op appointment 6/15, and if he clears me then, I'll head back....
  • Hoping your day gets better...it's not easy doing things on our own, let alone having had surgery and all. Just don't over do it and get rest in between. It makes me wanna come help you out! Okay, I wouldn't be any help, but I would send my troop to you and they can help you. LOL They can even drive and do errands! No really, it makes me wanna help you in some way so you don't over do it. Take some time or yourself and get some rest!

    Hugs!! Tamara
  • I'm glad your post op visit went well!! Sorry you are still having pain issues. I totally can relate to the return to work panic. I have may return to work papers filled out and go back May 10th. I know full days will be a challenge but I still have 2 weeks to build my stamina up. At least I have an hour lunch and have a stretcher to take a break on whenever I need. I will still be in my brace for 4 weeks after I return to work. I will need extra tank tops on hand cuz I sweat terrible under that stupid brace!! I leave for the beach next tuesday so I hope to walk alot and not have anything else to do!! I think I will purchase a bath mat for the hotel, don't want any repeat falls like I did in NYC!! Lynette
  • Nel and Tamara have it right. You have to find a balance between activity and rest...when you can!
    I've had to stop PT twice due to pain and probably inflammation causing burning/numbness in my L leg.

    I have good and bad days physically and emotionally, sometimes they coincide...somedays they don't! I was told preop how painful it would be at first, but did not have any concept of the impact of the pain, or length of time of the sufferage. Even when I read of other's situation on the forum...I still seem to be unable at times to wrap my brain around the chronic state that is now my life.

    Today it did me a great deal of good reading that other people still have to deal with pain at 6 months out. I had convinced myself that I was the only one.

    So, I will continue to try to live by my new rules...only allow myself a few tasks; keep walking and other exercises I'm to do at this point. And last, but most importantly, when I have excruciating pain...stop what I'm doing, go thru my regimen that usually helps, and get up the next day and do it all over again.

    I so appreciate the chonicles of each and everyone here. Sometimes they may be things that we prefer not to hear, but utlimately, are of the greatest benefit, and truly a gift.

  • Hey Jayhawk - maybe we are! It took me about 4 months to work out that it was me causing a lot of the pain and I just had to take a step back. I threw my toys out of the pram at work and stopped trying to get better so fast. Now, whether I would have been going to get better so quick after I did that anyway I can't tell but being protective did seem to speed up my recovery.
    Keep taking the meds when you need them - being all tense cos of pain doesn't help and being tense cos you are worrying about how long it takes doesn't help either.
  • Today is a new day and it's Friday! I have made an appointment to get my hair done~highlights and a hair cut!! WooHoo!!

    My surgery was originally scheduled in Dec., then postponed to get all the compoments needed to insurance approval. But it was a day by day process, finally approved in Feb.

    By that point, I was due to get my hair done, but...I felt so bad spending the money. The months have rolled by (last highlights in Nov)....it looks horrible and I just put it up in a ponytail.

    My hubby and daughter will probaly faint to see me with my hair down...Ha!

    I canceled my PT for today after having such a bad day yesterday. I'm heating my pool~will do some walking in the pool and sit in the hot tub. But other than that, I am going to just be kind to myself today and ask nothing back (other than to sit in the chair for highlights :)).

    Thanks for all the support yesterday~glad it is a new day! :)

    Many gentle hugs xxx Shari
  • I hope you enjoy your day as you get your hair done. It's time to start feeling better about yourself and your husband and daughter should be pleased when they see you. Just the little things we do for ourselves can help us feel better. I haven't had back surgery but know it's a long time to heal. Have a great day and thanks for your support. TC Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I've been thinking of you today, wondering how your injections went....I hope they will give you relief!
    Let us know how you are feeling! gentle hugs xxxx
  • Have a wonderful day!! You deserve it!

    Charry, how do you like your infrared heating pad...can you tell me a little about it??

  • I'm doing alright today after the injections. Gentle hug back. Charry

    Lisa- Infrared platinum heating pad is flexible with Velcro straps for leg or back. It cannot burn you on low setting. It penetrates 2-1/2" into your muscles and joints as opposed to a heating pad which only has a depth of 1/2". Can be worn with hardware but not SCS. My first PM Dr. recommended it for me but can be found online for about $175.-200. Would double check with your Dr. or PT if it's right for you if you're considering it. Some Therapists provide the Professional size treatments. I can sit longer with it on otherwise I can't sit too long. Hope you're day is going well. TC. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thank you...I don't have a PM, and my surgeon could care less what I use...he never really has any advice. I've stopped going to formal PT, because they were seeing me and 2 other patients at the same time...Not Cool!! I've found out about a PT who is suppose to be the best in town, so I'm trying to get connected with her. For now, I'm on my own. I did have an amazing massage on Wednesday. My left side was so spasmed down...it really helped! Going back next Fri.

    What kind of injections did you have? Did they decrease your pain?

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