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Long recovery

tonyanwisconsinttonyanwisconsin Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I tell ya..even though I am a nurse and did all kinds of research before this surgery...I never realized how long the recovery is and how hard it is. Just when I feel good and try to do a few more things..I suffer for it.
I had a miserable night last night. Yesterday was beautiful in southern Wisconsin. I went to Home Depot and the grocery store with my husband...Then we spent the afternoon in the backyard. Me repotting plants..him weed eating and laying bricks around my roses. Now I was so careful..I sat a a table while repotting..my husband brought me the soil..I had a wonderful afternoon..then by 7pm I was miserable..I had pain in the top of both sides of my butt with every step and my back near my incision was killing me. I had to take a stronger dose of pain medication than normal and lay on a heating pad for 3 hrs before I fell asleep.
I don't feel like I did a ton of stuff. I know that it was more than I have been doing but still. I think times like this is the frustrating part of the recovery. Today I am still sore and have to go to PT on top of it. Ugh.
I have noticed since getting rid of the hospital bed I used after surgery that I don't lay down to decompress my spine enough. I hated having to be almost bedridden for a month so I try and just get up and walk around instead of laying down most of the time I get sore from sitting. So I guess that is something I need to do more of..just laying on the couch.

Once again...thanks for letting me vent


  • WE all have days like that.I know it doesn't seen like we did all that much. But when I look back I did. Once we start feeling better all we want to do is to catch up on some of the thing we havn't done in a while. then bang we right back to where we was hurting. So take it easy don't over do it. Like I always do lol.


  • I am so sorry that you are in pain again.
    I would definately say, try to schedule in the occassional lie down during the day. I know that I haven't been lying down as much lately either. I think when we feel a bit sore or tired, the bed is the best place for us, at least for a little while.
    I have definately noticed, that if I hurt myself trying to do something, if I stop immediately and go and lie down, I can get the pain to go away. If I try to carry on, the pain will last at least for the rest of the day.

    Try to think back and enjoy the memory of how good it felt doing the repotting. (You might as well get as much benefit from it as possible!) Think of it as a taste of the future. You will be able to enjoy those plants as we move into summer and beyond. There, now was it worth doing it? Lol!

    Really though, I understand and share your frustration. (You know that and have given me this same talk!) We are in this together Tonya. It won't last forever (even if it seems like it!) and is just the way forward to our 'pain reduced' life.
    We can do this!!!

    Now take it easy for the next few days :-)

    Gentle cyber hugs >:D<

  • Thanks john and jelly.
    Jelly you are right...I know it..doesn't mean I have to like it..lol.
    I go and see my surgeon this Thursday. Im sure he will be suprised when I tell him work posted my job. I will just let him know to keep me off until I am 100% ready to go back full time..Then I have to look for a different job. I still need to take pain medication every day..Even though it may only be 2 or 3 times. So I have to ask for another refill because I am almost out.
    I haven't done anything today..lol..Just sat here on my laptop. I am still sore and so not looking forward to therapy. I don't think they will get much effort out of me today as I am still in quite a bit of pain. Thanks for the kind words and pep talk..I needed it.
  • Sorry I meant to say thanks Jim...see I can't even remember a name!!!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    It seems like for every day I enjoy some activities I have to rest the following day (or really get good sleep with good meds)
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Tonya, I am sorry you are in so much pain! It is sooo frustrating.

    It's good you are going in for PT, your aleignment could be off due to being in so much pain and spasms. They may also be able to help with the pain.

    It has happened to me again today. Felt good this morning. Went to PT. A couple new exercises were added. Within an hour of coming home, started getting horrible right leg and low back pain~stabbing, throbbing, deep aching, aweful pain.

    I took something for pain, laid down, iced and still didn't get any relief. So had to take a second dose! That hasn't happened in a long time...:(

    I am such a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Having your job posted may be the best thing right now for your recovery. Allowing you to fully recover before returning to work.

    I am terrified at the thought of trying to go back to work. I can't even seem to get through a week of PT without a step backwards.

    I'm with ya sister with the frustration.....uggg

    Thank goodness we have each other! Other wise you might just find me in the psych ward in a fetal position, rocking back and forth, rocking, rocking....rocking!

    Hope you feel better!
  • Well I just got back from PT...Im a little confused. I saw the PT assistant..she is very nice. I explained my pain issues so she only had me do 10min. on newstep and then I asked for ultrasound treatment with topical steroid so she did that.
    She made the comment that I need to make sure and tell the doctor what is happening because I am young and shouldn't be having problems like this.
    Now most of the people here that had a fusion are at the same place as me..except for Lynette..she is superwoman..lol..love ya
    I just told her well I don't know about that..recovery is different for everyone so to put a time limit on my recovery isn't really right. She just said well just tell your doctor what is going on and I will make sure and send him a note for your upcoming appt. I was in tears because my back hurts and she said are you getting depressed? Oh geez...NO I AM NOT DEPRESSED..lol..I am sick of people asking me that...Being in pain and being frustrated is different than having depression.
    Ok..venting over.. :)
  • Give her credit for not stamping your chart and sending you on your way. I love my PT but he really doesnt do well in the report department. When I ask him to communicate with any other professional I get the brush off. Oh well....
  • I understand how frustrated you are. Recovery is hard, I think you are heading in the right direction, keep up your good work.

    All you can do is take one day at a time, as each day passes you will feel a little better and a little stronger. Take baby steps, its not a race.

    Do something nice for yourself, be good to yourself and some day soon you'll feel like your old self again.

    Hang in there,
    Best luck to you,

    P.S. Vent all you want, we all have bad days, we all get it!!!!
  • I, too, did all the reading I could prior to surgery but still my mind wasn't ready for the long days and nights of pain and restrictions, and it was hard work focusing on the future. It's taken 6 months to be able to sit at my computer for a few hours.

    With physio, I only do as much as I feel I can without being in pain. My core strength is coming back really good. Walking has been the best exercise for me.

    The hard work will be worth it, so keep your chin up as there will be good days ahead.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • you are able to do as much as you can. I had a three-level fusion and i'm finally feeling better a year and a half later. You're in for a really long recovery.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Surgeons are guilty of downplaying recovery. Perhaps they really don't know. They release us & send us out there to fin on our own. We go here & there looking for relief & some kind of answer to "how much longer". Because after all, they tell us to go back to work asap. Then we assume we would be about healed if we can do that. And yes, we can work, we can drive, etc., but with ALOT of post op PAIN. When I read somewhere that spinal surgery recovery is 11-35 mos, I thought oh hell no, not me, Im strong, I can handle it. Im guessing that none of us knew the pain would be constant pain for so many days, that led to weeks, then months, & now counting years. And to be constant, 24/7!?????
    They tell me now that the pain is coming from scar tissue/adhesions, that have formed. Up & down my entire spine, neck to butt! They say all you can do is get deep tissue massage to help break it up, along with stretching.
    I am feeling much better & remain hopeful that its almost over.
    Tonya, I was clueless too, as to what recovery was like.
    Im so happy to hear "isteller" finally feels well after 1 1/2 yrs. Gives me hope, when its much needed.
    thx for sharing.
    04/09 posterior cervical foraminotomy 2 levels
  • i know i didnt post the surgery i had done in my signature. but i had the combo deluxe special i like to say from my hip bone up to my L3 vertebrae. it was done in the beginning of may in 07. pre op i was unable to walk, had no control over my right leg, and constant pain lower back and legs. i was on a pretty complete regiment of all kinds of meds. i was told when released from the hospital the best therapy for recovery was walking. let me tell you i walked till i hurt and then a bit more. took my pain meds at night. it was no easy road, but by the end of july, my surgeon gave me the ok to go back to work [limited duty] and passed me back to my pm for withdrawal from the meds. i am proud to say by september of 07 i was off narcs [did the cold turkey thing against my pms wishes] and dancing ..literally. dont get me wrong i still had some aches and pains but nothing 2 advils wouldnt handle. now after reading this site i realize i must have been one of the fortunate few to recover so well. i kept a positive attitude and pushed myself as far as my body would allow without over doing it. i just wish i had all you great people for support in the years prior to.
  • I so wish I could speed up your recovery, wave my superwomen cape (ha ha) or something!! I actually feel guilty sometimes after reading a lot of the posts and just don't know what to say. I just think I had 2 really talented surgeons with state of the art procedures and a big streak of luck. I pray everyday for all here to have good outcomes. I haven't even started PT yet so I'm sure you'll hear some pissing and moaning from me when that starts. It scares me with how difficult it is for you guys. I have had this urge the past few days to just curl in to a ball and stretch!! I think my muscles have been just more tight with working. Hang in there you'll get there. Lynette
  • You're looking at at least 6 months to get over a lumbar fusion. A year to fullish function. So says a physio I spoke to who had taken lots of patients through it over the years. Broadly speaking it seems to tally with experinces you read.
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