A recap of my surgery was decompression and interbody fusion L5-S1. This was done from back side with 8 inch incision. Surgery was needed to fix a grade 2 (18mm) slip of those 2 vertebrae. The slip occurred due to fractured pars, which hold the vertebrae together. During the slip the nerve coming out between the 2 vertebrae was pulled forward and crushed between the 2 vertebrae, worst on left side. Dr actually said nerve was badly mangled, one of the worst he has seen. The pars/lamina (I don't know the right names) bones were removed to get to the nerve and reposition it and give it room. A complication was the the 2 vertebrae had started to fuse/sacralize together and had to be sawed apart before they could actually be decompressed to insert the spacers and apply whatever material they now use to aid in fusing of the vertebrae.
Now 3.5 weeks post op. Some days are getting better. Last two was out shopping a lot, not the driver. Most my daytime pain is on the left hip a little to the rear with left leg sciatica down to foot and some numbness. Worse after sitting for a while. Actually, that one spot on left rear hip is my only pain source, maybe because that is the side of most of the nerve damage. Pain runs from 4-8 depending on activity. Dr says several months to get somewhat better with the nerve damage, but will never be 100% or pain free. Still there are marked improvements as far a pain levels during the day are getting better. Flexibility and no need for toilet risers anymore are other indicators. Can walk even without cane for short distances.
Sounds like a good recovery at face value. But my main question after the above recap is my pain at night while sleeping.
I will liken it to a sprained foot or heel spur, I have had both numerous times. They are worse overnight and when first getting up. But improve dramatically during the day with movement.
Overnight I get very stiff across the entire lower back and cannot move much at all from my lying on my back to trying a different position or just log rolling over to get water off of a table by the medical bed I am renting. The pain level while doing these things is a 7-8. Once I am up and active for 20min things start to improve. Of course I start to get pain meds into me also. I do usually take one percocet around 3am each night.
How common is this for anyone with operations similar to mine and when should I expect to see improvement. I am sure it is also related to the previous days activity level. I need to start to make notes on that.
My impression it is like the the sprain/heel spur, but just looking opinions from those who experience similar pain at night.