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How Much Activity

rugmankcrrugmankc Posts: 131
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I am starting a new thread to get some ideas on the activity level of everyone at post 6 weeks.

"Recap: L5-S1 decompression and interbody fusion. As stated previously, they had to "saw" apart L5-S1 to decompress, since they started to fuse. They were a grade 2 slip. Rods and screws. The nerve there was badly mangled, mangled was surgeons term. So, I assume there was some handling of the nerve to straighten out. Some bones removed to free up nerve and some parts reused as fusion material. Assume they removed the pars, which were fractured anyway.

Now: Can walk with no cane, but not very far without needing to start using it again. Doing very light house, car chores. Returned my medical bed, have a two story. Don't take naps now, since it is gone. Started PT. Done some driving. Bought a grass shears with a 3ft pole on it to trim grass. Used that one time to go around yard. Use grabbers, but dipping and picking up things like bathroom trash cans. Had to, on a couple occasions, dip all the way down and pick up dropped things when no grabber was available. Not too concerned about that, since PT has me doing squats with back against a wall. First 4 weeks unbearable as you all know. Started to feel better at week 4.5 to 5. But seem to have leveled off. Not sure if it is increased activity as mentioned above or a problem. Know it is still early.

Current meds are 1 Perco every six hours and 4 Nuerontin a day. Off and on lower back pain across all of lower back, but not too much anymore. Left side lower back a centrally located pain, sciatic. It seems to bypass rest of leg and start back up in ankle/foot. This left side sciatic issue is bearable and not constant."

At 6 weeks: Like stated above from a previous thread, I do light housework, dipping as much as possible as opposed to bending from the waist. Have had to dip to gound on occasion to pick items up when no grabber available. Use the light Boss vacuums, pick up and dump trash cans, dust etc. Driving now. Start work Next Tuesday the 8th. Dump car mats, and as mentioned above, use extended grass shears to trim around yard, no mowing. Did try my new 9.3lb Redmax gas trimmer one time. Has strap. Dr wasn't happy about that, but it was comfortable at the time. Need to walk more, but pretty active all day. I think I am sensing very small increments of improvement now. However, how well the nerve heals is still a question. Can do fairly well with no cane and trying to stretch hours between the Percoset and maybe move to Vicodin in a week or two, then Tylenol.

My biggest concern as I improve is at what point I jepordise fusion. I know activity helps the bone growth, but I don't want to over do.

Any personal feedback appreciated,



  • It is great to hear from you and it sounds as if overall your recovery is going well!

    I still hear Gwennie's voice in my head saying "please remember you are so early in your recovery and don't do too much."

    When I was at your stage I wasn't doing a lot of housework. It wasn't expected of me and I was okay with that! :)

    I was walking a lot! On days that I was going to PT, I would walk between 1-1.5 miles/day, rode the bike 2 miles in addition to working on my core at PT. On non PT days I walked about 2 miles/day.

    Walking really was the focus, and not sitting too long.

    I would be leary of "dipping". It is just my humble opinion that car cleaning and yard work maybe too much....it's hard to even get into the car without bending /rotating/twisting ~ atleast for me it is.

    I know you want off of pain meds, but from my standpoint, I think you will need them. I know I do and my surgeon and Pain Management doc expect me too. When I called last week for the refill, there were no questions asked. I justified and the PA just said, "you are still so early, and there are flair ups, etc." I typically take 3 10mg/day with neurontin and flexeril.

    I anticipate going back to work to be difficult and painfull (I just posted re that "prayers please".

    let us know how you are doing! At work, do you have a place to lay down and decompress your spine a couple times a day? I have found this so important and really helps to decrease my pain.

    Wishing you the very best!! Shari

  • Good to hear from you again Shari. I read about Gwennie and was shocked, but out of my control. She was very helpful, just like you. I won't get off percoset unless I can stretch out the time in between taking the pill to where I feel comfortable going to vicodin. I know some of these good days can go backwards quickly. But when you start to feel better you want to do more. I am a little OCD. My badly damaged nerve is the big question. But, I seem pretty positive about it based on improvement the last three days. Without the medical bed downstairs, I don't lay down anymore during the day. But still seem to be moving forward. Lately, it now seems when I lay down on by back I get an intense immobilizing pain in by lower back at dead center. It goes away after some walking. So, I now sleep on my side. Although, the the pain I mentioned is still there to a lesser degree. During the day no problem. Not sure why, and Dr didn't know either. Just re-mentioned that a lot of muscles were cut thru there and I will see changes in pain level/location during healing. Post Op L-Sine looked good. He said some/have to dipping was OK. Just not bending down from the waist. It is mostly just to pick up things like a small bathroom trash can. The down to the ground dip is rare and only like when I dropped my car keys at a gas station or soap in the shower. Not done daily. They had me doing 90 degree squats at PT, not too different. Getting in and out of the car is not a problem and seemed less painful today while driving. Before my left leg sciatica would flare up while driving. Will see on that the next few times driving. Hoping the best for work, will post on that.

    It is still the fusion that concerns me the most. But, way too early to know. Like I mentioned above, I have read that activity will aid in that process. Hope mine is the right activity. And, I do need to pick up on the walking. Housework is light, no big vacuum pushing.

    Like everything else with this surgery, I have read of people doing a wide range of things at 2/4/6 months. From little to normal day to day things.

    Continued wishes for your recovery process and we will see if anyone else as an input on how much they are doing.


    Side Note: I seem to have a sore throat, more in morning, since I am up to 4 Nuerontin a day. Have read that is a side effect. Of course, that can be a side effect for a lot of meds. Seems to have a strained feel to it also. Not a full fledged sore. Find myself clearing my throat more. Wierd??
  • Hey Ken, not sure if you are a fan of golf, but if you are, have you ever seen the "putter's bend"? It is where you stand on one leg, keep your back straight, extend your arm, bending at your hip. This allows your hand to touch the ground, thus able to pick up something from ground level without risk to your back.

    Let me know if you don't know of it and need a better explaination.

    Take care my friend! Shari
  • Yes I am Shari,

    Played for about 20 years then gave it up in the early 90's. Thanks for reminding me. I will give it a try. Posted on your current thread, best wishes on the job.

  • Hi Ken,

    I was starting to self fuse at L5-S1 as well along w/ a dash of spondy to make things a little more interesting. My S1 nerve was really messed up, had full leg numbness & drop foot. This is what extended my surgery from an anticipated 2 hours to almost 4 1/2 hrs + since my OSS really had a hard time 'prying' the veterbra apart to insert the cage/spacers. At my 6 week check, I had my restrictions lifted to 20 # maximum weight, could go back to the gym and only do light workouts, concentrating on treadmill at zero incline and light elliptical. I wear a pedometer as an incentive to walk as much as possible, and aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. I do think you're taking on a little too much a little too soon IMHO. There isn't anything wrong w/ taking a # of rests during the day - remember, when you're standing you're placing a heck of lot more stress on your lumbar than when your prone/supine. Your spine needs to unload periodically and you can only accomplish this by lying down. Yes, weight bearing exercise (walking in the early days you're in) is criticial to the fusion process, but, it's just as imperative to rest to allow yourself to heal. IMO, the pushing/pulling and possible twisting that vacuuming entails is really not a good idea right now, also, grass cutting may not be ideal either. Forgive my ignorance, but, do you live alone and don't have help for these types of chores? If this is the case, can your doc write so that you can get a PCA to come in to do some of housework? If the insurance won't cover this type of help, do you have family/friends, house of worship, etc that you can reach out to to get some help w/ the household stuff/yard work? Unfortunately, as has been stated by so many folks here the recovery ain't easy and you have to learn to accept that the road will have a few turns & potholes along the way. I'm 11 months out and found I really started to have significant improvements w/ the neurological issues/weakness in the leg/foot at roughly 6 months. Currently, I have some lingering numbness on the top of the foot/last 2 toes. Doc told me it can take between 1-3 years for nerve healing, so I feel I'm on 'schedule' in this regard. Are you using calcium supplements to help bone growth? Also, there's a school of thought that B complex can help w/ nerve healing. Try to be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time your body needs to heal -

    TC, please keep us posted,

  • Thanks pfd,

    Sounds like our surgeries were similar with the self-fusing, slip, and nerve damage. My surgery was about 3 and 1/2 hours. Glad you are progressing well. I hope I can do the same. I may have overstated the chores. I only use the lightweight boss to do quick, small areas like a bath. I don't vacuum the house. My wife is here, but has some back issues and arthritis, so we help each other the best we can. Youngest son, 28, is still at home finishing up college. He mows and helps with chores and taking wash upstairs. I am not doing more than you were ok'd to do at six weeks, probably less. The gas trimmer was a one time event and not to be repeated until doc says OK. I take calcium supps and B12/B6. Need more walking. I have some cushions on a DR chair where I spend some computer time throughout the day and a recliner.

    Glad to hear about your restrictions raised at 6 weeks. That helps me think I am not overdoing it. Yes, resting lying down would help. But, with this pain I described from lying flat has me not wanting to do that, and with work starting next week there won't be as many opportunities. Job is not physical though. May try to lay back in recliner now that I am improving. A week ago just sitting in it for awhile was not comfortable. Not so now.

    How did your fusion progress? That's a concern you can't monitor for 6 months. But, your comments on your 6 week restrictions are encouraging.

    Thanks for your comments and advice, they are greatly appreciated.

  • Hey back Ken,

    Glad to hear that you're not alone and have some help, tho' I'm sorry to hear that your wife has back issues as well. Lying flat for me was problematic in the beginning as well, I found the 'best' position was on my side fetal position w/ a pillow between my legs. I used a regular bed pillow placed horizontally from thigh(s) to ankle(s) so the whole leg was supported. Also, Gwennie had posted many times about a position she found quite helpful when she needed to unload her spine. You lay flat (put a pillow or rolled up towel under the lumbar area if this helps), bend your knees, feet flat, extend arms slightly to the side palms up and concentrate on relaxing for about 10-15 mins. I did this on my bed since there was no way in he** I could get down on the floor and found it really helped. I also used a lot of ice or warm moist heat - depending on what helped at any given time. I have my year check next month, but, haven't had x-rays for quite some time since the OSS felt I had had significant exposures between flexion/extension xrays, CT scans, guided fluroscopy during the surgery and x-rays post to confirm hardware placements. I'm opptimistic that since I have virtually no pain at this time and that I able to resume a great number of things albeit w/ some variations of how I'd do it in past that I'm fusing well or am fused. I'll just keep plugging away at the routine I've developed and pray I'll get a good report next month.

    Hope this is a good weekend for you and that the pain is lessened,

  • pfd,

    Your replies are exactly what I was looking for. We seem to be on the same path. And, I hope I continue to do as well as you are doing. The flat back issue that you had is good to know. It tells me mine is not uncommon. I did think about a small travel pillow under my lower back and try to rest like that. Tried recliner laid back last nite and seemed OK. Was not an option a week ago. I sleep the same way you described. I too had many XRays, CT's etc over the last 15 months.

    BTW, I am close to 60, so don't remember seeing your age. That can make a difference in our respective recoveries.

    Again Thank You for your inputs on your particular recovery issues and progression. Mine seems similar.

    Continued Best Wishes on Your Recovery,

  • Hey back Ken,

    I'm about to turn 53. Stay as positive as you can, it was invaluable to me during the initial long haul. It's baby steps in the beginning, and sometimes you'll take 2 steps back for every one you try to go forward with. It will get better w/ time and patience.

    I tried the recliner early on and it's a good thing my hubby was home, couldn't get out of it and I found it too painful. When I sat, I'd use a kitchen chair w/ pillows behind to support the lumbar, for a very long time, this was the only way I could be comfortable for a period of time.

    I'm glad what I wrote about was of help, this is what makes this site so helpful to all of us traveling our 'spiney' roads. I hope that you continue to progress well w/ no major problems. Please keep us all posted.

    TC and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  • Thanks pfd,

    Thank you for the age update. We are not that far apart. If we were still 30, we would doing handsprings by now. I do the same with pillows on my DR chair where I have my laptop. Recliner has been better lately for me. But, too long on it, and I do stiffen up. I know what you mean by two steps back. Have seen them days and will see more. Am going to take it easy rest of weekend, as Monday I have a lot on my plate and work starts Tuesday. It will be rough for a few weeks to get back into it. But, like this surgery it will get better.

    Take Care,


  • Ken, it sounds as if you are moving in the right direction, even if it is a slow process.

    I have been sitting on a dining chair for a very long time (even before my surgery, I couldn't sit on a soft chair). We still have a bed in the lounge, which I don't use very much, but it is lovely to be able to lie down amongst the family when I have pain. The lounge is going to seem very big when we finally move the bed upstairs! :-)
  • Good to hear from you jellyhall. Hope things are well with you and your family. Some days I wish I had the medical bed back, but it is gone barring a total relapse. Tomorrow is eight weeks post OP.

    I have actually had a minor set back the last couple days. Increased pain on both sides of lower and center back and left foot pain again. The left leg and foot was OK for a couple days, started hoping for the best. I also have a return of right side groin pain. Not as bad yet as prior to surgery. When this all escalated 15 months ago, I started having severe right groin pain. Dr's and myself thought it unrelated to back/nerve problems. Maybe arthritis or a pulled groin muscle. Also, had some right leg issues like sciatica. But, mostly left leg sciatica. However, from the the time I woke from surgery until a couple days ago, it was all gone on the right leg/groin. So, it had to be tied to the nerve being pinched.

    Since the L-Spine last week looked good, and plenty of room was made for the nerve during surgery, I think this is strained muscles at surgical site along with the recovering nerve. For some reason the right side has flared back up. Haven't done too much that I probably shouldn't have. But, have been kneeling down, with back straight, to pick some things up a little more often lately. Will stop that for now.

    Hopefully this is just one of those 2 steps back pfd mentioned, and will get back on track in a couple days. It has slowed my attempt to walk more.


  • Hi Ken,
    I had similar groin pain after my surgery and found it very hard to lift my leg up.
    I also seemed to develop various new aches and pains at about the same stage as you. I am now 11 weeks post surgery and things seem to be settling down again. My range of movement seems to be increasing and when I was assessed by my physio last week, he was very impressed at how much movement I had.

    I really believe that walking helps most of these issues. If I have pain, sometimes I can get rid of it by going for a walk! Other than that, I lie down which is generally a good quick fix.

    I see my surgeon tomorrow to find out I have started to fuse yet. :S

    Wishing you the best in your continued healing. This is a long journey, which demands a lot of patience, but hopefully one day we will be really please that we travelled along this road. :D
  • Thanks for your feedback. It seems groin pain is not uncommon for people in our situation. I just need to give it some rest. Do the minimum and hopefully get back on track. Everyone posting in my threads have been very helpful as they are weeks and months ahead of me. Hopefully, I can return the favor to someone else in their early recovery stages when I am 6 months plus post op. Pay it forward as they say.



  • Hi Ken

    LOL, hey if in a few months I feel like I'm 30 again, I'm way ahead of the game! Hope you've had a restful weekend, Tuesday will be a tough day for you for sure.

    Please let us know how that goes and in the meantime,

    Take very good care of yourself,

  • pfd,

    Yea, if we could only go back and make some better choices. I'll post on my job in a few days.

    Continued best of luck with your job situation.

  • Tuesday will be 6 weeks:Laminotomy ,L4-5 Discectomy .I can walk freely 2-3 miles a day .Car passenger for up to 3 hours a day .
  • mjyfgsl,

    Glad you are doing so well, never could remember what all those big words meant. Did you have severe (crushed)nerve damage. I am close to 60. I probably did a little too much too soon and started PT (squats) too soon. Either way, I am hoping to see continued improvement with these occasional setbacks and wish you all the best in your recovery. Thanks for your input.

  • I've had a few because I tend to forget that I've had surgery only 6 weeks ago and try to do too much .
    I'm going to be 67 next month. I did have severe nerve damage .When I was in the recovery room I was told that had I waited a longer time to have the surgery I could likely have been crippled .

  • mjyfgsl,

    My nerve damage was similar. Glad you are able to walk that much. I need to work on that.

  • Hang in there Ken and Len! I still have steps backwards now and I am 13 weeks post.

    For example, we were at my brother's beach house this weekend. It was severely damaged during Hurricain Ike, this was our first time to stay there since.

    There is a LONG staircase! :( I haven't had a lot of experience with stairs, my legs are still a bit weak and wobbly....

    The sandcastle competition that was in town. We walked on the sand to see the creations. It was SO HOT. So I chose to walk without my brace on, something I have never done~and I paid the price, waking up in the middle of the night in so much nerve pain. :(

    Yesterday, we woke up to the sounds of the wave and went for a beautiful long walk. I wore my brace :) we walked a couple of miles finding shells, crabs and such. I knew today would be rough....and it is!! But it was so worth it, to bond with my husband and even wearing a sundress without that *#^* brace :)

    Hang in there. I'm not sure when the setbacks slow down or stop. But it shows our spirits and drive and we just keep trying.

    Ken, you are in my thoughts and prayers this week as you go back to work....I truly know how hard that is! Please let us know how you are doing!

    Wishing the very best for both of you!
  • Shari,

    Hope you recover quickly from what sounds like a great weekend. Sorry about the pain it gave you. Somethings are worth a couple days pain. Hopefully, that is all it is.

    Your post reminds me I have a long way to go,considering the extent of my nerve damage. I am a little better today. Funny thing, I forgot to take my two nighttime Nuerontin and had overnight and still have sciatica in left ankle/foot. But, back seems better. I will get back on the Nuerontin today and in a few days see if back starts up again. I read somewhere one of the side effects of Nuerontin is lower back pain. How ironic. I may have to experiment and see if there is a correlation. May be hard to convince Dr of that. Of course, it may not be the Nuerontin at all. This slow setback has been building since PT, increased activity, and moving up to 4 Nuerontin a day. Too many variables.

    Thanks for you post Shari, continue to improve.

  • While I am a true believer in PT, it is both physically and emotionally challenging.

    It seems like I feel good on Sundays, and Monday am, have PT, hurt and rest, ice and lay down, feel better Wed am, have PT repeat.....

    But, I am stronger, my core is getting better and I can now feel my abs! :)

    I did wonder about the wall squats, bending that deep. That is something my surgeon does not want his patients to do. But, in addition, it seems way TOO much! I don't think I could do it! I do little squats, but they are constantly telling me to keep my range of motion small.

    Everyone is different, but just something that has been on my mind!

    Hang in there! You will get there! Emotionally the set backs are difficult! But, we're here!
  • I learned something today. I had spoke of the last few days of increased lower back pain and right groin pain. The groin pain which I had for the year leading up to surgery was gone the day after. Today all started to feel better after a good days rest yesterday and up to 3pm today. Then our Heating/Air guy came out for the semiannual inspection and I had some cleanup to do. Wiped up some water on utility floor and had son help lift me up. One good, one bad choice. Repositioned grill on back patio and had to squat down to get dropped tool I use to check screw tightness on heat pump after after he left. Second bad choice. Well, lower back started up a little as well as groin pain, not too bad. I now am convinced my squatting down and probably the PT squats moved to me toward this minor setback. And, know that all will improve in a day or two with rest if it happens again. Before my heart attack at 40, I was very active physically. Long distance running, weights, sports etc. I will design my own PT with mild stretching, ab work, and shallow squats after groin has a week or two off. I have read some doctors don't even want PT for patients until 3 months. I think I started too soon and too strenuous on squats and stretches. We are all different in our surgery type and recuperative powers, mainly age based. I will now be much more careful on the squatting down and lifting for another month or two and then slowly test myself. But, at least today I got some answers and have confidence better days are coming with better choices on my part. My preconception of 3-6 weeks recovery and off and running is not going to work for me based on my particular surgery and nerve damage, coupled with my age.

    Best Wishes,


  • I don't think the idea of a 3-6 week recovery would work for many! I think you are doing wonderful! It is still so early!

    The only cautious recommendation would be to "not judge all books based on one cover" ie before giving up on PT to design your own, perhaps find a PT who specializes in the spine! Especially based on how long your nerve was compressed....there is so much more to PT then what meets the eye or just strengthening.

    My PT spends a great deal of time helping to "realeign" my musculo-skelatal system and helps me to retrain my muscles to allow them to move from "guarding" to normal contactions.

    Next in PT for me is to work on the SI joint. I would think this would be vital for you knowing how much damage you had in the L5-S1 area. The SI joints are little joints but have to do a ton of work. It is expected to have some SI dysfunction after a fusion. Now is the time to work on it and fix it, so that the damage doesn't become arthritic and permanent.

    If you stand and put your hands just on the side of the top of your gluteal crest (crack) and then move your fingers a couple inches to each side. That is the approximate location of the SI joint. If you push in there, it maybe very tender. Mine is!!

    Feel free to interview PT's just like you would anyone you hired. A good, confident PT will have no problem telling you about their experience, areas of additional experience/training, etc.

    I encouraged Jelly Hall to do the something and now her new one seem to be wonderful with a great deal of spinal knowledge.

    I probably should have said something about the wall squats earlier....I'm sorry Ken.

    The other thing about the groin pain is it could be the ilio inguinal nerve. If you have a PM doc, you could ask his opinion. That is who helped me to identify it as a problem for me. I thought it was problems with my abdominal incision....just a thought.

    I think you are on the right track about bending and squatting. It really causes pain for me too.

    I have tried to move to more advanced leg abduction and adduction, using weight machines, and my body is just not ready yet.

    Hang in there, rest,relly try for NO BLT's :0 and better days are ahead!
  • Thank you so much for your concern and suggestions. I will definetley look at all you mentioned. However, I am retired military and can not shop around for another PT. I have a followup in two weeks with the PT Dr and will ask about the areas you mention. Since I start back to work, I will have to do any program from home.

    I have no pain/tenderness in the area you mentioned to test.

    I will proceed with caution and thoughtfulness.

  • Back to work now for 1 week and going pretty well. I think it helped getting out of the house. I know when the end of the workday is here by the pain level. But, not bad. Very slow progress on healing, but still progress. The area of numbness on left thigh is smaller, some days no foot pain, and this morning was the first day I got out of bed withiout extreme pain. Did not take as long to walk the initial morning pain off. Also, starting to sleep thru the nite. Don't get me wrong pain is still in the 4 to 7 range, but 8-10 is gone. No cane needed and thinking about weening off the brace. With L5-S1 surgery (lower down the back) not sure if it is doing much. And, there are Dr's who don't believe in it. Will talk to mine. But, may leave it off more around the house. Continueing on my modified home PT program. The hospital one was too much for me at this stage. Will extend and intensify as I improve and consult with my doctor. Just got 2 weeks of Percoset refilled, will try Vicodin when it runs out and hope in a month after that to go on Tylenol.

    This forum has been great and made some friends who have given me good advice. Some of it knowing that this can all change in a heartbeat even if I don't screw up on my activity level.

    Thanks All, I will still be here hoping to help others as my recovery progresses and let you know if it all goes south.

  • Heya Ken! I have been thinking of you this week, knowing that you went back to work and wondering how you are doing!

    It is reassuring that it is going somewhat well...it is definatley great news that you no longer need to use the cane. It always worries me about a cane as it puts the body in asymmetry, but at times it is needed!

    It is great to hear that the pain is slowly improving little by little. Recently, I have been waking up without pain and am able to go 2-3 hours before I need to take anything for pain! That is such a great feeling!

    I can so understand your modified PT. I had to squat the other day, instantly felt the pain, then thought of you and your postings....

    I hope you have a good 2nd week of work and that each day gets a little bit easier for you!
  • Thanks Shari,

    Appreciate your concern and thoughts, hope things are getting better for you. Glad your pain is starting to improve.

    Something about squats that don't go well with spine surgery. I have modified my PT squats at home by just standing up and sitting back down on the edge of the bed with my hands on my thighs for some support. Not as effective, but appropriate for now. Need a new hamstring exercise too. They had me lay down and raise legs with a strap around foot and pull it toward me. As bad as squats for my hip pain. Especially left leg/foot where most of the pain is.

    Continued healing,

  • Hi to all my spiney friends Shari, jellyhall, pdf etc. You guys were crucial in me getting to this point with all your advice and concern.

    This post is also for those contemplating surgery. It is rough for a couple months, but barring complications, wrong doctor, or doing crazy things you shouldn't, you will be happy you did. Recovery is long for this surgery and I am by no means recovered.

    I have been gone awhile doing what we all want to do. Back to work and enjoying life. I am one month back to work and doing well. First couple of weeks at work were rough and until a few days ago not sure if I made the right decision. I did.

    I am 3 months post op. Have not had any pictures taken yet for fusing, my last concern with recovery, will have that done at end of month when I see the PA. My Spine Surgeon is in IRAQ. Will see him in December. Not an easy 3 months as you all know from your own experience. Up until a couple weeks ago still had a lot of pain, especially when getting out of bed and the initial 10 minutes or so of walking. Lots of pain in the lower center at incision, but deep inside. I think these muscles take forever to heal.

    Lately things have taken a turn for the better. Not that I am pain free, but very tolerable. Now on Vicodin instead of Percoset. Still take Nuerontin for the nerve pain. I do these 3x a day instead of the four I was doing. Numbness in knee and thigh area is gone. Left foot still hurts and some numbness there. Hurts more the more I walk. I can now dip or squat down (back straigt) with no discomfort. However, if I do it too many times a day, I will be reminded all is still not totally healed. Still pushing it to tie shoes, so I bought loafers.

    Progress is measured in two week increments. If I try day to day there are too many minor setbacks that seem to go away in a day or two. I now get out of bed easily and can sleep in whatever position I want. This was not possible a week ago. So at 3 months a big step forward. Still sore after getting right out of bed, but improves with walking. No brace, no cane.

    Very little PT, just trying to do more everyday like I did before surgery. I felt, if you read any of my previous posts or threads that PT was too hard and too early for me. Especially the squats. So, I gave it up. Some folks seem to better with just staying active. I may be one of them.

    Hope everyone continues to improve. And, again for those thinking about it. Just do it. Find a good doctor and make sure you explored other relief avenues. Be prepared for a few months of hard pain and a year or so to recover. I will be on the long side since I had severe nerve damage.

    A side note: I have these sandles called Adilettes. Made in Italy and $30. Recommended to me by my foot doctor for heal spurs. Bought at a Soccer store of all places. They helped the heal spurs and were instrumental in helping me walk comfortably, especially when getting out of bed. When I didn't have them on, more strain on my back. They are thick, hard rubber, but mold to your feet. They are great.

    Take care all, I will update on fusion progress,

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